Top 15 Awfully Bad Comic Book Movies


It should be known that I hardly almost ever hate a movie based on a comic book character, that’s how much of a nerd I am. I am usually willing to forgive any flaws in continuity or character changes even though I do secretly wince when such comic book movies make such horrid mistakes.

Movie bannerHowever there are times when mistakes are so obvious that they are unforgivable. So without further ado, here are my choices for 15 of the worst comic book movies I have ever come across.

#15. The Punisher (starring Dolph Lundgren)

I went to see this in the theatre when it first came out and I couldn’t understand why they picked Dolph to be the lead character. The Punisher, alias Frank Castle was a man who had been beaten by life, and it showed on his face. Dolph Lundgren, no matter how you colored his hair, no matter how much dirt you threw in his face, still looked like a Danish pretty boy. And would it have killed somebody to put a skull on a t-shirt  for him? I realize that they wanted the movie to be realistic but a t-shirt wouldn’t have made the movie any less credible than it already was. Even Thomas Jane, a man who looks only slightly more like the Punisher than Dolph does have a t-shirt with a skull on it.

#14. The Green Hornet

When I first heard that The Green Hornet was getting a comic book movie, I was stoked since I remembered reading the old Dell comics when I was just a wee one. When I heard that it would be in 3D I was stoked. When I heard that Seth Rogen would play the title character I was a little worried but the trailers looked good so I let it go.

Then I watched the movie and I was first horrified, then plain angry. The bad jokes, the bad screenplay and Seth Rogen, while usually a great comedy actor simply ruined the movie. The one bright spot in this crapfest was Jay Chou, a really talented Chinese singer who turned out to be a really talented fake martial artist. Maybe the movie should have taken a cue from the old Television series and named it “The Kato Show” like they did in Hong Kong in the sixties.

#13. Wanted

The truth about this comic book movie is that I would have liked it if I hadn’t read the comic book first. The comic book was based on a world in which superheroes used to populate but were all killed off by a massive team-up of all super villains, named The Fraternity. After that, the super villains changed the world into the one we are in. In the movie version, The Fraternity is given a more altruistic job. They are actually a group of assassins that get their assignments on who to kill by an… hum… ancient loom. Trust me, it makes a bit more sense if you watch the whole movie. Of course, being a comic book nerd the way I am, I of course would rather have seen a version of the comic book movie that would be closer to the original story.

#12. Kick Ass

Like “Wanted” above, this is a movie that I would have loved if I hadn’t actually read the comic book the movie is based on. It started off well enough. A fifteen year old boy decides to suit up and help people. The comic book is made to show what realistically could happen if this were to happen in the real world. About halfway through the movie this became evident that it wouldn’t happen the way it was supposed to. I will say one thing, the Hit Girl character? I could watch her fight scenes over and over.

#11. Spider-Man 3

When Spiderman hit theaters in 2001, most comic book geeks were psyched. Tobey Maguire was a seemingly perfect Peter Parker, Kirsten Dunst was half-decent for once as Mary Jane, and Aunt May was as perfectly cast as can be. The campiness was just right, Willem Dafoe was a creepy Green Goblin, and everyone was happy. The sequel was even better in my opinion, with an awesome Doc Ock in Alfred Molina, a villain who was genuinely evil yet sympathetic to the audience.

But holy banana split, what in the blue hell happened in Spiderman 3??? The sympathetic villain factor was forced down our throats with Sandman, forced to be a criminal scum to buy medicine for his daughter. Spiderman gets infected with the symbiote, which should be the most awesome thing on film ever, but instead just lead to him being a real penis head, dancing his way all over town while wearing black. Let’s not forget James Franco’s role as Harry Osborn, which involved him being a creepy douche smiling inappropriately whenever possible, but still saving the day in the end. I’m pretty sure this was the moment I realized Franco was a HORRIBLE actor (only to be proven wrong a few years later!).  Also, the guy that plays Harry’s butler HAS to be Sam Raimi’s wife’s dad or something—that may have been the WORST acting I’ve ever seen in a blockbuster film. And Topher Grace was Eddie Brock. I’m done even talking about him.

My favorite quote didn’t even come from the movie itself. It came from a guy in the bathroom after the movie was over. “I can’t believe I paid $10 to see them turn Spider-Man into a frickin’ chick flick.” I heard a man grumble from a closed stall.

#10. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I’m not gonna write too long about this movie. It’ll make me angry. After the initial trilogy, it was long discussed that prequel movies for Wolverine and Magneto were in the works. Both have massive potential, especially Wolverine’s Weapon X origins. However, X-Men Origins: Wolverine sucks it hard by fracking up our timelines with dozens of anachronisms, and needlessly putting in characters such as Gambit, wasting their potential in the process. Ever since the first movie came out, me and every other fan-boy wanted Gambit on screen, and that’s what they gave us? Go frack yourself.

Just about the only redeeming quality of this movie was Ryan Reynolds’s perfect casting as Wade Wilson/Deadpool, except they made sure to bring back his character at the end of the movie and crap on him entirely. Oh, and Wolverine gets shot in the face with an adamantium bullet….. Yeah. I’m done.

#9. Superman 4: The Quest for Peace

It’s a rare thing for a film to be so bad that it puts a series on hiatus for 19 years.  Neither a commercial nor critical success, Superman 4 played like a series that had run out of ideas.

Case in point, when you create a super villain like Nuclear Man, born of a strand of Superman’s hair attached to a nuclear missile and thrown into the sun, you’ve run out of ideas.  Time to put the series to bed. Period.

#8. Barb Wire

I am so ashamed that I saw this movie, but I totally saw it.  I was pubescent and had uncontrollable desires, and Pam Anderson had boobs.

The writing was unbelievable daft, but what bothered me the most about this film was Barb Wire herself.  Sure, Pam Anderson can’t act unless she’s running on a beach with one of those floaty things attached to her, but they made her character a complete mess.

She doesn’t even qualify as an anti-hero like The Comedian from Watchmen, because Comedian gives you a few guilty laughs and “OH NO HE DINTS,” but Barb is such a horrible person, that’s it’s just impossible to root for her.  She spends most of the movie trying to screw everyone over, so in the end, it seems like she turns into a “hero” because she ran out of other options.

Oh, and the penultimate fight happens on a fracking crane. A crane.

#7. Captain America

Just to clarify, I’m not referring to the Captain America film with Chris Evans. I am referring to the little known 1990 film with Matt Salinger (J.D. Salinger’s son, btw) as Captain America.

You know when you go see a movie that no one else has seen and you really wish more people could see this movie?  This is not one of those situations.

The costumes are laughable, the characters are boring, the story is stupid, but the absolute worst part of this movie is Captain America.

He is useless.  He gets his but handed to him in his first major fight as Captain America, gets frozen in ice for about 50 years, thaws out, and turns into an arrogant, rude, obnoxious dude.

#6. Green Lantern

This movie was so bad that I almost completely blocked it from my memory. If I had a ring that could make anything I dreamed to become a reality and I was fighting against an entity that is destroying the universe, I would think of some crazy and creative weapons for battle, not something boring like a machine gun. Think outside the box ‘, man!

Budget? About $200 million to make. More about $150/$200 million in advertising and marketing. Box Office? Only $219 million. That gives you an idea of ​​the damage, right?

I just could not understand what they wanted to accomplish with this crap fest. It gives the impression that they at some point got desperate, took everything they could put in the movie and mixed the whole thing in a pot! The movie is virtually indefensible.

The only thing that still deserves a bit of respect about this stuff is Sinestro’s character, played by Mark Strong. The rest is a pile of nonsensical situations that leaves you with a question stuck in your head as you leave the theater: “Where are the two hundred million dollars they say they spent on this crap?!”

#5. Catwoman

Don’t you feel sorry for Halle Berry?  She bitched and moaned through each X-Men movie that Storm wasn’t given a big enough part, signed on to play Catwoman cause this would be a real chance to stretch her physical act, and then Catwoman turned out to be one of the worst films ever made.

Some of the movies on this list really upset me and left me angry, but this isn’t one of them.  It sucks, but I think it sucks in a way that makes it pretty enjoyable.  It’s like watching The Happening or The Room, you know?  Sometimes it’s just really fun to see a train wreck.

#4. Superman Returns

Bryan Singer would be TOTALLY forgiven for abandoning the X-Men movies if he gave us an amazing Superman flick… but he didn’t. Now, I’m aware that Superman Returns was “technically” successful both financially and critically. That being said, allow me to crap on it.

Superman Returns isn’t a reboot—it’s intended to be a sequel to Superman II, pretending Superman III & IV don’t exist. Can’t blame them for wanting to ignore those awful flicks, but Superman Returns sucks in its own right. Now, I’m a big Superman fan, despite the fact that Batman is clearly the coolest comic book superhero ever. And the previews for this flick looked pretty legit, but what we received was pretty much a gigantic slap in the face accompanied by a kick to the gonads from Bryan Singer and whoever he let write this movie.

The main idea is that Superman has been absent for five years, having been searching for the remains of planet Krypton. Within the same week, Superman returns to Metropolis, and Clark Kent returns from a five-year absence as well… plausible, right? As if that wasn’t bad enough, this movie has the sheer balls to introduce Lois Lane’s kid, who we are lead to believe is clearly the son of Superman when he throws a piano onto a bad guy. I’m beside myself with rage even writing this. As if this wasn’t offensive enough, we had to deal with Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. He was funny… but he shouldn’t have been. Poor Brandon Routh… he actually made a good Superman, but this movie sucked so much that even the mention of it to any comic book fan will be responded with rage and insults!

#3. Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance

You know when you’re thrilled with the trailer of a movie and when you finally watch it you get disappointed? Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance achieved an incredible feat: To make the first “Ghost Rider” look good!!

The major problem in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is that it tries to be trash, pop and cool at the same time, and none of the three references work in the film. It’s all poorly led, and structured in such a strange way that it causes us to be ashamed of the movie, and the main reason for that shame is just the star of the movie: Nicolas Cage.

I saw this terrible movie in the worst possible format for it: 3D. Besides having paid dearly to see a cheap excuse of a 3D format on the big screen, I had to put up with this bastard of a movie on the screen. Poorly executed action scenes, horrible camera angles (I am sure they used the Michael Bay style of filming), an insignificant screenplay and full of holes (made by three hands: David Goyer, Seth Hoffman and Scott Gimple), dismal performances (Mr. Cage that means you) and average special effects make up Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, which is, with no doubt, one of the worst movies of 2012!

#2. X-Men 3: The Last Stand

There are three rules when making an X-Men movie:

1. You cannot kill Cyclops.
2. You cannot kill Professor X.
3. You cannot hire Brett Ratner.

This movie broke all three rules in quick succession, and proved to be a disastrous end to a successful and increasingly profitable series (although, amazingly, this movie did make a ton of money).  The first X-Men movie was good, the second was really good (miss you, Nightcrawler), and then, like he was Michael Bay, Ratner completely sucked the soul out of the series. Let’s not forget the ridiculous appearance of Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut, citing the now classic “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” line. I’m actually retardedly depressed that this movie stands as the most financially successful of the series, especially given the awesomeness of X2: X-Men United and X-Men: First Class. I want my £8 back!

This movie was to the X-Men series what Batman & Robin was to the Batman series.

#1. Batman & Robin

In the divine tradition of taking a formula that seems to work and just turning up the volume, Batman & Robin not only nearly destroyed the Batman franchise, but comic book movies as a marketable genre. That bad yes!  That last part isn’t an exaggeration.  There was speculation that another comic book movie would never be made because of the damage done from this film.

For example, it was widely joked that in Batman Forever they show Batman’s butt while he’s suiting up.  It was a nice laugh, sure.  So, Joel Schumacher dials it up to 11 in Batman & Robin, and we get this:

Image credit:

That’s right!  Twice the ass and now…batnipples!  Plus the worst opening dialogue sequence ever!  Hooray!

And, as we all know, it just got worse from there.  Arnold’s horrible quips (even by Arnold’s standard), cartoonish characters and villains (i.e. Bane), and of course…


I could talk about how truly horrible this movie is for days, but I think we can all agree that this needs no further explanation. Specially after the director himself apologizes for it!


So these are my choices for the top 15 comic book movies that sucked. I do realize that like most lists you’ll find on the internet, these are only my opinion. You actually may have liked The Green Hornet, who am I to say? But for the most part I am willing to bet that my opinions probably match yours.

So what I’d like to know is: what are YOUR least favorite comic book movies?

All ComicBookTherapy contributors must agree and abide by our Site User Agreement. is protected from liability under “OCILLA” (Online Copyright Infringement Liablity Limitation Act) and will actively enforce said provisions. If you represent an individual or company and feel as though this article has infringed on any of our terms or any existing copyrights, please contact us for a speedy removal.