My Least Favorite Superhero Movies

There are so many superhero movies that have been made in the last thirty, forty, years that there are bound to be as many dislikes as there are likes, and here are a few. Some of these will be no surprise to some of you because it really seemed like the creators weren’t even trying to make a good movie, but I did have criteria. To make this list, they had to be movies I actually wasted time watching and hating, and not something I merely heard was bad. They had to be movies that I really, really, wanted to like, tried hard to like, and went into them thinking they would be likable, but walked out disappointed.

Catwoman

Look at that trailer! It looks like the shit doesn’t it?! I mean, I love Halle Berry and will watch anything she’s in, so I walked into this thinking it was just going to be a light, fun, take on the Catwoman mythos, but it was kinda silly, and not in a way that made me feel good. Some people enjoyed it, but when I find myself feeling embarrassed for a favorite actor, then that’s not a good movie for me.

I grew up watching the Eartha Kitt version of this character, who was campy, silly, and very sexy, so I get that there’s more than a little tongue in cheek with this movie version of her. That Halle was playing Catwoman was really the strongest point of the ads, and she was totally rocking that catsuit, but ultimately she didn’t hold a candle to the Batman Returns version played by Michelle Pfeiffer, who still has not been bettered as Catwoman, as far as I’m concerned. (I will compare her to yet another version in the new Batman film I just watched.)

And then there’s the plot. Like I said, I know there’s supposed to be an element of Camp involved, but not only is the plot kind of stupid, involving the use of poisonous makeup, there are more than a few cringey scenes of Halle Berry acting like a cat, and I just couldn’t watch any of that without laughing, and not the good kind of Eartha Kitt laughing, either. I don’t just want to blame Halle though, the other actors in the movie can catch some of this shade too! You’ve got Lambert Wilson, and Sharon Stone who act like they are in a business drama type of movie, and Benjamin Bratt, who mostly stands around looking utterly hapless, as Halle literally runs rings around him. He’s given nothing to do in the script beyond being pretty and flirting with Halle, which he does very well, but he cannot compete with the sheer sexiness of Berry, so his looks are wasted.

I tried really hard to like this movie, but when it was over, I tried to forget that I’d seen it, which is how I try to treat a lot of movies I don’t like.

Superman Returns

I wanted to be excited about this movie. I really wanted to like this movie, even love it really, but it was so ho-hum and bland that I get bored just thinking about it. The stand-out actors were Kevin Spacey (eww!) and Parker Posey, who always brings the madness of Parker Posey (no matter what role she’s playing), and Frank Langella, who turns in an unexpectedly funny performance. Perhaps he thought he was in some other film. I was all ready to get nostalgia’d back to my childhood viewing of the original Superman, but this movie just didn’t work for me.

The two worst actors in this movie were Kate Bosworth, who is quite possibly one of the least interesting Lois Lanes to ever be on a movie screen. She was so bad, I won’t watch Bosworth in anything else. And there’s Brandon Routh, who plays Superman in such a downbeat, low energy fashion, you just fall asleep whenever he’s onscreen. Not only are the two of them utterly bland in their standalone scenes, but they’re even worse when they’re together. I simply was not feeling the love. The two of them had less passion than a couple of garden mice!

I would watch an entire movie about the shenanigans of Posey and Spacey’s characters if I could get past looking at Spacey for any length of time (eww!), but this is what we got, a bland supercouple and some rapists (Yeah, there’s Bryan Singer, too).

Thor: The Dark World

It’s movies like this that make mainstream filmgoers hate superhero films. I mean, it’s bad, but it’s not quite bad enough for me to hate it. I mean, it looks great. It’s got some interesting scenes, but that’s not enough to make me like it. There’s just enough action and drama in it to make me keep looking at it, but I had no emotional investment, which is really sad because I actually enjoyed the first one which was a surprise to me, as I do not consider myself a Thor fan, even though I read the comic books as a kid. This movie is both too little, and paradoxically, too much, all at the same time, and I am puzzled as to how the creators managed to accomplish that. The movie does have a moment or two, and I always like Darcy’s energy no matter when and where she shows up. (She was especially fun in Wandavision. Note to self: Please stop calling this character Darcy Little Badger in your head. Darcy Little Badger is a whole nother person, and an author who looks nothing like this actress!!!) I found the Dark Elves totally uninteresting, and I was not invested in the plot. I did enjoy the end credits scene with the frost monster though!

I am not a huge Loki fan, but I still think this movie needed more Loki, not just because I enjoy looking at Tom Hiddleston but because the Thor movies seem to work best when they focus on the relationship between him and Thor, or just Thor and his dysfunctional family, in general. Those scenes I liked well enough. But none of that is enough to make me watch this movie again.

Blade: Trinity

Talking about some of these films is demoralizing. There is soooo much wrong with this movie, I don’t think I can cover it in a couple of paragraphs. Let’s start with my number one pet peeve, which is the depiction of Dracula in this movie. He gets played up by the other characters to such an incredible degree in this movie, especially by Ryan Renolds character, but the very first time he and the other badass of the movie encounter each other, what does Dracula do? He runs! He runs away!

The other characters are deeply annoying. The dialogue is just *sigh*. The director tries hard to add moments of humor, which fail. We spend an inordinate amount of time with Jessica Biel’s character Abigail Whistler. Why? Wesley Snipes turns in a lackluster performance and I found out that there was some bullshit happening on the set that he was displeased with, and after I saw the movie I get why he felt that way. (He was essentially side-charactered in his own movie, and when the movie bombed, the director tried to pin the blame on Snipes’ attitude, and claim he was being difficult on the set, which I have found out is the kind of thing directors do when they refuse to acknowledge that they f*cked up. *Note: It was actually Patton Oswalt who made the allegations.*) The fight scenes are a chaotically filmed mess and the inevitable smackdown between Blade and Dracula is filmed so poorly that it wasn’t worth the wait.

For example, there’s a blind woman and her son in the film, and it is heavily implied, but never actually shown or stated, that she and Abigail Whistler have a relationship. We are given nothing even remotely overt about either of them, but when the blind woman gets fridged, Whistlers’ reaction is entirely out of all proportion to anything that’s been shown between them. This is the laziest Bury Your Gays Trope ever put on film.

I really wanted to like this movie because I actually like David Goyer, who wrote the first two Blade films. He’s written some really good films since then, but has not, and should never, be allowed to direct another movie again.

*Sigh*

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1997)

This is another movie that had a lot of issues, questionable directing decisions, dodgy special effects, and even some plot choices. First up, I read the book on which this movie was based and it has some things in it that are well, “graphic” I guess is the word I can use. I mean it’s basically about a Victorian Superteam. All the characters are the same as in the movie but I guess since the creators in Holywood were firmly convinced that superhero movies were made for children, they took all the edge off the graphic novel and made it a PG-13 style movie when the book is everything but that.

The second is the use of the characters. In Alan Moore’s graphic novel the Invisible Man is a rapist and Dr. Hyde is a horrific-looking monster, and while Mina Murray (from Dracula) and Allan Quartermain are on the team, it is Mina who is the leader of it, not Alan. The creators of the film also had the idea that they couldn’t make Mina the leader of the team because “woman” and that they needed to cater to white guys by having both the primary lead and his co-lead be white guys (one of whom isn’t even on the team in any of the four books of the series.)

So, the two writers took all the blood and gore out, sidelined Mina in her own movie, which is weird because she’s one of the few characters that have actual superpowers in the film, and replaced her with two guys with guns, played by Sean Connery as Allan Quartermain and Shane West as Thomas Sawyer (Yeah, that’s Mark Twain’s Thomas Sawyer.)

Peta Wilson (Mina) was pretty cool as MIna and I wish she’d been allowed to play her role properly since she was the most interesting character in the movie. The second most interesting character, who had an entire section of the books devoted to his legacy, was Captain Nemo, played by Naseeruddin Shah, a very fine actor. I wanted to see more of him. Stewart Townsend (Dorian Gray) is a horrible actor who kept getting great roles. I actually liked Dorian the character, but I don’t hate really Stewart because he’s at least pretty. There are some great campy scenes between him and Mina that I thought were deeply entertaining, and I wish the creators had leaned into that more. Sean Connery looks like he would rather be somewhere, anywhere else, and Shane West is a nobody to me, but he keeps starring in films I have never watched, so somebody likes him.

I liked Captain Nemo’s submarine The Nautilus. It was awesome! Stupid, but awesome!

I mean, I guess the creators tried to make a good movie? I’m not sure. It was badly executed, and the plot made no sense, de-evolving into a hot mess at the end, only two of the characters were likable to me…I don’t actually hate this movie, but I sure as Hell don’t like it. I kept seeing what the movie could have been if the writers had simply gotten out of their own way, maybe.

Yeah, Imma stop thinking about this one now, cuz it makes my head hurt.

Elektra (2005)

This movie tried it. It really did. It tried hard to be interesting and exciting, and have a plot and character that mattered. I really wanted to like it because it was yet another attempt at a female superhero movie but it ultimately failed. I don’t even think the movie is bad, so much as unremarkable and at times incoherent. Now, remember, this was during the period when Hollywood only believed in the existence of Asian people unless they were whores or villains, and so we got a bland white woman as Elektra because Jennifer Garner was the woman everyone thought was sexy at that time, and all of the white people are the good guys, and all of the PoC are the villains because that’s how shit was before the MCU, I guess.

And it’s not that I didn’t like her. I did. She’s a very good actress and I watched her action-adventure television series in which she played a spy, (Alias), but she was either wholly inadequate for this particular role, or it was so badly written that her charms couldn’t save it. This was also during the time period when superhero movies were just not being taken seriously despite the existence of the Blade and Hellboy films! I don’t know how to feel about this movie other than disappointment, and this isn’t even hindsight disappointment. This is how much I disliked it at the time. I really wanted to like it, and I expected better because I liked Garner, and she showed impressive skills in using Elektra’s weapons of choice. I was bored by the plot which involved the little girl Elektra bonds with, the little girl’s father, multiple assassins, and a brief romantic thread.

This one gets another *Sigh*

Daredevil

I watched this movie two times. I’m trying really hard to remember what this movie was about and have no clue. I think Bullseye was in it but I’m not entirely sure. I have the vague memory of liking the first thirty minutes of the film, and I think Michael Clarke Duncan as The Kingpin was an inspired bit of casting as he was suitably terrifying. Ben Affleck is a much better actor now than he was at the time he made this movie, so I have no problem watching him portray Batman, but I had a problem with his version of Daredevil, who was pretty bland. I can’t even claim the movie was bad. I don’t remember enough of it to say that, although I do remember there is a good fight scene between Daredevil and Kingpin at the end of the movie, but Joey Pantoliano plays a reporter or something in this and he pretty much just plays himself in everything, and some parts of this movie were simply stupid.

I liked the first thirty minutes in which we see that Matt sleeps in a special chamber that keeps out noise and Ben Affleck shows us what it’s like to live as a blind lawyer in New York City. He was fully committed to this role and I appreciate that. That’s it. I don’t remember the plot. I didn’t even remember that Jennifer Garner had been in the film. She was on the poster! I think Bullseye might have been in it. I know Kingpin was present. I don’t remember why.

I mostly didn’t care for Affleck in this role. I don’t know how someone could mess up such a character, and though I really like Charlie Cox in the role, I can’t pinpoint what he’s doing that’s so very different from what Affleck did that I would like one, and not the other. Sometimes there’s no concrete reason for liking or disliking someone in a role. It all comes down to how you felt watching them, and I think that’s what’s going on here. I just didn’t like Ben Affleck very much at the time.

And now I like him okay as Batman. But he’s a much better actor than he was then so that’s a factor.

Hellboy (The Remix) (2017)

I remember being really enthusiastic to see this movie, and I really wanted to like it. Yeah, I really wanted to love it and I watched this exactly twice. Once because I was excited about it, and the second time, to try to understand what the f**k went wrong the first time because I had enormous disappoint! It’s a lot y’all! A lot went wrong.

Okay, I’m gonna need to make a whole post comparing this one to the original Hellboy movie, because wow! The only problems I didn’t have with this movie were David Harbour’s acting, and the visuals. His acting is acceptable and the movie looks gorgeous! The lighting, colors, set and creature design were all satisfactory except in a couple of places. A lot of this movie was just really pretty and even those times it wasn’t it was still worth looking at.

There is a lot going on in this movie and most of what’s happening is completely unnecessary. It’s basically just Hellboy moving from one setpiece from the comic books, to another setpiece, all of it very loosely tied together with the thinnest of threads and plot contrivances. There are scenes that are completely untied to the rest of the plot, and the plot is a lot. No seriously! I’m not gonna go over it because it’s not really possible to explain it. I did like some of the scenes, like Baba Yaga in her chicken-legged house, which was awesome, Hellboy riding a dragon during the apocalypse, and the kaiju-demon invasion at the end of the movie. There are parts of this movie that are beautifully shot, and even the less than pretty parts are worth looking at.

Guys, there are witches, trolls, changelings, Baba Yaga, demons, Excaliber, Merlin, Nimue, The Fae, some knights, giants, a wereleopard, ghosts, an apocalypse, the lady in the lake, Mexican vampires, wrestling, gunfire…really put any of those in any order and you got a movie, I guess. They could have removed at least a third of the characters from this movie and considerably tightened it up. It was like they were trying to cram in as much stuff from the comic books as possible just in case they weren’t going to be able to make another movie.

…there’s not gonna be another movie, ya’ll.

Also, my artistic arch-nemesis is in this movie: Milla Jovovich. I braved this movie despite her presence. I don’t care if she is an A-list actress, or how much other people love her, she’s got all of the acting capabilities of a stick of wood. I’m sure she’s an intelligent and nice lady, and I would love to sit down and have a drink with her because Milla herself seems an interesting person, but she cannot act. It’s sort of the opposite of that thing with the actress who plays Wanda. Wanda can go to jail, but her actress is great and I like her!

Honorable Mentions:

There are a few movies that didn’t make the list because I didn’t have time to write about them but 1997s Batman and Robin is one of them, and Andrew Garfield’s Amazing Spiderman sequel…well I fell asleep on it, and woke up just in time to see Gwen Stacy die, which soured me on the whole movie. I don’t know if it’s any good, but I’m not in the mood to try it again. We can also include Superman 4, because …damn!

And then there’s this one:

Suicide Squad (2016)

Just as with the Favorite Superheroes list, you will notice that one movie is conspicuous by its absence: Suicide Squad. I left it off the top of this list for a reason.

It’s actually one of my favorite movies, but just like The Black Panther, it exists in a class by itself. This movie is too awful to go on the favorites list. I love it though, so I can’t put it in my top ten most disliked movies. I love the hell out of this wildly inconsistent mess of a movie. I can list everything I hate about it, and paradoxically, a few of those are things I loved about it, too. Yeah, Suicide Squad has to go into a category of its own. The top reasons why I love the hell out of this movie: Will Smith as Dead Shot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and Jay Hernandez as El Diablo! I liked seeing these characters onscreen, I liked a lot of the dialogue, I enjoyed spending time with the characters and I liked the relationships that were developed between most of them.

But the movie itself is pretty damn awful. I absolutely hated, hated, hated, the villain, and the less said of her, the better. I hated most of the other characters except for maybe four or five of them, and the plot made not one damn bit of sense. It’s not even a pretty film. It’s kind of dark and murky looking with the colors all washed out, and it tries too hard to be edgy and gritty, when it should have just fully embraced the utter ridiculousness of the story and characters. Jared Leto’s version of the Joker was very obviously created by an actor trying too damn hard to differentiate himself from the other, better, versions of the Joker and I would like nothing more than to set his version on fire, starting with his teeth.

And yet, I’ve watched this stupid movie multiple times, and I still love it. I will not classify it as a guilty pleasure. I don’t have any shame, or guilt about liking the movies I like.

Of note: The reboot by James Gunn, absolutely SLAPS!!!

Coming up: All-time favorite Superhero movies!

One thought on “My Least Favorite Superhero Movies

  1. You nailed them to be sure…the ones with too much attitude, showing a main character who is just too full of themselves, and plots that meander because they just don’t seem to have a handle on the stories that suit the characters the best…

    Liked by 1 person

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