For every great movie made based on DC properties, there have been about two or three that are terrible. Who can forget cinematic masterpieces like Halle Berry’s Catwoman or Josh Brolin’s Jonah Hex? Naturally, these terrible movies are filled to the brim with moments that will make you nearly fall out of your seat cringing– be it terrible acting or ridiculous action set pieces that make you roll your eyes out of your head.
To be fair, DC isn’t the only one guilty of this. Just about everything pre-2000 to come out of Marvel was awful, and there still hasn’t been a decent movie from any Image or Top Cow properties. Alas, DC seems to have a larger library of terrible adaptations than any other comic publisher thus far.
Even the best movies in DC’s repitoire are not exempt from having some really cringeworthy moments. In particular, the DCEU is filled with them; say what you will about movies like Man of Steel or Batman v. Superman or Suicide Squad, but you can’t deny that they feature cringeworthy scenes galore. Hold onto your hats folks, because we’re going to dive in and take a look at some of the most painful superhero moments in cinema history!
Here are 15 Most Cringeworthy Moments In DC Movies.
15. “I’ll Get Drive Thru” (Batman Forever)
Though they didn’t really follow the comics very well, Tim Burton’s first two Batman movies are still considered superhero classics. After negotiations with the director fell through on the third part of the story, Burton was kicked off Batman Forever and replaced with Joel Schumacher. Not wanting to continue on without his director, Michael Keaton walked away and was replaced by Val Kilmer. Though Forever was passable as a whole, it was starkly different in tone from the previous Batman movies.
This is made quite clear right off the bat. In the opening scene, the music swells as we see the Dark Knight get suited up to take on the villainous Two-Face. The Batmobile rises to meet our hero, and the camera pans over to Alfred.
“Can I persuade you to take a sandwich with you, sir?” The butler asks. Batman sternly looks at him and says, “I’ll get drive thru.”
Okay, is this the same Batman who killed the Joker in cold blood and set fire to the Penguin’s henchmen? This exchange was fan’s first clue that Forever was sending the Caped Crusader down a dark path.
14. The “Trailers” (Batman V Superman)
Right before Batman goes off for his final battle against Kal-El in Batman v Superman, he is finally able to decrypt the files Diana Prince had stolen earlier from Lex Luthor’s party. He sends Wonder Woman an e-mail telling her that he knows who she really is, and attaches three videos related to other meta-humans in the world.
First off, why an e-mail? That’s like, the least Batman-y thing you could do. Secondly, this scene just ruins the entire flow of the movie. Why did WB feel the need to include a 3-minute tease for Justice League right before their movie’s climax? Last but not least, the clips themselves (sans the Flash) are pretty cringey. You have Aquaman awkwardly staring at Lex’s drone for a solid 15 seconds followed by a heavy dialogue exposition of Cyborg’s origin. Not everything needs to be a tease, DC!
14. The Death of Talia Al Ghul (The Dark Knight Rises)
After the tragic death of Heath Ledger, Christopher Nolan had to go back to the drawing board with his story for The Dark Knight Rises. What we got was a newly-revived League of Shadows led by Tom Hardy’s Bane. Near the end of the movie we discover that it was Talia Al Ghul, not Bane, who masterminded Gotham’s downfall.
Bane is killed off unceremoniously, and Batman chases down Talia (with her nuclear bomb) in the Batwing. The chase is brief, ending with the villain’s truck falling through a hole in a bridge, completely destroying her vehicle. As Batman, Gordon, and Catwoman surround her, Talia gives us a death scene ripped straight from a daytime soap opera. She says one final evil monologue before she breathes heavily a couple times and closes her eyes.
We know Marion Cotillard is a great actress, so why did we get such a terrible performance out of her for this one scene?
12. Superman vs. Nuclear Man on the Moon (Superman IV: The Quest for Peace)
The first Superman movie is the granddaddy of all modern films in the genre, showing the world that Superheroes could be a profitable market for children and adults alike. Then came Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, an overly-preachy and ridiculous film that killed the franchise for almost twenty years.
Perhaps the worst part of Superman IV was the Nuclear Man, a villain created by Lex Luthor when he tricks Superman into throwing all the world’s nuclear weapons into the sun. Despite being played by Mark Pillow, the character was voiced by Gene Hackman.
The film reaches a climax as Nuclear Man and Superman duke it out on the moon. Thanks to the moon’s gravity, the entirety of the fight takes place in slow motion, with the brawlers tossing each other across the landscape as if they were underwater. It doesn’t help that the stunt wires and black curtains used to achieve the background are quite obvious.
11. The Sex Scene (Watchmen)
Watchmen was supposed to be a graphic novel that was unadaptable. This proved to be true with Zach Snyder’s 2009 version of the beloved story. Though it was a good movie on its own, it left much to be desired from fans of Alan Moore’s work.
Nowhere is this more apparent than during the infamous sex scene between Silk Spectre and Nite Owl. Dan Dreiberg, now middle aged, realizes that he can only… uh, “perform” after the adrenaline rush he gets from beating up criminals. After their first time doing this in eight years (the crimefighting!), they decide to celebrate with a little hanky panky.
The scene is everything you don’t want a romance scene to be: long, uncomfortable, and filmed like an action scene. The use of Leonard Cohen’s cover of “Hallelujah” pushes the scene to new levels of cringey-ness.
10. “Save Martha!” (Batman V Superman)
Yeah, even the most hardcore of BvS defenders don’t have an answer for this one. After waiting for almost two hours, the two titular characters finally come to blows, with Batman depowering Superman with Kryptonite and beating on him with his famous armor.
What completely ruins the scene is how it ends. Batman is convinced that Superman is a threat to all humanity and must be destroyed. Superman could rip Batman in half without the slightest effort if he really wanted to, and the Dark Knight is going to run out of Kryptonite eventually. The writers were kind of backed into a corner with this scenario, but come on… “Martha”?!
The fight ends when Superman reveals that Batman’s letting Lex kill Martha (hey, that’s the name of Bruce’s mom, too!). Batman then comically stumbles back, confused, and starts repeating “Why did you say that name?!” over and over.
9. “I Think He’s Kinda Hot.” (Man of Steel)
Taking a cue from Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, Man of Steel tried to be much more “realistic” than previous incarnations of the character. The plot imagined how those of us in the real world would deal with a superpowered alien who claimed to be on our side.
Near the end of the movie, Superman is seen bringing down a Government drone that was trying to spy on him. He tells the general in charge that he wants to help on his terms before flying off. Afterwards, Carol Ferris (Green Lantern’s main squeeze) snickers and comments on how she thinks the Man of Steel is “kind of” hot. It’s a line of dialogue that doesn’t even belong in the cheesiest of the cheesy movies out there.
8. Straight Outta James Bond (Batman v. Superman)
Tonal issues plagued Batman v Superman. Besides the constant shift between the badassery of the Dark Knight and the revelation of Wonder Woman and the goofiness of characters like Lex Luthor, even the random henchmen were guilty of comical over-acting.
During the (quite awesome, we must add) chase scene between the Batmobile and some of Luthor’s thugs, a car falls behind the Dark Knight so that he can get a clearer shot at the hero. Instead, allows the henchman to follow him and pulls out of the way right as he’s headed towards a tanker truck. The bad guy sees the truck and comically throws up his hands over his face.
It’s a scene that feels ripped right out of a ’70s James Bond movie, and has no place in the modern-day superhero genre.
7. The Bat Nipple and Butt Shots (Batman Forever/Batman & Robin)
Batman’s reputation didn’t get any lower than Batman & Robin‘s godawful Batnipples. Director Joel Schumacher claims that he wanted the heroes to have costumes in a similar style to Greek warriors (whose armor also had nipples), but the fans didn’t buy it. Honestly, it’s a minor gripe; many people don’t even realize that Val Kilmer’s costume had them in Batman Forever and instead just associate the Batnipples with the director’s second outing. Had they not been shoved in our faces, we probably wouldn’t have even cared.
While preparing for their first outing as a team in Forever, Batman and Robin get a set of new duds. We are then treated to shots of Batman putting on his chest piece, his gauntlets, and then his pants? It’s not a short scene, either; the camera lingers on the Caped Crusader’s derriere for a few seconds! Batman & Robin recreated this exact same shot complete with added Batnipples not once, but twice.
6. The Cellophane S (Superman II)
Superman II was a passable entry in the franchise that was a step down from its predecessor.
There is one scene in particular in Superman II that leaves us scratching our heads to this day. During the big final fight between Zod and Superman in the Fortress of Solitude, Non takes aim at Kal-El. However, before he can get to our hero, Superman incapacitates him with a cellophane “S” shield?
The concept is ridiculous enough as it is, but there’s more: why has Superman never used this power before? Is this one of his Yellow Sun abilities? Also, the “S” doesn’t even do anything. iIt dissolves in less than two seconds, only acting as a minor inconvenience to Non. We’ve got nothing on this one…
5. “Hot Wheels” (Green Lantern)
Oh, Green Lantern. The film was a total flop both critically and financially, and the publisher’s plans for a DCEU would be on hold for a few years. A large part of what made the movie such a failure was the fact that they didn’t seem to know how to utilize the Lanterns’ powers very well. Well, that and the terrible CGI!
Both are shown off in what has been called the “Hot Wheels” scene. While Hal Jordan is attending a ball with Carol Ferris, Hector Hammond (the movie’s villain) uses his psychic powers to cause a disruption in the rear blades of an overhead helicopter. The aircraft comes careening to the ground (somehow missing every single civilian in its way) and slides towards Ferris herself. Jordan is there with his ring in the nick of time to build a hot rod car out of pure energy around the helicopter and then send it off on a hot wheels-like track.
4. Handsome Hunka Hunka! (Suicide Squad)
There’s just about no modern movie character more divisive than Jared Leto’s Joker in Suicide Squad. Fans were teased that the Clown Prince of Crime was going to play a big role in the movie, only to be disappointed when he was given less than twenty minutes of screen time.
Case in point, the character’s introduction. Now, technically this was the intro to Harley Quinn, but nine times out of ten the character is followed closely by her puddin’. For this scene, this gangster-esque version of the Joker is speaking to one of his many cronies (played by hip-hop artist Common). He calls Quinn over, flails his arms out wildly, and tells her than she is going to be his gift to this “Handsome HUNKA HUNKA!”
Where do we even start? The line itself would be cringeworthy no matter who said it! But then there’s the fact that Leto seems to be doing his best Ace Ventura impersonation, making it seem ten times more awkward and corny than it already is.
3. The Bat Credit Card (Batman & Robin)
We don’t need to tell you how bad Batman & Robin was. The fact that it killed the franchise for an entire decade is enough to tell you that. But there’s just something about these big, flashy toy commercials that’s a spectacle to behold. It’s like a beautifully cringey yet hilarious trainwreck.
We’re not even going to comment on the subtext of the scene in question, in which Batman and Robin are present at an auction in which men can bid on women to take out on a date. Poison Ivy shows up and seduces the Dynamic Duo into starting a bidding war for her affection. The two bicker back and forth, trying to outbid each other, until Batman finally whips out his Bat Credit Card and retorts, “Never leave the cave without it.”
2. The Jolly Rancher (Batman v. Superman)
Just hearing the words “It’s cherry!” sends us into a PTSD fit of cringe. Batman v. Superman tried to reimagine Lex Luthor as a modern-day billionaire; instead of the cold, calculating business tycoon we’re used to seeing, this incarnation of the character was more akin to a Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs type.
Early on in the proceedings, Lex is trying to negotiate with a congressman so that he can get into a crashed Kryptonian ship and take Zod’s body. The scene is split between the negotiation itself and the aftermath, in which Luthor is seen experimenting on General Zod. The whole time he’s talking to the guy he’s fiddling around with a red Jolly Rancher. After he’s talked his way into getting what he wants, he opens the candy and tries to stick it in the congressman’s mouth, tempting him with the words “it’s cherry.”
1. The Basketball Scene (Catwoman)
The title of “Worst DC Movie Ever” has to go to Catwoman. The biggest issue for this one was that nothing of the Batman lore was present whatsoever. None of the Dark Knight’s rogues gallery (nor the Bat himself) were present, and Catwoman wasn’t even Selina Kyle!
You want to know how terrible it is? Just watch the basketball scene. Or save yourself some dignity and don’t. Either way, it’s the definition of cringe.
Patience Phillips (Catwoman, in case you didn’t know) runs into her love interest, Detective Lone, on an urban basketball court while some children play in the background. They challenge each other to a game, and what follows is… something. The scene features weird angles, hundreds of jump cuts, and shaky cam all while the two flirtingly bounce against each other and act like they’ve never played basketball before. It’s like the cringe Olympics.
Which DC movie scene made you cringe the most? Let us know in the comments!
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