(Photo by 20th Century Fox. Thumbnail: Netflix/courtesy Everett Collection.)
The Worst Superhero Movies of All Time
Great leaping tomatoes! It’s the worst superhero movies ever, an infamous league of Rotten films that scored less than 30% on the Tomatometer!
First off, to keep this list spandex-tight, not only did we include superhero movies below 30%, but each had to have at least 20 reviews, guaranteeing enough critics witnessed of these erratic efforts, franchise non-starters, and would-be blockbusters.
After looking through the list, if you’re wondering why you didn’t see the 1990 Captain America movie, a bunch of those sequels to The Crow, or Dolph Lundgren’s The Punisher, they were cut out by not accumulating at least 20 critics reviews. But, don’t worry, still plenty of room for Frank in this castle of decrepitude, as the other two Punisher movies, the Thomas Jane one and War Zone, are represented. In fact, they both even currently have the same score at 29%, just squeezing into the list. And while most Audience Scores are in the same realm as its movie’s Tomatometer, there’s a divergence on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Dark Phoenix: Both Rotten movies according to the critics, but which settled above 60% on the Audience Score.
Nic Cage appears twice on this list because they made two Ghost Rider movies. Ryan Reynolds also shows up twice but in two separate franchises, mucking it up in both houses of Marvel and DC via Blade: Trinity and Green Lantern. And because who doesn’t like a comic book showdown, in the battle of Marvel vs DC over who’s made the most worst superhero movies, Marvel is “triumphant” with 10 listings, and DC at 9. We didn’t count The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the movie so bad it made Sean Connery quit acting, because though it was at the time produced at an imprint of an imprint of DC Comics (it’s imprint-ception, people), the comic was always wholly owned by its creator Alan Moore.
Of course, let’s not count out other labels making special appearances, like 2000 A.D. (Judge Dredd) or Image (Spawn). Then there’s the magic that happens when when Hollywood executives come together to create something that didn’t come from a comic book, with sparkling results like Tim Allen’s Zoom, an adaptation of TV cartoon Underdog, and the toy-based Max Steel. Recently, we’ve seen Thunder Force and Morbius claw onto the list.
One last thing: For movies with the same Tomatometer scores, whichever had more reviews was placed higher. Now, come take a flying leap as we rank the worst superhero movies of all time! —Alex Vo
Adjusted Score: 121%
Critics Consensus: Bereft of characterization or even satisfying rock 'em sock 'em, Max Steel feels like futzing with an action figure without any childhood imagination.
Teenager Max McGrath (Ben Winchell) discovers that his body can generate the most powerful energy in the universe. Steel (Josh... [More]
Adjusted Score: 6038%
Critics Consensus: Lacking the punch and good cheer of The Incredibles and Sky High, Zoom is a dull and laugh-free affair.
Capt. Zoom, or Jack (Tim Allen), as he is now known, has long since given up his career of fighting... [More]
Adjusted Score: 9368%
Critics Consensus: Overly frantic, painfully unfunny, and sorely missing the presence of Jim Carrey.
A cartoonist and family man, Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy) lives a peaceful existence with his wife, Tonya (Traylor Howard), as... [More]
Adjusted Score: 14372%
Critics Consensus: Halle Berry is the lone bright spot, but even she can't save this laughable action thriller.
"Catwoman" is the story of shy, sensitive artist Patience Philips (Halle Berry), a woman who can't seem to stop apologizing... [More]
Adjusted Score: 10724%
Critics Consensus: The effects are cheesy and Supergirl's wide-eyed, cheery heroine simply isn't interesting to watch for an hour and a half.
Kara (Helen Slater) of Argo City poses as Clark Kent's cousin, Linda Lee, to recover the Omegahedron from a witch... [More]
Adjusted Score: 21682%
Critics Consensus: Dull and downbeat, this Fantastic Four proves a woefully misguided attempt to translate a classic comic series without the humor, joy, or colorful thrills that made it great.
Transported to an alternate universe, four young outsiders gain superhuman powers as they alter their physical form in shocking ways.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 11531%
Critics Consensus: This asinine sequel should be placed under arrest.
Greedy corporation Omni Consumer Products is determined to begin development on its dream project, Delta City, which will replace the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 14454%
Critics Consensus: The Superman series bottoms out here: the action is boring, the special effects look cheaper, and none of the actors appear interested in where the plot's going.
Seeing the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a nuclear arms race that could lead to Earth's destruction,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 16864%
Critics Consensus: Jennifer Garner inhabits her role with earnest gusto, but Elektra's tone deaf script is too self-serious and bereft of intelligent dialogue to provide engaging thrills.
Assassin-for-hire Elektra (Jennifer Garner) works for a mysterious international organization known as the Hand, for which she kills her targets... [More]
Adjusted Score: 17363%
Critics Consensus: Joel Schumacher's tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that's too jokey to care much for.
This superhero adventure finds Batman (George Clooney) and his partner, Robin (Chris O'Donnell), attempting to the foil the sinister schemes... [More]
Adjusted Score: 15927%
Critics Consensus: The Crow: City of Angels is a sloppy pretender that captures neither the mood nor energy of the original.
After mechanic Ashe (Vincent Perez) and his son (Eric Acosta) witness a murder, they are captured and killed by drug... [More]
Adjusted Score: 17896%
Critics Consensus: Josh Brolin gives it his best shot, but he can't keep the short, unfocused Jonah Hex from collapsing on the screen.
Having cheated death, gunslinger and bounty hunter Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) has one foot in the natural world and one... [More]
Adjusted Score: 8925%
Critics Consensus: Steel is a badly-acted movie that indulges not only in superhero cliches, but also the sappy TV-movie-of-the-week ones.
Former Army scientists (Shaquille O'Neal, Annabeth Gish), one in a steel suit, team up in Los Angeles against another (Judd... [More]
Adjusted Score: 21494%
Critics Consensus: While it has its moments, Howard the Duck suffers from an uneven tone and mediocre performances.
In this film based on the comic book character, Howard the Duck is suddenly beamed from Duckworld, a planet of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 18111%
Critics Consensus: Though its visuals are unique, The Spirit's plot is almost incomprehensible, the dialogue is ludicrously mannered, and the characters are unmemorable.
Apparently murdered cop Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) returns as the Spirit, dedicated to protecting Central City from crime. His archenemy,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 16096%
Critics Consensus: Underdog is a mostly forgettable adaptation that relies far too heavily on recycled material and sloppy production.
After a lab accident gives him extraordinary powers, including the ability to speak, a canine (Jason Lee) declares himself the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 30187%
Critics Consensus: Cursed with uninspired effects, rote performances, and a borderline nonsensical story, this dreary mess is a vein attempt to make Morbius happen.
One of the most compelling and conflicted characters in Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters comes to the big screen... [More]
Adjusted Score: 16463%
Critics Consensus: No no, Power Rangers.
The young superheroes square off against an evil villainess who plots to free a fiery monster from its volcano cage.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 23257%
Critics Consensus: Just ordinary. LXG is a great premise ruined by poor execution.
A team of extraordinary figures culled from great adventure literature (including Alan Quatermain, vampiress Mina Harker from Dracula, the Invisible... [More]
Adjusted Score: 19619%
Critics Consensus: Spawn is an overbearing, over-violent film that adds little to the comic book adaptation genre.
Covert government assassin Al Simmons (Michael Jai White) is killed after being double-crossed by his boss, Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen).... [More]
Adjusted Score: 23282%
Critics Consensus: With a weak script, uneven CG work, and a Nic Cage performance so predictably loony it's no longer amusing, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance aims to be trashy fun but ends up as plain trash.
Now hiding out in Eastern Europe, Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is still struggling with the curse of the Ghost Rider... [More]
Adjusted Score: 21422%
Critics Consensus: It's a case of one sequel too many for the heroes in a half shell, with a tired time-travel plot gimmick failing to save the franchise from rapidly diminishing returns.
Reporter April O'Neil (Paige Turco) purchases an ancient Japanese scepter that can cause those simultaneously holding it in different centuries... [More]
Adjusted Score: 28436%
Critics Consensus: Neither entertaining enough to recommend nor remarkably awful, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may bear the distinction of being the dullest movie ever made about talking bipedal reptiles.
Spawned from a lab experiment gone awry, teenage terrapins Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael live in the sewers beneath New... [More]
Adjusted Score: 42530%
Critics Consensus: Dark Phoenix ends an era of the X-Men franchise by taking a second stab at adapting a classic comics arc -- with deeply disappointing results.
The X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe when one of their own, Jean Grey, starts to spiral out... [More]
Adjusted Score: 28671%
Critics Consensus: It's got a few chuckles, but Thunder Force is largely a superhero comedy that's neither exciting nor funny -- and an egregious waste of its co-stars' talents.
In a world where supervillains are commonplace, two estranged childhood best friends reunite after one devises a treatment that gives... [More]
Adjusted Score: 25599%
Critics Consensus: Judge Dredd wants to be both a legitimate violent action flick and a parody of one, but director Danny Cannon fails to find the necessary balance to make it work.
In the crime-plagued future, the only thing standing between order and chaos is Judge Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone). His duty:... [More]
Adjusted Score: 27127%
Critics Consensus: Venerable action star Chow Yun-Fat is the only saving grace in this silly action flick that more often than not resembles a commercial in style.
For 60 years, a mysterious monk with no name (Chow Yun-Fat) has zigzagged the globe to protect an ancient scroll... [More]
Adjusted Score: 29249%
Critics Consensus: Louder, campier, and more incoherent than its predecessors, Blade: Trinity seems content to emphasize style over substance and rehash familiar themes.
The war between humans and vampires continues, but the humans' best hope, human-vampire hybrid warrior Blade (Wesley Snipes), has been... [More]
Adjusted Score: 34957%
Critics Consensus: Noisy, overproduced, and thinly written, Green Lantern squanders an impressive budget and decades of comics mythology.
Sworn to preserve intergalactic order, the Green Lantern Corps has existed for centuries. Its newest recruit, Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds),... [More]
Adjusted Score: 45072%
Critics Consensus: Suicide Squad boasts a talented cast and a little more humor than previous DCEU efforts, but they aren't enough to save the disappointing end result from a muddled plot, thinly written characters, and choppy directing.
Figuring they're all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret... [More]
Adjusted Score: 32192%
Critics Consensus: Ghost Rider is a sour mix of morose, glum histrionics amidst jokey puns and hammy dialogue.
Years ago, motorcycle stuntman Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) sold his soul to save the life of a loved one. Now,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 35903%
Critics Consensus: Marred by goofy attempts at wit, subpar acting, and bland storytelling, Fantastic Four is a mediocre attempt to bring Marvel's oldest hero team to the big screen.
Scientist Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) persuades his arrogant former classmate, Victor von Doom (Julian McMahon), to fund his experiments with... [More]
Adjusted Score: 30740%
Critics Consensus: A less satisfying rehash that generally lives down to the negative stereotype of sequels, RoboCop 2 tries to deliver more of everything and ends up with less.
Cyborg Detroit policeman Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is the sole officer on duty after the police force goes on strike... [More]
Adjusted Score: 50365%
Critics Consensus: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice smothers a potentially powerful story -- and some of America's most iconic superheroes -- in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action.
It's been nearly two years since Superman's (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) devastated the city of Metropolis.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 34436%
Critics Consensus: A good cast fails to elevate this overly violent and by-the-numbers revenge flick.
This dark action film, based on the comic book series, follows FBI agent Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) as he transforms... [More]
Adjusted Score: 33021%
Critics Consensus: Punisher: War Zone recalls the excessively violent, dialogue-challenged actioners of the 1980s, and coincidentally feels two decades out of date.
Frank Castle, aka The Punisher (Ray Stevenson), turns the streets of New York City red as he wages a one... [More]