As one of the most exciting genres ever, superhero movies have a class of their own. However, history has shown that not all superhero movies are Hollywood gems. Contrary to many of the iconic and memorable movies ever to hit the silver screen, the following are simply the worst superhero movies of all time:
20. Green Lantern (2011)
Failing to live up to the expectations of comic book fans, the overall script for Green Lantern was so bad that not even Ryan Reynolds could save it from negative reviews.
Hardly earning more than its budget, Warner Bros. canceled its plans for a sequel while Hal Jordan will be getting a reboot for another standalone film in 2020.
19. Fantastic 4 (1994)
If you thought director Tim Story’s Fantastic Four movies were bad enough, take a look at their very first film adaption from 1994. On second thought, do not bother.
Starring an unknown cast and a very low budget, the movie was thankfully never released as 20th Century Fox bought the characters’ film rights for a big-budget adaption.
18. Howard the Duck (1986)
A superhero in his own right, Howard the Duck is not much of a popular Marvel character. This makes one wonder how on earth Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios decided on a film adaptation.
It was clear that not much effort was put into the film to the point of Howard being generally seen as unconvincing; making the terrible movie arguably the worst comic book adaptation ever.
17. Zokkomon (2011)
Believe it or not, Bollywood has released superhero movies on a number of occasions, the most notable of them being Krrish starring A-list actor Hrithik Roshan.
However, Zokkomon was nowhere near the charisma of Krrish. Starring Darsheel Safary – best known for his role as Ishaan in Taare Zameen Par – this is one of his movies that he definitely wants everyone to forget.
16. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2004)
When director Bryan Singer introduced X-Men to the silver screen, a milestone was achieved. The magic did not last long as the franchise steadily began to release disappointing installments – notably X-men Origins: Wolverine.
The immense backlash received by the movie can be attributed to the overdose of mutants, the familiar narrative, the cliché-ridden script, and above all, the mishandling of Deadpool.
15. Blade: Trinity (2004)
As the third and thankfully the last installment of the Blade film series, the movie has a special place among the worst superhero movies ever and is the worst writing work by legendary screenwriter David S. Goyer.
Due to a lack of sharp narration from the first two installments and an abundance of shapeless fight scenes, the movie greatly suffered in terms of reception and Wesley Snipes’ career was never the same again.
14. Jonah Hex (2010)
An average superhero movie starring Josh Brolin, Jonah Hex features a cowboy bent on revenge after being forced to watch his wife and son being killed. Though the movie eventually reached a happy ending, a lack of motivation resulted in a critical failure.
Even the addition of the beautiful Megan Fox could not save the movie from its impending doom. Possibly the worst movie jointly produced by Legendary Pictures and DC Comics, Jonah Hex is just plain awful. And, after watching the film you surely would be able to answer, ‘Who is the worst superhero in Hollywood?’.
13. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)
No disrespect to the allure of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but they only appeal to a very young audience. Always have and always will and their 1990s film adaptations justify the stance.
By adding time travel and even more ninja action into the third installment of everyone’s favorite crime-fighting turtles, the movie was quite frankly unbearable to watch.
12. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)
Nicolas Cage is a magnet for bad movies and Ghost Rider is one of them. Seeing how shallow the first movie was, calling its sequel a movie is an insult to every superhero film there is.
Though the film performed well at the box office, Cage felt he was “done” with Ghost Rider films as he further stated:
“I’ve done what I had to do with that part. You never say never, but right now, today, I would say that I’m done.”
11. Superman IV The Quest for Peace (1987)
Without a shadow of a doubt, Christopher Reeve as Superman is one of the most perfect comic book castings of all time, and introducing the last son of Krypton to the silver screen was a memorable Hollywood moment.
However, the deplorable storytelling caused the gradual decline of the Man of Steel’s film series and the third movie should have put the franchise to an immediate halt. Oddly enough, Warner Bros. went forward for a fourth installment only to receive horrible reviews.
10. Spawn (1997)
There are only a few great superheroes outside of DC and Marvel Comics and Spawn is definitely one of them. Superhuman strength, immortality, teleportation, empathy, resurrection, you name it and Spawn has it.
However, the film adaptation starring Michael Jai White as the mysterious title character was universally panned by critics and fans but Spawn definitely deserved much better.
9. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
The most unusual thing about Sami Raimi’s first Spiderman film was that it was ahead of its time. The exceptional plot, epic origin, and awesome action sequences were responsible for making the web-slinger a household name again.
Unfortunately, the third Spidey installment was anything but good. It is amazing how the scene of an emo Peter Parker dancing made it to the final cut and the acting career of Tobey Maguire heavily suffered.
8. Catwoman (2004)
Selina Kyle aka Catwoman is one of the most iconic DC characters ever so how could a film adaptation starring Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry possibly go wrong? Well, for some reason, almost everything about the character was changed including her transformation from a villain to a superhero and even her name.
Proving once again that female superheroes cannot engage in competition, the movie had disaster written all over it and received overwhelmingly negative reviews. Worst of all, Berry’s acting career as a bankable star was over.
7. Daredevil (2003)
Comic book fans around the world had all the right to openly express their distaste when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman in the much-awaited Batman v. Super-Man: Dawn of Justice. Daredevil was a wretched film and proved that Affleck does not have what it takes to pull off a superhero role.
On the bright side, the movie gave Affleck the chance to start a relationship with and later marry co-star Jennifer Garner.
6. Elektra (2005)
Speaking of Daredevil, a spin-off movie was nothing more than suicide. Jennifer Garner reprised her role as Elektra Natchios only to regret it. Even though the character had died, that did not stop Marvel Enterprises from developing her standalone film.
Brought back to life by blind martial arts master Stick, Elektra proved why Hollywood has always been hesitant about making female superhero movies as it received an even worse reception than Daredevil.
5. Superhero Movie (2008)
Unlike every other entry on the list, Superhero Movie was supposed to suck. A spoof film majorly centering on the story arc of Spiderman, the movie has dozens of laughs.
Starring Drake Bell, Kevin Hart, and the lovable Leslie Nielson, the movie took shots at many superhero movies such as Batman Begins and X-Men. Nevertheless, the movie is one of the worst superhero films ever made.
4. Supergirl (1984)
Yes, a film-adaption of Superman’s biological cousin Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl exists! Do not blame yourself if you have never heard of it because it is one of the most poorly received spin-off films ever.
Christopher Reeve expressed his interest in making a cameo appearance as Superman but soon backed out. On a related note, CBS is on the verge of producing a Supergirl television series starring Melissa Benoist.
3. Steel (1997)
Shaquille O’Neal was one of the most dominating athletes during his 19-year NBA career but it should be admitted that the sport of basketball might be the only thing he is good at.
In an attempt to break into acting, O’Neal starred as DC superhero Steel in the 1997 movie of the same name only to achieve the same result as his previous movies: critical and financial bomb.
2. The Spirit (2008)
Based on the newspaper comic strip of the same name, The Spirit might be the lowest professional point of comic book veteran Frank Miller; who wrote and directed the whole movie.
Poor acting, exploitative overtones, lack of originality, and unnecessary humor were responsible for making the movie go down the drain despite having a cast of Suits star Gabriel Macht, Eva Mendes, Scarlett Johansson, and Samuel L. Jackson.
1. Batman & Robin (1997)
Not only has the Batman franchise produced the greatest superhero movie of all time – The Dark Knight – but also the worst superhero movie of all time. With a star-studded cast of George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman, and Chris O’Donnell, Batman & Robin had very high expectations only to disappoint big time.
That is what you get when director Joel Schumacher adds sexual innuendos and nipples on a bat suit to an extremely campy script. Undoubtedly rubbish of a superhero film, even Clooney called it a “waste of money” as the movie killed the Batman franchise until Christopher Nolan revived it with Batman Begins in 2005.
Would you like to add some more titles to our list of the top 20 worst superhero movies of all time? Share your thoughts in the comments below!