Worst Comic Book Movies

logan fowler follows up on his popular comic book blog with the worst movies adapted from comic books.

Paraphrased from The Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman, these movies are “Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap (scene where he is flipping through Vicki Vale’s portfolio).” I will admit, I own some of these on DVD, only because I’m a completionist (is that even a real word?). But with time, they have not aged well, and specifically, those involved with these cinematic flubs missed the point of what makes a comic book movie good.

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

While TMNT II: The Secret of the Ooze was over-the-top cheesy and featured a nearly obsolete Vanilla Ice, it had positives; the action was fun, it introduced more mutants, Tokka and Rahzar, and it had a massive, hulking Super Shredder (wrestler/actor Kevin Nash) towards the end. How he was disposed of was anticlimactic, yes, but the movie is still fun.

They should’ve stopped there. TMNT III gave us back Corey Feldman (voice of Donatello from the first TMNT) and Casey Jones, but let go of everything else. The puns and jokes are flat out bad, the setting is lame (what kids care about ancient Japan?) the quality of puppetry is shoddy at best (Splinter must have not been completed because you only see from his torso up, also Henson company not involved), and there is no recognizable villain. Oh, and Casey Jones does return like I said before, but his role consists of being a babysitter with no ass to kick, nothing to do. What a waste

TMNT III could’ve had so much potential. It utilizes time travel, something that the video game Turtles in Time did quite well; it could’ve pulled from that. But there’s no Shredder to form a plot around and therefore, we have our green heroes traveling back to save April (who time travels accidentally before they do) and get involved with some stock bad guys. Epic fail.

4. Spider-Man 3

If you would have talked to me in 2007, I would’ve said I love this flick. I must have been high on Spider-Man fever or something, because three years later I realize the truth; Spider-Man 3 is a trilogy conclusion that destroys characters, storylines, and fan love. Let’s look at the facts; The Sandman is “actually” the one who shoots Uncle Ben (not the burglar from the original film) completely undoing why Peter Parker became Spidey in the first place. This plotline was created to make Sandman (aka Flint Marko) have a personal tie to Peter to bring out the revenge aspect (The Black Suit). Why couldn’t Sandman be a typical guy, on the run from the cops, turn into a super villain, then Spidey becomes a thorn in his side? Why does it have to be a personal thing? By the way, Sandman flies. Yeah.

Also, most of the Spider-Man movie villains have had a shred of humanity or compassion, save for Green Goblin and Venom. Here, Sandman wants to save his daughter who is ill, goes about doing it by stealing money. As wrong as this is, near the end of the movie Spider-Man forgives him for shooting his uncle and lets him fly off, knowing full well he’s a criminal with a heart, but still a criminal. And he doesn’t try to talk him out of it at least?

Sandman at least had promise, and with actor Thomas Haden Church, we get a solid Sandman, for the most part. But where the movie really breaks apart is with having not one, not two, but three villains. James Franco does alright as Green Goblin Jr, trying to avenge his father, but has a serious blow to the head and forgets completely his goal is take out Spider-Man. Meanwhile, after that happened, we build the character of Sandman, who Spider-Man defeats with water (yes). In order to provide more character development time, we then get Eddie Brock who is played by Topher Grace. I think Grace had the most fun making this movie, because you can clearly tell he’s enjoying himself. Unfortunately, fans winced at his casting, but while he tries to give it his best, it’s not his fault; it’s a casting problem. When he finally becomes Venom, you might as well set a timer; the symbiotic baddie is introduced and defeated (aka destroyed) in a matter of minutes. This is all happening during when Green Goblin Jr., acting as Spidey’s sidekick, is also struck dead, way after he learned, deus ex machine style, that his dad was not killed by Spidey.

Thanks for that notification a movie later, Harry Osborn’s butler.

Oh, and this movie is packed to the brim with crying scenes. Crying here, crying there, wah wah wah. Also, add a black suit that turns Peter Parker evil (evil meaning jet black hair, eyeliner, a sudden knowledge of how to play the piano and knowing how to dance like a fool), a whiny Mary Jane, an underutilized Gwen Stacey, and there you have it; Spider-Man 3.

One of the positives from the flick? Harry Osborne’s response to him being asked how the pie was.

3. The Hulk

You know a movie is bad when the action scenes are all that make it worthwhile. While a lot of people have said that The Hulk wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to be, they must be seeing something I don’t. It still stinks.

The main problem I have with it is its psychological plotline. This movie is really a story about a father and a son who are at war with each other. It sounds like something of an art film, and it makes sense because Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain) directed it. But the movie makes one fatal mistake. If you take away the word book from comic book, you have the word comic. Funny. Humorous. Tongue in cheek. The Hulk ignores this and makes no attempt at a joke whatsoever, instead shooting straight and serious until the credits roll.

Also, the casting is so-so (I will mention just a few members). Jennifer Connelly is pretty good as Betty Ross, Bruce Banner’s love interest. Bruce Banner, played by Eric Bana, isn’t bad. However, Bana is not what I imagined Bruce to appear like; Edward Norton was a far better choice. Then you have Josh Lucas as an annoying dude working to take the Hulk down. And, above all of that, you have Nick Nolte, chewing scenery as Bruce Banner’s crazy dad, who later turns into a villain and fights with The Hulk. They fight in the desert, and trust me when I say this; I could barely make out a thing on the screen.

The CGI is incredible though; it looked far better than the recent Hulk movie, and it is a much older film. Ang Lee also tried to make it more comic book-y, giving it panels and freeze frames (I have a feeling Scott Pilgrim will improve upon this comic-book-in-movie-style idea, though). This, and when the Hulk “hulks out” are the only major draws I found in the film. Other than that, it’s pretty bland.

Oh, how could I forget the Hulk dogs? Yeah, crazy right?

2. X-Men 3: The Last Stand

I can just imagine the conference room where people are thinking of script ideas for X-Men 3:

“Hmm…let’s give Wolverine more to do.”
“Give Storm more screen time!”
“Let’s make mutants wear fishnets and black outfits!”
“What’s that viral video with the Juggernaut? We’ll make him say that line in the movie!”
“Have some mutants lose powers!”
“We should introduce mutants, but only briefly; after all, Storm needs more screen time!”
“We’ll kill off major characters!”

Did I sum up this movie well enough? X-Men 3: The Last Stand had a lot to live up to; after all, X-Men 2: X-Men United was critically praised and loved by fans and general audiences alike. But with director Bryan Singer (X-Men 1 and 2, Usual Suspects) gone, and with director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour movies) in his place, everyone had the power to sense danger, even if they weren’t mutants.

Well, their powers didn’t fail; X-Men 3: The Last Stand was a movie based in doing too much and not nearly enough.

Cyclops dies, Professor X dies, Jean Grey (as Dark Phoenix) dies. Rogue, Mystique, and Magneto (?) all lose their powers. Angel is introduced but wasted, Colossus (who has a brief but awesome moment in X-Men 2) is there but not nearly enough, and the Danger Room is given its due but once again, brief in showcasing.

Halle Berry demanded more screen and gets it-no one cares! Wolverine is once again at the head of the action, even though all three movies (and his origin story that was released later) are about him. Juggernaut shouts “I’m the Juggernaut, Bitch!,” tying into that uber popular viral video from way back when. Um, wasn’t really necessary.

With all its flaws, X-Men 3: The Last Stand had a strong point; Kelsey Grammar completely owns as Beast, basically replacing Alan Cummings as Nightcrawler from X-Men 2: X-Men United (severely missed in X-Men 3). The costume, voice, and scenes with him all stand out, and anyone who ever doubted Grammar was surprised to find that in a movie that is extremely unbalanced, he did what he did with awesomeness intact. However, like Beast’s skin color, this movie will leave you feeling blue.

Drum clash.

1. Batman and Robin

Upon writing I realized something; this list has been dominated by Marvel Comic Book Movies. Well, they couldn’t compete with DC’s crap fest that is Batman and Robin. They took a beloved character (reinvented with Tim Burton in 1989) and turned him into a joke. During this film, Batman sports ice skates, fights with Robin over a girl, and has nipples on his bat suit. Yes. Better start sporting a bra, Mr. Wayne.

The villains are flashy and colorful but have nothing to go on. Uma Thurman is Poison Ivy, and she gives us a performance that is part over the top, part blah. There’s Bane, the massive mask wearing dude who should be imposing but in this movie just looks silly. And then there’s Mr. Freeze, played by Ah-nuld Schwarzenegger, who weaves a web of puns so bad through this movie (“Cool party! Can you be cold Batman?” ), you will cringe more than you ever have in your life. Throw in a phoned in Batgirl performance by Alicia Silverstone, along with an annoying Chris O’ Donnell as Robin, and an “I killed the Batman franchise” George Clooney as Bruce Wayne/The Dark (?) Knight, and you have rounded out the cast of characters that called for a much needed Batman reboot 8 years later. Like the zany, colorful, tv show that came before it, this movie blew the Batman campiness through the roof, pretty much destroying the darker, more serious, and brooding elements the franchise had established once again with Tim Burton’s vision.
All the other films mentioned before had some sort of positive. This one? It gave us a solid, much needed reboot with Batman Begins. Every action has a consequence, folks.

1 COMMENT

  1. Count me as one of those who enjoyed the artsy comic book movie in the Hulk. I only saw it once so perhaps a repeat viewing would ruin it, but for now it still gets a thumbs up from me. I have watch Spider-man 3 repeatedly wanting to watch it because beneath the surface there is a good movie to be made. It’s not so much a bad movie as it is a maddeningly mediocre movie. An eliminated scene here and there, a change there and you have a good Spidey finale. X3 was by and large a stinker. I find it interesting that more controversy was not made of the mutant cure considering being a mutant was a metaphor for being gay in the first two films. I wonder if the film is being shown at Jesus camps as cinematic genius. Finally, you can never ever go wrong with bashing the all time stinker Batman and Robin, yeesh. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Christopher Nolan for washing away that bad taste.

  2. Good thing you didn’t mention “The Cat Woman” or “Dick Tracy” you would have then had to re-title your Blog to 7 Worst Comic movies. Good job.

  3. I disagree with bbom. “Dick Tracy” was actually a pretty faithful comic movie with a lot of heart and love for the characters. If it is zany and colorful, it’s because Chester Gould’s strip was zany and colorful, and not forced like with Batman and Robin.

    I don’t think giving Storm more screentime in X-Men 3 was a major flaw. As you know, she was a leader in the comics for a period, and the film does follow up, I believe, on that idea that Storm was more than just one of the X-Men.