No, that isn't terrible cosplay, it's Roger Corman's Fantastic Four.
It's another big summer for superheroes and the O.G. himself, Kal El aka Superman aka Clark Kent. Since the genre has exploded in recent years, this seems like a good opportunity to step back and rank the worst of the worst. Why don't we begin with the handful that are so bad, they're off the charts.
There are a whole set of superhero films so terrible they can't even be included because they would dominate this list.
In the early 90s, Stan Lee was handing out Marvel movie rights for fifteen bucks and a case of Jolt cola.
Has anybody seen Captain America? No, not that one. The 1990 version. How about Dolph Lundgren as the Punisher in '89? Who was the original Nick Fury: Agent of Shield? Uh, David Hasselhoff of course. We were also gifted with Roger Corman's infamous Fantastic Four film; so bad Marvel execs reportedly paid two million dollars just to buy it and have every print destroyed.
Now, let's move on to the Top Ten. The guys with the big budgets and big stars who still managed to muff it up royally.
10) Spider-Man 3
Venom and Hobgoblin and Sandman and did I miss anyone? Yuck.
9) The Punisher
I had to choose between The Punisher and Punisher: War Zone for this spot. (By the way, Artisan, just stop. Stop trying to make Punisher movies because you clearly can't be trusted with it.) Even though Allen and I agree that War Zone is definitely worse, I had to give The Punisher the nod. Why? Because with the excellent work of Tom Jane and a decent script, you actually had the chance to make a good film. Instead you ruined it with what should have been the absolute easiest decisions to make. Why would you ever... EVER... set a Punisher movie in Miami? You've automatically ruined the tone and look of the film.
"Hey, we're making a new Batman movie. Yeah, it's set in Fargo, North Dakota."
Extra points deducted for making Travolta the villain. More points deducted for reducing a very cool costume down to a t-shirt with a skull on it.
8) Ang Lee's Hulk
The Hulk film everyone wanted to love. The first Hulk we'd seen on screen since Ferrigno in green paint. Somehow it turned into a bad acid trip of Nick Nolte clouds and Hulk dogs and Eric Bana and bad CG on a 15 foot tall Hulk.
Hulk is the King of the World!
7) Fantastic Four
This is the Jessica Alba/Chris Evans version. (Blonde Alba with blue eyes... ugh.) Listen, I'm all about practical effects in place of CG wherever possible but if there is one character in the history of all cinema that was made to be completely CG, it's the Thing. The Thing is a bunch of rocks! He's MADE OUT OF POLYGONS! However, the biggest crime this movie committed was the complete ruin of the greatest (and my favorite) villain in comics. This franchise has Doctor Doom and they turned him into a ridiculous one dimensional cartoon.
6) Ghost Rider 2
I'll admit, the look was cool; the black smoke and whatnot. But... he peed fire. It's a bad movie.
5) X-Men: The Last Stand
Brett Ratner completely killed all the momentum Bryan Singer had going on a great franchise and wasted the incredible set-up that was X2. Plus, Kelsey Grammer in a Beast suit.
Fox is the worst. They manage to... uh, mismanage basically every Marvel property they get their hands on. Daredevil and Ghost Rider should be the easiest characters to make cool and fun. Just get the tone right. Dark and gritty. There are plenty of characters that shouldn't be dark and gritty *cough* Superman *cough*. Daredevil was shinier than what I'd imagine a night at the Daft Punk house to look like... Really shiny. Nevermind. Plus, I'm not an Affleck hater, but he was a terrible choice at that point in his career.
3) X-Men Origins: Wolverine
I've never seen it and I never will. Allen ensures me that Origins is worse than The Last Stand and if that's true, there is absolutely no doubt it needs to be at least 3 on this list. Again, Kelsey Grammer.
2) Batman & Robin / Batman Forever
Ahhhh, the Schumacher Batman movies. Joel Schumacher decided to go with a campy-on-crack approach. Ultra stylized, ultra colorful, ultra flashy... the cod pieces and suit nipples and Chris O'Donnell and Alicia Silverstone... No. Batman Forever is bad, but Batman & Robin is epically awful. No one should ever make the mistake of incorporating seventy-five villains in one film again. But, for some reason they still do. And Arnold as Mr. Freeze? All those one-liners? Good gravy. This movie killed the genre for years.
1) Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Just the worst decision ever made with good intentions. The movie was spurred by a letter to Christopher Reeve from a kid who wanted Superman to get rid of nuclear weapons. So, he makes the movie (with a message) and Hackman signs on and yeeeeeeesh this thing was indescribably bad. We're talking Nuclear Man and Lenny-Luthor-played-by-Ducky bad.
PS - I didn't forget Green Lantern, but I haven't seen it. And, again, I never will. So... honorable mention?