Superheroes have been at the forefront of some of the greatest stories of all-time. Starting out in comics that were a joy to read from start to finish, these characters would end up appearing in television, animation, movies, and even video games. At the industry's best, the comic book characters went on to star in some truly fantastic stories. However, nothing lasts forever in this world. When something becomes extremely successful, the people behind the scenes decide to have more of it thrown out to the public in the form of sequels. While this can, at times, lead to stories that are better than the originals with new twists and turns to further captivate audiences, that is not always the case. As a matter of fact, there are many times where a sequel ends up being worse than the original.
Without as much care or thought used in the original stories, some sequels are so bad that they end up tainting the vision that was set by their predecessors. This has happened in every medium involving superheroes -- from comics all the way to video games. It's a shame that a masterful production can fall so hard just by getting a sequel that was greenlit just for a quick buck. Get ready for some of the greatest disappointments known to the comic book industry as we go through some sequels that were so bad they almost ruined the original. For this list, anything is fair game. TV shows, movies, games, and comics are all subject for scrutiny.
22 THOR: THE DARK WORLD
After Thor did a great job of making the God of Thunder seem like a cool character, Thor: The Dark World was two steps backward. While the stuff with Loki was as interesting as you'd expect, it was all set with a bland story and a painfully bland antagonist.
There wasn't even a major arc for Thor in the film, and it felt as if all of the human characters on Earth were shoehorned in. It makes sense that Taiki removed them in Thor: Ragnarok.
21 SECRET WARS II
One of the greatest Marvel comic book crossovers was "Secret Wars." This series brought together a lot of our favorite heroes and threw them into the dangerous Battleworld -- where Spider-Man first received his black symbiote costume.
Needless to say, all ears were perked when Marvel announced "Secret Wars II." Unfortunately, this series pales in comparison to its predecessor. Choosing to focus on the Beyonder just messing around in the universe, it was far from a good read in comparison to the original.
20 IRON MAN 2
Jon Favreau's Iron Man kicked off the MCU with a bang, giving us a cool main character and an actor that was born for the role. However, Iron Man 2 bit off much more than it could chew.
It spent a lot of its time setting up The Avengers and giving us a heavily watered-down version of Whiplash, and also got a scene where Tony Stark was reliving himself in his suit, followed by solving his problems in a completely ridiculous way.
19 BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS
In between the release of Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Knight we were given Batman: Arkham Origins, a prequel to the series that showed Batman being targeted by a group of assassins. While the premise was exciting to any self-respecting Batman fan, the final product left much to be desired.
Not only did it lazily re-use assets from City, but it also had several bugs and glitches that the rest of the franchise didn't have. It did attempt to have an online mode, but even that wasn't well-executed.
18 AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
Avengers: Age of Ultron isn't a horrible movie, but it pales in comparison to The Avengers. Where the first film had a good exploration of the character dynamics and was a much more contained story, Age of Ultron spent a lot of its time setting up Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War.
Not to mention that the film is the bar for Marvel putting too many unnecessary jokes and quips in all of their films.
17 THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
After the phenomenal The Dark Knight, it was time for Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy to end with The Dark Knight Rises. Teasing the rise of Bane and his takeover of Gotham City, it was thought to be an epic final act for the Batman.
However, The Dark Knight Rises suffers from a lot of convenient plot choices as well as some awkward pacing and story decisions. Bane, while not awful, was a noticeable step down from Heath Ledger's Joker. The finale is also one of the more ridiculous elements of the entire trilogy.
16 SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE
The classic Superman films are easily the best live-action portrayals the Man of Steel has had on the big screen. With Superman The Movie and Superman II both being critically-acclaimed movies from start to finish, the subsequent two films afterward were less than well-received.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is easily the worst of the entire franchise. Featuring an inconsistent explanation of Superman's powers, one of the worst villains put on the big screen, and significantly less production value, people were quick to erase this one from memory.
15 FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER
While Fantastic Four wasn't the best superhero movie, it looks like a masterpiece when compared to Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Not only is the title disgustingly generic, but it was bogged down with an interpretation of the Silver Surfer that was uninspired and a few moments that came across as pandering.
The worst sin of the entire film, though, was the fact that they took the iconic Galactus and turned him into a planet-eating cloud that they had to stop.
14 X-MEN: THE LAST STAND
After Bryan Singer left the X-Men franchise to work on Superman Returns, FOX decided to create X-Men: The Last Stand without him. Bringing in a new team to create the project, they would end up meddling in the story as an adaptation of the "Dark Phoenix Saga."
What ended up happening was a movie that was unfocused and poorly acted. What should've been one of the most powerful movies in the entire X-Men franchise ended up being one of the most laughable.
13 BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
Man of Steel is far from a bad movie, but it's not a great one either. Still, the DCEU (now re-branded "Worlds of DC") had a decent foundation to build from. Unfortunately, their next entry, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, would be one of their worst.
As a sequel to Man of Steel, it throws Superman to a side character role. Furthermore, it portrays an unlikable Batman and a very odd Lex Luthor. Couple this with the constant setup for Justice League and a big moment that never makes the audience feel anything, and it becomes one of the worst comic book films of all-time.
12 BLADE: TRINITY
The Blade movies were proof that R-rated superhero movies could be good. However, that proof was quickly thrown into the fire with Blade: Trinity. This film takes what people loved most about the franchise, the title character, and shoves him to the side in order to focus on some newcomers.
Furthermore, the villain, despite being the strongest vampire, has no desire to be in the film and actually runs away from Blade during their first encounter! Because of this, neither the protagonist or antagonist have any interesting traits -- they're just one-dimensional.
11 CIVIL WAR II
While not a perfect comic event, "Civil War" was just about everything that it needed to be -- not to mention it had some of the most powerful moments for Marvel's characters. Unfortunately, "Civil War II" wouldn't do much to recapture the magic.
While it started out well, it quickly went downhill with seemingly worse writing than the ending of its predecessor. In what should've culminated in a gut-wrenching finale between Iron Man and Captain Marvel ended up feeling cheap and anticlimactic. Then it was over and mostly forgotten.
The 2003 Daredevil movie already wasn't the best movie FOX ever put out. However, they decided that it was good enough to warrant a sequel spin-off movie in the form of Elektra. It follows her as she is assigned to protect a man and his daughter.
The problem is that Elektra has even worse action than Daredevil. With very little story to stretch, it's not memorable in any way. Jennifer Garner's portrayal of the character already wasn't that impressive in Daredevil, so it never made much sense that she should headline her own film.
9 LEGO BATMAN 3: BEYOND GOTHAM
As far as LEGO games go, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham isn't bad. It contains much of the gameplay you'd expect, has some decent voice acting, and throws in more characters than the previous entries in the series. However, LEGO Batman 3 drastically falls short from its predecessors in a few ways.
The open world design are less inspired than the second game, it doesn't have the Tim Burton-style that benefited the first game, and the levels weren't as unique either. Despite having a bigger story involving the Justice League, the narrative falls flat as well.
8 THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
After Sony attempted to reboot the Spider-Man franchise, they ended up with The Amazing Spider-Man. While it had a handful of problems, it seemed to focus on a more comic-accurate portrayal of the webhead with a lot more potential.
Unfortunately, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 squandered all of that potential. Throwing in too many villains and too many subplots gave it a lack of focus. The on and off aspect of Peter and Gwen's relationship was also one of the more frustrating elements that was actually a highlight of the first movie.
7 SPIDER-MAN 3
Many still regard Tobey Maguire as the best Spider-Man actor to date. Having two great movies in the form of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, Sony couldn't just leave it alone for Spider-Man 3. Forcing Raimi to put in Venom, the movie ended up feeling bloated, and had a lot of moments that felt completely out of place.
With some poor acting across the board from Topher Grace, Kirsten Dunst, and Tobey Maguire, it was easily the weakest of the trilogy and forced Sony to end the franchise there.
6 BATMAN FOREVER/BATMAN AND ROBIN
Believe it or not, Batman Forever and Batman and Robin are sequels to Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns, and as you may already know, the third and fourth films in the series are some of the worst.
While Batman Forever isn't terribly offensive, Batman and Robin is downright unwatchable. Both featuring actors that never capture Bruce Wayne or Dick Grayson well, it's difficult to care about the heroes and even more difficult to care about the villains. The movies went back to campy Batman, but did it without any sort of charm or reason.
5 JUSTICE LEAGUE: THRONE OF ATLANTIS
Justice League: War was the first film in a connected universe of animated movies starring the DC heroes. It featured the coming together of the League to fight Darkseid and was actually an enjoyable ride. However, one notable absence from the movie was Aquaman, who would appear in the sequel film, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis.
Unfortunately, this movie took the bad parts of Justice League: War and expanded on them. Not only was Aquaman one of the least compelling characters in the whole film, but the underwater environments were never used creatively, making the movie boring to even look at.
4 SPIDER-MAN 2: ENTER ELECTRO
Spider-Man for the PlayStation One was an excellent Spider-Man game filled with a cast of iconic villains and side characters (including some great narration from Stan Lee and even an original villain). Moving onto Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro, the franchise took a noticeable step down.
The villains were more obscure and didn't have the same punch as the first game did. The level design wasn't quite as tight as the first one, and Electro didn't make for a great antagonist in the way that Carnage or Doc Ock did.
3 THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES
Batman: The Animated Series is one of the best superhero cartoons of all-time. Period. However, when it was cancelled and replaced with The New Batman Adventures, the show lost a lot of its traction. The show isn't bad by any means, but it throws away all of the drama and tension of the original series and replaces it with action.
This makes a lot of the episodes feel hollow, especially when compared to Batman: The Animated Series. It also throws in a lot more characters that sometimes make the show feel unfocused.
2 SUPERMAN RETURNS
After the disappointing Superman III and Superman IV, Warner Bros decided to have another crack at bringing back the Man of Steel. This led them to create Superman Returns, which was a sequel to Superman II. Despite the valid attempt to right the wrongs of the past, Superman Returns still missed the mark.
Lex Luthor's plan involved nothing more than real estate, and Brandon Routh's Superman lacked the charisma of Christopher Reeve. Since then, Superman hasn't had the best luck when it comes to big screen adaptations.
1 THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN
Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns is one of the best comic storylines and interpretations of Batman ever written. It ended on a somber yet hopeful note. DC could've let the story end there, but they eventually asked Miller to pen a sequel titled The Dark Knight Strikes Again.
Complete with shocking imagery just for the sake of being shocking, way too many characters than the story was prepared to handle, and artwork that looked like it was in the draft phase, The Dark Knight Strikes Again is hated just as much as its predecessor is loved.