Worst Superhero Movies of All Time

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.

4)  Daredevil

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?

Allen's Top 10 Superhero Movies

1)  Superman

This movie captivated me as a kid, got me hooked on superheroes early, and it still holds up for me today. There has never been better casting for me than Reeve as Superman/Clark Kent and Kidder as Lois Lane. The music is the most recognizable of any hero movie ever. If it wasn't for Lois' weird soliloquy in the middle of the movie, this one would be just about perfect. It takes me back to 8-year-old me every time I see it, and I love it as much today as I did 25 years ago.

2)  The Dark Knight

I watched the Dark Knight trilogy all in the same day not long ago and came to this realization: I didn't like Christian Bale as Batman. Which is why this one can't be #1. But, the fact that it's second speaks volumes to what I thought of Heath Ledger as The Joker. My favorite villain in a movie ever.

3)  The Avengers

I know what Scott said about this movie, and I agree with just about everything he said (especially in regards to the Chitauri), but I've got a slightly different take. This movie gave me so many unbelievable moments that I'm pretty sure I involuntarily squealed a couple times and may have peed a little. Thor vs. Iron Man! Whuuuut? Thor vs. The Hulk! Goodness!! The fight scenes were all epic. And while the Chitauri was stupid (just make them the Skrulls!!!), Tom Hiddleston's Loki was pretty stinking good.

4)  X2

I'm a huge Wolverine honk, and this movie portrays him the best of any film out there. It is also the best of the series. X2 doesn't fumble around, stepping on its own toes while trying to give every character their big moment. There is never a dull moment, never a moment that is too light, and never a point where it loses you, even for a second. I could make the case for any of these first four films to be in the top spot.

5)  Iron Man

If Christopher Reeve is the #1 casting pick for a superhero movie, Robert Downey Jr. is #1A. He IS Tony Stark. And unlike a lot of movies that involve an origin (i.e. Spider-Man), this one has the right depth without being boring. Also... Robert Downey Jr. It would be difficult for me to find an actor I like less then Terrence Howard. So, that may have affected my rating more than it should have. But, ya know, Robert Downey Jr...

6)  Dredd

Scott made the point in his list about how he thinks audience perception of The Incredible Hulk may have taken an unfair hit because of the terrible Hulk movie that preceded it. That definitely holds true for Dredd. The farce that was Stallone's Judge Dredd unfortunately will be linked to this one and it's a shame. Simple, solid story. Great villain. Great portrayal of Dredd by Kyle Urban. Beautifully shot. Not much to dislike about this one.

7)  Hellboy 2

This is the third sequel on the list where the original didn't even make it. It seems like sometimes, they just need that first shot to get it all right for a second installment. Go ahead and add Ron Perlman to that list of perfectly cast characters for his efforts as Hellboy. This movie may be the most fun to watch on the list. But weirder than a room full of carneys in some parts...

8)  Amazing Spider-Man

Andrew Garfield is better at being Peter Parker than Tobey McGuire. He just is. The Lizard's face almost kept this one off the list, though. There were also some creative and directorial decisions that I really didn't like, but this movie reboot of the franchise is better than the original three and it isn't close.

9)  X-Men: First Class

I had low expectations for this movie going in. I ended up seeing it three times in the theater. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are terrific, and of course, there's Jennifer Lawrence. But some of the other characters were kinda stinky. Especially Kevin Bacon as the villain. Never believed it for a second. Hence a low spot on the list.

10)  Spider-Man 2

I basically put this one on the list because I couldn't leave it at 9. It's the best of the Sam Raimi installments. I actually caught a little of it on TV the other day and I will say that the fight scene between Spidey and Doc Ock on and around the speeding train is a heckuva lot of fun. There are a lot of cool, innovative ways the two used their powers in a smooth-but-fast-paced 10 minutes, and it's why I put it on here.

Scott's Top Ten Superhero Movies

It's Iron Man week! Are you ready? I'm ready. Not just for Iron Man but for everything that follows. Iron Man 3 is the unofficial season opener for summer blockbusters. Iron Man, Man of Steel, and Star Trek Into Darkness are just a few of the obscenely geeked out offerings I'm eager to see.

I'm hoping for brilliance from both Iron Man and Superman but I wouldn't be shocked if one or both completely missed the mark. After all, the superhero "genre" is a tricky and difficult game. With every movie that works, the bar is raised for those that come after. There have been so many superhero movies in the past 5-10 years, some people are starting to fear saturation. At least it's been a few years since we've seen Supes. Tony Stark, on the other hand, has been spoon fed to us in a steady diet since his first film in 2008.

So, before we get a new crop to pass judgment on, I think this is the perfect time to take stock and lay out my current Top 10 superhero films. My criteria is not only a good ride but, most importantly, a film that holds up over time. That's why Avengers suffered. The movie just doesn't hold up under repeated viewings. Performances and dialogue especially are hard to take in a few scenes.

Scott's Top Ten Superhero Movies

hellboy 2, top ten, superhero movies

Not #1 on the list, but Hellboy II is my favorite to watch.

1.  Dark Knight

These top four were the hardest for me to rank. I could shuffle them ten different ways and never feel completely comfortable with the order. I'm putting Dark Knight here because its just solid. Everyone knows Heath Ledger was an amazing Joker and the film has a very strong ending. A great movie starts with a great script. One factor that has me debating Dark Knight's spot at number one is Batman himself. Should the movie be this high when the superhero himself is completely overshadowed?

2.  Superman

1978. This is the movie that started it all. It's gorgeous. It holds up. Other filmmakers revere Richard Donner for his work on Superman for good reason. The humor and tone work well for a character like Superman. But, it isn't all camp. The emotions still play. And the power of Superman still awes and commands respect. Christopher Reeve is perfect and his sincerity in the role is so different from anything before or since.

3.  X2

Bryan Singer got all the beats right on this one. From top to bottom this is a tough film to beat. The Nightcrawler sequence reels you in right away and the movie never lets you go. The plot and villains are complicated and realistic and all their motivations ring true. This might be the number one factor in making a great superhero movie. At no point does it seem hokey. It carries a ton of weight. The script is solid. There is real emotion and great performances from Marsden, Jackman, and the rest; and the more I think about it, the more I think X2 should possibly be moved to the top spot.

4.  Hellboy 2

Hellboy 2 is probably my personal favorite out of the bunch. The one I want to grab off the shelf and watch at any given moment more than all the others. It capitalizes on and perfects everything Guillermo Del Toro was trying to do in the first film. It also stands alone. You don't need to watch the first Hellboy to enjoy this one. Plus there aren't many better matches of actor and character in history than Ron Perlman and Hellboy.

5.  Iron Man

Iron Man was fun in a way that superhero movies hadn't been in a long time. It set the tone for what Marvel movies would be. A far cry from the dark, brooding realism of Nolan's Batman films. Robert Downey Jr. was probably the best casting decision Hollywood has made in decades. All the credit goes to Favreau on that one. Without Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man films are probably lackluster affairs. With him, Marvel Studios sells to Disney for billions and becomes a predominant force in the summer movie landscape for years to come.

6.  Incredible Hulk

I actually re-watch Incredible Hulk second most out of all the movies on this list. THIS MOVIE IS UNDERRATED. End of story. Incredible Hulk paid the sins for Ang Lee's absolute trainwreck years before. The taste it left in peoples' mouths was so bad, audiences weren't ready to move on and give Hulk a chance yet. I really like Norton as Bruce Banner. And the story flows from start to finish better than a majority of these films. Go get it. Watch it again. I'm telling you, this one is better than you think. And what a great decision to use the opening credits to set the film up and get right into the story.

7.  Batman Begins

Good stuff. Christian Bale made a somewhat odd voice decision for Batman, but we still really dug this movie. I bet you nerds are setting your computers on fire because this one is below Incredible Hulk.

8.  The Avengers

Avenger took a tumble for me over the course of the year. Nobody loves Marvel and what they're doing more than I do, but I have to be honest here. Joss Whedon did a very good job of cobbling together the pieces he was given. But on repeated viewings... it does feel cobbled together. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie in the theater and saw it several times. It was an experience, years in the making and it paid off. Amazingly so. However, it doesn't hold up over time like the top half of this list.

 Like I said before, it's all in the plot and villains. Loki's motivations are surface-deep and the Chitauri are... what exactly? They want to take over Earth or something? Blah. It's a fun movie to watch, but that kind of plot isn't going to stand the test of time and keep you coming back for more. Avengers is hokey. The dialogue and some of the one-liners are literally cringe-inducing. None more than Captain America's line about the last time he was in Germany and there was a man standing over people who were kneeling blah blah blee boo yuck.

9.  Spider-Man 2

I can remember thinking this was the best of Raimi's offerings and unlike some people, I really enjoyed the 70s-inspired montage of Peter Parker happily walking the streets of New York with his burdens lifted. And again, Doctor Octopus as the lone villain works the best by far in this trilogy.

10.  Batman

I changed this one. Burton's Batman movies slipped my mind and I would likely have to put this above Captain America and X-Men First Class as well. (I really need to watch all three again to make the call.) Batman is a difficult watch for people these days as the tone is so completely different from the most recent saga. If you can somehow separate the two, Burton's version still works and Keaton and Nicholson did a great job.

What do you think? Did I come close? Let us know what you'd change and why in the Comments.

7 Most Hated Holiday Movies

As you could probably tell from the tone of my list of favorite holiday movies, I'm not a fan of most films that are festively themed. I feel like most of them are cheesy, monotonous, over done, generic, unoriginal, and mentally insulting. It's like Hollywood knows we'll shell out money to see anything revolving around this time of year no matter how bad it is. 

There are exceptions, but for me, they are few and far between. So I have weeded through the worst of the worst to compile a list of what I personally feel are the 7 most detestable. The ones that make me feel like I've taken a shot in the pumpkin pecan pie hole from a giant yule log right after getting the mistletoe treatment from Ebenezer Scrooge and drinking some Rudolph poo-flavored egg nog. And I hate egg nog.


Ok, let's be honest; at 8 years old, is there a person in the world that you think is more awesome than Santa Claus? So, as an 8 year old, when I hear that there is going to be a movie about the greatest person on the planet, I am pumped! And I distinctly remember, as soon as it was over, thinking "That was the most boring thing I've ever seen in my life. And why was there so much McDonald's in it?" When you're 8, and you notice an obscene amount of product placement, it's ridiculous. And it is still, to this day, the biggest product-placement deal of all time for a movie. Aside from the fact that it was a 2 hour commercial, the story was lame. An evil toy tycoon takes advantage of a misguided elf to industrialize toy production at the North Pole. Yeah, it was as bad as it sounds.


You might recall that Home Alone was on my list of favorite holiday movies. So why is Home Alone 2 a stinker? For one thing, sequels are rarely as good as the originals anyway. And this one was no exception. For another thing, if you get caught up in the rush of getting to the airport with 15 people and forget someone once, then it's humorously neglectful. If you lose him again under any circumstances for any reason, it's criminally negligent and we are all wanting to call Child Protective Services and get Kevin the heck out of there. To me, a classic example of why you should leave a good thing alone.


Please, somebody, anybody, tell me why in the world animated classics keep getting made into live-action movies. Have any of them ever been anything more than massively disappointing? Garfield even got Bill Murray to be the voice of the fat feline, and it was still awful. The Grinch keeps this tradition alive. The problem I have with it is that it takes what I love about the story of the Grinch (Christmas is more than "stuff"; it's about heart) and doesn't practice it in production. EVERYTHING is over done, even if it wasn't necessary. It was almost like they wanted to see how much money they could spend on making the movie, and gave Jim Carrey the green light to be as over-the-top as he wanted, and it just all feels forced. Plus, Max the dog sucked...


This movie saved Jingle All the Way from making this list. They were released at exactly the same time in 1996, so I can't help but compare the two. And Santa With Muscles is by far the worst. Which is no easy task. The reason I even saw it in the first place is because I was an incredibly hopeless pro-wrestling geek in the 90's so, anything that involved one of it's icons, I was going to give a shot. So here's the plot: Hulk Hogan plays a fugitive from justice who disguises himself in a Santa costume. After a blow to the head that knocks him silly, he regains consciousness only to believe that he is the jolly old elf himself. So he spends the rest of the movie doing good deeds and making up for his former lifestyle. I don't think I need to say anything else at this point.


There are three movies that I have ever walked out on before it was over:  First Knight, In and Out, and this little gem. I was 12, so I'm not even sure what in the world was going through my mind when I decided I wanted to see a movie about one of Santa's steeds being nursed back to health by a little girl, but it didn't take the full duration of it for me to regret it. I stood up, walked out mid-film, and, in the middle of December, walked home. The film may not be as bad as I remember it, and honestly I can't remember much about it, but from the 12-year-old critic inside of me, it's the worst holiday movie I've ever not finished.


Has anybody in the history of film benifited more from the big budget, star-studded, campy, generic comedies than Tim Allen? You've got Wild Hogs, you've got For Richer or Poorer, you've got Jungle 2 Jungle, and you've got this holiday stinker. Why, oh why did he feel like he needed to branch away from The Santa Clause franchise? I honestly don't remember even smiling one time during the whole thing. I mean, is it just me, or are Botox jokes in a Christmas movie as out of place as Samuel L. Jackson preaching at a Baptist church. The circumstances surrounding the film's premise just came off kind of stupid and a little erratic. It's basically about a couple who are trying to run from and avoid Christmas. Someone should have told Tim to do the same thing from this script.


I am already preparing for the backlash I'm going to get from putting this on the list, but I have to be true to myself and the readers, and I hate this movie. It's a Christmas movie about suicide. A Christmas movie..........about suicide. Aren't the holidays tough enough for some people? Now I know it has a happy ending, and I know that there is a touching, heart warming message. But it's a Christmas movie. About. Suicide. And I know it was the 40's, but there is enough cheese in this movie to supply Kirchoff's deli for a year.

I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners are the only thing from around this time period that I can compare it to, but neither one of them are this blatantly corny. And I don't like corny if it's unintentional. Also, is it just me, or is it a complete, unabashed rip off of Dickens' A Christmas Carol to have a "higher being" show you past, present, and future around Christmas time? "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings." Well, every time this movie is on, Allen gets an impulse to set his TV on fire.

So there they are. My 7 most despised films for the holidays. Hopefully your favorite is not on the list, but if it is, let me have it. I probably deserve it. And please feel free to add to the list in the comments. Or just let me know what you think. I limited my list to movies that had theatrical releases, but feel free to branch out to the made-for-TV awfulness. I'd love to hear about some of those too.

Oh, and MERRY CHRISTMAS from the whole WSF gang. We love ya!

7 Favorite Holiday Films

Every year around the holidays, Hollywood decides they are going to do us all a major solid and pump out a few festive films to make our Halloween candy a little sweeter, Thanksgiving dinner a little more filling, and Christmas presents more shiny and fun. Most of these movies are really, really awful, but some of them are downright unwatchable. However, over the years, there have been a few gems sift through the cracks of boring, mediocre cheesiness. I've put together a list of seven of my favorite holiday movies that I feel are the most enjoyable. And trust me, there ain't many...


Kevin McCallister became iconic for all kids in the late 80's/early 90's. He was a voice for those of us who are "tweeners" of Generation X and Y. He was smart, independent, sassy. He took on his bully brother. He took on his creepy uncle. He took on his fear of the furnace in the basement and of his terrifying neighbor. He took on the "Wet Bandits". Kevin was, for me, exactly how I wanted adults to see me as a kid. I'm not sure if he actually gave us more of a voice, but I definitely felt like he did. The script was clever, the story was solid, and there was just enough sappiness to keep the "reason for the season" theme relevant without being dominant. I watched it again this week with my 12-year-old daughter, and it still held up for her and for me.


One thing you will quickly learn about me, if you don't know already, is that I could possibly be the biggest geek fora really good "Bad A" movie. And there are few guys that have pulled it off as well as Bruce Willis as "John McClane". Any guy that can make the phrase "Yippee-ki-yay" that cool is going to be at the top of the list. Walking across the broken glass bare foot. Sending a "Ho Ho Ho" message in blood on the dead thug's sweat shirt. Talking "I killed your brother" smack to the baddest of the gang while he's LOSING the fight. Just writing this and thinking about all of these classic moments, I'm smiling. And for those that might be questioning whether or not this is an actual "holiday movie", Argyle listening to "Christmas in Hollis" by Run DMC in one of the movies opening scenes should seal it for you. If you still don't agree, then as Johnny McClane would tell you, "Lets see you take THIS under advisement, jerkweed."


This is easily the most quoted movie in my household. And it doesn't even matter if it's Christmas, July, at Wal-Mart, or in church, we wear the script of Christmas Vacation out! In my opinion, it's the best of the Vacation series. Cousin Eddy (Randy Quaid) is on his "A" game. Chevy Chase's physical comedy, which I believe is typically underrated, is impossible to overlook in this one, and it's at it's best. The demented, nutty old people are perfect caricatures of folks we've spent holidays with. If your family does not have a tradition to watch this one during the holidays, then this is the year to start one.


Here at Walk Softly Films, we love movies (obviously), but our go-to guy for the "horror" genre is definitely Todd. As youngsters, when we would all make the trek to Lexington to go to the comic book shop, Scott and I would go to pick up missing issues of our favorite super hero series. Todd would go to find any back issues of Fangoria that he may have missed somewhere down the line. The guy loves the scary stuff. I tell you that to say this: John Carpenter's Halloween is Todd's favorite horror film. And it's not hard to see why. Michael Myers is the perfect antogonist for a slasher movie: He's not over-the-top, fantastical like Freddy, not "un-killable" to the point of being silly like Jason. He's just realistic enough to be relative. But unstoppable enough to be frightening. Plus, he made a Bill Shatner mask scary. Ok, that's not a big stretch. Which makes it even MORE realistic...


I'm going to admit it, and I bet I'm not the only one, but on Christmas Eve, when TBS plays a 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story, our TV is tuned in to every waking moment of it. And we own the DVD. And there are those moments in the movie when, no matter what is going on around us, we all stop and watch it for the seventh or eighth time of the day. It never gets old. Every character in this movie is perfectly cast, and there are not very many movies you can say that about, period. But if/when I do a list of my favorite all-time cinematic characters, it will be tough to leave Darren McGavin's portrayal of "The Old Man" off the list. Everything he does throughout the entire film makes me smile, at least. If you have never done it, just take one run through of this movie and only watch him. Incredible performance in a holiday classic.


Hey, nobody said that the holiday movie had to take place during the typical "holiday season". I am a big Bill Murray fan. When he is at his Bill Murray best, it's two hours of bliss for me. And he brings it in Groundhog Day.

When the guy can take a scene where he commits a murder-suicide with a groundhog and make it not only enjoyable, not only funny, but stinking hilarious, then you know you are going to get a Murray blizzard of goodness. He makes you run the gambit of feelings toward his character,"Phil", where you hate him in the beginning, then feel indifferent towards him, then sympathize with him, until you finally love him. That's not easy to do in 100 minutes, and he makes it look pretty effortless. Add to that the fact that the script, although corny at times, delivers a solid, original, creative story, and we now have a reason to celebrate what is perhaps the most ridiculous holiday on the calendar.


There are only a handful of movies that I can honestly say have made enough impact on me to be "life altering" or "life changing". The Passion of the Christ is at the top of that short list. Before Mel Gibson went nuts, he delivered what historians (Christian and non-Christian) have said is an accurate depiction of what Jesus final day was probably like in graphic detail. And personally, as a believer, this film impacted me on so many different levels. We have made it an Easter tradition to watch it at my house, because I constantly want and need to be reminded of what those last hours entailed for Jesus so that it doesn't become generic or distant. And as much as I tried to relate to it before, it became a thousand times more real to me after seeing The Passion.

So there you have it. My top 7 budding roses in the boquet of weeds of holiday movies sprouting from the crapdom of the overdone and underthought. Let me know what you think. Disagree with any of them? Have any that you feel should be on the list? Use the comments section freely. Oh, and don't worry, a list of the worst of the worst is coming soon. So stay tuned.