What Are The Worst Superhero Films Of All Time?


6) Steel
1997
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 12%
Buy it on Amazon

Listen youngsters, the mid-’90s were a weird time. Superman had died, a black guy tried to fill the void, and Shaquille O’Neal was such a huge star in the NBA that he could star in multiple big budget films. Back when Warner Bros. had no damn clue what to do with its DC characters – around the same time Nic Cage almost played Kal-El – they decided to give Shaq a try as a more (ahem) urban hero. So, in between Lakers games and the Olympic Dream Team, O’Neal outfitted himself in a ridiculous metal suit as he saved kids from dangerous gangs.

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Shaq has the credentials of a Superman fanboy – it was even his nickname in the NBA – but less so when it comes to acting, and the script and direction sure didn’t help him. Writer-director Kenneth Johnson had previously only worked on TV miniseries to that point, and the production certainly has the feel of a SyFy original and not a film spun-off of Superman. In fact, any connection to Krypton is erased, as Steel instead dons his goofy tincan clothes to stop a rogue arms dealer from distributing futuristic weapons to gang members via an arcade. No, really. That Judd Nelson is the film’s second biggest star only adds to the low budget vibe. Watch this trailer full of pure ’90s cheese and you’ll have some idea why this is one DC prefers to forget.

5) Jonah Hex
2010
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 12%
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When you look at a list of every DC film produced in the last 20 years, you’ll likely find yourself saying, “They can make this shit, but not Wonder Woman?” Jonah Hex feels like the bottom of that particular barrel. Hex as a character has starred in some of the most wonderfully weird tales in DC history, but the disfigured cowboy’s adventures in western occult sound like box office poison, especially when the film gets the character so very wrong. And yet Warner Bros spent all that money to ugly up Josh Brolin and have Megan Fox stand around in roles that waste both of their talents, along with Michael Fassbender, Michael Shannon, and Will Arnett.

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Compared to Age of Ultron’s lengthy runtime, Jonah Hex’s 81 minutes feels like it barely meets the legal requirement to count as a feature film. That brevity also makes you wonder how bad what they cut was, especially when Ulysses S. Grant gets an entire scene. The morose movie made a fourth of its budget in theaters, didn’t get a theatrical release outside the US, and was dumped onto Blu-ray without a single special feature. More so than Green Lantern, this film is held up by Hollywood folks as the example of how much a DC film can screw up.

4) Batman & Robin
1997
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 11%
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Batman Forever was a huge hit, so director Joel Schumacher decided to add on to that film’s excesses tenfold in the sequel. More campiness, more rubber ass, more distracting movie stars chewing the scenery as the villains, more toy tie-ins, more bad jokes, MORE NEON. It’s one of the most garish, nonsensical things ever committed to film, and while it’s worth appreciating as lecture piece in a Queer Studies college course, it works a lot less as a movie for comic nerds, or even children.

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DC was long embarrassed by people associating Batman with Adam West, yet this makes Bats far more of a goof, with Dick Grayson as his loyal houseboy… I mean ward. Uma Thurman plays Poison Ivy as a drag queen, Bane is a walking steroids repository, and Arnold’s Mr. Freeze is the stuff of bad movie legend. Despite being profitable, this put the Batman franchise into a coma for 8 long years, finally returning in Christopher Nolan’s deadly serious Dark Knight trilogy. Back in 1997, Batman & Robin seemed to kill comic book movies forever, and lowered the bar so much that the original X-Men and Spider-Man films felt like minor miracles.

4 thoughts on “What Are The Worst Superhero Films Of All Time?

  1. The thing that I cannot understand.. is how Ghost Rider 2 is that much worse than Ghost Rider 1, because that was awful awful garbage. Just by having the Crank directors it should be a bit better? And yet it is ranked worse… that is definitely the most intriguing movie on this list.

    Shout out to you guys linking to were we can buy some of these awful piles of movie garbage lol.

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