Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday Review #6: Bottom 10 Superhero Movies

Last week I gave you my Top 10 Superhero Movies, so it's only natural that we get into the Bottom 10 after that.  I think you can pretty well guess what the first couple would be.  Or not.  These are just my humble opinion, so maybe you even like some of these movies.  In which case I will just shake my head sadly.

  1. Batman & Robin:  an astounding fact is this movie didn't kill George Clooney's movie career before it had hardly begun.  Otherwise this makes the 1960s "Batman" seem subtle by comparison.
  2. The Spirit:  This movie never seemed to decide if we should be taking it seriously or laughing at it.  I did more of the latter.  And just like the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" there's no point in having two immortal characters fighting because obviously neither can die, so why bother?  At least in "Highlander" they could kill each other by chopping off the other guy's head.
  3. Jonah Hex:  When a non-kids movie comes in at just about 70 minutes, you know there were some problems.  A lot of problems.  The biggest problem:  Megan Fox continuing to tease us all by not getting naked. 
  4. Ghost Rider:  another astounding fact is that someone actually greenlit a sequel to this.  Could it be any dumber than the original?  Probably.
  5. Captain America (1990):  The bar was set pretty low for the 2011 movie to top this. What it really demonstrated was the 2011 version was right to focus more on the WWII part because in the 1990 version he goes on essentially one mission and gets frozen for 50 years.  Not much of a superhero there.
  6. Spawn:  to borrow from Homer Simpson, "That's brilliant!  No, wait it's needlessly complicated."  That pretty much sums up the plot.
  7. Superman III:  I can just imagine some film executive saying, "Hey, you know what would be great?  Let's cast Richard Pryor as a computer hacker who helps Superman save the world from Robert Vaughn."  Yeah, that worked out real well.  Another astounding fact is that there was a "Superman IV."
  8. Catwoman:  I think the biggest problem was they never figured out if Catwoman was supposed to be a superhero or supervillain or what.  Plus all the gratuitous butt shots when she plays basketball against Benjamin Bratt.  Also, casting Benjamin Bratt.
  9. Supergirl:  Actually the whole concept of Supergirl is kind of lame--she's just like Superman except a girl!  This movie certainly didn't change my opinion of that.
  10. HancockI saw this in the cheap theater.  I suppose it was worth my $2 for the first half-hour where he's all pissed-off and drunk and breaking shit and shoving a guy's head up someone else's ass.  The rest of the movie got increasingly idiotic.  I suppose at some point there will be an even more terrible sequel which could easily be added to this list.
Dishonorable Mentions:

Here are some I'm pretty sure are terrible but I didn't really watch them:
  • Punisher: War Zone
  • Elektra
  • Ghost Rider 2
  • The Phantom
  • The Shadow

There are probably some more I'm forgetting about.  I'm not sure you can argue that any of the ones I picked shouldn't be on this list.  Really I think before 2000 the only decent superhero movie was Tim Burton's "Batman" from 1989.  Otherwise they all ranged from meh to godawful.  I don't know if it's because effects got better or filmmakers started to take the genre more seriously.  That's something for film critics to ponder I suppose, though most of them liked "Superman" and "Superman II" so they would not agree with my assessment.

Tuesday is another Two-Fer...


  1. Well, on this list, I've only seen Batman & Robin, and Hancock. I couldn't agree with you more on either assessment.

    Oh, wait! I saw Superman III when I was a kid. The part toward the end terrified me.

  2. Yep, this is a best of the worst list if I've ever seen one. ;)

  3. I saw Supermans I, II and III. As kid/younger person, I didn't think they were bad. I'm pretty sure that III wouldn't hold up well, but, then, neither did original Battlestar Galactica, another favorite of mine.

    I suppose it depends on what you're looking for in a movie. I'm not sure how you're grading them, except for Spawn, which you say is overly complicated. Batman & Robin was really campy, but I always thought the idea was to make it campy, so if you enjoy that, you'll probably like the movie.

    I never heard of "The Spirit," but it sounds like a dumb idea. Jonah Hex I've heard was awful. I only know him from reading "Hex," a short-lived comic series that sent him into a post-apocalyptic future and which was only mildly interesting.

    I don't really disagree with any of this -- even my half-defense of Batman & Robin doesn't mean it's a great superhero movie. I like superhero movies like Watchmen or The Avengers or The Dark Knight: serious, with a lot of action and a point. So I'm disinclined to like these.

    1. If I hadn't been lazy I could have linked to Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes or Roger Ebert's site or something for a lot of these for more in-depth analysis. Or if you go to my movies review site ( I have reviews of some of the newer ones like Jonah Hex, Hancock, and The Spirit.

      My sister and I saw Batman & Robin in the theater because she had some gift certificates and that was the newest movie where you could use gift certificates. Anyway, we paid 75 cents each and I still felt ripped off because it was such a dumb movie. Later when it was on TV or something my sister and I rewatched it and counted all the dumb one-liners, which got up to 150 or so.

      Anyway, pretty much all of these suffered from some combination of dumb plots, bad acting, and all around poor filmaking.

  4. Holy crap! I love most of the movies on that list. Well, some of them I only like, but the point is, holy crap!

  5. Well, I liked the first Ghost Rider. It wasn't great, but it was decent. I liked The Spirit, too. It was just fun. And Elektra isn't bad.

    Punisher: War Zone and Spirit of Vengeance are just awful. And Jonah Hex was horrific, but that was due to how bad Malkovich was as the villain. Josh Brolin was actually pretty good, just stuck in a horrible movie. I can not believe you left Green Lantern off of this list.

  6. PT, the combination of Captain America (1990) and Hancock makes this a great list.
    - Maurice Mitchell
    The Geek Twins | Film Sketchr
    @thegeektwins | @mauricem1972

  7. Hey PT,
    You have just reminded me of the cringe-worthy "Catwomen". Still, when subjecting myself to that film, I got to recognise loads of Vancouver locations.

  8. I agree with pretty much all of these. Especially Clooney's Batman. He couldn't decide if he was in a cartoon or not. Ditto Hancock. Opener is fantastic. The rest was like a Lifetime channel movie. They probably bought the original script from a writer who had a great idea, then decided to dumb it down and add a little "heartfelt" romance so it could be a date movie. Choose a genre, people!



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