There was a time, not so long ago, that comic book fans were desperate for cinematic versions of their favorite superheroes. These were the dark days of superhero movies, when all folks had to look forward to was George Clooney preening in a Batman suit. The first X-Men flick was still years away, and Marvel hadn’t begun taking over cineplexes.
Those days are long gone, however. Nowadays, a large percentage of blockbuster movies can be traced back to comic books. As a matter of fact, Marvel has films planned until 2028. That’s right. The far flung year of 2028. DC is also in the thick of creating a shared universe, and Valiant Comics is also prepping one as well.
In other words, there will be no shortage of comic book movies in the near, and far, future. While superhero flicks generally rule, when handled by the right talent, they can also be cynical, insane and downright depressing. Even the good films can sometimes contain questionable elements.
In the spirit of zany nonsense, and the impending release of Logan, we have collected the 15 Most WTF Moments In Superhero Movies. Hang on to your bat caps. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
15. Batman and Robin – Bat skates
Many critics were not kind to last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and some fans said it was the worst Batman movie ever. These people have, obviously, never seen 1997’s Batman and Robin. To call this the worst Batman movie ever is being kind. It is one of the worst movies ever. Joel Schumacher, never change!
Why is it so bad? Too many reasons to list here, but take this ridiculous scene as an example. During a battle with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campy Mr. Freeze, Batman and Robin suddenly pop ice skates out of the bottom of their suits, giving them the ability to skate around at ease. Just like that, the infamous bat skates were born.
Crowds didn’t take to Batman and Robin gliding around on ice skates, so the strange contraptions have not been dusted off for any subsequent media. Here is to hoping Ben Affleck can find some time to perform a few pirouettes during his tenure as the Caped Crusader.
14. X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Deadpool’s mouth
While Hugh Jackman is indisputably a fantastic Wolverine, his solo films, thus far, have lacked a certain respect and love for the character. X-Men Origins: Wolverine ignored much of the established canon for not only Logan, but for many of the side characters as well. One such side character? Fan favorite Deadpool.
While Deadpool has gone on to be redeemed in his own film, his portrayal in the first Wolvie flick, despite being played by Ryan Reynolds, is especially egregious. He was a boring bad guy and did not feature his trademark signature wit. Even worse? Towards the end of the film, Deadpool gets his mouth literally sewn shut, which is just baffling.
They closed the lips of the Merc with the Mouth. That’s like giving us Wolverine without his claws or Iron Man without the ego and smarm. This ending could have been cool, if they had shown us Deadpool annoying Stryker earlier in the film with quips and asides. We weren’t given that, however, so all that we were left with was a gross dude in a weird, unrecognizable suit.
13. Supergirl – Sentient construction vehicle
CW’s Supergirl series is a fun romp, with a likable cast, that has proven to be a pleasant and interesting take on the character. 1984’s Supergirl movie, however, is none of these things. It’s a dead-eyed cheese-fest that currently sits atop a majestic 7 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Perhaps the scene in which Kara Zor-El squares off against a construction vehicle could have something to do with the low score. That’s right. Supergirl fights a sentient construction vehicle. There is a plot contrivance that allows this to happen but, really, who cares at this point?
Did we mention that the ridiculous fight sequence takes place outside of a Popeye’s restaurant? Because the entire sequence takes place in front of a Popeye’s restaurant. The early days of product placement weren’t exactly subtle. Let’s just be thankful that Supergirl didn’t pull in for a fried chicken breast after the fight, and then exclaim how delicious it was.
12. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer – Reed Richards goes clubbing
It truly sucks that filmmakers have never really gotten a handle on why people love the Fantastic Four. There have been several attempts to get the characters and mythos down on celluloid and each one seems more lackluster than the last.
What people want to see? Reed Richards being a leader and using his brain to stop intergalactic threats. What we got? Reed Richards, at the start of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, dancing at a night club, in one of the most embarrassing scenes ever put to film. This should go without saying, but nobody goes into the theater hoping to see their favorite superhero cutting a rug. Well, maybe if it was Dazzler, or the Hypno-Hustler.
In any event, don’t worry. We are sure Fox will dust off Richards and friends for another outing before too long. We’ll find whole new ways to be embarrassed for them. Maybe there will be a scene where Ben Grimm appears on The Bachelor.
11. Superman III – Richard Pryor skis down a building
Everything about Superman 3 felt off, from the low-stakes plot to the casting of stand-up legend Richard Pryor as a comedic foil. It’s not that Pryor wasn’t up to the task. He could do just about anything. His character, the beleaguered computer hacker August Gorman, was undercooked, underwhelming and, most importantly, underwritten.
While just about any scene of Gorman’s tomfoolery could have been plucked for this list, the one where he skis down the side of a building just can’t be topped. That’s right. A computer hacker with no superpowers to speak of skis down the side of a building, then falls off, remaining completely unscathed. He even manages to out-hack a super computer after performing this death-defying series of stunts.
Yeah, this scene is stupid. However, it must be noted, the rest of Superman III doesn’t fare much better. The bad guy’s dastardly plan is controlling the world’s coffee crop(?!) and Superman spends a significant portion of its run time in a bar getting drunk. Ah, the 1980s.
10. Batman and Robin – Batman credit card
Remember, earlier, when we mentioned that Batman and Robin was one of the worst movies ever? We weren’t kidding. Here is another scene to add to the funeral pyre. If you thought the bat skates were bad, they have nothing on the… bat credit card.
Yeah, you didn’t misread. Batman pays for stuff using a credit card with a Batman logo. One has to wonder what kind of interest rate he secured and what would happen if someone found his information and tried to steal his identity. Could the information be traceable back to Wayne Enterprises or does Batman have a separate account? Did Bruce Wayne have to fill out an application as the Dark Knight?
Maybe Wayne just uses it as a second card to store all of his more embarrassing purchases, like black eyeliner and work-out machines he sees on informercials at 4 AM. Everyone needs a ThighMaster, okay?
9. Superman II – Throwing the S!
This scene, from the well-liked Superman II, proves that even good superhero movies can have ridiculous and plot-breaking segments. Superman, in his battle to best General Zod, simply rips off the ‘S’ from his costume and throws it at the Kryptonian criminal. The emblem envelops Zod in a giant plastic bag, saving the day. Yeah. It is just as stupid as it sounds.
This segment is such a joke, as a matter of fact, that it has inspired its own cinematic phrase: “Throwing the S!” It is used similarly to “jumping the shark,” referring to a plot point so outlandish that it manages to hurt the story. That about sums it up.
Please note, this scene would not have appeared in the film that original director Richard Donner would have released. This was added later by Richard Lester, a man who quite obviously never read a Superman comic book in his life.
8. Spider-Man 3 – That dance scene
Dancing and superheroes go together like rotten peanut butter and rotten jelly. Nobody wants to see it, and yet there are multiple examples of it on this list. This latest instance, as seen in Sam Raimi’s critically reviled Spider-Man 3, was a true “jump the shark” moment for our favorite neighborhood webslinger.
Peter Parker goes on a dancing spree around New York City. It’s been called an “emo dance” and it has also been called a “jazz dance.” No matter the designation, it is absolutely an embarrassing piece of superhero history.
Why does Peter Parker dress in black and strut around like a man possessed? Well, it may actually be because he was literally a man possessed. The alien symbiote, later known as Venom, had begun making its way through his body.
7. Man of Steel – Pa Kent offers horrible advice
Sure, the final action sequence, in which Superman’s battle with General Zod accidentally destroys most of Metropolis, ate up most of the press when Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was released in 2013. However, there is another ridiculous scene, early on in the film. It’s the advice that Pa Kent gives a young Clark after he saves a bus of school children from death.
Does Pa Kent congratulate his son for a job well done? Does he look to him as a beacon of hope in an uncertain world? In other words, does he sow the seeds for the birth of Superman? Nope. Pa Kent, as played by Kevin Costner, chastises Clark for doing anything at all. Essentially, he tells him that he shouldn’t have used his powers even if a bunch of kids were going to die.
This sage advice goes against everything we know about Superman, but this is Zack Snyder’s world and we just live in it. The director really wanted to drill home the point that Superman is an alien and aliens would never to be accepted by the human race. It’s a good thing Pa Kent never became a drug counselor.
6. Batman Returns – DJ Bruce Wayne
It is widely assumed that Tim Burton’s Batman films are campy perfection, and therefore without flaw. We disagree with that assessment. Exhibit A? The scene from Batman Returns in which Bruce Wayne suddenly becomes a DJ.
Haven’t seen the 1992 blockbuster in the past 25-years? The scene involves Wayne trying to interrupt The Penguin as he gives a speech to the city. He hacks in to the signal and, uh, well, pops a CD into his player, which features a Batman logo, and heads right into a DJ set, scratching the compact disc as if it was a vinyl record.
You read that right. Keaton’s Bruce Wayne defies the laws of audio technology and scratches a CD like it was an actual record.
If only Ben Affleck’s Batman could somehow do that with a cloud-based streaming MP3. Maybe it has already been filmed and the scene was inexplicably cut from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Start scouring the Internet for it now.
5. Catwoman – Basketball scene
When you think of classic Batman antagonists, your mind inevitably wanders to whether or not they can play basketball and whether or not they are beloved by local school children, right?
Apparently, the people behind 2004’s Catwoman thought it was a good idea to throw in a cheesy scene in which Halle Berry’s titular character slams some dunks and becomes a darling of the schoolyard. Please note: this is not a flashback, where a young Patience Phillips shoots some hoops with her friends in elementary school. This is an actual scene in the actual movie in which an actual grown-up Catwoman decides to own the basketball court, as dozens of children cheer her on.
Yowza. Describing this scene doesn’t even do it justice. Just watch and soak it in. Soak in Berry’s moves, which seem to be directly stolen from the Harlem Globetrotters. Soak in the music, the most generic pop-funk tune of all time. Soak in the cheesy flirting and fake-seeming adoration from the tween crowd. Soak it all in and, please, refrain from watching the rest of the movie.
4. Superman IV – Weird new power
There sure is a lot of Superman on this list. Hey, we didn’t want to include so much Supes, but what were we going to do? Ignore the burning trash heap that was Superman IV? Really, the entire movie is a collection of ridiculous scenes, from the bizarre villain, Nuclear Man, to Clark Kent’s penchant for aerobics– and that one part where they show a human female breathing in space.
Yeah. The whole thing is a veritable menagerie of WTF. One scene, however, burns brightest. Superman IV gives our favorite guardian of Metropolis a brand new super power. In addition to being faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive, Superman, in this film, is able to rebuild buildings simply by staring at them. Heat vision is one thing, but brick-laying vision? That’s another thing entirely.
3. Daredevil – Playground fight
What’s with these bad superhero movies and their penchant for scenes involving schoolyard tomfoolery as children look on and cheer? First we had Catwoman and her love for playground basketball and now we have Daredevil and his infamous playground flirt/fight with Elektra. Barf city, here we come.
If you are a fan of the Netflix series and never had a chance to gaze upon Ben Affleck’s 2003 dumpster fire, consider yourself lucky. The rest of us are not so lucky, as we have to live the rest of our days remembering Daredevil and Elektra cavorting around a playground, fighting and flirting with reckless abandon.
It truly is worse than it sounds, from Affleck’s sly smile and protestations of “stop hitting me” to Jennifer Garner’s monotonous fighting style. We have no idea how a second Garner-led Elektra spinoff movie was ever green-lit. Go ahead. Watch both of these movies. We dare you.
2. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – Flaming urine
Nicolas Cage may have been accused of many things during his decades-spanning career, but subtlety is not one of them. Case in point? This absolutely insane urination segment in this scene from Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. You are going to want to check this one out on YouTube for yourself.
That’s right: Cage, playing iconic rider Johnny Blaze, quite literally pees fire when he becomes the titular super-demon. And he’s proud of it. When question about what happens if he has to urinate while on fire, Blaze’s cheerily replies, “Oh, it’s awesome!”
Even though Cage’s portrayal of the previously named Phantom Rider is over the top and utterly ridiculous, it definitely embraced the inherent fun and campiness of the source material, though many fans have always complained that the films could have been a lot darker. In any event, at least these movies had a bigger budget than your average Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode.
1. Howard the Duck – Duck boobs
That leads us here, the most ridiculous and WTF moment in superhero movie history. Some of you knew this was coming. Some of you thought that you would have already seen it on this list. That’s right. It is naked duck boobs.
The 1980s was not a golden decade for comic book movies, Tim Burton’s Batman withstanding. Still, even within the turd sandwich that made up the decade, Howard the Duck stands out. This movie has long been maligned by fans and critics alike, and for good reason. It stinks, though it is not without its campy merits. Case in point? During one scene in the film, ticket buyers were treated to fully animatronic duck boobs, when a female duck from Duckworld (actual name of his planet) takes a bath and sings a few bars.
Actual duck boobs! Therapists the world over have been dealing with the fallout from this scene since the film’s release in 1986. If that was the first time you ever saw naked breasts on a cinema screen, we are truly very sorry.
In other news, thanks to the post credits sequence during Guardians of the Galaxy, Howard the Duck may yet grace cineplexes once again. We can only hope.
Which superhero movie scene weirded you out the most? Let us know in the comments!