DC has been known for creating some of the most iconic characters in pop culture history. Naturally, the comic book publisher worked with a lot of studios to create films based on these heroes and villains. While some have been praised for their interpretations of Batman, Joker, and Superman, there were others that didn't receive the praise DC was looking for. A lot of the complaints came down to how the films portrayed their characters, whether they were inaccurate to the core of the character or were just poorly written altogether.
Despite the debates that went on about how DC films depicted certain characters, time has proven unkind to them overall. Most look back with disdain about how movies like Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Green Lantern, and Batman and Robin each put popular characters on the big screen. Because they're insistent on creating a series of films that people can get invested in, DC has essentially ignored the existence of many of its characters in film, likely hoping that everyone else will forget about them too. Moving forward, they've essentially rebranded the DCEU as Worlds of DC in the hopes that they have more standalone stories with much more exciting characters. While there have been some astounding DC movies with excellent versions of their popular superheroes, many others haven't had the same luck. With all of the DC movies that fans and critics didn't like, there are at least 20 characters that the comic publisher wants everyone to forget.
20 NUCLEAR MAN (SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE)
After the first two Superman movies with Christopher Reeve, the franchise went downhill. Superman III was far from the sequel that fans wanted, but Superman IV was the tip of the iceberg. Inconsistent logic and characters were just the tips of the iceberg.
The biggest problem came down to the final confrontation between Superman and the Lex Luthor-created Nuclear Man, who was unique to the film. Not only was his design bizarre and awkward, but he had a strange grab bag of powers. It all came together with a fight scene that belonged more on a Saturday morning cartoon than an actual superhero film.
19 LEX LUTHOR (BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE)
While there were (and still are) many people who will defend Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the movie hasn't proven as successful as DC and Warner Bros wanted it to be. One of the major complaints of the movie came down to Jesse Eisenberg's performance as Lex Luthor. The issue was that he resembled Lex Luthor only in name, being so quirky and out there that he felt more akin to the Joker than any Superman foe.
He also had a strange progression throughout the film, leading to a final confrontation that just felt weak by comparison. Many people wanted a more accurate and sinister Lex Luthor than what we got.
18 STEPPENWOLF (JUSTICE LEAGUE)
While the heroes in Justice League weren't all bad, there is no redeeming the main villain, Steppenwolf. This big, gray CGI monster has no unique qualities or elements that make him stand out as an antagonist. He's little more than a dude who wants a box and the heroes have to stop him -- he's just a plot device and nothing else.
Perhaps the worst element of the character was his design. Not only was he an ugly color, not standing out against any scene that he was in, but he was also poorly rendered. Despite being in a movie in 2017, Steppenwolf looked more like a character from an Xbox 360 game.
17 ROBIN (BATMAN AND ROBIN)
Robin hasn't had nearly as much time on screen as his mentor. That said, there were a few times when the Boy Wonder got his chance alongside Batman. Other than Burt Ward, there was Chris O'Donnell in Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. However, it says a lot that Robin hasn't been used in the films after that point.
The problem was that Robin was such an annoying character, constantly making jokes that didn't make any sense, and trying to force conflict with Batman. He was also the source of many of the latter film's worst lines, which made him one of the worst parts about the movie.
16 GUS GORMAN (SUPERMAN III)
If you're wondering who Gus Gorman is, you're not alone. After the iconic showdown between Superman and General Zod in Superman II, fans wondered how it was going to escalate in Superman III. Instead of pitting the Man of Steel against a clear antagonist, the movie used a supercomputer to fight him.
That supercomputer was created by office man Gus Gorman, who was played by Richard Pryor (which still has everyone scratching their heads). Gorman proved to be a severely uninteresting character, having none of the depth and care that the Man of Steel's other foes benefitted from. It was the beginning of the end for a cinematic Superman.
15 ENCHANTRESS (SUICIDE SQUAD)
If there was one big problem with the DCEU movies before they were rebranded, it's that they kept making the same mistakes. None of them had any interesting villains, and it started to get grating with Enchantress in Suicide Squad. While the character of June Moone had a couple of visually unique scenes, she lost any redeeming quality when she completely turned into a villain.
Enchantress was often mocked for waving her arms around like some sort of psychotic hula dancer. This was set around some ugly CGI and a plan that involved a beam shooting into the sky. One would think that Warner Bros would've known better by that point.
14 PARALLAX (GREEN LANTERN)
If you've never seen the Green Lantern movie, that's probably for the best. There were many things wrong with the film, and the antagonist was certainly one of them. Parallax was essentially fear itself, and couldn't be defeated even by the Green Lantern Corps. None of their constructs were powerful enough to end him.
For the movie, he was turned into a sinister cloud that had a beef with Hal Jordan. To make matters worse, the writers decided to leave the building for the final battle and allow Parallax to be defeated by getting punched straight into the sun. It should've been much easier to create a threatening foe using one of DC's more frightening villains.
13 DOOMSDAY (BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE)
Doomsday is one of the most iconic DC villains, being the one responsible for the demise of Superman. Since then, fans have wondered when they were going to get the monstrous titan on the big screen. That finally came in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and there was so much left to be desired.
Doomsday began the trend of DC movies having poorly-rendered, gray villains. Not only was his design negatively altered from the comics, but he was also little more than something for the Trinity to fight. He had an inconsistent set of powers and was just ugly to watch. He was responsible for ending Superman in the movie, but it had zero emotion behind it.
12 MR. FREEZE (BATMAN AND ROBIN)
Whoever thought Arnold Schwarzenegger was a great casting choice for Mr. Freeze was only right for the memes that would arrive years later. Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin was every bit as painful to watch as the rest of the cast. He was a character full of ice-related puns, and they started to get old quickly.
Couple that with a design that was over-the-top in every way, and he certainly left a big impression. However, without any great writing or character development, there was no way to take him seriously. Furthermore, using a character like Mr. Freeze on the big screen was always going to be difficult, and leaning into the weirdness of the comics wasn't the right move.
11 SUPERMAN (SUPERMAN RETURNS)
There have been a few actors to portray Superman on the big screen. With Superman Returns, Warner Bros was trying to right the wrongs of Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace by rebooting the franchise with a sequel to Superman II and Brandon Routh was cast as the Man of Steel.
While he looked vaguely like Christopher Reeve, he didn't bring a whole lot to the table as Superman. However, the greatest crime was that the movie portrayed Superman like some sort of deadbeat father, having left the Earth for years despite having a son who grew up without him.
10 TWO- FACE (BATMAN FOREVER)
There was a fundamental problem with Two-Face in Batman Forever. The character and the Riddler beside him were both built up to be these campy, overacted characters with wacky personas and wackier dialogue. However, the film cast Tommy Lee Jones, one of Hollywood's most serious actors, as Two-Face.
Both he and Carrey are constantly trying to one-up each other for their over-the-top acting skills. The big difference is that overacting is exactly Jim Carrey's whole shtick, while it's not Tommy Lee Jones'. The result is a Batman film that made a lot more money than it deserved with a vastly inferior version of Two-Face.
9 JONAH HEX (JONAH HEX)
The Jonah Hex movie is plain weird. While it should've been easy just by taking inspiration from well-directed western films and having Josh Brolin in the titular role, it was still a flop critically and commercially. The character himself wasn't all that interesting and he was poorly-developed, never letting the audience in on what he was feeling or thinking.
There is no reason to root for him other than the fact that he's the main character. It all gets even weirder when the climax of a western film involves the leader of the free world and an attack on a famous building. Yeah, it doesn't make much sense to us either.
8 SUPERGIRL (SUPERGIRL)
There was a movie about Supergirl done in 1984 and this may be the only time you ever hear about it. While the intention was to have a spin-off that was connected to the Christopher Reeve Superman franchise, it didn't quite pan out that way.
It still technically takes place in the same universe, but it feels more like a spiritual successor to Superman IV than a companion to Superman: The Movie. One of the problems is Supergirl herself, who isn't as diverse or charming as the Man of Steel. Watching her awkwardly bat her eyes and fly around aimlessly is far from enough to hold an audience for an hour and a half.
7 RICK FLAG (SUICIDE SQUAD)
Rick Flag was the moral compass in Suicide Squad. In a team filled with criminals, he seemed to be the only one who had any sort of good in his heart. The problem with Rick Flag is that there was serious potential to turn him into the heart and soul of the movie. Much like the rest of the film, Flag's potential was never fully utilized.
We're constantly told about how much he loves June Moone, but we never feel it. The end result is a character that is only there because he has to be. He's strictly one-dimensional, with the film more concerned in trying to develop the backstories of Deadshot and Harley Quinn.
6 TALIA AL GHUL (THE DARK KNIGHT RISES)
Ra's al Ghul was the antagonist of Batman Begins, both helping create and destroy the Batman. However, Bruce's past came back to haunt him in The Dark Knight Rises, with Ghul's daughter, Talia, coming to Gotham and working with Bane.
She was far from an interesting character and definitely played second fiddle to the main antagonist, Bane (though her reveal turned Bane from a dictatorial super soldier into some sort of lovesick puppy). Her connection to Bruce felt manufactured and without any proper buildup. Topping that all off is the fact that she had one of the most awkward final scenes in movie history.
5 GREEN LANTERN (GREEN LANTERN)
Both Deadpool movies have a lot of jokes, and most of them are at the expense of the Green Lantern film. A critical flop in every way, Green Lantern wasn't the start of a cinematic universe that Warner Bros and DC wanted. A lot of it comes back to Ryan Reynolds' Hal Jordan.
The problem was that Warner Bros largely ignored the direction of the character in the comics in favor of something that felt a lot more formulaic. Instead of a noble space cop, Jordan was an egotistical playboy who suddenly got wrapped up in some sort of crusade to save the world and stop Parallax.
4 BATGIRL (BATMAN AND ROBIN)
Batgirl appeared in a movie, and it makes sense why she hasn't appeared since. Her role in Batman and Robin was so spontaneous and awkward that it was cited as another reason why the movie flopped. Despite Alicia Silverstone being the "it" girl at the time, her role as Batgirl didn't do her or the movie any favors.
She didn't appear until about halfway through the film and was every bit as cheesy and awkward as the rest of the cast. The entire time she's in the movie, she seems like she doesn't want to be there, having a robotic voice and a formulaic arc.
3 CATWOMAN (CATWOMAN)
While a Catwoman movie doesn't seem like an awful idea, the way it was handled in 2004 was an example of how not to use a popular comic book character. The Catwoman movie did everything wrong, and a lot of it comes down to Halle Berry's Catwoman. Selina Kyle was ditched for Patience Phillips, who worked in the fashion industry (definitely more interesting).
As she turned into Catwoman, she was given a costume that was a reflection of the times. That's not the worst of it, though. She gave rise to some of the worst scenes in cinema history and if you've seen the basketball scene, you know what we're talking about.
2 STEEL (STEEL)
Steel is not a good movie. Based on a character from the comics inspired to become a hero by Superman, none of that legacy is present in the film. After all, they cast Shaquille O'Neal as the titular character, and the film seems much more interested in selling his basketball presence than becoming an actual superhero.
To make matters worse, when he does become a superhero, it's every bit as laughable as you'd expect. The movie brought in all sorts of original characters to work around selling Shaq as a person rather than the character he was playing in the film.
1 BANE (BATMAN AND ROBIN)
Just about every character in Batman and Robin deserves to be on this list, but Bane deserves it for one special reason: everything that made him interesting in the comics was taken away for the movie. While he was known for being strong and intelligent, coming up with plans that resulted in him destroying the Batman, he was nothing more than hired muscle in Batman and Robin.
He never says any words and instead just grunts a lot. They also tried to disguise him in the movie by giving him a coat and a fedora. Nothing about that movie makes sense, and the way it treated Bane was one of the worst things about it.