Comic book fans are unquestioningly loyal. They will follow their favorite characters to every medium they appear in. Especially with movies, even when it’s clear it’s a bad movie, we still show up opening weekend. Seriously, how many people saw Batman & Robin opening weekend? The really odd thing is that after the film is out and we know it’s terrible, we still come back and watch it over and over again. Of course we do because it’s Superman, and no matter how awful everything is around him, we still want to see Superman flying over Metropolis. Or maybe we never get tired of watching Wolverine cut through bad guys.
Sometimes a movie is just straight up awful and we accept it and watch anyway because of a favorite scene or actor. Other times, it’s not a complete mess and there are salvageable moments that make a film worth coming back to. And then there are the ones that we can’t say no to because we’re just living off of nostalgia for a favorite toy, character or memory. The reasons are wise and varied, but what leads to are the bad superhero movies that we’re afraid to admit we love.
15 THE INCREDIBLE HULK
The Incredible Hulk isn’t a terrible movie, it just happens to be the most forgettable one in the MCU. As the second film in the franchise it was meant to introduce Bruce Banner/The Hulk into the universe and continue the build to The Avengers. It achieved all these goals, but had no overall lasting impact.
It also doesn’t help that Marvel changed Hulks and Edward Norton was replaced by Mark Ruffalo. Turns out the switch was obviously for the better, but watching a movie with a different actor keeps the audience from connecting back to it the way the can with the other Phase One movies. While The Incredible Hulk has no actual place in the current MCU, it’s still part of the franchise and does hold a few interesting Easter eggs.
14 THOR: THE DARK WORLD
Following The Avengers, most of Phase Two of the MCU was about how the team was coping post Battle of New York. Thor: The Dark World went back to Asgard, featured the mandatory shirtless Chris Hemsworth scene and finally made Thor and Jane an official couple. Yes, with all of that, the fight against villain Malekith was secondary to everything else happening in the movie. He’s one of the franchise’s weakest villains and really had no motivation past destroying everything.
These movies are all about the hero’s journey, but viewers also need to identify with the bad guy and understand their side of the story. It’s why Loki is able to stay so popular. Though Thor: The Dark World gets a bad rap from Marvel fans, it’s actually a funny movie that sets the stage for Thor becoming more comedic and seeing Thor and Loki on-screen together never gets old.
13 JUSTICE LEAGUE
Justice League is not nearly as terrible as all the stories about its underwhelming box office would have everyone think. However, it’s also not over the top great either. It essentially feels like two different movies stitched together. There are scenes where everyone is brooding and angry, then they have a big fight sequence, and suddenly everyone’s a comedian.
This split vision, along with some sketchy CGI, makes the film seem rushed and somewhat incomplete. There are moments in the movie where it feels like is has skipped a scene and the audience is missing out on some inside information. That being said, Justice League is able to balance all the characters and provide a fun two hours of action that fans can just relax and enjoy.
12 POWER RANGERS
For any kid who grew up in the 90s the idea of an updated Power Rangers movie was blasphemous. Yes, the original was ridiculous and dated, but it was ours and we didn’t want anyone messing with it. While the 2017 film featured teenagers battling more modern problems and less comical bad guys, it was still a good story about five kids from different lives, who had something special that made them the Power Rangers. Sure, the story doesn’t make a lot of sense and we don’t get to learn enough about the kids’ backgrounds, but they look cool in their CGI suits.
Power Rangers is not going to change the world or win a bunch of awards, but it is going to be a entertaining way to spend time at the movie theater. The nice mix of nostalgia and new was able to keep young and old fans happy.
11 SUPERMAN RETURNS
On the list of Superman movies, Superman Returns is certainly not the worst. That honor goes to Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. However, Superman Returns does have its fair share of problems. Chief among them Lex Luthor and his convoluted plan. Also, Lois Lane is watered down and not especially likeable. Capping it off is Superman’s not at all surprising son.
The film’s one saving grace is Brandon Routh as the Man of Steel. He was great at embodying Superman’s spirit of justice and his never give up attitude. All Superman movies live and die off of the portrayal of the Last Son of Krypton, so it’s truly amazing that Routh was so good he makes Superman Returns worth coming back to from time to time.
10 X-MEN: THE LAST STAND
X-Men: The Last Stand was so derided by fans, producers made Days of Future Past just to retcon it from the franchise. The film ruins Jean Grey with a lazy interpretation of her Phoenix powers. Professor X and Cyclops are very unceremoniously killed off, while Magneto and Mystique lose their powers for no apparent reason. It’s just an endless string of head-scratching decisions.
However, even at their worst the X-Men are the best team in comics and the film has a lot of cool moments featuring the the new X-Men and Magneto’s brotherhood. We also get glimpses of familiar mutants throughout the film. The mutant fight on Alcatraz alone is definitely cause to keep it in the playlist. It’s also interesting to see Wolverine finally step up and take a leadership role.
9 THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
Fans may not like The Amazing Spider-Man films, but the second one does provide some grown up moments for Spidey to overcome. Other than Uncle Ben’s death, the previous Spider-Man movies didn’t really allow the teenager to deal with the full consequences of being a hero. These were the films where Peter discovered it’s not always great to be the good guy. Sure the villains are ridiculous and unimportant, and the storyline is completely forgettable, but Andrew Garfield’s charming Peter Parker is able to make up for some of those deficiencies.
Garfield’s portrayal featured a full range of emotions and a balance between Peter and Spider-Man. His relationship with Gwen Stacy feels earned and real, not forced. In the end, it’s Garfield and Emma Stone that make this sequel better than the first and absolutely worth multiple viewings.
8 BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
Fans had been waiting a lifetime to finally see Batman and Superman face off on the big screen. And the movie debut of Wonder Woman had taken even longer. However, Batman v Superman was going to force them to wait a little longer, as none of those things happened until well into the third act. Audiences were sold on this film being the big screen introduction of the Justice League and it almost was, but not quite.
First of all, Ben Affleck shut down all the cynical fans and turned out to be a very impressive Batman. Henry Cavill’s Superman was still iffy, while Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was an instant hit. Unfortunately, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is unwatchable. He’s the movie equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. On the plus side, there’s enough Batman fight scenes and hints at Justice League to keep it interesting.
7 X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
The idea that audiences would finally get to find out how Logan becomes Wolverine was exciting and long overdue. Not only would we see how he got an adamantium skeleton, we would find out how he lost his memory. Sadly, X-Men Origins: Wolverine didn’t live up to any of the expectations fans had. Turns out, Sabretooth is his brother, Wolverine has a boring girlfriend and Cyclops is a teenager.
As with all X-Men films, Hugh Jackman’s never-ending charm is able to cover a multitude of sins. Without an ensemble of X-Men around him, Jackman carries the weight of the whole movie on his shoulders, doing everything he can to hide its flaws. It also gives viewers a very early beta test version of Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson. While the character isn’t great, it’s enough to show that he was the perfect choice when the real Deadpool movie came along.
6 FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER
The Fantastic Four hasn’t been given a fair shake on film. The best of its three big screen outings was probably Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and that’s not saying much. It was the second movie starring Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd, Michael Chiklis and Chris Evans as the first family of Marvel. As the title suggests, it also introduces the Silver Surfer. Without the ties of having to present an origin story, the movie was able to jump in to the group as established superheroes, which was more fascinating than the first one.
While the mid '00s films are widely despised, they are overall fun, somewhat light-hearted movies that don’t get enough credit for just being a good two hour escape. And at their core aren’t movies supposed to provide an entertaining escape from everyday life.
5 SUICIDE SQUAD
Suicide Squad was Warner Bros. first attempt at a team up movie. This time around the villains are put together to fight an even worse villain and it actually works on a few levels. Margot Robbie steals every scene as Harley Quinn and Will Smith returned to his familiar action/comedy stomping grounds to play Deadshot. Also Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller needs more DCEU screen time. These three carry the movie and make it a lot of fun.
Unfortunately, when they’re not on-screen, too much time is taken up by the stupid Enchantress story and the useless Joker. He’s arguably DC’s most popular villain and he has no bearing at all on the film. Despite all this, Smith’s banter and Robbie’s psychopathic glee make the film worth the effort of ignoring The Joker.
Before theaters exploded with comic book characters and before Ben Affleck was Batman, he was Matt Murdock/Daredevil. Affleck was at the height of his popularity when he took on the role, and the response was mixed at best. Fans of the character complained that he had been watered down for the film’s PG-13 rating. Despite the mixed reactions there are some good things to find in Daredevil.
The performances are quite good and with the exception of Colin Farrell’s Bullseye, all the main characters are well rounded people with believable motivations. The fight scenes are also well choreographed, laying the groundwork for what fans are seeing on-screen today. Perhaps the best part of the movie is its soundtrack, which always seems to fit perfectly. Even with the bad stigma and non-stop jokes, Daredevil remains a quality viewing experience.
3 THE PHANTOM
One of the hardest things about making a comic book movie is making it look like a comic book come to life without making everything look cheesy. Tim Burton brilliantly balanced it in Batman, while Joel Schumacher went the other way in his sequels. In the 1996 film The Phantom the pendulum swings between the two depending on what the setting is. It does tend to spend more time on the cheesy side, with some incredibly over the top performances.
Even with all the cheese factored in, there’s something charming about the way the movie stays faithful to its classic comic strip origins. A younger Billy Zane is instantly captivating as Kit Walker/The Phantom. He never loses the audience’s interest and holds things together when the plot goes miles over the top. In the end, it’s really Zane who keeps The Phantom immensely enjoyable over 20 years later.
2 MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS: THE MOVIE
At the height of their popularity it was only natural that TV’s Power Rangers would get a movie. When the Rangers needed new powers to fight a stronger enemy, they had to go on an epic adventure to prove themselves. While it would seem like a larger movie budget would lead to better effects and bigger stunts, in fact the movie keeps the ridiculously cheesy appeal of the TV show. The monsters are still just a stunt person in a rubber suit, the jokes are painfully juvenile and everything culminates in a giant robot fight.
Here’s the thing, diehard fans don’t care. There’s no secret weapon or undeniable element that makes the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers timeless. It’s just pure unadulterated nostalgia. One of the best things about the release of the new Power Rangers movie was that it brought the classic show back into the pop culture mix.
The popularity of Christopher Reeve’s Superman movies led to the inevitable spinoff starring his cousin Supergirl. Released in 1984, Supergirl is an unapologetically 80s movie. Helen Slater was an inspiration to little girls everywhere, who finally felt they had a hero. She was just as powerful as Superman, plus she had hair that always looked perfect. She is really the only redeeming quality in the film.
The movie itself is filled with a crazy amount of overacting from actual Hollywood legends. Peter O’Toole and Faye Dunaway just tear up the screen with their scenery chewing and now 35 years later it’s so hilariously bad, it’s good. Though some would like to forget about Supergirl, it’s still entertaining and 100% worth every minute spent watching.