DC’s movie history isn’t exactly great. While we’ve had some great films like The Dark Knight and Superman II, the truth is that those entries are few and far between. More often than not, the company has screwed up their lasting characters and have become a bit of a laughing stock among the public. Thankfully, it seems they’re turning things around with Wonder Woman and the upcoming Justice League. Before they were able to generate hype for their projects, DC had come out with numerous movies that failed to meet expectations.
The result is that many projects ended up being forgotten or ignored altogether by the company (and we’re not even including the animated films or DCEU in this). Unfortunately, we still remember and cringe at what used to be on the big screen. What makes a lot of these entries more painful is the fact that they had the potential to be legendary. They were adapting characters and storylines that did well in the comics, but had so little thought put into them, that they made for terrible movies. We’ll be opening DC’s skeleton closet as we look at some of the worst movies they’ve ever made. Again, don’t expect entries like Batman: The Killing Joke or Suicide Squad on this list.
15. BATMAN FOREVER
If you think Batman and Robin introduced the Bat-Nipples, you’d be dead wrong. It was actually Batman Forever that put the Bat-Nipples and many other disastrous cinematic choices on the screen first. It was Joel Schumacher’s first project starring the Dark Knight, so what did you expect?
Batman Forever does have a saving grace in the form of Jim Carrey’s Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones’s Two Face, but even they can’t save the utter schlock of this film. Val Kilmer lacks the interesting persona of Batman, and Chris O’Donnell is still a pain every time he says something. It’s clear what Schumacher was going for here, but he failed in most ways. It’s a wonder that he was able to return for a second time.
14. THE LOSERS
This 2010 comedy action film was based on a comic series published by Vertigo (a subset of DC). The irony here is that of the six main characters, three of them were played by actors who were big characters in the MCU (Chris Evans, Zoe Saldana, and Idris Elba). However, that could’ve served to the film’s benefit and helped to create a campy yet fun time.
Obviously, the film didn’t succeed. While it was praised for some of its humor, The Losers seems tone deaf to what actually makes an action comedy like Tropic Thunder succeed. It’s loud, boisterous, and devoid of any depth or purpose. It’s not the worst thing ever DC has put on the big screen — it just feels like nobody was trying when crafting this film.
13. GREEN LANTERN
After Marvel had launched their Cinematic Universe, DC knew they wanted a piece of the action. They decided to take a fairly unknown hero of theirs, Green Lantern, and give him a solo movie that would’ve hopefully launched a series of phenomenal stories about DC’s pantheon. As Deadpool will tell you though, this movie isn’t worth your time.
First off, Ryan Reynolds starred as Hal Jordan, a casting choice that wasn’t very well thought out. Second of all, it practically copies from other superhero movies that came out at the time. Finally, it too heavily relied on CGI that not only looked bad, but was in places where it should’ve been absent. The Green Lantern suit was entirely CG — even the mask itself. The people behind this project were clearly trying too hard to make a great action superhero movie.
John Constantine will never stop being an interesting character. Being nothing but a normal man who got sucked into the dark arts, there is a lot to get behind when reading more about his stories. It makes all too much sense that he would eventually get his own film. That being said, the Constantine film was lackluster and vastly outclassed by the show of the same name that came out several years later.
Where does Constantine falter? That’s easy. The film removes a lot of the source material from the Hellblazer comic to instead tell a story that they believe audiences will find more engaging. Placing Keanu Reeves in the role of Constantine was a step in the right direction, but even he couldn’t save this film from being overstuffed, cheesy, and eye-rolling from start to finish.
11. BATMAN AND ROBIN
You all knew this one was coming at some point. After Tim Burton put Batman back on the map with Batman and Batman Returns, Joel Schumacher wanted to bring him back to his campier roots when Adam West played him. This led to a nearly three hour film that was convoluted, cringey, poorly acted, and everything else in between.
Of all its problems, Batman and Robin doesn’t focus on one particular thing. It tries to give Batman an arc while introducing Batgirl and dealing with three villains at the same time while Alfred also has some health issues, etc. It attempts to do so much that everything gets shafted in the process. Keep in mind that it’s all set to a campy tone and ridiculous set pieces. It really is the worst Batman movie.
10. SUPERMAN III
After the beauties that were Superman and Superman II, there were some other people who headed the series and wanted to continue the saga. Without the proper vision for the character, the next two movies weren’t very good. It all starts with the slogfest that was Superman III.
Right off the bat, this film has Lois Lane for all but one minute, making the entire project feel detached from the rest of the series. Then, instead of having a powerful villain like Lex Luthor or General Zod, we get some inventor guy who lost control of his creation (never seen that in a film before). Couple that with effects that were worse than the past two films, and you have yourself a movie that is worth skipping.
9. SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE
Tackling these in a one-two punch is the only way to go, because Superman IV‘s quality is directly referential to Superman III. How does this work? Well the people who made the former didn’t learn from their mistakes and somehow made the last instalment even worse in the end.
Superman IV is chock full of plot holes, stupid logic, and moments that will make you scratch your head (Lex Luthor should not have been able to cut Superman’s hair). As if that weren’t bad enough, the movie’s effects this time around are even worse, and they introduce a new villain called Nuclear Man, who’s every bit as dumb as you’d think. The action is bad. The acting is bad. The story is bad. And everything else about this movie is bad.
8. BATMAN: THE MOVIE (1966)
We know that the ’60s Batman show is a classic and there are still fans of it to this day (us included). However, when looking at Batman: The Movie as a whole, it’s clear that it too has a lot of problems and contrivances that stop it from being an objectively good project.
Each and every character is intentionally at their campiest, meaning there will be a red spot on your forehead by the time the film is done. The effects are what you’d expect for a movie that came out in the ’60s, and there are four villains in total who try to foil the Caped Crusader (which is a bit too much for the time). It’s still a lot of fun to watch, but with moments that don’t hold up well, it’s hard to rave about Batman: The Movie.
7. STAMP DAY FOR SUPERMAN
Do you like Superman? What about him never using powers? What about him instead trying to sell you bonds? Yes? Well, if that’s the case, then check out Stamp Day for Superman! It has everything you could want! Superman catches a robber and educates him about the importance of saving his money through savings bonds! The action! The suspense! It’s the whole package!
In all seriousness, there’s no reason why this needed to made. The United States Department of the Treasury created it because they thought it would get kids interested in savings bonds. Even as an educational production, it fails, because it talks down to its audience and doesn’t have any of the interesting parts of a traditional superhero film. It only lasts 20 minutes, but that’s a bit too long if you ask us.
The 2000’s were a terrible time for comic book films. Everything had to be over-the-top, ridiculous, and devoid of any redeeming aspects that were present in the comics. If you need further proof, we give to you Catwoman. This movie, which came out in 2004, stars Halle Berry as
Selina Kyle Patience Philips. Patience finds out about a sinister plot being constructed by the cosmetics company that she works at, and the game is a foot. After an accident causes her to fall in a pier, some mystical Egyptian cats save her and give her actual cat powers (unlike the real Catwoman).
If those changes aren’t enough to make you turn away, then how about the fact that Catwoman’s costume and acting are terrible? No? What if I told about how abysmal the CGI was? The point here is that there isn’t anything that saves this movie. It’s a complete and utter piece of garbage.
In a time where it’s difficult to find superhero movies having a female role, Supergirl was the first one to do so all the way back in 1984. It’s a shame, then, that the film turned out to be so incredibly bad. Currently holding a mere 7% on Rotten Tomatoes, Supergirl remains one of the worst-rated superhero movies of all time.
The film is every bit as campy as you’d expect, but it’s to the point where it becomes grating and painful rather than amusing. Coupling this with some effects that were purely unacceptable for the time, and Supergirl was panned by critics everywhere. It was also nominated for not one but two different Razzie awards for Worst Actor and Worst Actress. Still want to watch the first female superhero movie?
4. JONAH HEX
Jonah Hex is an outlaw with a tortured past. Being a character based in the Wild West, it has led to some interesting stories that one would think would be easy to translate over to the big screen. All one would have to do is emulate a Western, but with Jonah Hex and his baggage.
Yet, the Jonah Hex film proves us wrong. Coming out in 2010, it was evident that this project was rushed, incomplete, and lacked quality. While good pacing in a movie is difficult to define, Jonah Hex doesn’t have it — leaping from one plot point to another without any rhyme or reason. Despite having some great actors like Josh Brolin and Michael Fassbender, nobody knew how to handle the character with this film. Fans of Hex should just watch Legends of Tomorrow.
3. THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING
If we had to point to one big mistake in The Return of Swamp Thing, it’s that Jim Wynorski was chosen to direct. This man was more famed for his work and parodies and erotic thrillers than actually coming up with anything brilliant, and that shows in this movie. Being a sequel to the sci-fi horror that was Swamp Thing, this movie lacks any of the redeeming qualities of its predecessor.
The Return of Swamp Thing tries so hard to convince you that it’s funny, and the short answer is that we can’t help but twinge at how it presents itself. Get this — there’s even a scene where the leading lady eats a piece of Swamp Thing and then the two of them hallucinate actually consummating their relationship where the monster in question is human. We’re not making this up.
There are times when superhero movies are trying to create something revolutionary, and there are others when they try to pander to audiences. Guess which route Steel took. This film stars Shaquille O’Neal as a hero named Steel, who was originally a supporting character in the Superman comics. Why they chose this hero for his own film, we’ll never know.
Having Shaq as the main star was clearly a poor decision, as his acting is every bit as painful as you’d think. On top of that, the campiness is maxed out to an eleven, to the point where it’s not even the least bit charming. Furthermore, the filmmakers took many liberties when adapting the character, such as creating original antagonists for the story. It’s like they were trying to upset DC fans.
1. THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN
What happens when you take Dorian Grey, Captain Nemo, Tom Sawyer, and Dr. Jekyll and put them as a team of Victorian Era superheroes? A really crappy action movie. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was intended as a franchise involving fictionally historic heroes working together to stop even more referential threats. One film was as far as the franchise ever got.
While if done correctly, this film could’ve been an enjoyable action film — after all, it had the ridiculous premise to boot. It’s not long, though, before it veers off into mediocre territory, incorporating muddled scenes, dumb character arcs, and boring plot points. All of the focus went into the premise and the action scenes. Had more care been put into it, this film could’ve had a spot on a different list.
Did you actually like any of these films? Let us know in the comments section!
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