Top Five Lame Superhero Films (That Aren’t Batman and Robin)

Posted: October 11, 2016 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Lists

Written by Daniel Simpson

This Friday a movie called Max Steel is coming out. It’s a superhero film based on a toy, which sounds tremendously lame. Of course, anyone who knows superhero movies knows the genre is no stranger to lameness. There has been some laughably bad superhero movies over the years and today we’re gonna look at five of the worst. Two caveats to this list; the film has to be based on a comic book and I won’t be including Batman and Robin. Regarding the latter, it’s just too easy to pick on the Schumacher Batman films (I won’t be including Batman Forever either) and to be honest the internet has beaten on those movies enough. Let’s beat on some other ones!

5. Green Lanterngreen_lantern_poster_final_0

Before Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds starred in a string of really awful superhero movies and this is one of the most notorious. A lot of people will say the movie’s failing is the source material is just too dorky (what with aliens and powerful rings) but I disagree. I think the concept of a group of people who can conjure anything their mind can conceive and serve as intergalactic cops is pretty cool, the problem is the execution here is just terrible. Despite a $200 million budget, the special effects look like crap and the filmmakers don’t do much creative stuff with Green Lantern’s powers. The jumbled plot all boils down to some generic CGI infused battle between Reynolds and a big cloud, or something. Also, while the cast does have some decent work from some of the supporting cast (namely Mark Strong and Geoffrey Rush), the only performances that stand out are Reynold’s non-performance, Blake Lively as generic love interest, and Peter Sarsgaard as annoying villain.

4. Elektraelektra_poster

Elektra…what do I even say about Elektra? Well, it’s boring as hell. All of these movies listed here are terrible, but all of them are at least laughable in their terribleness. Elektra on the other hand is just a snoozefest. Honestly it might be the worst superhero film I’ve ever seen, but its sheer dullness does sort of help it here. While I can think of all sorts of lame elements from the other films listed, I barely remember anything about Elektra. I know that it sucks and that it’s about as interesting to watch as a blank wall, but otherwise, I can’t recall any specific details or moments of lameness. So, it’s only ranking at number four.

3. Captain America (1990)captain-america-1990

Well before Marvel had established dominance in blockbuster cinema, audiences were treated to this adaptation of Captain America, fresh off the heels of Tim Burton’s Batman to boot. However the actual film turned out to be something of an embarrassment which Marvel swept under the rug (though it has developed a cult audience in recent years). The film is very clearly a cheap project. Though there is some (minor) production value to the 1940s stuff, once the film moves to present day all that washes away. The cinematography is awful, the costumes look bad, the sets are dull, and there is nothing in the way of creative or well-executed action sequences. The only memorable thing Cap does is pretend he’s sick to awkwardly steal a car from an old man and later a young woman. There’s other dumb stuff here too, like Cap being strapped to a rocket aimed for the white house that he puts off course by…kicking at it…and during this scene a little boy sees him through a pair of binoculars…a boy who grows up to be the President. The guy who plays Captain America (weirdly enough J.D. Sallinger’s son) has all the charisma of a stump. I do kinda like the early make-up for the Red Skull though and that makes the film slightly less lame.

2. Superman IV: The Quest for Peacesuperman-iv

I was no fan of Batman v. Superman when it came out back in March, but people who acted like the film was some grand travesty clearly don’t know just how awful the Superman films can get. No Superman film is as irredeemably terrible as The Quest for Peace. The film starts off with an interesting premise; Superman sees the world headed for nuclear destruction, is it right for him to get involved? Great idea, but that premise is squandered on basically every level by faulty execution. First off, the fact that Superman only starts thinking about this when some kid writes up a letter is pretty dumb, but the real problem is how the whole thing devolves into a struggle between Superman and some generic 80’s wrestler looking dude called Nuclear Man, who is created by Lex Luthor. Nuclear Man is a dumb villain who does nothing but grunt and his fights with Superman are staggering in their awfulness. Then of course there is the infamous special effects, which are so terrible they’re almost frightening. Seriously, this movie made me really uncomfortable as a kid because the effects were so fake they shattered reality. This was a movie made almost a full decade after the original Superman and the visuals are infinitely worse. The flight recreation with Lois Lane in particular stands out as does the final battle on the worst looking moon set you’ll ever see. Long story short, it’s a shoddily made film across the board and it’s full of stupidity.

1. X-Men Origins: Wolverinexmen_origins-4

It’s not exactly shocking to call X-Men Origins: Wolverine terrible. Everyone agrees that the effects are syfy channel level, the story is underwritten, the dialogue is clichéd, the visuals unimaginative,, and the film also completely disregards X-Men continuity. Origins clearly sucks, but truth told I actually think it might be the best film of the five listed here. Liev Schreiber is pretty decent in it anyway, and that opening war sequence is a neat idea. So why is a film with some decent elements heading this list? Simply put, it takes a badass character and story and turns it into a ridiculous farce. Wolverine never comes off as cool or badass here, though the film certainly tries. Between Wolverine walking away from an exploding helicopter in slow-motion, driving a motorcycle out of a barn as it explodes, and running through a prison hall cutting open gates with his claws while screaming, this is a film that really wants to show-off how awesome it is. But the moments are so overdone they come off as really desperate, like watching a twelve year old say, “fuck”. Then there is shit that’s just dumb, like the boxing match between Wolverine and the Blob (which shows the tips of Wolverine’s claws coming out of a boxing glove), the wacky comedy scene with Wolverine in the bathroom, random mutants doing Matrix-esque flips and acrobatics, Professor X just showing up at the end inexplicably, and the entire performance of Will.I.Am. Oh, and it’s not just Wolverine that gets fucked. The portrayal of fan-favourite Deadpool is a total disgrace.

On the plus side, the story does have a happy ending. X-Men rebounded big with First Class and Deadpool was also done justice earlier this year. X-Men Origins: Wolverine didn’t kill the franchise or anything and there’s nothing to really be mad at, but the film remains remarkably dumb and the lamest superhero film I can think of (other than Batman and Robin of course).

  1. le0pard13 says:

    How true. Fine list, but I’d have swapped X-Men: The Last Stand for Origins: Wolverine on mine. Just for screwing up not only the ‘Dark Phoenix’ Saga Singer had going, but continuing ‘the third one in a series always sucks’ tradition. ;-)

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