(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: 49465%
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.
Convinced that Superman (Henry Cavill) is now a threat to humanity, Batman (Ben Affleck) embarks on a personal vendetta to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 31040%
Critics Consensus: Ghost Rider is a sour mix of morose, glum histrionics amidst jokey puns and hammy dialogue.
A motorcycle stuntman (Nicolas Cage) who sold his soul to save a loved one becomes a fiery agent for justice... [More]
Adjusted Score: 35500%
Critics Consensus: Noisy, overproduced, and thinly written, Green Lantern squanders an impressive budget and decades of comics mythology.
A test pilot (Ryan Reynolds) becomes the first human to join a band of warriors sworn to preserve peace and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 44985%
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.
Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and other armed supervillains unite to battle a mysterious... [More]
Adjusted Score: 30160%
Critics Consensus: Louder, campier, and more incoherent than its predecessors, Blade: Trinity seems content to emphasize style over substance and rehash familiar themes.
Blade (Wesley Snipes) and a pair of vampire slayers battle Dracula, the newly resurrected ancestor of the undead.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 27079%
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 martial-arts master (Chow Yun-Fat) finds an unlikely protÃ©gÃ© (Seann William Scott) to take over the responsibility of protecting an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 23570%
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.
The superturtles and a newswoman friend find their way into a 17th-century fight between samurai dynasties.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 41504%
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.
During a rescue mission, Jean Grey is hit by a cosmic force that makes her infinitely more powerful, but far... [More]
Adjusted Score: 24792%
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.
An archcriminal (Armand Assante) escapes in 22nd-century New York and seeks revenge on the lawman (Sylvester Stallone) who sent him... [More]
Adjusted Score: 29213%
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 best friends reunite as an unlikely crime-fighting superhero duo when one invents a formula that gives ordinary people... [More]
Adjusted Score: 27639%
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.
Four unlikely terrapin warriors rise from the sewers and join forces with fearless reporter April O'Neil (Megan Fox) to save... [More]
Adjusted Score: 21709%
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.
Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) gets a chance to rid himself of the Ghost Rider curse forever when members of a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 19765%
Critics Consensus: Spawn is an overbearing, over-violent film that adds little to the comic book adaptation genre.
A clown from Hell allows a badly scarred man, Al Simmons, to return to Earth on a mission to conquer... [More]
Adjusted Score: 23116%
Critics Consensus: Just ordinary. LXG is a great premise ruined by poor execution.
Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery), Capt. Nemo, Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), Dr. Jekyll, Tom Sawyer (Shane West) and others unite to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 16998%
Critics Consensus: Underdog is a mostly forgettable adaptation that relies far too heavily on recycled material and sloppy production.
A canine superhero (Jason Lee) must save the day when an evil scientist (Peter Dinklage) and his enormous henchman (Patrick... [More]
Adjusted Score: 15639%
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: 17495%
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 ghostlike crime fighter (Gabriel Macht) faces a villain known as the Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), whose aim is to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 22121%
Critics Consensus: While it has its moments, Howard the Duck suffers from an uneven tone and mediocre performances.
George Lucas' tale of an extraterrestrial duck who is mistakenly brought to Cleveland by an experimental laser beam.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 12130%
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: 17611%
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.
Batgirl joins the caped crusaders (George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell) to stop Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Poison Ivy from wreaking... [More]
Adjusted Score: 16108%
Critics Consensus: Josh Brolin gives it his best shot, but he can't keep the short, unfocused Jonah Hex from collapsing on the screen.
The Army hires a supernatural gunslinger (Josh Brolin) to hunt down and stop a man (John Malkovich) who plans to... [More]
Adjusted Score: 14099%
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.
The Man of Steel (Christopher Reeve) crusades for nuclear disarmament and meets Lex Luthor's (Gene Hackman) latest creation, Nuclear Man.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 12773%
Critics Consensus: The Crow: City of Angels is a sloppy pretender that captures neither the mood nor energy of the original.
A magic black crow guides a motorcycle mechanic (Vincent Perez) who returns to avenge the murders of himself and his... [More]
Adjusted Score: 15991%
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.
Hired to kill a man and his daughter (Kirsten Prout), an assassin (Jennifer Garner) instead protects them while battling formidable... [More]
Adjusted Score: 11673%
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: 14272%
Critics Consensus: Halle Berry is the lone bright spot, but even she can't save this laughable action thriller.
A shy artist (Halle Berry) acquires feline speed, agility and keen senses following a brush with death.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 20243%
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.
Mr. Fantastic (Miles Teller), the Thing (Jamie Bell), the Human Torch (Michael B. Jordan) and the Invisible Woman (Kate Mara)... [More]
Adjusted Score: 8428%
Critics Consensus: Overly frantic, painfully unfunny, and sorely missing the presence of Jim Carrey.
Chaos reigns when a cartoonist's (Jamie Kennedy) son is born with extraordinary powers and the god Loki (Alan Cumming) returns... [More]
Adjusted Score: 5984%
Critics Consensus: Lacking the punch and good cheer of The Incredibles and Sky High, Zoom is a dull and laugh-free affair.
A former superhero (Tim Allen) returns to work at a private academy to whip a group of ragtag youths into... [More]
Adjusted Score: 84%
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.
A teen (Ben Winchell) who generates energy combines together with a techno-organic extraterrestrial (Josh Brener) to become the superhero Max... [More]