The 10 Worst Superhero Movies of All-Time according to pure science!
You’ve probably seen Avengers: Age of Ultron, so mst of you have undoubtedly formed an opinion on it. Some of you may think it’s the worst superhero movie ever made. Others may think that distinction falls on Man of Steel, Iron Man 2 or Spider-Man 3. You couldn’t be more wrong.
As it turns out, most of the internet is (constantly) confusing “the worst” with a something they don’t like or were personally disappointed by. But we have proof. Or perhaps you already heard our Worst Superhero Movies episode of Laser Time? Pick your poison!
Listen along if you hate reading!
Using the same infallible evidence used to determine The Best Animated Films Based on TV Cartoons, we’ve found the absolute, 100% provable Worst Superhero Movies of All-Time using the cold heart of objective science: Rotten Tomatoes scores. Look, it ain’t perfect, but it’s a pretty decent critical consensus and you can rest assured none of our personal biases enter into the proceedings. Get ready, comic book fans…
10) Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 17%
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How could a film teaming Nic Cage with the directors of Crank possibly fail? What should be Hell on wheels is instead an Ambien nap with brief flashes of nightmare fuel. Occasionally Ghost Rider will do something spectacular and stupid, like possess an industrial drill to turn it into a pure fiery death machine, but that’s few and far between. Same with Nic Cage, who rarely sparks enough energy to be the unbridled hog-ridin’ wildman we always want him to be. What went wrong?
Setting and budget are probably most to blame. Likely for tax shelter purposes, Spirit of Vengeance seems to be filmed on the boring streets in eastern Europe, which kind of sucks the energy out of a hero that’s basically a biker tattoo come to life.
Plus, the very nature of his powers mean Ghost Rider is a perpetual special effect, which sadly results in limited appearances of Nic’s alter ego. I also doubt sticking to a PG-13 rating helped the free-wheeling directors of Crank too much. All in all, a real bummer of wasted potential and full of mistakes I hope Marvel Studios learns from should they ever return to the character.
9) The Spirit
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 14%
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Frank Miller’s chief sin might be pride. After “co-directing” Sin City, a somewhat charitable title Robert Rodriguez bestowed on the comic creator, Miller parlayed that box office hit into heading up his first (and likely last) big budget film. In a massive divergence from the source material, Frank basically remakes the somewhat comedic, slice-of-life detective, The Spirit, into another of his macho, hard-boiled jerks surrounded by gorgeous women and Sam Jackson as a criminal mastermind dressed in Nazi regalia. Those kind of extreme character types work much better in Miller’s comics, but on the screen it’s unrestrained absurdity.
Will Eisner created The Spirit decades earlier, and the artist is as important to American comic history as just about anyone, but the painful, confusing film has almost nothing in common with those strips. Despite having a professional friendship before Eisner’s passing, Miller basically coerced The Spirit into being another Sin City, only without Rodriguez there to steady the ship. Instead of Jessica Alba in front of a green screen, you get an indulgent box office bomb that pretty much killed Miller’s career as a filmmaker. I’d tell Frank to stick to comics, but he actually hasn’t been that great with those lately either.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 13%
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Man, this seems totally unfair. I’d never go as far to say that Blankman is a great movie, nor would I ever recommend it to a living soul that didn’t grow up watching In Living Color. Because Blankman’s biggest sin is being unremarkable. Sure, it’s only got a handful of slightly amusing moments, clings desperately to slapstick and lovable loser cliches, but hell, it all seemed like perfectly acceptable viewing while watching it in the mid-’90s during endless airings on HBO and Comedy Central. And yes, I realize that is not a good defense.
I’m sure Damon Wayans’ pajama-clad, man-child vigilante is high on the list of Blankman’s offenses. His hyper-grating… oh, what’s the most sensitive way to put this… “gay retard impression” would probably take a beating in today’s world of internet punditry (even though I imagine Wayans probably knows how to deal with that), however, I initially wanted to believe Blankman took a critical trouncing primarily due to being a comedy, a genre humorless reviewers are notoriously harsh with. To my chagrin, that doesn’t entirely check out either. Before Marvel and DC got their shit together, superhero comedies and parodies were about all we had, and movies like Meteor Man (29%), Sky High (73%), and Mystery Men (60%) fared much, much better. Sorry we couldn’t adequately defend you, Blankman.
7) Superman IV: The Quest For Peace
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 12%
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In 1978, Hollywood made good on a bold promise: You Will Believe A Man Can Fly. The whole wide world got the wind knocked out of them by Superman, and Kal-El’s first movie would reestablish him as the Earth’s most iconic superhero. It didn’t last. The film’s producers, the notorious Salkinds, infuriated the cast and crew throughout the films’ production and publicity phases, and either fired, diminished or outright alienated all but Christopher Reeve from returning to the series by the time the third Superman movie wrapped and was immediately met with bad reviews and even worse box office returns.
To make a long story even more bizarre, interest in further Superman movies had all but evaporated by 1984. It would seem The Reboot was still but a glimmer in the eyes of franchise-hungry Hollywood money men, so the film rights to Superman were scooped up by Golan-Globus’ Cannon Films, an infamous schlock movie house known primarily for its endless string of movies starring The Chucks (Bronson and Norris.) To give this a modern day equivalent, that’d be like if Asylum Pictures, makers of Sharknado and Transmorphers, managed to wrangle the rights to make Transformers 5 and cast Shia Labeouf.
The return of of Reeve, Gene Hackman and Margot Kidder to their famous roles couldn’t save this incredibly silly story of Superman fighting his own nuclear-powered clone (on the moon). Superman IV: A Quest for Peace is hilariously/tragically marred by a lack of New York scenery, terrible composite shots, reused effects from previous films, and all the other things you’d associate with the Golan-Globus’ B-movie pedigree, as Superman IV enjoyed less than half the budget of the cheapest Superman movie to date. You don’t have to agree that Quest for Peace is one of the worst movies of all-time, but it was damn sure the most disappointing and Reeve later even claimed it destroyed his career.