10 Worst Superhero Movies | TheReviewGeek Does Not Recommend

The Dark Knight, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Avengers: Endgame are some of the greatest superhero movies ever made. In recent years, there have been other box office successes that have pleased moviegoers and critics alike.

But not every superhero movie is deserving of the word ‘super.’ Many of them have failed to give comic book fans what they were hoping for and in this article, we list some of the worst superhero movies of all time.

Do you agree with our picks? Or are there any other movies that are more deserving of a place on this list? Let us know in the comments below.

Steel (1997)

A scientist and weapons designer turns his back on his career and becomes an armour-plated superhero. This is pretty much the description for Iron Man but while that movie was a decent first entry for the MCU, the similarly-themed Steel failed to make any kind of impact when it landed in cinemas in the late 90s.

Basketball star Shaquille O’Neal stars in this misfiring movie that isn’t fit to wipe the rust off Iron Man’s boots. He stars as John Henry Irons (a character you will recognize from Superman & Lois), a genius engineer who decides to turn himself into a superhero.

If the movie had followed the comic books, in which Irons built himself a suit that could mirror Superman’s powers after the Man of Steel’s death, it might actually have been pretty good. But instead, director Kenneth Johnson opts for a different origin story in which Irons decides to dress himself up in a suit when he realizes the weapons he created are doing more harm than good. Well, what did he expect? World Peace?

The plotting is poor, and so is Shaquille’s acting, which rarely convinces. Relegate this movie to the scrap heap and pretend it never existed!

Fantastic Four (2015)

To date, all of the movies featuring the Fantastic Four have been less than fantastic!

1994’s Fantastic Four movie was never given an official release and nor was it intended to have been because the studio only made it so they could retain the rights to the characters. The fact that it wasn’t released shouldn’t give you cause for concern as it’s cheaply made and not very good, as you’ll know if you have ever picked up a bootleg copy or seen this version of the Fantastic Four on YouTube.

Marvel’s ‘first family’ did get a big screen outing in 2005 but that poorly scripted and badly edited mess isn’t much better than the unreleased movie that came before it. The 2007 sequel was marginally better but it didn’t satisfy many comic book fans because of the way the scriptwriters mishandled the Silver Surfer story. When Josh Trank was announced as director for 2015’s Fantastic Four, hopes for a decent adaptation were raised because his previous movie was Chronicle, a found footage superhero movie that blew away everybody who saw it.

Unfortunately, this latest iteration of the comic book heroes tranked…erm…tanked at the box office. It failed because it was far darker in tone than it should have been for a movie based on one of Marvel’s brightest comic books and there was a distinct lack of action during the movie’s runtime. Trank blamed the movie’s failure on 20th Century Fox who apparently meddled with his cut of the film but while this might be the case, the myriad of other production problems would suggest his version of the movie wouldn’t have been that good anyway.


Catwoman (2004)

Catwoman should have been like catnip to comic book fans but despite a reasonably decent performance from Halle Berry as the titular antihero, the movie was a flop on release and it is now considered to be one of the worst comic book films of all time.

Why is it so bad? Well, the plot is rather pathetic for starters. Instead of saving the world from a super-powered supervillain, Catwoman is pitted against a cosmetics company that wants to release a deadly skincare product onto the market. This is the kind of storyline we would expect from a television show about superheroes and not a big-budget movie.

Other reasons to relegate this to a box full of kitty litter are the terrible CGI (a surprise considering the visual effects background of the movie’s director), the cringe-worthy dialogue – “Cats come when they feel like it. Not when they’re told” – and the poor direction. It ends with a catfight that is as spectacular as two cats fighting over a bowl of cream so if you’re looking for a blockbuster superhero movie with incredible action, you definitely want to avoid this dog…erm… cat of a movie!

Batman & Robin (1997)

Holy baloney Batman, this is bad! Really bad. This is a surprise, considering director Joel Schumacher directed Batman Forever which was reasonably entertaining, even though it threw away the Gothic look and feel of Tim Burton’s Bat movies for a lighter and funnier comic book flick. That movie was over-the-top and gloriously colourful and Batman & Robin provides more of the same, only more so!

It’s this excess that is the movie’s undoing as it may have worked better if it had reined in the neon colouring and the silly dialogue. Instead, we were given a movie that was visually ugly, despite the bright colours, and a script that gave its cast of talented actors some of the worst movie lines of the 1990s. Arnold Schwarzenegger had the most embarrassing of these – “Who Killed The Dinosaurs? The Ice Age; “ “Tonight’s Forecast, A Freeze Is Coming.”– although his hammy performance is something else that should have been sent to the cooler!

The 1960s Batman series was high art compared to this campy mess that has now gone down in history as the worst Batman movie ever made. George Clooney’s bat-nippled suit was the least of this movie’s problems!

Captain America (1990)

Thanks to the MCU and the acting talents of Chris Evans, we now have several decent movies featuring the ‘First Avenger.’ Evans wasn’t the first actor to portray the red, white, and blue hero, however. Back in the early 40s, a black and white serial starring Dick Purcell featured the legendary hero, and in the 1970s, two dreadful television movies were made starring Reb Brown.

In 1990, B-movie director Albert Pyun gave us his version of Captain America. The movie was intended to be a major theatrical release but instead, it was relegated to video stores where unsuspecting comic book fans may have picked it up hoping for a good time.

The fact that it went straight to video is no surprise as this movie does not do the character justice. Matt Salinger, who took on the dual role of the hero, was not the right fit for the part. The weak script and poor special effects didn’t help matters and neither did the low budget which gave the movie a made-for-television feel.

There is a director’s cut of this movie which is apparently better than the studio version but we don’t imagine it’s worth bothering with, unless you’re a die-hard fan of the shield-carrying hero.

Supergirl (1984)

One of the greatest superhero movies ever made is Superman, the 1978 classic that soared to the top of the box office during the time of its release. The movie’s success was down to the terrific script, high production values, and the acting of Christopher Reeve who was utterly convincing as both Clark Kent and the Man of Steel. Several sequels followed (only one of which was truly good) and Supergirl, which was originally envisioned as a direct sequel to Superman 3.

In theory, Supergirl should have been a good movie. It had a reasonably competent director in Jeannot Schwarz (Jaws 2, Santa Claus: The Movie) and a good cast, including Helen Slater as the titular hero, Peter O’Toole as her Kryptonian mentor, and Faye Dunaway as one of the movie’s main villains.

Sadly, the movie failed to impress critics and audiences. The blame for this can be pinned on the dumb script which saw Supergirl pitted against a witch and her comic relief warlock, and a lack of exciting setpieces. It’s a shame that more effort wasn’t put into the movie as this could have been a rare franchise starter for a female superhero.

Justice League of America (1997)

2017’s Justice League wasn’t a great comic book movie, largely because Joss Whedon messed with Zach Snyder’s vision when he stepped in as director, but there was some fun to be had, and this is largely thanks to the comic banter between its band of superheroes.

That movie wasn’t the first to feature the JLA, however, as in 1997, fans were treated (or perhaps cursed) with this small screen outing which featured Flash, Atom, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and some lesser-known comic book heroes going up against the dastardly Weather Man (a villain with the ability to create all kinds of meteorological mayhem).

Being a TV movie, this doesn’t have the budget to match its big-screen rivals, so one can hardly expect the kind of comic book spectacle that we have seen in other team-up superhero movies, such as The Avengers. But with its colourful cast of characters, this could have been a reasonably decent film, if only the scriptwriters had been respectful of the comic book origins of its heroes.

Instead, this is something of a travesty, with little in the way of exciting set pieces and a script that favours talk over action. As such, it’s rather boring, which is the worst thing a comic book movie can be!

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)

Christopher Reeve still manages to impress in this fourth Superman movie and so too does Gene Hackman as the fiendish Lex Luthor, but in terms of story and production quality, this is a long way behind the previous movies in the series.

So, what went wrong? Well, for one thing, the movie was produced by Cannon Films instead of Warner Bros, the studio responsible for the other movies in the Superman saga. Cannon were renowned for their cost-cutting and this really shows in Superman IV, as it’s difficult to believe a man can fly when the effects are as bad as they are here! We can’t even believe the action takes place in Metropolis as the decision was made to shoot much of the movie in Milton Keynes instead of New York, which was the usual stand-in for the comic book city.

One reviewer at the time called this movie “cinematic kryptonite” which was rather fitting as it killed off the Superman franchise that was set to continue with Christopher Reeve. This movie isn’t the worst on this list due to the talented playing of its actors. But it’s still a disaster that even Superman couldn’t save from failure.

Elektra (2005)

In Marvel’s comic books, Elektra is known as the world’s greatest assassin, not that you would know that when watching this dreadfully dull comic book movie that is a semi-sequel to 2003’s Daredevil. If there were a few more fight scenes, we may have believed in her 5-star rating on Yelp as a killer-for-hire but the movie spends too much time away from the action, delivering instead a soapy story about her relationship with a young girl whom she is called on to protect.

The movie had the potential to be good. Its storyline revolves around an ancient war between good and evil and the clandestine organization known as The Hand, which Elektra faces off against in the movie. But with little in the way of thrilling setpieces and a melancholic tone that saps away any sense of fun, this never delivers on its exciting premise.

A movie pitting a superhero against a group of ninjas should never have been this bad. Garner does her best, however, and is the best thing about this less-than-electrifying misfire.

Zoom (2006)

Not every superhero movie is based on a DC or Marvel comic book. Some of them aren’t even based on comic books at all. This could be the reason why the movies that fall into this category are often pretty bad as they don’t have the benefit of decent source material to lift them from mediocrity. Condorman is one such terrible movie and Meteor Man is another.

There are some that are the exception, of course. Sky High, The Incredibles, and the aforementioned Chronicle are all decent movies. But then we get a movie like Zoom, which is centred around a former superhero named Jack (Tim Allen) who is called out of retirement to train a ragtag group of kids into becoming a new generation of superheroes at a private academy. These include a 17-year-old boy who can turn invisible, a 16-year-old girl with telekinetic powers, and a 6-year-old girl with super strength.

The movie has a lot in common with Sky High, which also featured a group of super-powered kids, but while that title was very entertaining, Zoom is as tortuous to watch as your elderly grandparents trying to make a Zoom call on their iPads!

Unoriginality isn’t the biggest problem here. It’s the fact that the filmmakers thought they could quickly cobble this together to cash in on the success of Sky High, X-Men, and superhero movies like them. It’s this arrogance that turns what could have been a fun family flick into something that ultimately patronizes its target audience.

So, there you have it – our picks for the worst superhero movies of all time. Do you agree with our choices? Let us know in the comments below. 


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