(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.
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!
(And see a movie here you love and think ‘Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong’? Send us a note and we might cover your movie in our new podcast. Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Adjusted Score: 45.433%
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.
Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) share the screen in this Warner Bros./DC Entertainment co-production penned by David S.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 30.411%
Critics Consensus: Ghost Rider is a sour mix of morose, glum histrionics amidst jokey puns and hammy dialogue.
When a motorcycle-riding stuntman offers his soul to Mephistopheles in order to save the life of the one he loves... [More]
Adjusted Score: 33.813%
Critics Consensus: Noisy, overproduced, and thinly written, Green Lantern squanders an impressive budget and decades of comics mythology.
In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 41.47%
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.
From director David Ayer ("Fury," "End of Watch") comes "Suicide Squad," starring Oscar nominee Will Smith ("Ali," "The Pursuit of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 29.565%
Critics Consensus: Louder, campier, and more incoherent than its predecessors, Blade: Trinity seems content to emphasize style over substance and rehash familiar themes.
Wesley Snipes returns as legendary vampire hunter Blade in this, the third film inspired by the popular Marvel Comics character.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 26.446%
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.
A monk and a pickpocket become unlikely allies in this action adventure story. Sixty years ago, a nameless monk (Chow... [More]
Adjusted Score: 24.79%
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.
This third film in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series finds the half-shelled ninjas traveling back in time to 17th-century... [More]
Adjusted Score: 38.407%
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.
In DARK PHOENIX, the X-MEN face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. During a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 25.165%
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.
This action-filled sci-fi spectacle is set in a grim, futuristic world in which authoritarianism is the only way left to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 25.865%
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.
Two childhood friends become an unlikely crime-fighting superhero duo after creating a formula that gives ordinary people superpowers.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 27.167%
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.
The city needs heroes. Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 21.772%
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.
Nicolas Cage reprises his role as Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance. In this gritty new vision for... [More]
Adjusted Score: 19.292%
Critics Consensus: Spawn is an overbearing, over-violent film that adds little to the comic book adaptation genre.
This thriller tells the story of the burnt, scarred, Hellspawn, who keeps performing heroic deeds despite efforts of his demon... [More]
Adjusted Score: 22.231%
Critics Consensus: Just ordinary. LXG is a great premise ruined by poor execution.
Allan Quatermain, the world's greatest adventurer, leads a legion of superheroes the likes of which the world has never seen.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 17.686%
Critics Consensus: Underdog is a mostly forgettable adaptation that relies far too heavily on recycled material and sloppy production.
After an accident in the mysterious lab of maniacal scientist Dr. Simon Barsinister, an ordinary beagle unexpectedly finds himself with... [More]
Adjusted Score: 15.431%
Critics Consensus: No no, Power Rangers.
Based on the hit children's television series The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, this film has the teenage superheroes doing battle... [More]
Adjusted Score: 17.915%
Critics Consensus: Though its visuals are unique, The Spirit's plot is almost incomprehensible, the dialogue is ludicrously mannered, and the characters are unmemorable.
A resurrected cop does battle with a villain whose quest for immortality threatens an entire metropolis in Sin City creator... [More]
Adjusted Score: 21.291%
Critics Consensus: While it has its moments, Howard the Duck suffers from an uneven tone and mediocre performances.
Director and co-screenwriter Willard Huyck has taken Steve Garber's abrasive, beer-drinking and cigar-smoking comic-book character and castrated him, turning him... [More]
Adjusted Score: 12.861%
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.
Low-rent, poorly-lit superhero action is the order of the day in this film from television director Kenneth Johnson -- who... [More]
Adjusted Score: 17.656%
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.
Batman & Robin try to keep their relationship together even as they must stop Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from... [More]
Adjusted Score: 16.3%
Critics Consensus: Josh Brolin gives it his best shot, but he can't keep the short, unfocused Jonah Hex from collapsing on the screen.
1970s-era DC antihero Jonah Hex makes his way to the big screen as co-screenwriters Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (Crank,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 14.167%
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.
Superman (Christopher Reeve) tries to save the world from nuclear destruction at the hands of Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 12.349%
Critics Consensus: The Crow: City of Angels is a sloppy pretender that captures neither the mood nor energy of the original.
Ashe is a biker who is killed along with his son after witnessing a murder. A crow comes to give... [More]
Adjusted Score: 16.408%
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.
Ordered to assassinate Mark Miller, the deadly female ninja Elektra opts instead to defy her orders and defends both Mark... [More]
Adjusted Score: 10.993%
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.
A big-budget spin-off from the series of three successful Superman movies, this film stars Helen Slater as the counterpart to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 14.559%
Critics Consensus: Halle Berry is the lone bright spot, but even she can't save this laughable action thriller.
Patience Philips is a woman who can't seem to stop apologizing for her own existence. She works as a graphic... [More]
Adjusted Score: 18.965%
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.
FANTASTIC FOUR, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel's original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 9.053%
Critics Consensus: Overly frantic, painfully unfunny, and sorely missing the presence of Jim Carrey.
Just as aspiring cartoonist Tim Avery gets over his fear of parenthood with the birth of his new son Alvey,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 5.656%
Critics Consensus: Lacking the punch and good cheer of The Incredibles and Sky High, Zoom is a dull and laugh-free affair.
Former superhero Jack is called back to work to transform an unlikely group of ragtag kids into superheroes at a... [More]
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.
16-year old MAX MCGRATH has just moved to a new town--and is desperately trying to fit in--when he discovers his... [More]