In honor of this Friday’s release of “The Avengers”, I’m spending the week looking at comic book/ superhero movies. Yesterday we listed 5 Phenomenal Superhero Movies. Well, just like every other genre, you have good movies and you have some real stinkers. Today I’m listing 5 Phenomenally Awful Superhero Movies. As with yesterday’s list, this one stays within the comic book arena. The main difference is that these films simply got it all wrong. Unfortunately there were plenty to pick between and I found it a little difficult narrowing it down to five. Nonetheless here they are. As always I wouldn’t call this the definitive list, but there’s no denying that these 5 superhero movies are most certainly not phenomenal!
#5 – “X-MEN: THE LAST STAND” (2006)
It’s a shame that a franchise that started so good could fall so far in such a short time. “X-Men: The Last Stand” was the third X-Men movie and by far the worst. Bryan Singer, the director of the first two films, left and Brent Ratner took over. But the biggest problem was with the story. The ridiculous liberties that were taken with the team were simply unforgivable. The series went from being about a superhero team to being a Wolverine and Jean Grey love story. The special effects are really good and the production value is fine. But X3 turned the series on its head. “X-Men: The Last Stand” severed its ties to its comic book roots and proved to be a franchise killer.
#4 – “JONAH HEX” (2010)
Talk about a great example of a missed opportunity. Jonah Hex has more than enough wonderful source material to make a great movie. Why on earth did the movie stray so far off course? “Jonah Hex” is an absurd and often times incoherent mess than only gives the audience brief glimpses into what makes the character great. What’s even worse is that Josh Brolin is perfect as Jonah Hex. The makeup combined with Brolin’s portrayal is right on target. Unfortunately the material is so ridiculous and lame that it’s impossible to enjoy what he’s doing on-screen. Then you have the casting of Megan Fox who offers up one cringe-worthy line after another. Even the often times reliable John Malkovich is like fingernails on a chalk board. “Jonah Hex” is one of the most poorly written movies I have ever seen and even at only 81 minutes, it drags on forever.
#3- “THE SPIRIT” (2008)
Acclaimed comic book and graphic novel writer Frank Miller wrote and directed “The Spirit” and I have to say he should stick to books. “The Spirit” is an absolute mess right from the start. The movie is a lifeless and emotionless film that is a good example of style over substance. Miller’s over-the-top style works visually but the material is so flat and grating. Miller’s self-indulgence make some scenes seem to go on forever and it’s truly a laborious task to make it through the picture. The actors drudge along never developing a single character worth caring about. It’s almost as if Miller simply forgot the difference between print media and cinema. Whatever the reason, “The Spirit” is a movie that I pray I never have to see again.
#2- “CATWOMAN” (2004)
I’m not alone in calling “Catwoman” a terrible movie. It’s one of those rare movies that I honestly wasn’t able to make it through. I struggled with leaving it off this list simply because I never finished it. But then I asked myself WHY I never finished it? Oh yes, because it was absolutely horrible. Loaded with ludicrous and cheesy dialogue and a paper-thin story, “Catwoman” takes a great DC Comics character and butchers her all for the sake of putting Halle Berry in a cat suit. Both Berry and Sharon Stone are laughably bad and the material is no better. The direction, the special effects, the character development, all of it is subpar and the result is a disaster that some have said derailed Berry’s once promising career. If you’ve seen “Catwoman” (or if you’ve tried to see it), you know exactly why it’s on this list.
#1- “BATMAN AND ROBIN” (1997)
The first Batman movie franchise wasn’t the best. The first film starring Michael Keeton and Jack Nicholson was a lot of fun but after that it slowly started going downhill. The series hit rock bottom with Joel Schumacher’s abhorrent “Batman and Robin”. Schumacher’s film was a catastrophe and was the ultimate death knell for the franchise. Nothing in “Batman and Robin” works. It takes such a flippant and arrogant approach to Batman and his universe. It’s never as funny or as clever as it thinks it is and Schumacher seems more interested in clowning around than making a quality film. George Clooney is a fine actor but he was a terrible Batman and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze is one of the worst characters in film history. I have a laundry list of faults associated with “Batman and Robin”. Maybe it’s my affection for the source material, but it doesn’t take much to see that this is a poorly made movie on almost every level. It’s absurdity is off the charts and it’s lazy, unfunny attempts at humor never let up. I hate “Batman and Robin” and there is a reason why it’s accused of killing the Batman series.
So there they are. Do you agree or disagree with my list. See something I may have left off? Please share you comments below.
Fortunately I stayed away from all but 1 and 5. I didn’t think Last Stand was that bad but First Class was a hell of a lot better! Batman and Robin is truly awful. Another great list!
Thanks for checking it out. Some real stinkers on the list. My biggest beef with X3 was it’s treatment of the Scott Summers character. I don’t want to play spoiler but lets just say they start of on the wrong foot. I also didn’t think it captured what made the first film and to some degree the second film good.
But I know a lot of friends who disagree with me about X3.
Yea, I like to pretend that Batman and Robin didn’t happen. But I had to bought the four pack to get the Keeton movies, so, I’m not sure if I have room to talk.
LOL. I still liked the first Michael Keeton Batman movie. Batman and Robin wasn’t anything like the first film.
Thanks for checking out my list!
Agree with Pete, X-men Last Stand I was okay with. I found the cure angle interesting, liked it better than X-men 2.
The entry I couldn’t stand was X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
I’m with you on X-Men Orgins: Wolverine. It was close to making this list. One reason it didn’t was because I really liked the first half of the film. I also really enjoyed Liev Schreiber’s Sabretooth. Unfortunately the movie really flies off the rails in the second half. It turns into a pretty terrible movie.
X3 really annoyed me with their treatment of Scott Summers. Perhaps this is coming from a comic book fan perspective, but I tend to give movies LOTS of room to make changes to the source material. But what they did to him right at the beginning of the movie really ticked me off. From there it was pretty clear that it was a Wolverine and Jean Grey love story with a few uninteresting side characters thrown in. The cure angle could have been good and the Dark Phoenix story should have been fantastic. It didn’t work for me though. But I have several friends who disagree with my take on it.
Thanks for checking out my page. Hope you’ll check it out regularly.
Great list! X3 was so sad–almost the perfect trilogy! I blame Bryan Singer–forever! 😀
I would add the recent Green Lantern–I was actually hopeful because I thought Ryan Reynolds could pull it off–and the cast was alright…but no. It was lame, cheesy and incoherent. And nowadays there is no excuse for crappy F/X.
I was disappointed with Green Lantern also. It was a prime example of what happens when a potentially good movie property is poorly written. Way too much crammed into way too little of a space and it all blew up in their face!
Thanks for the comment! I appreciate it.
I agree with all four but I still enjoyed X-Men 3 to a degree, so it’s not ‘phenomenally’ bad. I hate Brett Ratner though and it could’ve been as great as the other two in the franchise, but I like the X-Men universe so it’s not a complete waste for me. The only other one I have seen and I do agree it’s soooo bad is Batman & Robin. The rest I won’t touch with a ten foot pole, ahah.
I’m in the minority when it comes to X3. I completely get that. But it really lost me when it disregarded the source material and went it’s own way. So often when a comic book movie does that, the end results aren’t good. Just look at the Schumacher Batman pictures, Ang Lee’s Hulk, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, etc.
There were a few others that could have been on this list but X3 just rubbed me the wrong way right from it’s opening scene.