Worst Superhero Movies Ever


Fresh from completing his latest comic book venture “Velvet”, author Stephen Coffey reveals his worst superhero movies ever having already paid tribute to the greatest  ever made.

As Superheroes are expected to dominate this years box office, with Superman returning to our silver screens under the name Man of Steel (I’m sure that at some point someone in Hollywood will place Superman before that title, in case people don’t realise that it’s a Superman movie, sigh). With Thor 2, Iron Man 3, and GI Joe 2 coming along it’s time we look back at some of the low points of the Superhero/Comic movies that have assaulted our eyes.

As with my top ten this list is based on the movies that I have seen and are in no particular order.  I won’t respond to any comments or arguments, this is my list and my opinion, you are as always entitled to your own. 

Batman and Robin (1997)

If you looked at the cast members for this Joel Schumacher movie, his 2nd in the franchise started by Tim Burton, you would probably think ‘Can’t Fail’ but FAIL it did.  Maybe not financially but when it came to living up to the expectations and the previous movies in the series it just decided to up and quit before it hit the cinemas.  I remember going to see the movie on the day of release, in the Savoy and was just so stoked to see this movie.  A new Batman/Bruce Wayne in George Clooney and good ol Govenor Arnie as Mr. Freeze, one of my most liked Batman Villains.  With Alicia Silverstone, Uma Thurman, Chris O’Donnell and some masked actor playing Bane I really thought that this would be just the most awesome Batman movie of the series.  Alas I left the Savoy cinema and walked back to the bus stop wondering ‘Why?’ If you are going to spend millions of dollars making a movie that has a solid fan base, why not take the time and do it right.  The script and performances were just awful, and wanted to be the classic Batman series of the 60’s but missed the fun aspect of that series.  When buying the Batman series of DVD’s I made sure to give this movie a wide birth.  Batman has a massive following from the comic book series and if you do the movies right then you can count on nearly all of that following to come out and support the movie.

Catwoman (2004) 

Halle Berry stars as Catwoman, it’s just an awful awful movie from start to finish.  With some really terrible VFX and once again just plain bad performances, there is little to nothing to recommend this movie to anyone.  Catwoman in the Tim Burton Batman Returns seemed to strike a chord with the fans and this made everything think that a stand alone Catwoman movie would be popular, but time passed and over 10 years later when this incarnation was dropped on the public it just didn’t ring true for us fans.  In Batman Returns, Catwoman was a dark and beautiful creation, fitting in perfectly with the city and movie.  In Catwoman it was so much about style over substance, and it was more obvious that the film makers wanted to say ‘Hey Comic Fans, this is the Catwoman you should like!’ You can’t do that to the Comic Fans, they know what they like and they want it in a movie.  The fact that there wasn’t a Catwoman 2 is proof that the fans didn’t like what the film makers were selling.


The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) 

Stephen Norrington wowed everyone with Blade, he brought a little known Marvel Character to the forefront and gave us a solid and enjoyable action movie.  So when it was announced that he was going to stand atop the helm of this Alan Moore graphic novel adaptation I, along with a lot of people, were excited to see the result.  While not as bad as Batman and Robin or Catwoman, the film didn’t live up to the graphic novel, not by a long shot.  With news coming out that Norrington and main star Sean Connery were constantly butting heads and this leading to Norrington walking out of the editing suite because Connery wouldn’t, there were problems, problems, problems.  Connery was said to be heavily involved in the editing of the movie, which explains a lot.  The movie shines best during the action sequences but it’s nothing compared to the graphic novel.  Just go to your local comic store and ask for a copy, it’s worth the money and far more enjoyable than this movie.

The Spirit (2008) 

I was not that aware of The Spirit comics, and my first experience of the character was this Frank Miller directed movie.  If I did this list numerically then this movie would no doubt live at the top of the list.  Looking at the cast and you’d figure that at least if the script is terrible you’d have a great time.  With Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, and Eva Mendes you’d think it would be the movie of the year.  The director is one of Comic’s most talented writers, and brought us the Sin City Comics and also 300, and should have had more respect for the original material.  I haven’t seen this movie since going to see it on opening night, and HOPE that I’m never subjected to it again!

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) 

To me Christopher Reeve will ALWAYS be Superman, he gave us two different characters in every movie, that of the Man of Steel and Clark Kent.  He was my childhood idol.  After Superman 3 which was not great but saved by Richard Prior, Reeve didn’t want to reprise his role.  He shouldn’t have returned.  But Hollywood knew they could wring more cash out of the Superman franchise they offered him more money and script control.  It would be hard for anyone to turn down such an offer.  So we got more of a lesson in peace than a Superman movie.  Gene Hackman returns as Lex Luthor and a new villain comes in the form of Nuclear Man.  If you want to see a great Superman movie then watch Superman 1 and 2.

Now there are other movies which I could add to this list, there was a Justice League movie that was out there minus Superman, Batman, and Wonderwoman, but it had Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian ManHunter.  I remember seeing this movie late one night but can’t remember much about it other than it looked like a TV pilot.  There were Fantastic Four, Nick Fury, and Captain America movies I watched during my childhood and teenage years that were just amazing at the time but now if you look back at them you see that they had no respect for the original material.

Back in the 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s Hollywood paid little respect to the properties that they bought from the comic companies and churned out movies that showed the fans that they didn’t care about the love shown to the characters by the true believers, they cared more about the quick buck.  These days with Superhero movies like the Dark Knight Trilogy and Marvel being very involved with the production of their titles it seems like a brighter time for the Comic Fan.  With the summer filled with Comic book movies we’ll talk again and see if lessons have been learned or if we as a community of fans are left scratching our heads.

By Stephen Coffey



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