I do have a list for all my favourite live action superhero CBMs already so I might do one for my current Top 10 favourites if I feel like it or it's requested. But with the superhero movie at its all time height in popularity, the critical negativity towards superhero movies of the over the top dark/depressing kind recently and how strongly us fans can feel towards something that we believe doesn't do the character or the comics justice, it's obvious we don't like every CBM that comes out. These are my top 10 worst comic book movies:
And yes the two you already expect me to choose when you saw my blog's title will be on here.
#10: X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Guess Stryker finally figured how to shut you up huh?
Just beating out the first two Fantastic Four movies is Fox's first attempt to expand on the origin and backstory of the stand out star, and limelight hogger of the original X-Men trilogy; Wolverine. Origins was supposed to bring out the best for Marvel's most famous Canadian anti hero badass but ended up as a cliche filled, monotonous and disappointing movie about Wolverine's background before the X-Men. I find that my main problems with Origins lie in its acting choices, its uninteresting characters, a generic uninspiring script and its insult to injury with the fanbase. A lot of the actors don't really fit their roles, like what was up with will.i.am as John Wraith? There was no point in casting a hip hop artist with no experience in any kind of film role. Same with Lynn Colins as Logan's love interest Silverfox, she had absolutely nothing to do with the comic character whatsoever and was as generic as love interests get in action movies. I remember thinking the script is like every other action movie ever with one liners that have been done so much better. And it would be remiss not to mention Fox's butchery of Barakapool in the final act that wasted Reynolds' immense potential in playing Wade Wilson. Thankfully that has been rectified by now. There may have been one or two decent scenes like the world war opening and the Weapon X transformation but ultimately Origins is a dull superhero movie.
#9: Man of Steel
What was I supposed to do? Just let them die? Maybe...
You didn't think I would forget my beef with the genesis of the controversial comic book movie now did you? Of course you didn't, I have expectations to keep up. You probably already know why I have this film on here, for my further thoughts on Man of Steel, see my review of it (Note my thoughts on the action, visual effects, cinematography and Henry Cavill/Kevin Costner's performance as Superman/Jonathan Kent no longer reflect what my review has originally said) but I'll break down a summary for newer readers. This movie intended to introduce Superman to a newer and modern audience and Nolan, Goyer, Snyder and the WB execs believed the way to do this was to make Superman appear more realistic. Unfortunately, Man of Steel's darkness, grittiness and depressing tone cemented it as one of my all time least favourite CBMs. I still believe MOS represents a fundamental misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Superman's character, mythology and reasons he's appealing. What's more, the pacing is shockingly imbalanced throughout the film dragging the overly stuffy lot which is attempting to sound deeper than it really is through fancy buzz words and overt symbolism. The main cast is wooden and never get the chance to present the characters they're playing as because they're slaves to the script and to espousing plot exposition. I find Zack's cinematography to be always trying to go for some intended higher meaning rather than trying to tell a story or a scene. And as for the action, I found it skin crawling over the top violent destruction porn to the point that even Michael Bay might say "Woah Zack isn't this a little too much?" Man of Steel doesn't go for the interesting complexity which lies in Superman's gentle yet staunch selflessness, in doing the right thing no matter what and standing for something greater that humanity can aspire to. Instead, it opts for a bleak, morally ambiguous introspective look at Superman which misses what the character is about. It may be higher than some of the other choices on my list but honestly I personally enjoy watching some of them more than Man of Steel.
I'm not the bad guy, kid.
I still need to watch the rest of the Netflix Daredevil series and avoid the Netflix related battle board threads because that does a superb job at making a captivating and immersive Daredevil story. The 2003 Daredevil film does not have that luxury to me, along with like 90% of the comic book fanbase if I had to guess. It represents what was most wrong with the early 2000s attempts at superhero movies, being overly dark and dramatic for the sake of it. Whilst other movies like Raimi's Spider-Man and Singer's X-Men learnt how to balance a fun and serious tone, Daredevil tried to play it straight all the time and that's why I think it fell flat on its face. Because trying to make itself seem serious when the audience is unable to take the story and characters seriously. Affleck's Daredevil is waay too melodramatic, I don't recall Daredevil being a mopey emo about the state of his life. The absurdity of the weird bath coffin scene and the shower scene did not help the film's titular character portrayal in the least. Jennifer Garner's Elektra was even worse, I think a skit from The Nostalgia Critic's review of Daredevil summarises Elektra's problem. She's hyped up to be a capable independent badass match for Daredevil but then instantly loses to the first antagonist she goes up against. It undermines all the earlier depictions of Elektra and makes them pointless. Irish Bullseye was a weird and inconsistent choice of villain, Bullseye is crazy but not the kind of crazy like the film thinks he is. I haven't gone into much of the writing, story or action but honestly it's forgettable and generic, at least with other bad or hated CBMs you can remember parts of it and the bits you didn't like. Some people say the Director's Cut is apparently better and fleshes out the characters along with establishing more plot and a subplot that was cut but I haven't seen it and this doesn't get the ultimate edition excuse.
#7: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Mm, Bruce Wayne meets Clark Kent. Ah, I love it! I love bringing people together!
When Man of Steel discussion and interest was at its peak on Comicvine, I got more involved in it being the big critic of MOS that I am. And not just whether it was overall good but the many nitty gritty facets that were debated in numerous individual threads made to discuss one part of the film. I haven't done that with BvS so much, at least not the nitty gritty debate for one main reason. I hold MOS in great disdain for what it did to my favourite character and what Snyder started to do to people's perceptions on Superman with MOS. So it did surprise me that I was expecting to only dislike BvS about the same as I do MOS and lo and behold, it exceeds my expectations and manages to be actually worse than Man of Steel. I thought that was quite the achievement. BvS takes everything I disliked about MOS and doesn't just pour salt on the wound, it makes all new wounds on top of that one. The acting is even worse including in characters that weren't so bad in MOS such as Laurence Fishbourne's Perry White. My views on BvS' pacing were that it was even worse at dragging its feet across the ground than MOS, exemplified in the fact that the titular fight doesn't start until nearly two hours into the movie, over 2 hours I think in the Ultimate Edition. I saw the same attempts to be deep and meaningful that were merely superficial and only skin deep in what the film actually conveyed. I read a plot that was clunkier and muddled up than MOS' narrative. Oh and what I thought were misunderstandings of Superman, Lois Lane, The Kents and more in MOS got trumped with Batman, Lex Luthor and Doomsday (to be fair Affleck did try his best and was probably one of the better actors, the problem was the script and Snyder) My god, Jesse Eisenberg was the absolute worst, it's all been said and done so there's nothing you won't have already heard about how badly Eisenberg was as Lex Luthor. I genuinely cannot believe there are those actually willing to defend him, it boggles my mind. I can get the defence of Zod but the Lex Luthor in BvS was only Lex in name, not in action or characterisation. Jesse's maniacal, babbling and shrill portrayal was not the smug, calculating or supremely ego-centric drive of the Lex Luthor I'm familiar with. Doomsday is every bad CGI joke or meme you've already seen. I found the attempted meta responses to MOS to miss the point of why the criticisms were made. The action repeated Zack's flashy destruction porn fetish and attempted to sugar coat it with abandoned battlegrounds (with the exception of the warehouse fight I'll concede that one was good) Of course the increased dark broodiness of BvS was not to my liking for reasons already explained. With the dust settled, BvS represented a fundamentally damaged interpretation of DC's finest characters IMO and made me even surer in how poorly I feel towards the DCEU and its future as another expanded cinematic universe alongside its more successful MCU counterpart. Where that has me invested, BvS has antagonised and pushed me away by the road Snyder and WB have chosen to go down for DC's on screen universe. And it pains me because I love DC Comics and its characters which is why BvS' fundamental failures are all the more painful to me.
They're not superpowers, they're aggressive cellular reactions.
I suppose after all I wrote about MOS and BvS you might think there aren't CBMs I dislike more. Admittedly Fant4stic is closely tied with BvS but one of the main differences is the warehouse fight's choreography. In contrast, the action in Fant4stic is lackluster, not immersive enough to overlook the blatant CGI and the final fight is apparently terribly anti climatic. Action is the least of Fant4stic's problems though. Josh Trank' warped versions of Marvel's first family of superheroes represent absolutely nothing of the Fantastic Four I grew up with and loved. I don't buy the Ultimate FF defence either, source material representation was clearly not on Trank or the studio's mind. Worse, the botched mockery of Victor Von Doom in this film is criminal, and that's saying something considering how the first Fantastic Four films made Doom a regular rich corportate tycoon who hooked up with Reed's ex and behaved like a dick with electricity powers who wanted to rule the world. This Doom is a moody lab assistant of Dr Storm who gets telekenetic powers from the Planet Zero dimension and suddenly wants to destroy the world. Moreover, the story just jumps ahead a year for no reason after the FF get their powers, that made no sense The main cast just doesn't feel comfortable in the skin of the FF and most damning of all, I never saw this as an FF film. It feels like a Chronicle film or a Prometheus film but never a Fantastic Four film. Hence why I call it Fant4stic. Even the cheesy and cliched FF films felt like bad Fantastic Four films. This is ashamed of what it was based on, it takes away from the fun and adventure inherent to the FF and as such I've never seen Fant4stic in full. Yeah it's that bad that I never even went to see it at all and damn 20th Century Fox if they're dumb enough to make a sequel to this failure.
#5 Green Lantern
I'm gonna make you look good up there. Don't worry, okay? Now let's get these pants off and fly some planes.
The thing about Green Lantern is I have to admit I may have been looking forward to it when we only had the trailers to go on. It was a different time, I was more foolish and not as wise on CBM quality and it looked like it would draw heavily from Geoff Johns' Green Lantern run which was a new benchmark for the Green Lantern mythology at DC Comics. Unfortunately what we ended up with was a colossal disappointment. Right when Marvel was setting up its cinematic universe, DC throw a stinker with this movie. Its effects are terrible considering the standard of CGI technology available to films and the result was a cringeworthy Green Lantern uniform. Blake Lively gave a tone deaf performance as Carol Ferris, I only need to remind you of "Hal, this test today. It's important" as the most bland delivery in this movie. Hector Hammond and Parallax were the most disappointing villains, Hammond because of his non-fleshed out motivations and rushed power up and Parallax for just being a giant CGI monster only there to fight before BvS' Doomsday was a thing. It is a shame as there were a couple all right performances from Michael Clarke Duncan as Kilowagg and Mark Strong as Sinestro but that's nowhere near enough to save this boring, underwhelming film. The story makes little sense even to those who are familiar with the comics and the ending makes no sense to anyone unfamiliar with Sinestro's villanous backstory because there was no indication Sinestro was going to turn rogue. It was just sequel baiting which has turned out fruitless. It's the disappointing lack of expectations and what the movie actually was which is worst about GL to me.
I got nothing, this movie doesn't have any memorable one liners I could find.
Elektra sure was bad in Daredevil but she was worse in her solo movie. Even compared to the other bland and disappointing CBMs, Elektra goes one step further in how generic and uninteresting it ends up being. It deals with Elektra being brought back to life by Stick and trained in a secret martial art but gets kicked because of her dark feelings, becomes a contract killer, doesn't kill a father and daughter, has to protect them from the Hand yadda yadda. The plot's already been done before and Elektra doesn't know how to add anything new to this wheel of 'action hero protects someone they care for' storyline. It tries to do something with The Chaste and her martial arts training but the arc around is resolved without any pathos or nuanced development to it. The acting is useless with all of the actors, the action devolves into pointless slow motion too many times and the plot goes round in circles from flashbacks to present day ultimately being forgettable. I know this isn't as long as some of my other posts but being forgettable might actually be more of a sin than being memorably bad or rage inducing. I know parts of what made Elektra a bad movie but even know I can't remember everything, that counts as a failure on the movie's behalf.
#3: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
And there will be peace. There will be peace when the people of the world, want it so badly, that their governments will have no choice but to give it to them.
There's no shortage of criticism against the current movie version of Superman and rightly so in my book. Unfortunately there is one movie which is a reminder that there may be something even worse than a dour, unsure and ambiguous Superman. Superman IV is one of those apocalyptically bad cheesy films that try and dumb down a complex issue into a black and white answer. This movie tries to spoon feed some moral of the story lessons to you and fails in every way to create a story with a moral. Superman just up and disarming the world's nuclear missiles without any complaints is completely unrealistic even with a solar powered super strong flying alien requiring the suspension of disbelief for enjoyment. And it's only because Superman gets guilt tripped into doing it by some kid, what a legitimate reason for enforcing worldwide nuclear disarmament. Gene Hackman's once brilliant rendition of Lex Luthor is wasted next to the absurdity that is Nuclear Man. He's supposed to be the menace yet comes off flamboyant and dumber than a bag of hammers. Which leads to some of the worst effects I've seen in a comic book movie. Repeated uses of the same Superman flying shot, more faked fight scenes than a WWE match and Great Wall of China vision. Which is stupider than Superman throwing his S shield in Superman II. Such a ham fisted attempt at a greenpeace environmentally friendly message sabotaged an already terrible movie. Despite my strong feelings towards MOS and BvS, Superman IV is objectively the worst Superman movie to date.
Cats come when they feel like it. Not when they're told.
Where to even start with why I can't stand this one. Its butchery of Catwoman's character from the comics, replacing Selina Kyle with a new character altogether named Patience Phillips, the laughable excuse of a story, the random ass unexplained mystical source of Catwoman or Catwomen prior, the god awful special effects when Catwoman was swinging across the city, the horrifically bad acting, take your pick. I could fill a book with all the things Catwoman did wrong but I imagine other people have done so better than I can. Oh what about the stupid leather costume that isn't as well designed or useful as the other Catwoman costumes, the corny fashion designer villain, the played out "Patience and nice cop date whilst Catwoman causes a ruckus and nice cop chases her whilst figuring out who Catwoman is." Or the randomness of this female scholar who just happens to know everything about the Catwoman blessing after some cats lead Patience to her. Or the stupidity of Halle Berry acting like a cat and getting high off catnip. Ugh it's no wonder this film won a Golden Raspberry award. As far as bad comic book movies go, this film would be the runt of the litter were it not for one universally despised CBM.
#1: Batman and Robin
This is why Superman works alone.
From bat credit cards to Arnold Schwarzenegger delivering painful ice puns to bat nipples, there's no shortage of reasons why I find Batman and Robin to be the worst CBM of them all. It tries to do the silliness of the 1960s Batman TV show but lacks the charm of the 60s show to pull it off. Consequently, what we get is a camp, silly and over the top display of how not to do a comic book movie. The special effects are ridiculous, the action is as corny as the 60s biff, pow and bam sound effects, the acting is atrocious from Clooney to Thurman and Schwarzenegger is ridiculously miscast as the supposed to be tragic Mr Freeze. The villains' plot is as Saturday morning cartoon corny as it gets and not in a charming good way either. More like oh god that was so dumb kind of way. There's no real story or character growth, Alfred getting Macguffin Syndrome is the most forced bit of tension in a CBM which happens to be resolved in a face palm inducing ending of the utmost convenience. I'd say all that and more gives good reason why Joel Schumacher is much maligned for creating this turd of a CBM. However, I believe the terrible quality of Batman and Robin and its hatred by the fans does give the film one underlooked strength. That it will be a memorable film for a long time to come because we love to hate, mock and criticise this masterpiece of a failure and in its failure, Batman and Robin will be infamous for that bad quality.
That's it for my blog, feel free to post your thoughts on it or your least favourite CBMs in the comments. Or possible BvS banter I predict. Thanks for reading.