Crazy action scenes, colorful costumes, awesome superpowers… what's not to love about superhero movies? Apparently a lot, because many of these films have been complete disasters! In honor (or dishonor?) of the 15th anniversary of "Fantastic Four" starring Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Jessica Alba and Ioan Gruffudd — which came out on July 8, 2020 — Wonderwall.com is counting down the 31 worst superhero movies, starting with "Fantastic Four" itself at No. 31! This 2005 film was almost as bad as 2015's reboot. Reviewers criticized the movie's subpar acting and bland storyline, but somehow, "Fantastic Four" was still a box office hit, earning $330 million worldwide. Keep reading to find out what other superhero movies are the worst ever…
No. 30: "Green Lantern"
Not even Ryan Reynolds in a tight superhero costume can make up for the mediocrity of "Green Lantern." The 2011 film was released to negative reviews from critics who disliked the screenplay and tone of the movie as well as the portrayal of the villains and the CGI. The movie also underperformed at the box office, only earning $219 million against a budget of $200 million. There are plans to reboot the character in the DC Extended Universe in the coming years, so let's hope for some improvements!
RELATED: '90s movies to stream at home
No. 29: "Daredevil"
Next up? The 2003 superhero flick "Daredevil." The movie about the Devil of Hell's Kitchen starring Ben Affleck in the titular role was a huge disappointment. Critics praised the action scenes and acting but hated the over-the-top drama. It received an approval rating of 43% on Rotten Tomatoes.
No. 28: "Hancock"
Released in 2008, "Hancock" starred Will Smith as the titular vigilante. Despite being the fourth highest grossing film of 2008 and receiving praise for its premise, the film received mixed reviews and was mainly criticized for the poor execution of its second half. "Hancock" earned a rating of 41% on Rotten Tomatoes but still did pretty well at the box office, earning $624.4 million.
No. 27: "Suicide Squad"
"Suicide Squad" was supposed to be a redeeming restart for the DC Comics movie franchise. Instead, the movie was a giant disappointment that even had its actors upset (see Jared Leto). The storyline and script were highly inconsistent, though Margot Robbie's standout performance as Harley Quinn was noteworthy. The movie also performed spectacularly at the box office, grossing more than $746 million worldwide, making it the 10th highest grossing film of 2016.
No. 26: "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"
One of the most anticipated movies of 2016 turned out to be a giant flop. Viewings of "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" plummeted after the first week. The movie never recovered from its historic drop and only grossed $873 million worldwide. In addition to being a box office disappointment, the film was also clunky, inconsistent and way too long. At least Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill delivered good performances.
No. 25: "Venom"
"Venom" is a perfect example of how even an action star like Tom Hardy is unable to save a film. The 2018 Ruben Fleischer-directed superhero movie received generally negative reviews and was criticized for lacking any connection to Spider-Man, a result of Sony's deal with Marvel Studios. Critics like Mark Daniell of the Toronto Sun called the flick the worst Marvel film released since 2005's "Elektra" and even compared the premise to a rejected superhero movie treatment from the '90s. Yikes. "Venom" received a 29% score on Rotten Tomatoes. That said, a sequel is still on the way — "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" is set to hit theaters on June 25, 2021.
No. 24: "Ghost Rider"
"Ghost Rider" is a Marvel film that was released before the brand really got its footing. The 2007 flick starring Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes was a critical failure thanks to its lame dialogue and computer-generated effects. However, it did perform well at the box office, earning $228.7 million worldwide on a $110 million budget.
No. 23: "The Punisher"
Jon Bernthal will always be Frank Castle to us! "The Punisher" hit theaters in 2004, and while Thomas Jane may have played the brooding vigilante to the best of his ability, the material he was given to work with set him up for failure. The film was seen as very by-the-numbers as far as revenge stories go, and coupled with the many inconsistencies in the story, it ultimately failed to live up to its potential. "'The Punisher' is so grim and cheerless, you wonder if even its hero gets any satisfaction from his accomplishment," wrote Roger Ebert, who gave the film two out of five stars. Ouch.
No. 22: "Superman III"
Anticipation was high for "Superman III" after the huge success of "Superman II." Unfortunately, the 1983 follow-up film did not live up to the hype. Critics and audiences alike hated its campy tone and the random casting of Richard Pryor, who didn't seem to serve a purpose in the film. "Superman III" barely recovered its budget, earning $80.2 million worldwide.
No. 21: "X-Men: Dark Phoenix"
There were high hopes for the Sophie Turner-led "X-Men: Dark Phoenix," which debuted in 2019, but the film did not live up to the hype. In addition to scoring only a 23% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it was the lowest grossing installment of the "X-Men" film series and heavily criticized for being an anticlimactic end to Fox's "X-Men" franchise. "It would be wonderful to report that 'Dark Phoenix' was an impressive send-off to this long-running franchise… Instead it's just a disappointingly average superhero flick, with a familiar story, disinterested actors, some cool action sequences, and a whole lost of missed opportunities," wrote William Bibbiani of TheWrap.
No. 20: "Blade: Trinity"
The "Blade" movie series started out so promising but ended on a sour note. The series' final film, "Blade: Trinity," was released in 2004 to negative reviews and a lower than expected box office. Critics panned it for its emphasis on style over substance and unoriginal themes. Hopefully, we'll see a "Blade" remake during the current Marvel golden era.
No. 19: "Batman Forever"
While it had its moments, 1995's "Batman Forever" received mixed reviews. The film has just a 39% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and critics noted that the script failed to emanate the pain of Bruce Wayne's backstory. Roger Ebert gave the film 2.5 stars, writing, "Is the movie better entertainment? Well, it's great bubble gum for the eyes. And young children will be able to process it more easily (some kids were led bawling from 'Batman Returns,' where the PG-13 rating was a joke)."
No. 18: "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance"
What does Hollywood do when it makes one bad superhero movie? Greenlight an even worse sequel, of course! Nicolas Cage starred in "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" in 2012. The sequel to 2007's "Ghost Rider" was criticized by reviewers and audiences alike for its uninspiring script, low quality CGI and lackluster acting.
No. 17: "Howard the Duck"
"Howard the Duck" was truly Marvel at its worst (not even George Lucas executive producing the flick could help). The 1986 film was the first theatrical Marvel feature film released since 1944 and it was a giant failure. It was nominated for seven Razzie Awards and made around $15 million against a $30 million production budget. Many blamed the creepy look of live-action Howard.
No. 16: "Spiderman 3"
While the third and final installment of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy was considered a letdown critically, it was actually a box office success. Starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, 2007's "Spider-Man 3" was the highest-grossing Spidey flick before being surpassed by "Spider-Man: Far From Home." However, unlike the previous two films in this Spidey series, the third installment received mixed reviews and was criticized for being overstuffed with villains (Venom's introduction was seen by many as unnecessary). "Spider-Man 4" was set to debut in 2011, though was canceled after Sam left due to creative differences with the writers. "'Spider-Man 3′ is, in short, a mess," began critic Roger Ebert, who gave the film two out of five stars. "Too many villains, too many pale plot strands, too many romantic misunderstandings, too many conversations, too many street crowds looking high into the air and shouting 'ooh!' This way, then swiveling and shouting 'aaah!' that way."
No. 15: "The Spirit"
"The Spirit" is a neo-noir adaptation that did not transfer over to the big screen very well. The superhero movie starring Gabriel Macht was heavily criticized for its unnecessary humor, melodramatic acting, unoriginal ideas, sexist elements and divergence from the comic book. The film was also a box-office bomb, grossing $39 million on a $60 million budget.
No. 14: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
There's a major nostalgia factor with these four New York City mutant turtles, and Michael Bay's 2014 film unfortunately did not do it justice. The film "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" received mostly negative views, scoring just a 22% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. "If nothing else, 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' reminds us that nostalgia is often used as a mandate for spectacularly lazy filmmaking," wrote Simon Abrams of RogerEbert.com. Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "There is something half-hearted about the entire film, as if those behind it were involved not because they wanted to make it, not because they should make it, but just because they could." Though it grossed $493.3 million, we think some classics are better left untouched.
No. 13: "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace"
There comes a point in every film series where the movies should just stop. "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" was definitely that point for Superman. Christopher Reeve reprised his role as the Man of Steel in this 1987 movie that was a box office bomb. Critics panned the film for its cheap special effects, inconsistencies and lack of originality. We have to agree.
No. 12: "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"
Some fans and critics had serious qualms about Andrew Garfield's portrayal of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, but they had more issues with the second movie in the rebooted franchise in which the British actor starred, 2014's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." While Andrew and then-girlfriend Emma Stone were praised for their on-screen chemistry, criticism was directed toward the script itself. "[The film is] overstuffed with plot lines, set pieces and villains, although stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone do their best to give the movie heart," wrote Oliver Gettell of the Los Angeles Times. Guy Lodge of Variety wrote, "Redundancy remains a problem, but this overlong superhero sequel gets by on sound, fury and star chemistry." "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" was meant to be the second installment of a trilogy to be followed by spinoffs of films focused on Venom and Sinister Six. However, due to its disappointing performance — it was the second lowest grossing "Spider-Man" film to date — this iteration was scrapped entirely.
No. 11: "Jonah Hex"
"Jonah Hex" is an example of a superhero movie done all wrong. The 2010 DC Comics film was a giant flop, only grossing $10 million against a budget of $47 million. Reviewers hated the plot jumps, unfocused storyline and overall quality. At least Josh Brolin received some praise for his acting abilities in the movie!
No. 10: "Hellboy"
This one's a shame, really. Compared to its predecessors — 2004's "Hellboy" and 2008's "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," which starred Ron Perlman and were directed by Guillermo del Toro — 2019's "Hellboy" missed the mark. The superhero reboot starring "Stranger Things" actor David Harbour was a box office bomb, grossing $44 million worldwide on a $50 million budget. In response to the film's overwhelmingly negative reception, David responded, "We did our best, but there's so many voices that go into these things and they're not always going to work out. I did what I could do and I feel proud of what I did, but ultimately I'm not in control of a lot of those things."
No. 9: "Steel"
If we've learned one thing about NBA players, it's that they should avoid acting at all costs. Shaquille O'Neal starred as John Henry Irons and his superhero alter ego, Steel, in 1997's "Steel." The movie was criticized for its cheesiness and terrible acting (we're looking at you, Shaq) and only grossed $1.7 million at the box office. Womp.
No. 8: "Batman & Robin"
Childhood nostalgia almost makes us like this film (key word: almost), but it's just too bad. In fact, many consider it to be one of the worst movies ever made! "Batman & Robin" sported a star-studded cast (George Clooney, Uma Thurman, Arnold Schwarzenegger) but was still universally panned for its terrible script and storyline. The movie performed decently at the box office but is still the lowest grossing live-action Batman movie of all time.
No. 7: "Zoom"
We all remember the family superhero film that starred Tim Allen, right? Wrong. The 2006 action flick "Zoom" was a box office bomb, grossing just $12.5 million on a $75 million budget. Rotten Tomatoes gave it an approval rating of just 3% and criticized the film for being "a dull and laugh-free affair" in comparison to well-received movies of a similar nature like "The Incredibles" and "Sky High."
No. 6: "Fantastic Four"
People had high hopes for the 2015 "Fantastic Four" reboot but unfortunately, it did not deliver. The superhero movie was an instant critical and commercial failure, earning $168 million worldwide against a production budget of $155 million. The movie, which starred talented actors Kate Mara, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell, went on to win worst director, worst picture (tied with "Fifty Shades of Grey") and worst prequel, remake, rip-off or sequel at the Golden Raspberry Awards. Yikes.
No. 5: "Elektra"
As much as we love Jennifer Garner, we have to admit that this was one of her worst projects ever. "Elektra" — a spinoff of the almost-as-bad movie "Daredevil" — was released in 2005 to scathing reviews. Critics hated the wonky storyline but praised Jen for her acting and tough action scenes. Maybe a future reboot can redeem this clunker?
No. 4: "Justice League"
With a budget of $300 million, 2017's "Justice League" was one of the most expensive films ever created. But it was also a major box office disappointment. While its actors including Gal Gadot and Ezra Miller were praised for their performances in the superhero flick ("The scenes of the League members together, bickering and bonding, spike the film with humor and genuine feeling, creating a rooting interest in the audience. Without it, the film would crumble," wrote Peter Travers of Rolling Stone), the film itself was criticized for inconsistencies in its plot, writing and pacing as well as its score and use of CGI. Original director Zack Snyder left the project before filming was completed due to a family member's death, leaving "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator Joss Whedon to finish. "The result? All plodding, gray, generic action of a Snyder film with stabs of Whedonian humor that almost never felt organic. There's no sense of purpose here, not even a sense of place," wrote Sara Stewart of the New York Post. Zack will have a chance to redeem the film when HBO Max releases "The Snyder Cut" in 2021.
No. 3: "Captain America"
The original "Captain America" movie — which was released in 1990 long before Chris Evans reinvented the character for the Marvel Universe — has literally everything you don't want in a film. The superhero flick was universally panned for its bad script, subpar acting, lack of direction, small budget, lack of star power (sorry, Matt Salinger), bad special effects and so much more. "Captain America" was also a huge, huge box office bomb, only earning $10,173 against a $10 million budget!
No. 2: "Catwoman"
Not even two Oscar-nominated actresses (Halle Berry and Sharon Stone) could make this movie watchable! "Catwoman," which came out in 2004, tells the story of a totally altered Catwoman named Patience Phillips, played by Halle. Critics hated the film for its lack of depth and plot holes, and fans agreed. "Catwoman" also faced backlash for appealing purely to the male gaze with no character development. Ultimately, the movie went on to be nominated for seven Razzie Awards, with Halle infamously showing up to the ceremony — with her Oscar for "Monster's Ball" in hand — to accept her prize for worst actress.
No. 1: "Supergirl"
And now for our No. 1 pick… "Supergirl." Unfortunately, this movie is not super at all. The 1984 film starring Helen Slater was universally panned by critics for its cheesy effects and subpar acting. It seems that audiences definitely agreed with the critics as "Supergirl" only earned $14.3 million on a $35 million budget.