When it comes to superhero movies, things don't look like they are slowing down. More and more movies hit theaters and the mythical decline of the comic book adaptation is nowhere in sight. Black Panther not only shattered records but was one of the top critically praised comic book movies of all-time. Avengers: Infinity War raced to a billion dollars in record speed. Even Deadpool 2, an R-rated Fox Marvel film, brought in a lot of money and critical acclaim. It seems like superhero movies rarely fail to at least entertain fans. However, like every genre, there are films that fall short, disappoint critics and fans, and end up shining a bad light on the genre.
With comic book movies, the light shines even brighter due to the money spent making the films. While the studio spends a billion dollars to make Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, they make it back by the truckload. However, when the studio spends the same money on Green Lantern, things don't look as good and people start claiming the sky is falling. Both comic book companies are guilty of stinkers and here are the 10 worst Marvel movies and the 10 worst DC movies of all time.
20 GREEN LANTERN
Everyone knows that the DC Comics Green Lantern movie was a flop, including its star Ryan Reynolds. In his latest movie Deadpool 2, Reynolds even poked fun at the film and the fact that he was the star of it. It was a huge disappointment for DC and Warner Bros. as well since that was the movie the studios were planning to use to kickstart the DC Extended Universe. Instead, Warner Bros. just brushed it under the rug and started over two years later with Man of Steel, which had its detractors but did well enough to finally move forward with the franchise.
The movie had promise, as it didn't just introduce the Green Lantern, but the entire Green Lantern Corps, including a pre-villain Sinestro, and had an interesting concept for a villain in Parallax. However, with that said, the execution of the movie doomed it. Critics blasted the special effects, especially the digitalized costume for Hal Jordan, the uneven script and the fumbling of the villain. The movie was a flop both commercially, making only $219 million worldwide on a $200 million budget, and critically, scoring a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes. Five years later, Reynolds finally found a comic book franchise that fans and critics both loved.
19 THOR: THE DARK WORLD
When looking at the movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, almost all the films were successful and that is why every release earns a huge box office take now. However, early on there were a few movies that fell short of the excellence that the studio started when they released Iron Man. While The Incredible Hulk is called the worst MCU film by some critics, the movie with the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe is Thor: The Dark World. Of course, a bad score for an MCU movie is still sitting at 66%, and that is in large part to the extremely charismatic Chris Hemsworth.
There are a lot of things that kept Thor: The Dark World from being a good movie. Marvel fired Patty Jenkins early on, only to watch her go make Wonder Woman, the best DCEU movie to date. Marvel brought in Alan Taylor, who took over and has said he will never work for Marvel again after that experience. Kenneth Branagh had a nice Shakespearian tale with the first Thor but the second movie had a confused tone and a very lackluster villain in Malekith. It also had a disappointing love story with Jane Foster that made the entire movie forgettable, possibly the worst complaint someone could have for a Marvel movie.
18 SUICIDE SQUAD
When DC Comics released Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the biggest complaint was that the movies were too dark and grim. This complaint was mostly due to the fact that a number of fans did not want a movie with Superman to be dark and that caused a backlash and lackluster critical scores. Possibly in response to those complaints, DC and Warner Bros. chose to make the Suicide Squad movie lighter in tone and implemented some much-needed humor into the film. Sadly, the same fans complaining about the darkness of the originals were not impressed and the fans who loved the darkness were disappointed.
The Rotten Tomatoes score for this movie is a low 27%, although it is considered fresh for audiences with a 60% rating.
It was also a success at the box office, making $746 million worldwide, which is impressive since that was even more than Man of Steel. The movie had some fun performances, specifically in the form of Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, but at the end of the day, it seemed lacking -- a man on a mission movie with little else under the hood. It wasn't until Wonder Woman came out a year later that the DCEU finally found critical and audience acclaim.
17 GHOST RIDER
In 2007, Nicolas Cage joined the Marvel movie world by taking on the role of Johnny Blaze -- The Ghost Rider. This was director Mark Steven Johnson's second comic book movie following Daredevil, which did not make this list because Johnson's director's cut is quite good. However, thanks to Cage overacting everytime he is on the screen, nothing could save Ghost Rider from the list of the worst Marvel movies ever made. However, it wasn't just Cage that ruined this movie, as the special effects were lacking and Wes Bentley's Blackheart was a very disappointing villain.
Crazily enough, the film got a sequel in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. The franchise changed directors, bringing in the team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. The thought of the directors of Crank taking on Ghost Rider was intriguing, but the movie ended up with even worse critical reviews and it was a box office flop, making just $51 million domestically. The thing to note is that the bad reviews and poor box office showing masks the fact that the second Ghost Rider movie was actually more fun than the original, a crazed flop rather than a critical bore. Either way, these two movies ended the Ghost Rider story until it popped up later on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
16 BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE
The DC Universe has really taken off when it comes to animated features. However, much like the theatrical movies, the animated movies are not for small children and Batman: The Killing Joke takes that idea to the extreme. R-rated, much like the recent animated Suicide Squad movies, this film had a lot of fans very excited. It adapted one of the most famous Batman graphic novels and had both Kevin Conroy (Batman) and Mark Hamill (Joker) return to the roles that they portrayed in Batman: The Animated Series.
Sadly, the graphic novel also remains controversial due to Joker paralyzing Batgirl, taking out one of DC Comics strongest female heroes. The movie took it one step further and turned the relationship between Batman and Batgirl into a romantic one before the shooting -- changing their entire dynamic just to give Batman more of a reason for vengeance. The movie disappointed both critics and fans, with both certifying it as rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. The producers thought it would be a hit and gave it a theatrical release, only to watch it make just under $4 million at the box office. On a positive note, fans still loved Conroy and Hamill when it comes to their performance.
15 FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER
The Fantastic Four has not enjoyed a very successful page-to-screen history. The first time that anyone tried to bring them to theaters was in the '90s with Roger Corman. His movie was scrapped and never officially released. A decade later, Fox brought its first big-screen adaptation to theaters in a movie that was fun but left a lot to be desired, remaining a critical disappointment.
However, the first movie pales in comparison to the anger that critics and fans showed the sequel -- Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Fox brought one of Marvel's most beloved and iconic characters to the big screen for the first time with the Silver Surfer, and while that animated and CGI was spectacular, it was let down by its script and a horrible misstep in the design of Galactus. The movie tried to adapt the comic book story of Galactus coming to Earth to devour the planet to survive, but then chose to use the strange hivemind Galactus from the Ultimate Comics -- something that failed to come across properly when shown on the big screen. The film then threw Doctor Doom back into the story, despite his character being one of the more disappointing from the first film. This marked the end of the franchise for eight years.
Supergirl was one of the most surprising and entertaining DC Comics television shows when it debuted on CBS and was so beloved that it easily moved over to The CW and has remained a strong series for the network. However, things were very different in the '80s. Superman was a huge hit when it hit theaters in 1978 and the sequel was even better, introducing the world to the evil General Zod. The producers (Alexander Salkind and his son Ilya) tried to push the envelope for the Superman family while alienating everyone from the original director (Richard Donner) to Superman himself, Christopher Reeve.
After Superman III disappointed fans by making the movie more about comedian Richard Pryor than the Man of Steel, they figured that they would make a female Superman movie using the DC Comics character Supergirl. What resulted was a mess of a movie that cast a wide-eyed Helen Slater as Supergirl and nabbed Razzie nominations for legendary actors Peter O'Toole and Faye Dunaway, something that seems almost impossible to fathom. Supergirl has a rock-bottom 10-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Slater was able to get some recognition years later when she picked up a roll on Smallville as Superman's mom, Lara-El.
The path of The Hulk to the big-screen has been an interesting one. A lot of fans of a certain age have fond memories of Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby as Hulk and David Banner on the classic TV show. That series even spawned some made-for-TV movies that included characters like Thor and Daredevil. By the time 2003 rolled around, comic book movies were coming into style thanks to Sony's Spider-Man and Fox's The X-Men, so Universal decided to get into the act by bringing Hulk to the big screen. However, they made a very strange choice in hiring arthouse director Ang Lee to direct the movie.
When it comes to talent, few match the skills of Ang Lee, but making a giant superhero Hollywood blockbuster is not what he is best at. Lee made some interesting choices, including making many of the transitions and shot selections look like comic book panels -- and in that aspect, the movie was hugely interesting to watch. However, thanks to giant Hulk dogs, cartoony special effects (especially Hulk himself), and a final fight scene that was incomprehensible, Hulk remains a solid failure. Universal tried again a few years later with the second movie in the current MCU, and only fared slightly better.
12 JONAH HEX
Josh Brolin has been trying his entire career to land a successful comic book role. He has starred as a young Agent K in Men in Black 3, as Joe Doucett in the Spike Lee remake of Old Boy and Dwight in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. It wasn't until he landed the role of Thanos in the MCU and then knocked it out of the park with his portrayal of Cable in Deadpool 2 that he finally found not one, but two roles that he perfected.
Before Thanos and Cable, Josh Brolin portrayed Jonah Hex in the 2010 flop.
For those unfamiliar with the hero, Jonah Hex is a DC Comics character that lived in America around the time of the American Civil War. He was a bounty hunter and also was mixed up in a lot of supernatural experiences involving the occult. The movie adds those elements and even brings in Megan Fox to play the role of Lilah Black, who is straight from the comics. However, the problem with the movie is that it almost seems rushed and has little cohesion carrying from one scene to the next. The movie was a box office failure, making less than $11 million worldwide.
A lot of people consider Daredevil one of the worst superhero movies of all-time -- Marvel or DC. However, there is a director's cut of Daredevil that is very good and that movie has built a number of fans over the years when it comes to defending the film when seen as director Mark Steven Johnson intended it. However, one thing that still doesn't ring true is the relationship between Daredevil and Elektra, something that was needed for her tragic end to mean something when it comes to the motivations of the hero of that original movie.
With that said, Fox liked what they saw from Jennifer Garner and her portrayal of Elektra. So, instead of working on a Daredevil sequel, they made an Elektra standalone movie. This confused casual fans who watched her pass away in Daredevil. While the resurrection was pulled from the comics, it still didn't feel right. At the end of the day, despite Garner doing everything she could to be a butt-kicking superheroine, Elektra was a critical and commercial failure, with a 10% Rotten Tomatoes rating and only $56.6 million worldwide at the box office. Luckily for Daredevil and Elektra, Netflix brought them both back and finally did it right.
10 BATMAN v SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
One of the most polarizing movies of all-time in the superhero genre is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. A lot of people hate the movie and there are just as many who love it and defend everything about the DC Extended Universe. However, while there was also criticism of Man of Steel and Justice League, neither of those movies reached the level of fan complaints and critical destruction that Batman v Superman received. Whether it is really a bad movie or not depends on who a person happens to be talking to.
The one thing that most people can agree on when it comes to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is that the movie is way too long and Zack Snyder tried to pile too much into the narrative. Superman was set up fine in Man of Steel and his story made sense -- an alien in a world that fears him. However, this movie just dropped in Batman and he is nothing like fans remember from Christopher Nolan's trilogy. A lot had happened and fans just had to piece it together. While Wonder Woman was a treat, she was just seemingly added as fan service. Polarizing, critics blasted it with a 27% rotten rating but fans held it up slightly with a 63% fresh rating.
9 X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
Here is some crazy trivia. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was supposed to be the first in a line of standalone origins films for different characters. Magneto was even supposed to get his own origins movie, but those died quickly when Wolverine's outing ended up as a critical failure. The problem is that the movie was only half-bad. The first half of the movie -- where Wolverine was part of a strike team with other mutants (including Sabretooth) was great fun, and even when he left and someone starting taking out members of the team, it was still solid entertainment.
However, it went completely off the rails in the second half of the film. The biggest sin of all -- and the move that really ruined the movie for most fans -- was when Ryan Reynold's Wade Wilson became Weapon XI instead of Deadpool. They took the Merc with a Mouth, sewed his mouth shut and had him shoot Cyclops' beams from his eyes. Liev Schreiber was great as Sabretooth and Hugh Jackman is always good as Wolverine, but this movie just fell flat and ended the X-Men franchise until Fox rebooted it with a younger team set in the '60s two years later.
While people like to poke fun at Elektra, the movie that really destroyed any chance for a female superhero to get her own solo movie came the year before with Catwoman. Already introduced in Batman Returns with a fantastic performance by Michelle Pfeiffer, Warner Bros. decided to change everything about the character for the solo movie. Gone was the cat burglar with a love for Batman and replacing her was an artist who set out to stop corruption in the cosmetics industry. They then cast Halle Berry in the role, fresh off her Oscar win for Monster's Ball. On top of that plot change, the movie made very bizarre choices.
Instead of just being a cat burglar with possibly nine lives, Catwoman in this movie had the traits of a cat, including being affected by catnip.
There were bizarre interactions between the character (named Patience Phillips in this movie) and those around her, and it was just weird enough to end up making Berry one of the rare people who followed up an Oscar win with a Razzie win for Worst Actress. The movie ended up at a low 9% on Rotten Tomatoes and Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter used it as an excuse for years not to make a female-led superhero movie. Thankfully, Wonder Woman has proved this archaic idea to be incorrect.
7 HOWARD THE DUCK
One of the most crowd-pleasing moments in a Guardians of the Galaxy movie that was full of fun moments came in the end when Howard the Duck made a special appearance, enjoying a refreshing beverage while talking to The Collector. Those fans who loved the appearance either don't remember how bad Marvel's Howard the Duck movie was or they see it through rose-tinted glasses. For those who don't know, Howard the Duck was the first Marvel Comics movie to hit theaters, followed closely by The Punisher -- those two characters beating Spider-Man, The Avengers and The Hulk into theaters.
Howard the Duck was about an alien (who looks like a duck-- kind of like Rocket Raccoon is an alien that looks like a raccoon). The movie was produced by Lucasfilm, so the puppetry and look of Howard wasn't that bad, but the story was nothing like fans of the comic hoped -- the self-referential humor was gone and replaced with a typical Hollywood action story. Don't even start thinking about the romantic relationship between Howard the Duck and Lea Thompson's human (which added to her infatuation with her time-traveling son in Back to the Future made her very scandalous in the '80s).
Shaquille O'Neal is not the first professional athlete who wanted to become an actor, but he might be one of the worst. In 1997, O'Neal was one of the best basketball players in the NBA and decided to go ahead and try making it big in Hollywood while still on top of the basketball world. Sadly, his big break was a legitimate strikeout, as O'Neal created one of the worst DC Comics movies of all-time. This movie came after the Death of Superman storyline in the comics and was actually supposed to be one of a number of Superman films to tie into that famed comic book event storyline.
While Tim Burton was trying to get his Superman Lives movie off the ground, there was a movie also in the works called Steel -- a character introduced in the Death of Superman storyline in the comics. Steel is John Henry Irons, one of the men who showed up to replace Superman after his death. Unlike the others, Steel remained a superhero after Superman returned and is a very interesting comic book character. In the movie, it was Shaq in a terrible costume with some of the worst effects of any superhero movie. The cheesy script and bad acting by Shaq doomed the movie to make only $1.7 million at the box office.
5 SPIDER-MAN 3
There are moments of brilliance in Spider-Man 3. Sam Raimi was back for his third effort in the franchise following the fantastic Spider-Man 2, which was considered one of the best comic book movies of all-time when it was released. However, Sony demanded that Raimi use Venom in the movie -- something that he did not want to do. Raimi wanted to focus on Sandman, which was a great character with a ton of layers and possibly the best part of the movie.
As for Venom, the symbiote dragged the movie down hard and ended the Spider-Man franchise when it came to Raimi's work.
Tobey Maguire was back as Peter Parker and Raimi had him influenced by the symbiote. While critics panned his performance, fans of Raimi recognized the slapstick humor in Maguire acting like a jerk. However, Topher Grace and Venom spoiled everything that made the Sandman story great and not even a tragic death at the end could save the movie for the critics and fans of the franchise. In a rare occurrence for a comic book movie, fans hated it more than critics, giving it a 51% score on Rotten Tomatoes. When Spider-Man returned to theaters, it was completely rebooted with Andrew Garfield taking over the role.
4 SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE
Superman III was blasted by critics due to the comedy and overreliance of Richard Pryor in the film. Supergirl was a disaster that won Golden Razzies for some iconic and legendary actors. However, it was Superman IV that caused Christopher Reeve to completely walk away from the franchise and the role that made him a star. With that said, it was Reeve himself that wanted the storyline of Superman eliminating all nuclear weapons from Earth. The problem here is that if Superman can eliminate the chance of nuclear war, what can't he do and why isn't he solving world hunger and other issues as well. It made Superman too powerful.
Not only that, but the bad guy in the movie was ludicrous in Nuclear Man. The acting was bad, with villain Mark Pillow as a lowlight, and the special effects were terrible, especially when compared to the first three Superman movies. Between this and Supergirl, the Salkind family sold the rights to the character and there was not another Superman movie for 19 years. Even actor Jon Cryer, who was in the movie as Lex Luthor's nephew, said that Reeve told him when they were shooting the movie that it would be terrible.
3 BLADE: TRINITY
There was a lot tied up in the movie Blade: Trinity. This was the third movie in the Blade franchise and followed the fantastic Guillermo del Toro directed Blade II. The movie added two important characters in Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) and Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel), the daughter of Abraham Whistler. The entire setup of the film pitted Blade against the most legendary vampire of all-time in Dracula (Dominic Purcell). The end showed that New Line Cinema wanted to create a spin-off of Hannibal and Abigail's characters -- with them fighting other monsters due to the end of Blade: Trinity wiping out all vampires in the world.
That never happened, as the movie was a disappointment and a huge letdown after Blade II. David Goyer wrote all three Blade movies but when he stepped into the director's chair for Blade: Trinity, things went south. Patton Oswalt, who appeared in the movie, said it was a "troubled production" and that Wesley Snipes caused a lot of problems on set. Add in ridiculous set pieces like a vampire Pomeranian dog and over-the-top performances by WWE superstar Triple H and indie darling Parker Posey, and you have an idea of how bad this movie ended up being.
2 BATMAN & ROBIN
After Tim Burton created two extremely popular and successful Batman movies, Joel Schumacher took over and quickly destroyed the entire franchise. His first effort wasn't that bad in Batman Forever. While Tommy Lee Jones was a disappointment as Two-Face, Jim Carey was game as The Riddler and Val Kilmer did a great job in his role as Bruce Wayne. However, Batman & Robin had so much wrong with it that the franchise died instantly upon its release.
George Clooney hated his role as Batman and actually apologized to fans for "destroying" the movie franchise.
The script was critically blasted for cheesy one-liners (especially from Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze), bad puns (Batman carries his own credit card), bad characters (Alicia Silverstone's Batgirl was completely changed from the comics) and an overabundance of colors and wild set pieces in the world of the Dark Knight. In the making of on the Blu-ray edition of Batman & Robin, Chris O'Donnell (Robin) said that they were not making a movie, but they were instead making a big-budget toy commercial. The movie was hated by critics (10% on Rotten Tomatoes) and fans (16%) and Batman disappeared from cinemas until Christopher Nolan rebooted the entire franchise with Batman Begins.
1 THE FANTASTIC FOUR
As mentioned earlier, Fox has struggled to get a good version of The Fantastic Four up on the big screen. After Roger Corman failed in the '90s and Rise of the Silver Surfer disappointed fans the next decade, Fox tried again in 2015. With this effort, the studio decided to pass on making a story about the original First Family of Marvel and instead looked to the Ultimate Marvel Universe to pull the origin story from. This movie, as a result, was troubled from the start. The original screenwriter Jeremy Slater wrote a script that featured a number of things from early Fantastic Four comics, including Mole Man and Annihilus.
The movie ignored all that when Fox hired Josh Trank to come in and direct the film. Trank was a critical darling thanks to his found footage original superhero film Chronicle. However, when he came onboard, he changed a lot of what was in the original script and it ended up almost like a sequel to Chronicle than a Fantastic Four movie, keeping it more grounded and "realistic". The first half of the movie is fantastic but after they get their powers, things go downhill and the trip to Planet Zero is where critics picked the film apart. Its 9% Rotten Tomatoes score is one of the worst for any big-budget Marvel or DC Comics movie.
Are there any hidden gems on this list? Let us know in the comments!