There might not be a more maligned comic book union right now than DC Comics and Warner Bros. Thanks to the fan rumblings based on the portrayals of Batman and Superman in the new DCEU, these films might be the most polarizing superhero movies of all time. If anything, Warner Bros. is learning how venomous comic book fans can be if you piss them off. When a company like DC Comics upsets, or outright infuriates its fans, it is easier than ever for said fans to express anger online when a movie ruins what was once a beloved and treasured character.
However, this isn’t just a problem with the DCEU. For many years now, fans have placed comic book companies in their cross-hairs when something wrong happens with their favorite characters. Stretching back to the original Superman franchise, there are moments where fans start to seethe and want to lash out at the movie studios. Whether Batman and Superman act against the principles that defined them or the movie studios cast bad actors to portray beloved roles, these are the moments that can doom a movie to instant failure. Here, then, are 15 times that DC movies royally pissed off fans.
15 BATMAN KILLS
What is interesting about the fan anger concerning Batman killing people in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is that this isn’t something new. Joker, Penguin and Max Shreck all died in the first two Tim Burton Batman movies. In The Dark Knight, the scenes with Batman and Joker fighting in the streets of Gotham City had to result in numerous deaths.
However, in Batman V Superman, Zack Snyder took it one step further. Yes, Batman was haphazard when dealing with villains in the car chases – but that was no different than The Dark Knight. He didn’t kill anyone outside of KGBeast when he was trying to save Martha Kent. The most significant problem in BVS was that the entire theme of the movie was Batman wanting to kill Superman – just in case. This action was unforgivable for many Batman fans.
14 SUPERMAN KILLS GENERAL ZOD
Killing is something some superheroes do when there is no other choice, and that happened in Man of Steel. The problem with that moment is that Superman is the most powerful superhero on Earth and never, ever kills – at least as far as fans are concerned. In Man of Steel, Superman was a raw hero, with almost no fighting experience, and he was battling a military general from Krypton with the same powers he possesses in General Zod.
Superman had no option when it came to killing Zod in Man of Steel, but that doesn’t matter to most fans. Superman does not kill villains - at least in the minds of both diehard and casual Superman fans. When he did, he crossed a line he rarely does. Of course, Superman killed Zod in the comics once too, so it isn’t new – just something no one wanted in the movie.
13 BATMAN & ROBIN RUINED BANE
Batman & Robin is one of the worst superhero movies ever made, and is easily the worst big-budget superhero movie of all time. There is so much wrong with this film that angered fans, but one of the worst sins came when the movie completely ruined the character of Bane. This character actually defeated Batman in the comics, breaking his back, and taking Bruce Wayne out of action for over a year.
While Dark Knight Rises created a much-improved Bane (including the back-breaking scene), Batman & Robin made the character a joke. Instead of an unstoppable killing machine, Bane was a tool -- a small, weak man who grew massive thanks to a serum and worked under the control of Poison Ivy. One of Batman’s strongest villains was nothing more than a jacked-up lackey and a side-note in a lousy movie.
12 SUPERMAN GOES EMO
Bryan Singer left the X-Men franchise at Fox because he wanted to revive the Superman franchise for Warner Bros. He made a lot of good choices as well. His casting of Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor was inspired and just about perfect. The casting of then-unknown Brandon Routh as Superman was also great as he channeled Christopher Reeve in his performance and delivered in those aspects of the role.
The idea was to start off after the end of Superman II and ignore the third and fourth movies. However, Singer worked too hard to humanize Superman instead of giving fans the action they wanted. Superman spent a lot of time moping after Lois Lane, stalking her, and fans didn’t want a movie about Superman pining for a lost love – they wanted Superman saving the world. Singer made a good film, but it wasn’t what Superman fans wanted.
11 JONAH HEX
You have to feel bad for Josh Brolin. He seemed to want to star in a superhero movie, and he ended up in Jonah Hex, a film made by people who had no idea why Jonah Hex was great. Brolin then followed it up with the worst Men in Black movie and the disappointing Sin City sequel before finally getting to portray Thanos and now Cable. It all worked out for him despite Jonah Hex being horrendous.
Even Josh Brolin hates the movie. He said he wanted to make a film like High Plains Drifter, but the studio demanded 66 pages of reshoots in 12 days and the movie was a jumbled mess as a result. There is so much to love about Jonah Hex as a character, and the film ruined it all, to the chagrin of DC Comics fans.
10 BATMAN & ROBIN: A BIG BUDGET TOY COMMERCIAL
Batman & Robin did so much wrong that it killed the Batman franchise until Christopher Nolan came around. Honestly, out of all the big-budget superhero movies ever made, Batman & Robin sits at the top as the most prominent flop. The film did more to piss off DC Comics fans than any other movie – including Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. At least the latter film has its defenders. Does anyone really like Batman & Robin un-ironically?
The movie ruined Batgirl (Alfred’s niece?), Bane (a joke) and Mr. Freeze (a pun machine). George Clooney hated the movie and was okay as Bruce Wayne but miscast as Batman. Chris O’Donnell, who played Robin, had the perfect quote – he said that they were making a giant toy commercial and not a movie. Batman & Robin killed the franchise and pissed off DC Comics fans the world over.
9 SHAQ CAST AS STEEL
In the ‘90s, there was supposed to be a "Death of Superman" movie called Superman Lives. It had Kevin Smith working on a screenplay, and Tm Burton was in talks to direct the film. Crazily enough, Nicolas Cage was tapped to play Superman. It could have been the most ridiculous movie ever made, but it never happened. Interestingly, there were also spinoffs planned to play into the “Reign of the Superman” storyline.
Although Superman Lives never saw the light of day, one of the spinoffs was made anyway with Steel. The bad news is that it ended up as a starring vehicle for NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. Between the horrible acting, the terrible costumes and the incredibly cheesy script, Shaq pretty much ruined the chance of Steel ever getting a movie of his own. It was also possibly the worst produced Superman movie, and that is saying a lot.
8 JESSE EISENBERG’S PORTRAYAL OF LEX LUTHOR
There have been incredible portrayals of Lex Luthor over the years. Michael Rosenbaum was perfect on Smallville as a young Lex. Kevin Spacey was great in Superman Returns as well. Gene Hackman was not a great Lex Luthor but is a fantastic actor and delivered a fun performance anyway. However, when it comes to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Zack Snyder went in a very different direction and tried something new with his version of the villain.
Jesse Eisenberg played a young Lex Luthor, close in age to Michael Rosenbaum’s version, but was nothing like the Lex from the comics in any discernible way other than his hatred of Superman and ability to pull strings to get what he wants. Jesse did what he could, but DC Comics fans were still pissed at the character, who was so far removed from the source material that it wasn’t funny.
7 SUPERMAN LETS JONATHAN KENT DIE
One thing that rubbed many DC Comics fans the wrong way in Man of Steel was the relationship between Clark Kent and his adoptive father, Jonathan Kent. Played by Kevin Costner, Jonathan was more worried about Clark than he was about teaching him how to be a hero. Kent’s idea was that Clark should hide who he is for his protection.
This belief flies in the face of everything that Superman is all about. It was his parents – Jonathan and Martha – who taught him the values of human life. However, Jonathan tells Clark it might be better to let school kids die to hide his secret. For her part, Martha tells him that the world doesn’t deserve him. This all culminated when Jonathan made sure Clark knew he should let him die in the tornado rather than save him. Man of Steel had many problems, but this inane depiction was the worst of them all.
6 HALLE BERRY RUINS CATWOMAN
When Tim Burton released Batman Returns in 1992, he created a Catwoman that was perfect in every way. Michelle Pfeiffer was pure sex-appeal and brought the antihero from the comics to life masterfully. By the end of the movie, audiences everywhere had a new dream girl, and she was very, very bad. Head back to the campy TV show, and even names like Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt were fantastic in the role.
The 2004 Catwoman movie starred Halle Berry, who just won an Oscar the year before, and her portrayal of the character pissed off every DC Comics fan and every fan of the original Catwoman actresses at the same time. They changed the origin, altered the character, and set female superhero movies back a decade or more. This film was one of the biggest sins in DC Comics movie history and pissed off everyone.
5 GREEN LANTERN’S COSTUME
There was hope for the Green Lantern movie, which was supposed to be the first movie in the new DCEU. However, the film flopped due to poor casting and a lack of understanding of what makes the character work. Fans were dubious when Ryan Reynolds signed on to play Hal Jordan. While Reynolds had starred in action movies before, such as playing Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity, his sarcastic wit seemed wrong for Jordan.
When the movie came out, it was a jumbled mess of too many ideas – the same thing that plagued Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Honestly, the special effects killed this movie, and it all started the second that Green Lantern put on his suit, which was made up of energy from his ring. It looked ridiculous, which all the effects in this movie did, and that killed any chance it had of succeeding.
4 BATMAN V SUPERMAN MADE NO SENSE
It seemed like Batman V Superman split the fandom down the middle. While there are people who will defend this DC movie to the end, there are possibly more who hate it with a passion. There are a lot of problems with the film, but the biggest of all is that it tried to do too much and pissed off a significant portion of the fanbase, all of whom were excited about the two most prominent heroes of all-time facing off.
There was enough here for two movies, and the Extended Cut lasts well over three hours. That cut goes a long way in helping clear up a lot of the confusion of the original movie – from why everyone thought Superman caused deaths overseas to what drove Batman to be a homicidal maniac. This film should have been two movies -- then maybe fans wouldn’t be so pissed off.
3 KEANU REEVES AS CONSTANTINE
When it comes to what pissed off fans about Constantine, it all comes down to the comic book faithful, and them alone. Regular movie fans were able to enjoy a decent exorcism-style movie with a chain-smoking wizard dealing with demonic forces. It was actually a pretty good movie when looked at on its own. However, for most comic book fans, it is impossible to see a film and separate it from the source material.
Keanu Reeves was in no way the right choice to play John Constantine. Now, Matt Ryan from the TV show was spot-on perfect for the role. However, that came many years after Reeves tried out the part. He wasn’t bad; he just wasn’t the man that rabid fans of the comics wanted to see in the role. It was so bad that it tainted many people’s view of the movie and they never did give it a chance.
The “Martha” scene in Batman V Superman gets more crap than it deserves. The level of hate from the fans makes it the most significant moment of a polarizing movie. Batman wanted to kill Superman to make sure that the Man of Steel never had a chance to turn evil. Superman just wanted to save his mom. The two fought and Batman won because Batman can beat anyone, no matter how powerful they are.
Just as Batman had Superman down, Superman said he was letting Martha die. Batman, whose mom was also named Martha, flipped out. Finally, when Lois Lane told him Martha was also the name of Clark’s mom, they became buddies. Yeah, it was contrived, but the scene helped Batman see Superman as a person and not an alien. That was why it mattered. Despite that, it pissed off everyone who already hated the movie.
1 SUPERMAN IV CUTS COSTS
Superman was a great movie, the first Hollywood blockbuster featuring a comic book superhero. Superman II was even better, with one of the best villains in any comic book adaptation in General Zod. However, after Richard Pryor upstaged Superman in Superman III, everything went off the rails. What resulted was a movie so bad that no one made another Superman movie for two decades, and even then, they set out to ignore this one.
Christopher Reeve was great as Superman and fans loved him. After Superman IV, he quit with the role, which was enough to anger fans who wanted to see him in another good Superman movie. From the bargain-basement special effects to a villain who looked like he was coming from a Halloween party, nothing worked. This film almost killed comic book movies, which was enough to make any fan pissed off.
Which other moments in DC films pissed off fans beyond all repair? Let us know in the comments!