The Ten Worst Comic Book Movies Of All Time, According To Our Readers
Earlier this month, the trending Twitter topic #7FavFilms gave us a reason to go through the [...]
Earlier this month, the trending Twitter topic #7FavFilms gave us a reason to go through the ComicBook.com database and post the user rankings.
For the most part, the "best" movies tend to be more or less in line with what you would expect: Critical hits like The Dark Knight and Captain America: Civil War stand alongside fanboy favorites like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. It tends to favor newer movies - people presumably vote soon after seeing it and therefore have all their enthusiasm right there with them - although older classics like Superman: The Movie can make it into high spots on the list, too.
This time around, though, we wanted to scrape the bottom of the barrel and look at the worst of the worst.
There are plenty of movies on this list that suffer from not having all that many votes. A handful of films on the list, as of this writing, have single-digit numbers of people who have voted for them.
So I went in fully expecting the bottom of the list to be loaded with movies that two guys really hated and nobody thought to rate.
...Nope. Everything in this "Bottom 10" was actually scored by more than 100 -- and in all but one or two cases, more than 200 -- people.
So, what are the worst movies of all time, according to our readers?
Let's take a little walk through the chamber of horrors, building to the absolute worst of the worst!
Through our movie database, anyone who has a username here can vote on movies and TV shows, and their scores will be thrown into an aggregate. You can see the full list here.
Tied with Superman III for 9th/10th place on the list, Ang Lee's Hulk draws a 2.17 rating (out of 5) from ComicBook.com readers.
This movie came with massive expectations: Lee was red-hot, coming off the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which changed the game for martial arts movies in both effects and critical esteem, kicking off a wave of imitators that lasted for years.
Unfortunately, it landed with a bit of a thud. Lee's attempt to ape comic book visuals by having what looked like panels for scene transitions came off as pandering and silly to a lot of comic book fans, and made little sense to people who primariliy identified the Incredible Hulk as the lead feature in a '70s TV series.
The movie was not terrible, and it has its defenders, but when The Incredible Hulk came out just a few years later, fans were relieved to see a...well, not good, exactly, but at least watchable movie starring the Jade Giant.
It probably also didn't help this movie's reputation any that it was one of the last in a line of blockbusters like Godzilla and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, which received mixed reviews but were merchandised to high heaven. So after it's out of the theaters and all you remember is the movie not being as good as you hoped, there are still toys everywhere to remind you of it.prevnext
Another 2.17, this one is a bit of an inexplicable addition. It's certainly not as bad as most of these other films, and there's an argument to be made that in a universe where Jonah Hex (nobody has yet rated it) exists, it doesn't belong on the list.
Wizard magazine once said that this film "disrespects the legend" of Superman, and you can see why: many hardcore fans who spent years trying to shake off the impression left on popular culture by the 1966 Batman TV show are less-than-open to superhero interpretations that are funnier than they are smart. Superman III tried for both, an arguably fell short of both.
It isn't without its fans, of course; during an episode of Supergirl this year, a Red Kryptonite-infected Supergirl sat at the bar and recreated the infamous peanut scene, where she used her powers to destroy furniture and alcohol using only the complimentary beer nuts.prevnext
This movie only scored a 2.13 with our readers, but I have a confession to make: I've seen this movie a lot of times.
As a kid in the '80s, there weren't that many superhero movies...and in the late '80s and early '90s, The Punisher was one of the most popular characters in comics. My father ran family-owned grocery store that was located across the street from a video store -- also owned by that same family, so I got all the free rentals I wanted and none of the employees there questioned 11-year-old me renting the R-rated The Punisher for the hundredth time.
And yeah -- this movie is pretty awful, and it's not true to the comics, and a lot of other things you could say about it. Most of the performances are pretty absurd. But I will say this: to this day, it has what is I think the most honest moment of Frank Castle ever committed to the screen.
In the scene pictured at top, Nancy Everhard's Sam Leary tried to lecture Castle (Rocky IV and Arrow villain Dolph Lundgren) about how he's hurt his friends by becoming The Punisher. "How long do you think a person can live after you've ripped out their heart?" She asks him.
And, in a moment that's the most purely perfect screen Punisher I've ever seen, Lundgren grabs her and growls "A long...time."
This movie is awful, but seriously: Give it a watch anyway. It's totally worth it. Some parts are (intentionally?) hilarious.prevnext
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III
With a 2.12 rating from ComicBook.com readers and not much better from professional critics, it feels like it can't bean accident that this forgettable sequel's movie poster seems to have the Heroes in a Half Shell being stalked by a giant version of the Rotten Tomatoes logo.
I've actually never seen the "Turtles in Time" installment of the franchise -- and I can't even remember seeing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, although I'm certain I did -- but even I'm aware of the fact that it's widely hated. Having managed a video store for years, I've heard plenty of people my age or so bemoan how awful this movie was.
And honestly? I'm surprised it's so low on here. Nobody much had any expectations that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III would be anything but what it was: A shoddily-made, crass, cash-in flick. It was also the third installment in a trilogy, which was often the kiss of death at this point in Hollywood (some argue it still is, but franchise filmmaking has become so much more sophisticated that I don't think that's a safe argument to make anymore).
The franchise started to go backwards immediately after the blockbuster first installment, with the Turtle models themselves looking cruddier in this movie than they did in the first one, when they didn't have a budget. So forget the crappy script and the silly premise: this movie was already doomed because it failed in the first thing a special effects blockbuster has to do: look good.prevnext
GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE
You know those decals that used to be popular for rednecks to put on their pickup trucks, fo Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) pissing on things they didn't like? Well, this 1.89-rated mess-terpiece pretty much did that to the Ghost Rider brand.
Literally. That image above? That's Ghost Rider peeing fire.
Because that's a thing we needed to see in a major motion picture, apparently.
This is the image that defines the movie for a lot of people. Something sophomoric, insane, and that can only be explained away by "somebody with more money than sense wanted it to happen." After the failure of the first Ghost Rider movie, Sony could have rested a few years and tried to reboot, salvaging the franchise for the future. Instead, they rushed into a sequel nobody asked for and while there are some fans who will argue to their deaths that this one is better than the first Ghost Rider (which our readers gave a 2.37), there are far fewer who will argue that makes it actually good.prevnext
BATMAN & ROBIN
The level of fan hate for this movie -- even nearly 20 years later -- is so high that I'm rather astounded that it barely cracks the "top" five with a 1.79 rating.
So...yeah. Fair warning, folks: there are some real stinkers from here on out.
Batman & Robin actually made a bunch of money at the box office, contrary to what the myth tells you. It was a franchise killer becuase it failed domestically at a time when you couldn't do that, and because the reviews and word of mouth were so toxic that it would be incredibly hard to build on.
For all the hardcore comics fans who, as I mentioned back when we were talking about Superman III, hate it when anything reminds them of the good-hearted goofiness of Adam West's Batman, there are a lot more people who grew up with that as their sole touchstone for the Caped Crusader. Director Joel Schumacher is apparently among them, and made not one but two movies (the first being Batman Forever, which I actually dislike more than this one but which generally people liked) that used a stylized, colorful, psychadelic, winking-and-smirking Batman as its model.
"If there's anybody watching this, that...let's say, loved Batman Forever, and went into Batman & Robin with great anticipation, if I've disappointed them in any way, then I really want to apologize. Because it wasn't my intention. My intention was just to entertain them," said Schumacher on the commentary track for the DVD.
Yes...he apologized for the movie on the director's commentary track.
If, instead of cancelling the planned Batman & Robin sequel Batman Unchained, they had just gone ahead and made that film, that would be Elektra.
Daredevil, which earned a 2.49 from our readers, made enough money that it wasn't a bomb, but it was a disappointment to studio 20th Century Fox, who elected not to make a sequel.
What they did do was to peel off a supporting character from the film -- Jennifer Garner's Elektra -- and give her a solo movie, which was bad enough to rate just a 1.78.
Look, there was plenty good and bad to say about Daredevil, but one thing that everyone pretty much agreed was as goofy as sin was the dance-fight on a playground between Matt Murdoch and the girl he decided to stalk at the coffee shop because she smelled good. So when that girl gets her own movie, a lot of fans are predisposed to go in suspicious.
The movie was kind of a mess; it didn't do a very good job of explaining why she came back from the dead after her murder in Daredevil, and then the plot of the movie itself was a dopey, confusing and unsatisfying.prevnext
I know what you're thinking: Which one?
Well, it's last year's Fantastic Four that scores just a 1.68 from our readers.
As far as we can tell, the director's erratic behavior on set and a screenplay that didn't follow a typical superhero format spooked the studio, who took control of the movie...too late, resulting in a movie that can't decide which of two not-quite-good movies it wants to be, and instead opts to half-ass both and come out just plain awful.prevnext
SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE
As a Superman fan, I hate this one more than anything else on this list. So while you all gave it a 1.65 and there's still one more movie to go after this, let me take a break to collect myself while you watch The Nostalgia Critic's delicious takedown of the film:
After Superman II, the first movie where a superhero actually fought supervillains, they moved to hackers and white collar crime in Superman III. That was in part because the studio was burned by the high pricetag of Superman: The Movie and Superman II, and decided to cut budgets going forward.
When Superman III wasn't as well-received as the first two, it seems they decided to give another try to supervillains...but at a low budget again. Yikes.
This one's got no internal logic, a half-dozen pointless subplots, and it's really boring. The comic book adaptation by Jerry Ordway is actually readable -- mostly because he had to cut so much of the fat out of the story in order to fit the page count -- so if you really must experience this story, read that instead. You can probably find it in a dollar bin at your local comic shop.prevnext
At a dismal 1.42, nearly a full quarter-point below Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, Catwoman is by far the most-loathed comic book movie on this list.
I haven't seen this film, so I can't say much about it, other than what I've seen in online reviews that I watched for laughs. There, I saw a plot that didn't make much sense and a whole lot of shabby special effects and poor performances from actors way too good to be trapped in a movie like this.
It's a baffling film; there are so many talented people who were involved, and the movie was in development for years, so there's really no excuse for a version this bad to have ever been made.
If you want to hear some interesting anecdotes about the protracted, depressing development of this film, listen to Eric Ratcliffe's Why I Love Comics podcast, where he talks to Leverage and Blue Beetle writer John Rogers about his experience as one of the numerous people who worked on the script over the years.
You can download it here. It's much more entertaining than the movie itself as far as I can tell.prev