Everything from eating an entire quart of cookie dough ice cream to loving country music can be described by most to be a guilty pleasure. It’s something that most people find to be wrong or terrible that you just can’t help but get behind and fall in love with every time you see or do it. When it comes to movies, though, especially of the superhero genre, people tend to be mostly unforgiving. There are those few, however, that will defend to the death the Star Wars prequels, pop open a can of spinach to watch Popeye and jump down a pipe with the Super Mario Bros.
These are the films we will be celebrating today. From a critically-reviewed failure to a much too close to the original sequel and from a silent anti-hero to a talking duck who should never again see the light of day, we honor here the top superhero movies that you adore, but the rest of us can’t stand! The pain most people feel when they watch these can be almost palpable, but others of us simply can’t wait to dive in head-first, no matter how much it may hurt.
15. SUICIDE SQUAD
To be completely honest, Suicide Squad is here only because of the terrible reviews that it was getting from critics. This movie, to a very large number of its intended fanbase, was exactly what we were looking for in a movie involving the lethal band of brain-bombed villains. For some odd reason, though, the critics just didn’t have anything really nice to say about it.
But then, when people took to theaters themselves and made their own decisions, the reviews on websites such as Rotten Tomatoes took a complete upturn. The people, for the most part, really enjoyed the film — which is so often the case with films intended to be popcorn flicks. Even the issues people had over casting seemed to be overshadowed by the enjoyment of this simple, silly movie, however flawed it may have been.
14. THE PUNISHER ‘89
Yes, this happened. Yes, most of us try to forget about it. Of course, some people aren’t even aware that this existed in the first place. The first solo outing of Marvel’s gun-toting anti-hero starred Dolph Lundgren and was made to be a pretty straightforward action movie. The problem with that, of course, is that there was a pretty bad story to go along with it, as well as a Punisher who really didn’t say a whole lot.
With that being said, this is a movie for anyone who wants a complete experience of Marvel movies from their earliest incarnations to the current MCU. Anyone who enjoys watching a big burly guy shooting people and not much else is sure to love it and be much more enriched for the experience.
13. NICK FURY: AGENT OF SHIELD
One of the things that David Hasselhoff did aside from Baywatch was play the highest-ranking agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. there ever was, Nick Fury. While Hasselhoff is quick to remind people that Stan Lee himself said that he was the perfect Nick, most folks simply like to forget that it ever happened. That’s not to say that the movie was particularly bad, it’s just that it was born under a bad sign, from a time when Marvel could do nothing right.
The movie was released as a straight to TV flick on Fox that was intended to be used to generate interest for them to create a spinoff television show. The biggest problem with it was that the show couldn’t decide whether to take itself seriously or not, which helped drive the nails in its coffin for all but the most die-hard Fury fans.
12. SPIDER-MAN 3
Spider-Man is one of the, if not THE most popular superheroes on the face of the Earth. With that being said, Spider-Man 3 is one of the most despised pieces of superhero cinema in most circles, only being edged out on most occasions by Batman and Robin or Howard the Duck. After the success of Spider-Man and then the amazing sequel Spider-Man 2, audience members were all too quick to run to the theaters to see the newest installment to Sam Raimi’s franchise.
Unfortunately, most people left very upset about the whole situation. Topher Grace’s Venom was lackluster to put it mildly, “New” Goblin was whiney and Emo-Parker strutting down the streets of New York was soul crushing. However, there are those who can look past all of that to see the underlying story of friendship, as well as the awesome performance given by Thomas Hayden Church as Sandman.
11. BATMAN V. SUPERMAN
This one is a pretty big toss-up depending on who you ask. Some love this movie and think it’s the greatest off all superhero movies, while others think it’s a steaming pile. While an outside observer can look objectively and see both sides of the argument, it is clear that each has good points and we should all be able to get along. Well, either that, or we should at least be allowed to watch the movie alone without getting exiled from our group of friends.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, to the people that truly enjoy it. is seen for what it is; the first time Batman and Superman have ever been together on screen, made all the better for the fact that they actually throw down! The rest of it will thrill or not depending on which scene is currently on, but we can never take it away from this film that it at least gave us what it said in the title. And that’s got to count for something!
While not the worst thing in the world, Hulk suffered mostly from trying to do too much. Eric Bana was not the worst choice in the world for Banner and truthfully he played the part well. The issues with this came from a Hulk who got bigger and bigger the more he got shot and Nick Nolte turning into an evil lightning storm that Hulk was somehow able to punch. So, in many ways, it was radioactively inconsistent.
We can all sit back and enjoy the ride, though, because of things like the comic book panel frames on the screen that permeate the movie, as well as the sheer look of terror on Josh Lucas’ face when he realized that the foam wasn’t going to hold back Hulk from trashing everything. It was these little hits that make the film at very least watchable.
9. JUDGE DREDD
STALLONE IS THE LAW! And whether we like it or not, this movie evokes a sort of love-hate relationship. When they take Dredd and all of his violence and dumb it down to some shooting and cursing, which should have only received a PG-13 rating if not for one extra f-bomb, you get an okay movie… just not a good Judge Dredd movie. Throw in the mix a dash of Rob Schneider as a sidekick and it just gets kind of weird… and yeah, kinda bad.
However, it’s definitely funny if for no other reason than to watch Rob Schneider practically pee himself in just about every scene, as Sly just gives everyone his thousand-yard stare before murdering them. It’s also fun to see the guns, vehicles and costumes that obviously had a lot of work put into them, ripped, as many were, straight from the comic!
8. FANATASTIC 4 (2005)
Probably a lot of people will be asking why this version of Fantastic Four is on the list and not the more recent adaptation. There is one simple reason behind that, good audience: this movie actually had redeemable qualities that people enjoyed — the other one, not so much. While the casting of some of the characters wasn’t exactly spot-on, the story was enjoyable and the pre-Captain America Chris Evans played the wise-cracking Johnny Storm to perfection.
While some viewers do still have all kinds of complaints about the movie for a range of different issues, Marvel’s first family could have been done a whole lot worse… as they were in 2015. So, we can all sit back with a bucket of popcorn and watch the Thing get shaving cream in the face with a smile, because hey, it wasn’t that bad… comparatively speaking, anyway.
Spawn was another film that wasn’t all that bad at the time of its release. It looked cool, the portrayal of the character was well done and the visuals were good (at the time). With that being said, in terms of aging, the movie hasn’t done all that well. These days, the movie looks an old Playstation 2 game in terms of graphics, and a lot of it just comes across the wrong way when being viewed by a newer audience.
The fun with Spawn comes from getting to see the badass armor shoot out its iconic chains and flowing red cape that would make even the highest of popped collars jealous. Just as with BvS and Fantastic Four, we simply can’t take away the fact that this was the first chance the character got to be onscreen, and for that alone, we will forever be grateful!
6. SUPERMAN RETURNS
In some ways, Superman Returns was copied from the original Christopher Reeve Superman, or was at least a love letter to it. This, in tandem with the casting of Brandon Routh in the lead role, is what killed the movie for a lot of audiences. While it wasn’t actually a bad film, people felt that it drew far too much influence from the original movie; so much so that it seemed way too similar.
That being said, the movie did have some of the best elements of a Superman flick. One such instance is the casting of Kevin Spacey, who was possibly the best version of Lex Luthor that has been on any screen. The pure joy that he took when creating the land with Kryptonite and then the malice shown as he stabs Superman in the back is exactly what we need from the character, and that alone saves the movie from being worthless.
5. BATMAN AND ROBIN
It has been pointed out many times how people just love to hate Batman and Robin. Everything from the casting to the ice puns, the story and the Bat-nipples, always seems to make people flare up in anger at the very mention of it. This does not mean, however, that it is completely unloved or without merit.
In some opinions, George Clooney was the perfect balance of Bruce Wayne and Batman. However, the ice puns made them feel like they had found their place in this cold, cruel world. Also, the fact that the always great-to-see Uma Thurman played Poison Ivy really helped to turn up the heat. Whether we like it or not, Batman and Robin happened, and as much as it is an unpopular opinion to have, it was an enjoyable ride.
While our most recent version of the character brought to life by Charlie Cox in Netflix’s Daredevil is the character we deserve, Ban Affleck’s original portrayal of the character is the one that we first got. While critically panned and downright despised by most, we got to see an interpretation of the character that really resonated with some and offered up, if nothing else, a few possibilities that could be done with The Man Without Fear on film.
Daredevil had a decent story, was well-cast and had plenty of good fight sequences; it just got hung up on trying way too hard to be Batman. Well, that and the fact that Bullseye was pretty embarrassing with that imprint on his forehead and his manic personality. Still, it was fun to see the playground fight, some of its larger set pieces and Michael Clarke Duncan really knocking his role of the Kingpin out of the park!
3. GHOST RIDER
The always over-the-top Nicholas Cage was not a completely bad choice to star in this one. The movie centered on Johnny Blaze as he sacrificed his soul to save the life of his motorcycle daredevil father, only to have him torn away. Years later, Johnny is given the power to fight the devil’s enemies by becoming the Ghost Rider.
The first movie of the Ghost Rider franchise earns a place as a guilty pleasure because, unlike its sequel, it actually has some redeemable qualities. As we said before, Nicholas Cage wasn’t a bad choice for Johnny; the action sequences, while short, were pretty darn cool and the bike was enough to make the movie enjoyable all on its own. Plus, there were no idiotic dream sequences about flamethrower pee.
2. HOWARD THE DUCK
Howard the Duck is a movie that combines live-action film with the dimension hopping antics of a somehow loveable talking duck who is forced to become the hero by movies end. With beloved 80’s movie icon Lea Thompson as the cross-species love interest, there’s no way it could be all bad, right?
Most people refer to this movie as a couple of hours of their lives that they will never get back. There are, on the other hand, some that love this movie for all of its 1980’s nostalgia and duck boobs. The story is weird, the characters completely mismatched and all in all was a complete and utter failure of cinema. Some find a silver lining in there somewhere, but where? Honestly, we’re not really sure… but we’re also not here to judge!
1. GREEN LANTERN
Green Lantern is one of the most hated superhero movies that has been released both by fans as well as the critics. While the casting for Hal Jordan was well done in using Ryan Reynolds, the rest of the movie seemed to fall apart for most audience members. Some fans, on the other hand, were able to look past the movie’s issues to be able to accept it for what it was: the first time Green Lantern was on the silver screen!
Through the crap of Parallax being an evil space cloud made out of a Guardian, we were still given all of the aspects we would expect from Hal Jordan as he is learning to be his best with his ring and his duty. The constructs looked very cool and his frenemy, Sinestro, at least made us hope that if a sequel did happen, we would have a badass villain we could get behind. Alas, we shall never know!
What was your guilty superhero movie pleasure? Let us know in the comments!
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