The 12 Worst Comic Book Movies of All Time

Thursday, 06 August 2015 - 11:51AM
Green Lantern
Thursday, 06 August 2015 - 11:51AM
The 12 Worst Comic Book Movies of All Time
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Fantastic Four comes out this weekend, and although we were rooting for it to overcome its initial (and extremely premature) bad buzz, it may very well go down as one of the worst comic book movies of all time. It's already one of the worst-reviewed movies of the summer, with a paltry 8% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and descriptions that range from "uninspired" and "bland" to "eye-bulgingly pathetic" and "less fun than Pixels, which was only slightly more enjoyable than slamming a door on your face." 

So in a few years, the newest attempt at a Fantastic Four film might be on this list, but for now, here are the twelve films that have already been canonized as the worst comic book movies of all time:

The Crow: Wicked Prayer

The Crow isn't for everyone, but I loved it, and there's no denying that there's a mystique. With its unapologetically goth aesthetic, its luridly dark subject matter, and its tragic backstory (two tragic backstories, actually), it's no wonder that it has such a cult following. But the sequels just kept getting worse and worse, especially in the absence of late star Brandon Lee, and by the time the fourth film, Wicked Prayer, came out, the franchise had lost anything that was special about James O'Barr's graphic novel and left everything potentially idiotic about the premise. (It also starred Tara Reid, which is never a good sign.)

What the critics say: The Crow: Wicked Prayer has the dubious distinction of being one of the relatively few movies with an embarrassing 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

The first Ghost Rider was fairly terrible, but at least it worked on some levels as a guilty pleasure. The sequel, Spirit of Vengeance, should never have existed, as it worked on zero levels. When Nic Cage gives an even more bonkers performance than usual, you know you're doing something wrong.

What the critics say: Rotten Tomatoes summed it up perfectly with "aims to be trashy fun but ends up as plain trash."


We're excited for Ben Affleck's Batman, and think he could even be better than Christian Bale, but he did not make a good Daredevil. Nothing about this movie worked, from the melodramatic script to Colin Farrell's cheesy, ridiculous take on Bulls-Eye, to the objectification and fridging of Jennifer Garner's Elektra. It was trying to be a "dark and gritty" superhero movie, but instead committed the cardinal sin of being boring. 

What the critics say: Groucho is relatively charitable to Affleck's universally panned performance, saying, "Affleck's lanky, offhand softness hardly suits the superheroic archetype, and his acting ability isn't enough to overcome the basic miscasting." Hopefully we won't be expressing similar sentiments come March 25, 2016.


Speaking of Elektra, we love the idea of this bad-ass character getting her own movie, but certainly not this one. Jennifer Garner is a great actress, but even she couldn't save this disaster of a comic book adaptation, with its forced love story, its lack of character development, and its lame attempts to imitate Crouching Tiger-style martial arts. 

What the critics say: A 10% on Rotten Tomatoes (hey, it still beat Fantastic Four), with the consensus, "Elektra's tone deaf script is too self-serious and bereft of intelligent dialogue to provide engaging thrills."


Speaking of a failure to deal with female superheroes, no one did more damage to the prospects of a female superhero movie than Catwoman. But it obviously didn't fail because it had a female protagonist, it failed because it's a f*cking terrible movie. It famously had no connection at all to the comics, giving an entirely new character the mantle, and featured a truly awful performance from Halle Berry.

What the critics say: Catwoman won big at the Razzies, for Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Halle Berry), Worst Director (Pitof), and Worst Screenplay. Berry was gracious enough to accept the award in person, and film critic Bill Muller of the Arizona Republic suggested that she should give back her Academy Award as a punishment.


Similarly, Spawn was the first film to portray a black superhero (followed by the equally terrible Steel), and did the social justice community no favors. It was hyper-violent, crass, and generally in bad taste, with an oversimplified revenge plot that would make Taken 3 fans blanch. And it was particularly unfortunate that the movie was so terrible, as it's one of the reasons that racially diverse superheroes can't have nice things.

What the critics say: Urban Cinefile called Spawn "a self-indulgent, overly violent, utterly tasteless piece of egotistical rubbish."

Green Lantern

Like Ben Affleck, Ryan Reynolds will get another bite at the apple with Deadpool, which looks to be amazing. But his first go-round as a superhero wasn't exactly a rousing success, as Green Lantern failed to satisfy either critics or fans with its flat attempts at humor, terrible CGI, and laughably two-dimensional characterizations. Not to mention that Blake Lively (who can be a wonderful actress) turned in an entirely unconvincing performance as love interest Carol Ferris. But hey, at least they got a marriage of the whole debacle, so that's something.

What the critics say: Movie Nation said it was "Not 'Jonah Hex' bad...but almost."

Jonah Hex

Everything about Jonah Hex was terrible. You might think it could be saved by Josh Brolin, but no one can offset the powers of Megan Fox's terrible acting.

What the critics say: Megan Fox was nominated for Worst Actress at the Razzies. (She lost to the Sex and the City ladies, but that's not really a fair fight, since there are four of them.) It was also nominated for Worst Screen Couple, for "Josh Brolin's face and Megan Fox's accent."

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Laurence Fishburne voiced the Silver Surfer, and that was the only good decision made about this movie. The first Fantastic Four movie wasn't great, either, but at least it had moments of silly superhero fun. Rise of the Silver Surfer was too stupid to enjoy on even the most basic level, and we would reiterate the above Honest Trailer's sentiment: "STOP MAKING CLOUD-BASED VILLAINS."

What the critics say: Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called it "plain awful in that way that makes you give up on life." This may be putting it a little strongly, but not by much.

Spider-Man 3

After the huge success of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3 only had to maintain. But as a result of inordinate amounts of studio interference, Sam Raimi was forced to overstuff the film with half-baked subplots and way too many villains, with underwhelming appearances from Harry Osborn, Sandman, Venom, and a pre-Emma Stone Gwen Stacy. We honestly think Raimi included that ridiculous emo haircut and infamously terrible dancing scene just to give the middle finger to meddlesome producers.

What the critics say: Almost all of the critics voted for only one villain rather than three, with calling it "three, maybe four movies clumsily crammed into one."

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

In spite of Hugh Jackman's considerably presence, this Wolverine film paled in comparison to the other films of the X-Men franchise, with a cliche-ridden script and a thoroughly disappointing introduction to Ryan Reynolds's Deadpool. As Deadpool said himself, 20th Century Fox finally has the sense to do the character right, after "inexplicably sewing his f___ing mouth shut the first time."

What the critics say: What Culture said, "I haven't been this disappointed by a film since the new Indiana Jones." Ouch.

Batman and Robin

Bat-Nipples. Bat-codpieces. Alicia Silverstone. Mr. Freeze's "jokes." Nothing good happens when you try to make Batman "family friendly." 

What the critics say: George Clooney/Batman himself went on the record saying it was a "waste of money" and that they had "killed the franchise." Thank the comic book gods (and Christopher Nolan) that he was wrong.
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The 12 Worst Comic Book Movies of All Time