What is it with terrible superhero movies having a reach that extends their grasp? Far too many times, the reason a superhero movie fails is when it pushes a character or a storyline too far, until the unbelievable worlds of make believe just don’t seem… well, real. It’s an odd concept for sure, and a fine line that many movies have fallen on the wrong side of, but there are certain rules established within the superhero fiction that just get broken by certain moments, and when that happens the film just can’t be fixed.
Sometimes it’s a character doing or saying something completely wrong for them, even the version of them established in the movie. Other times, it’s a Deus Ex Machina moment that completely takes you out of the film with an unrealistic (and unearned) last minute save. There are those times, though, when the movie needs a little extra juice to push the storyline through the third act, and you’d think the heroes and villains would be powerful enough (what with most of them being superheroes and all) without being pushed beyond the norm into actions that are wildly overpowered and just wrong. Here are the 15 most insane OP acts in terrible superhero movies!
15. SUPERMAN MOVES THE MOON
There are many reasons why Superman IV is just a bad film. In many ways, it’s the prototypical example of what happens when a franchise goes on for far longer than the attention span of anyone involved. The acting, production and plotline all feel like they were carried out by bored kids, and while there are some that can still appreciate its cult charm, most can accept that it’s a bad movie.
One of the weirdest moments — in a movie full of them — is when Superman, in a effort to drain the villainous Nuclear Man of his powers, pushes the Moon out of its orbit in order to cause a solar eclipse. At his Silver Age best, Superman could probably move planets at his whim, but in the context of the film it feels like a pointlessly overpowered plot device.
14. SILVER SURFER, JOHNNY STORM KILL GALACTUS
You’ve got to feel for the Fantastic Four. The first family of the Marvel universe, starring in the self-styled “World’s Greatest Comic Magazine,” and a team that launched the new age of Superheroes that has lasted to this day, and they still can’t star in a good movie. The 2005 flick has a certain naive charm to it, but the sequel is far more unforgivable.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was highly anticipated by fans who thought they would finally get to see the giant purple planet-eater Galactus on the big screen, but instead were treated to a weird dust cloud. What’s worse, that cloud was engulfed in flame and destroyed by the overpowered might of Silver Surfer and Johnny Storm, which was disappointing to say the least.
13. GOTHAM FROZEN BY MR. FREEZE
Batman and Robin was the fourth film in the franchise, and was so bad that it effectively killed off any movie for the Dark Knight until Christopher Nolan’s reboot in 2005 with Batman Begins. The ultimate cheese-fest that is Batman and Robin feels a world apart from Nolan’s trilogy, but enough time has passed since its release that it’s gone through bad all the way back around to being good.
Ok, so maybe “good” is a stretch, but it’s certainly enjoyable in its own ridiculous way. Arnold Schwarzenegger risked brain freeze every moment he was on set, though, from chewing all of that snow-covered scenery with his campy portrayal or Mr. Freeze. At one point, he goes so far as to freeze the entire city of Gotham, which, despite the unrealistic nature of the movie, feels pretty overpowered for a dude that robs banks with a freeze-gun.
12. THE POWER OF “MARTHA”
Do you remember the excitement we all felt when Batman V Superman was first announced? It was the film that fans were waiting for since we were kids, reading the comics that made us fans and frantically clashing our action figures together in the unlikeliest of crossovers. In reality, though, BvS turned out to be a bit of a mess, and certainly not the foundation for a burgeoning shared universe that DC would have wanted.
Arguably the most ridiculous moment in the entire movie is when Batman and Superman cease their fighting when they realize that both of their mothers are called Martha. Talk about an overpowered moment, there’s no way that discovery should have had any effect on these two heroes, never mind being so powerful as to stop them dead in their tracks. The internet saved the day, however, providing thousands of memes to introduce some much needed levity.
11. GIANT SANDMAN
Coming hot on the heels of the excellent Spider-Man 2 — a movie that still holds up to this day — was never going to be easy. The hype for Spider-Man 3 was all too real, and perhaps no movie could ever live up to the expectations piled on this final chapter of Sam Raimi’s trilogy. Throw in the behind the scenes conflict and disagreements on the amount of villains required for the movie (with Venom making the cast a little top-heavy) and it never really stood a chance.
One of the best parts of the movie was Thomas Hayden Church’s emotional and effective performance of Sandman. The final act needed a Big Bad, however, so Sandman was bloated to gigantic proportions to provide a genuine blockbuster threat, not doing justice to the portrayal of the character up until that point.
10. WADE WILSON’S LASER VISION
It’s hard to imagine, now that we live in a world where Deadpool has been so fully realized on the big screen, but there was a time when Wade Wilson’s only outing was the abysmal X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In that movie, Deadpool is virtually unrecognizable, despite being played by Ryan Reynolds. In fact, it was the poor quality of that movie that inspired Reynolds to push for a better solo Deadpool outing.
In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the final act of the film reveals that William Stryker has activated Weapon XI — aka Wade Wilson. After being mutilated beyond recognition (including sewing his mouth shut!) Wade is now the “Mutant Killer,” a weapon with the powers of multiple mutants designed to eradicate Homo-Superior for good. His newly overpowered state — complete with Cyclops-esque laser vision — was a bitter disappointment to the legion of patient Deadpool fans.
9. SUPERMAN KILLS ZOD
Until Wonder Woman came along and saved their dignity, DC tried and failed multiple times to spark a shared cinematic universe to rival Marvel. 2011’s Green Lantern was the first attempt, but that flopped hard, and it would be another two years before they’d try again with 2013’s Man of Steel.
While it still has its proponents, many longtime fans of Superman agree that it doesn’t reflect the character that they’ve known and loved for many years in the comics. Gone was the brightly colored optimism of the Man of Tomorrow, instead was the grime and grit of the Man of Steel, culminating in the neck-snap heard around the world. In the final few moments of the film, Superman takes the short-sighted and surprisingly cruel way out by killing the villainous General Zod before he could do any more damage to the already decimated Metropolis.
8. JEAN’S ALTERNATE PERSONALITY
If X-Men: The Last Stand proved anything, it’s that you shouldn’t mess with the classics. “The Dark Phoenix Saga” — one of the greatest X-Men stories of all time — was the source material for this third movie in the franchise, which meant the producers already had big shoes to fill. Given the choice of attempting to faithfully adapt the classic story or craft something entirely different, they chose to go with the latter.
There are so many changes made to the original story that the finished product is almost unrecognisable, which wouldn’t be so bad if they’d done a good job, but from Cyclops being killed off screen to Juggernaut’s comical miscasting, the writing was already on the wall. Worst of all, the all-powerful cosmic being that is the Phoenix was reduced to being an alternate personality of Jean Grey, making her more villainous than she needed to be.
7. THE CREATION OF DOOMSDAY
As comic book fans, we’re used to movie adaptations playing fast and loose with the original source material. When you have decades of continuity to condense into a two-hour feature film, movie producers can be forgiven for creating something original as long as it tells a compelling and enjoyable story.
Batman V Superman is, however, not one of those films. Instead of getting the epic superheroic clash we were all waiting for, we got a series of poorly thought out conflicts culminating in a generic final act CGI monster that was supposed to be one of the biggest villains that Superman had ever confronted: Doomsday. Instead of being a cosmic unkillable bone monster like the comics, however, we’re meant to believe that Lex Luthor is so powerful that he can create Doomsday in his lab, and out of the body of General Zod no less.
6. SENTIENT CONSTRUCTION VEHICLE
The original Supergirl movie is something of a cultural oddity. The 1984 feature starred Helen Slater as Kara Zor-El, along with big names like Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow and Peter O’Toole, and was a direct spin-off from the popular Christopher Reeve Superman franchise. Despite all of that, the movie was considered a flop, and thanks to the highly successful Supergirl TV series, this movie is now all but forgotten.
What can’t be forgotten, however is the wild plot, which includes a power-hungry witch called Selena, who vies for not only the all-powerful Omegahedron, but the affections of Supergirl’s human love interest Ethan. Selena casts a love spell on Ethan, but when he wakes from the drug he wanders off alone. Selena does what any sane person does in her position, and abuses her powers to bring a construction vehicle to life in order to fetch him back.
5. SUPERMAN’S CONSTRUCTION VISION
Superman IV is pretty much a disaster of a movie, but it’s mostly because the whole movie feels so half done. If no one involved in the production should care, then why should we? One of the most ridiculous parts comes within a string of ridiculous moments, this one specifically involving a battle between Superman and his evil clone Nuclear Man.
First of all, Nuclear Man looks nothing like Superman, so how exactly Lex Luthor cloned him from Supes is anyone’s guess. Secondly, one of their battles takes them all around the world, and in their scuffle Nuclear Man demolishes part of the Great Wall of China. Bafflingly, Superman uses a blue laser beam emitted from his eyes and repairs the entire wall without touching it, a skill he’s never had before and never used since.
4. MAGNETO MOVES THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
One of the central plots of X-Men: The Last Stand involves the discovery of a mutant “cure,” one that divides the x-community and leads to the Brotherhood of Mutants reforming in order to oppose this new threat to their race, one that, as Magneto predicts, will cause the extinction of mutantkind.
The “cure” has been developed by Worthington Labs (as in Warren Worthington, aka Angel), created from the genome of a young mutant called Jimmy, who’s being held on Alcatraz Island. In order to take his fight directly to Worthington Labs, Magneto uses his immense power to move the Golden Gate Bridge, ripping it out of its base and giving him and the Brotherhood access to Alcatraz. It’s a move that no doubt looks impressive, but feels significantly overpowered for the Magneto we’ve come to know in the movies.
3. APOCALYPSE LAUNCHES EARTH’S NUKES
The latest X-Men film has had a lot of fans worried, because if a movie starring one of the most beloved X-Men villains of all time — Apocalypse — isn’t enough to resuscitate the franchise, then what is? While X-Men: Apocalypse has its fun moments, there’s no denying that it wasn’t one of the franchise’s best. With ancillary X-Men movies Deadpool and Logan doing so well, and New Mutants on track to be a success, it’s time for the core X-Men movies to up their game.
It feels weird to talk about Apocalypse being overpowered, seeing as he’s one of the strongest foes the mutant super team have ever faced, but that’s exactly what he was in the movie of the same name. In a particularly overpowered moment, Apocalypse, aka En Sabbah Nur, accesses cerebro and forces Professor Xavier to make the world’s leaders launch their entire nuclear arsenals into space stopping them from interfering with his plan.
2. BLADE SURVIVES THE DAYSTAR VIRUS
If you’ve not watched Blade Trinity for a while, you’d be forgiven for forgetting just how bonkers the movie is. Falling firmly in the category of “so bad it’s good,” enough time has passed since the disappointing follow-up to the excellent first two movies was released that we can start to look back with a certain fondness.
For those who haven’t seen it, Blade Trinity centers around the return of Dracula — now going by Drake — who has been resurrected in order to strengthen every living vampire with his purity. Blade and co craft Daystar, a genetic virus that kills all vampires. When Blade stabs Drake with Daystar, it unleashes into the atmosphere, wiping out the vampires, including the vamp half of Blade. It’s ok though, because the human half of his heart keeps beating, meaning that he lived to fight another day, even though that’s not really how any of this works.
1. JOHNNY ABSORBS POWER OF THE FANTASTIC FOUR
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer should have been good. In fact, a Fantastic Four movie should be good period, because the source material is so much better than the movies suggest. The 2007 sequel, however, screwed up the big screen introduction of Galactus by making him a cloud, and it’s a failure that wipes any memory of the rest of the film from our minds.
Did you remember that Johnny Storm basically becomes the Super Skrull? Because that happened, and it was as weird as it sounds. In an effort to go toe-to-toe with a cosmically powered Dr. Doom, Johnny absorbs the powers of the entire team, not only defeating him but aiding the surfer in defeating Galactus too, making it the most overpowered moment in the Human Torch’s career.
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