Here I present my offering to the trending gods. Lists get clicks and thus I present you with a complete ranking of every Marvel and DC movie I’ve ever seen, including Black Panther. Now this list is just my opinion…and I know that statement will do absolutely nothing to dissuade any anger over me expressing an opinion that may be contradictory to the denizens of the internet. With that acknowledged I would like to quickly explain the method to my madness.
This list is based on my enjoyment of the films and not their objective quality. Objective quality is a rather strong factor in my enjoyment but it is not the standard at work here. Other factors include: strength of themes, coherent narrative, engaging or relatable characters, story structure, cultural significance, faithfulness to the source material, and general enjoyment to be had. This is not a mathematical formula. Critical ratings (2.5/5 stars, 7/10, etc…) will not be used.
Preface done, let us begin…
1-10. The best of the best.
1.) The Dark Knight
Some would say this is the cliché choice. I say that clichés exist for a reason. Simply put no other superhero film and very few films have reached the height of Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece. Brilliantly realized and gloriously executed, “The Dark Knight” is a tour de force of narrative tension, thematic resonance, and cultural impact. This is the film that showed the world that not only could superhero films be great for what they are but be great films…period.
“Logan” is a work of art that could only exist under the circumstances that lead to its creation. This is (arguably) the best embodiment of a character by any actor in this genre, a role Hugh Jackman inhabited for nearly 20 years, a character who helped define the genre, and said actor’s last turn as that iconic character. The film beautifully realizes its farewell to both the actor and character, paying ode to the classic westerns which Wolverine became the modern day embodiment of the archetypal “lone gun slinger” who must ride off into the wilderness after saving the day because he has no place in the society he fights to protect. Tearfully we said goodbye to the best and this was the final chapter worthy of his legend.
3.) The Avengers
When it comes to impact their are none who can top “The Avengers”. This movie revolutionized its industry, not just genre, and every film to follow it owes some debt of gratitude to it. “The Avengers” is both the bar and gold standard in which every other superhero film is measured against. It is so because of how brilliantly it validates its own existence. Achieving this milestone forever changed what a superhero film could be by cementing the validity of long form story telling in cinema.
4.) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
If it was not for its titanic impact, “The Avengers” would fall to 5 on this list as “Winter Soldier” and 5 are superior films in every other way. Guiding Marvel Studios into a wildly successful strategy of genre blending, “Winter Soldier” is a taught, impactful, and relevant political thriller that dares to ask some difficult questions of its audience and what they are and are not willing to lose to maintain the world as they know it. Big ideas for a film of genuine significance.
5.) Captain America: Civil War
When Marvel has something to say they like us to hear it from the mouth of Steve Rogers. The payoff of stage 2, “Civil War” brings all of our Avengers’ character development to a head. In unexpected, but true to their own personal arcs, ways our heroes find themselves at odds with one another. It’s a glorious spectacle and heartbreaking tragedy as these teammates rip themselves apart while both sides earnestly fail to find the right answer to a difficult question.
6.) Superman (78)
Speaking of debts of gratitude…This is the grand daddy of the genre. No way around it, “Superman” is the proof of concept for every superhero film to follow it. Christopher Reeve so perfectly embodied the character and all he stood for that it effectively made it impossible to make a Superman movie w/o him. Combine this with John Williams’ iconic score, the best in the genre, and there is something not short magical at work in this film. Sure its simplicity may seem quaint to modern eyes but it is precisely that simplicity that allows it to endure across time.
7.) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
All prior entries, even if disagreed with, probably were not considered a surprise for their placement. This one might be. Vol. 2 proved that there was a heart and mind behind its predecessor’s soul. Genuinely funny and emotional at the same time, we laugh and cry with our heroes as James Gunn’s masterful theming and character development guide us through the complicated ordeal that is coming to terms with your own family.
“He may have been your father but he wasn’t your daddy”, is but one of a dozen beautifully realized moments of humanity to be found in this modern classic.
8.) Iron Man
Plain and simple, there would be no MCU without “Iron Man”. With how much of a juggernaut Marvel now is in Hollywood it is easy to forget just how risky this film was. A disgraced actor leading a $100,000,000+ budgeted blockbuster based on what the public considered a C list superhero…Yet overnight Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr. skyrocketed to be the top of the A list. Our third and final contender for the title of “best embodiment of a character” got backed by a near perfect character study script. All that holds this film back is a lackluster third act and subpar villain.
9.) Wonder Woman
I feel like my blurb on the pervious entry could be copied and pasted with a few key word changes and perfectly explain my feelings on this film. We have another stellar performance that fantastically realizes the character while being backed up by a near perfect script for a character study. Now unlike “Iron Man”, “Wonder Woman” saved the DCEU as opposed to launching it. She was the Hail Mary thrown up by Warner Bros. on 4th down and she came down as a miracle. All that holds this film back…just like “Iron Man”…is a muddled third act and big dumb villain (who is also a large grey purveyor of war).
10.) Spider-Man 2
It should be noted that this film’s high ranking is a true testament to its quality, given that I am not a fan of the Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. The original was a marvel (pun unavoidable) when we had little to compare it to (more on that MUCH later). Its dated effects and tropes are an odd testament to just how good the story telling and characters are in this film. More than being everything you could reasonably expect from a superhero film the time, “Spider-Man 2” is everything one of these films could be at its time. Despite the hokiness of the direction and corny moments in the story this is still a story of fully realized potential and that must be applauded.
11-20 The greats who only aren’t higher because others were greater.
11.) X-Men: Day of Future Past
“Days of Future Past” is everything right about Fox’s X-Men franchise: excellent comic story adapted well, great performances, engaging narrative, grounded direction, with resonant and relevant political overtones. The only real negatives to this movie are some minor plot inconsistencies and a few wayward story threads. In the scheme of movie sins that is as minor as it gets. Truly this film is not higher on the list only because others were better.
12.) Batman Begins
This is how you do an origin story and resurrect a franchise. After the atrocity that was “Batman & Robin” (more on that MUCH MUCH later) that IP that was Batman was both a joke and a hazard. So when Christopher Nolan wanted to tell a “real” superhero story it was a tall task to meet but meet it he did. This is what made Batman the most serious and dramatic superhero in popular culture. By staying true to the essence of the characters and story while deftly adapting them for a realistic modern context, Nolan laid the ground work that would elevate the entire genre to new artistic heights and critical acclaim.
13.) Black Panther
The most recent entry so its position may be subject to fluctuation. As it stands, “Black Panther” is a better version of “The Dark Knight Rises” (more on that soon). An excellent cast portrays a good story that is told very well. The “Once and Future King” style story and the Afro-futuristic setting serves as fertile ground for the narrative to explore the deeper meaning behind the tights and crown. However the true triumph of the movie is the villain, Eric Kilmonger. Best in the MCU and second only to Heath Ledger’s Joker, Kilmonger is truly formidable while being sympathetic. Indeed he is the hero of his own story and imparts a difficult wisdom to our hero so powerful that it forces T’Challa to, at least in part, accept it.
Who better to follow the King than the Court Jester? Like “Spider-Man 2”, “Deadpool” is fully realized potential. Like “Logan”, it could only exist thanks to the circumstances that preceded it. Like “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”, it shows us beautiful human endurance through awful trauma. So why is it lower then all of them?
Because the thematic weight gets spread thin over too much ground. It’s funny as hell though.
15.) Guardians of the Galaxy
If any film encapsulates the soul of the MCU it is “The Guardians of the Galaxy”. A fun, action filled romp across wondrous worlds with plenty of clever humor and just enough heavy shit for dramatic resonance. This was also another big bet that’s easy to take for granted in hindsight. With excellent direction and a now iconic sound track that is the envy of Hollywood, “Guardians” greatest strength is its soul that paves the way for the weird yet thoughtful limits of its universe.
16.) Doctor Strange
Marvel returns to its wheelhouse to bring you another great performance backed by an excellent character study. Also like “Iron Man” another C-list hero in the public perception gets catapulted to stardom. In addition to examining its hero “Doctor Strange” blows the doors wide open for nothing short of cosmic possibilities in its universe…and it’s wildly inventive and fun.
17.) Avengers: Age of Ultron
This movie is underrated and it’s mostly due to the audience’s expectation. We expected this to be the payoff to Stage 2 when in reality it was the final most critical building block. The Avengers take actions that will inevitably put them on a collision course with one another and events are set into motion that will have drastic and lasting impacts on their world. Ultron is everything you could ask a villain to be…which may have been the fault in that star…and has there ever been such a radical degree of character development between movies than for “working dad” Hawkeye?
18.) X-Men: First Class
This is what happens when you take a franchise back to its roots and you do it right. Surprisingly faithful to the old comics while being a very believable starting point for the future versions of these characters that we already know. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender own the young versions of these iconic frenemies. Fassbender is particularly compelling as the tragic hero falling into villainy. All around excellent choices made for every phase of production down to this feeling like a genuine 1960s setting.
19.) X2: X-Men United
For its time this was as good as the genre could be. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier, and Ian McKellen’s Magneto all build off of their phenomenal turns as these characters. The film opens incredibly strong with the Nightcrawler scene that sets the plot in motion while introducing us to very well utilized fan favorite character. A common criticism of the franchise as a whole is that, “it’s supposed to me an X-Men movie not a Wolverine movie”, but it’s hard to argue against a performance that lends so much to the story. This film is as good as it could be…for its time. Time does not favor this installment as it becomes more and more dated with each passing year. The failure of its sequel only makes the promise of the Phoenix that much more painful in hindsight.
20.) The Dark Knight Rises
Every film in this section has been a very good film that is only not higher because others were better. This film should have been better and unlike “Ultron” that failing is not attributable to the audience’s expectations. Christopher tells an excellent story with a stellar cast adequately, and with the standard he set in “The Dark Knight” adequate is not up to par. Tom Hardy turned Bane into a household name, Anne Hathaway turns in the most faithful portrayal of Catwoman, while Bale, Kane, Oldman, and Freeman continue with their stellar work with their characters…but Cotilliard, who is perfectly cast btw, is criminally underutilized as the logic of the story and clarity of the theming takes a back seat to dramatic revelation theater. The harshness of my critique should not obfuscate “The Dark Knight Rises” ranking on this list as it is a very good film, but it is a very good film that should’ve been great.
21-30 The good that suffer from major flaws.
21.) The Wolverine
Coming off of the truly horrendous “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (you know where to find it) where Jackman’s Logan was one of two positives in a sea of terrible, Fox couldn’t afford to mess around. So they pulled out Frank Miller’s seminal run that took Wolverine to Japan and it paid off…mostly, until the third act. What was otherwise an interesting and compelling chapter of the titular hero reconciling his tragic life by reexamining his storied past gets marred by a big dumb action set piece. The character from Logan’s past reveals himself to be a moustache twirling villain and the PG-13 editing severely undercuts the tension in the fights. Despite these flaws “The Wolverine” is a mostly compelling look into the past life of one the great heroes.
This is a very silly and yet dark movie that is so unabashedly “itself” that it is hard not to look past its many flaws. Wesley Snipes is a damn cool Blade who is criminally underappreciated in the pantheon of superhero performances. The story is about as simple and straight forward as it can be but as a result it gets set in motion very quickly and never loses steam. The unabashed tone lends itself to some pretty iconic scenes. The villain is somehow bad yet perfect for his role in this story and the film has the wisdom to forgo a forced romance between its leads. You could pick this movie to death but, “some mother f***ers are always trying to ice skate uphill”.
23.) Captain America: The First Avenger
Coming off “Iron Man” and building towards “The Avengers” left Marvel a lot of freedom to do whatever they wanted with the publically perceived C-list heroes. Captain America was the one in that group that pop culture cared about prior to the MCU. With “First Avenger” they found the perfect way to incorporate the hokiness of the old comics into Marvel’s first foray into heart. A great performance in a good origin story that carries it through its sillier moments, while laying the foundation for what will become enthralling, heartbreaking, and glorious.
It’s all too easy to equate “with the fifth best” with “bad” but that doesn’t do justice to Brian Singer’s “X-Men”. Back in a time when superhero films were for kids and only kids, “X-Men” dared to attach some significance to its story and, as much as any uneasy studio would allow, remain faithful to the core concept of the source material. I’ve mentioned them previously so I’ll make this quick…Jackman, Stewart, and McKellen made this franchise. What immediately set this film above audience expectations was to dive in head first to the villain’s backstory as a Holocaust survivor and how that informs his motivations.
25.) Spider-Man: Homecoming
Once you get past the fanfare of Marvel’s favorite son “coming home”, you are left with a fun but largely inconsequential movie. This is an extremely well made movie with minimal faults but little more than par for the MCU’s course. Tom Holland is a good choice to play the part and I’m sure he’ll develop it quite nicely over his tenure as the web slinger. He’s been surrounded by a fun cast of supporting characters and has a high ceiling for future installments. As it stands, all that elevates this movie this high is its villain. Michael Keaton’s Vulture is easily the third best villain in the MCU as a working class man pushed into a corner he got all too comfortable in.
“Ant-Man” is some delightful ridiculousness with more than enough heart to make it more than comic fluff. Yes, the villain is one of the guys who gives MCU villains a bad name. Yes, it’s rather forgettable (I kept forgetting its existence as I made this list). Yes, it is utterly ludicrous…but it’s also Ant-Man. They fact that I was grinning from ear to ear for the entire movie, that I actually gave a damn about Paul Rudd being able to see his little girl again, or that I audibly cried out “NO!” when Antony died is a minor miracle worthy of due respect.
27.) Thor Ragnarok
As you can tell from the poster, the art direction is nothing short of sublime. If an 80s Metal album cover was a movie it would be this movie. For an idea that sounds that awesome how can it be ranked so low? Well like most acid trips “Thor Ragnarok” is a psychedelic thrill ride that wastes potential. If this was just Thor and Hulk get stuck on an alien world and have to “Gladiator” their way off of it then this would be a superb buddy action-comedy. Unfortunately it deigns to waste the truly compelling story of Hela’s return from exile and the unmasking of Asgard’s dark past. So while what’s good in this movie probably should’ve put it in the top 15, up until this point no film has made me more pissed off at it. There are simply FAR too many genuinely great moments that get stomped on for the sake of a cheap joke to allow me to rank it any higher.
28.) Iron Man 3
This is probably another one people expected to be ranked higher, and like “Ragnarok” its parts are much greater than its sum. Tony suffering PTSD after the events of “The Avengers”, great. Having his tech fail forcing him to be creative, excellent. The Mandarin as a front to another villain, fant…uh…we’ll get to that. Shane Black writes the daylights out of this movie’s dialogue but unfortunately he doesn’t like telling a story as a smaller part of a larger whole. The “Extremis” storyline is poorly adapted. The villain…oooh boy…the real villain, Killian, doesn’t get nearly the flak that he deserves. He’s a Hollywood hunk doing a bad “nerd’s revenge” 80s trope that was insufferable in its own decade let alone 30 years later! Now about that Mandarin…
The idea of him being a front for someone else is brilliant. Him being a front for Killian is unforgivably stupid. All that negativity said; the cast is incredibly fun to watch, the film oozes wit and charm, and it’s RDJ doing Tony Stark.
By most standards I think this is a bad movie. The acting is subpar, action is laughable, the story and effects are horribly dated, but it has some of the most iconic scenes in film history (see above image). This film was great when we had very little to compare it to. Raimi’s direction clearly treats the material as kid’s stuff and a joke but every couple scenes he’ll allow them the opportunity for something more to shine through. Mary Jane as written is a shadow of her comic counterpart and everything redeemable about the character is thanks to Kirsten Dunst’s performance. For all my problems with the film the first act is quite excellent and for most of the world is the definitive telling of Spidey’s origin.
Now this scene will undoubtedly continue to be lost to time but for every kid who remembers watching the Twin Towers fall the words, “you mess with one of us you mess with all of us!”, and that scene on the bridge when the citizens of NYC rally to help fend off the Green Goblin will always hold a rare power.
30.) Superman II
Let me be clear. If I was talking about the Donner cut this would be in the top 20. I’m not, so it isn’t. The presence of Christopher Reeve as Superman will always be a boon to a film but it can only carry you so far. The obvious reshoots, disjointed narrative, and bizarre plot turns simply outweigh the virtues and charms of Reeves, Kidder, Hackman, and Stamp in their great turns in these roles. FTR, Margot Kidder is severely undervalued as the definitive Lois Lane.
31-40 The average to bad with redeeming qualities.
31.) Blade II
Damn it Blade! The best thing about you was how unrepentantly YOU you were. Stop ripping off the Matrix!
32.) The Amazing Spider-Man 2
This is one I suspect that most people expected to see at the very bottom. While I certainly wouldn’t call this a good movie, it’s positive qualities are often overlooked. Garfield is a superior Spider-Man to Maguire. Emma Stone is perfect as Gwen Stacy and how her death plays out is heartbreaking. It’s like an over seasoned and over cooked steak. There’s too much going on with too much looking towards the future and not enough attention on the present.
33.) Batman/ Batman Returns
I know for a fact that this will piss people off. Sorry, I can’t place them any higher. I recognize the first film’s significance but these iterations of these characters and the story are too divorced from my understanding to accept them. Burton is one hell of a stage designer but his interest is only skin deep. “Returns” is the same beast uncaged. While Michelle Pfifer is unelrecognizable as Selina Kyle, her Catwoma is still an absolute knock out.
34.) Justice League
Please take careful note of the above image. The Justice League is usually established by “the Founding Seven”. Can you tell me who’s missing? The correct answer is not, “Green Lantern”…
The Martian Manhunter, the League’s avatar of wisdom, who is totally absent from this entire franchise. There is not a more perfect metaphor for the DCEU.
35.) The Incredible Hulk
Another film I kept forgetting that existed when I made this list. This is definitively average as in that it is devoid positive or negative qualities.
36.) Thor The Dark World
When you think of bad MCU villains everyone thinks of the elf dude from this movie. I know his name because I read comics but I refuse to grant him that level of significance. Outside of him and the awful comic relief there really isn’t anything bad about this movie. It’s just bland, generic fantasy fare. Hemsworth is great as the titular hero and the dynamic between him and Sif is intriguing…though it gets sacrificed to make room for the droll Jane Foster romance. What elevates this movie above its predecessor is Tom Hiddlestin coming into his own as the MCU’s second best villain and the relationship he has with Renee Russo’s Frayje. The climax devolving into a live action “Portal” movie was inventive and fun.
The quality faux-Shakespearean royal family drama is weighed down by the lousy fish out of water comedy. Hemsworth and Hiddlestin are fine in their roles but they have yet to find their strides with them.
38.) The Amazing Spider-Man
ASM is everything said about ASM2 but less. While that is better in some regard it is also worse in others.
39.) X-Men Apocalypse
Over stuffed, overwrought, and under thought. This marks the second time that the third entry in a trilogy brought a Fox IP to a screeching halt. Internal logic is not a premium consideration. The villain might as well be the Power Rangers villain Ivan Ooze (seriously, Pokémon villain Mewtwo is a wildly superior version of Apocalypse). Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t want to be there anymore…and it shows. What elevates this movie above the lower tiers is Magneto’s gut wrenching subplot and Quicksilver’s scene.
40.) The Punisher
I was honestly conflicted as to whether or not to include this movie. It’s really not part of the genre but then again neither is blade. This is a middling action movie with a talented but underutilized star. It’s neither dark nor visceral enough to do justice to its source material. Unless I’m referencing this list I’m not certain that I’ll ever have occasion to remember this movie again. Even teenage me wasn’t especially impressed by anything in it.
41-50 The Bad
By all fair judge of quality this train wreck should be in the bottom 10…but I’ll be damned if there isn’t a charm to its awfulness. Jennifer Gardner is a terrible Elektra Notches but damn it she doesn’t make an incredible Evanescence music video. Ben Affleck is so much better than the material he’s given. Michael Clark Duncan (RIP) is always great even when he’s a terrible Kingpin. Collin Farrell’s, “heh, Bullseye! yar!”, is an unholy delight of pure gleeful psychosis and absolute zero reservation. I can’t help but smile at every insane second of his screen time. For all that ironic joy, none of it can save this doomed endeavor (see above image). It’s real bad but it’s also a very watchable bad.
42.) Iron Man 2
A horrible adaptation of seminal comic story and being utterly bereft of coherent direction is carried entirely by RDJ who can’t quite manage the task this go around. By no means awful, “Iron Man 2” is definitely flat and unfocused. In the scope of history this film is little more than setup for the Avengers. It does that well at the expense of everything else. Thank the heavens for RDJ’s smug charm and AC//DC’s incredible music because w/o either of them this would have been a slog.
43.) The Fantastic Four (94, Roger Corman)
Like I said with “Daredevil”, if the primary criteria of this list was objective production quality then this…thing would be second to last (yes, there is one worse than this). Alas it is not and I can get some solid enjoyment out of good laugh. The story is silly, stupid, and simple. The acting is ham-fisted. The effects and designs are ABYSMAL. All around truly, wonderfully awful but somebody had a nickel and they tried damn it! How tragic is it that the film that was never intended to be released is still to date the best live action depiction of Dr. Doom?
44.) X3 The Last Stand
Everything that is good about this movie only serves to highlight how truly bad the rest of it is. Xavier’s death, the awakening of the Phoenix, and Logan killing Jean are all truly beautiful and impactful moments. It’s just a shame that they’re in service to this lame plot, slipshod direction, and atrocious adaptation of the greatest story in the X-Men’s history. Jackman, Stewart, and McKellen cannot save this effort. It’s also a shame that the perfect casting of Kelsey Grammar as Beast goes to waste on this movie.
45.) Ghost Rider
Oh Nicholas Cage…
You prove that delightful madness and an awesome visual can only carry you so far. Whether it’s the stupid plot, lame Hot Topic villain, pointless romance, or incomprehensible humor this movie tests the limits of what can be considered enjoyably bad.
46.) Fantastic Four (2005)
This is not awful, but it is really really really bad. This is why “Spider-Man 2” deserves so much praise. Given how far the genre has come this may be hard to believe, but this was once considered par. Before I trash this thing I want to give credit to the one good thing it has going for it, Michael Chickless’ Ben Grimm/Thing. It’s not just being the best in a weak field as he is legitimately good in the role. That aside…everyone else is terrible or their talents are being squandered by this hokie, trite, childish mess of a story. By far and away the worst part of this movie is the bastardization of Doom.
47.) Superman Returns
Oh boy. Let’s keep this short as there is little to say. Poorly cast, unfocused direction, sloppily written, and needlessly confusing. It only appears better in hindsight because we have seen worse since.
48.) Man of Steel
Case in point. This film had it all: failure of its potential, deep misunderstanding of its own themes, genuine pretentiousness, a hopelessly fragmented plot, and an utter betrayal of character. What keeps this from being among the truly awful is the good performances by the entire cast and give the man his due; Zack Snyder can’t tell a story deeper than “buff men beat up bad men!” but the man is one of the best in the business when it comes to filming action.
49.) Blade Trinity
Dear Blade, what a fall this was. Before the MCU kicked off the third entry in a Marvel trilogy was destined for the kiss of death and Blade was no exception. While it will always be great to see Wesley Snipes in this role it was obvious just how much contempt he had for this project and I can’t blame him. If the second was treading on “The Matrix” then this installment was some edge lord s*** treading upon the original “Blade”. It’s such a shame that Blade vs Dracula is such a blatant and desperate ploy for relevancy. Hands down the best part of the movie is when Blade is tearing the amateurs down for being the rookie hacks that they are, which simultaneously serves as Wesley Snipes ripping apart those riding off of his cred.
50.) Suicide Squad
There are two things keeping this film out of the ranks of the truly awful and their names are Will Smith and Margot Robbie. Ok, Jai Courtney was pretty good too.
Everything else about this dumpster fire of a film is comically, mind boggling atrocious. Jared Leto butchers his turn as the greatest comic book villain. The internal logic that drives the entire premise is side splittingly hilarious in its stupidity. The studio’s interference is blatantly obvious across the film and the climax is akin to what I’ve seen out of the “Naked Gun” series, except I’m supposed to take this s*** serious now. All these failures pale in comparison to the movie’s greatest sin, squandering its potential. People had a reason to be hyped for this. This should have been great and it’s REALLY bad.
51-62 The truly awful
51.) Superman 3
This is not a terrible superhero story…but that’s only because it’s not one. It’s a terrible comedy and the worst of Richard Pryor’s career. Who green lit this? Why did they do so? What drugs were they on? These are the eternal questions that will forever surround this movie.
52.) Green Lantern
The only good to come out of this movie is that it gave “Deadpool” plenty of ammunition. What should’ve been “Training Day in SPACE” got boiled down to the same lazy conventions of “Fantastic Four” (05)’s shitty par, except that we now lived in a post-Dark Knight cinematic landscape. There is no good in this movie. Both villains are laughably terrible. The plot is insipid and the writing is unforgivably trite. All this put on the back of a hero who is decades pasts his cultural relevancy. Truly terrible.
53.) Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
You remember what “Blade Trinity” was to “Blade”? Well that is what this collection of moving images is to “Ghost Rider”. I didn’t realize that you could fall that far from a low perch. Take everything lame and exhausting about the original and suck out the cool to replace it with more Nick Cage craziness. The only thing going for this movie is the mad zeal of its directors that manage to maintain a high level energy and nothing else.
54.) Punisher: Warzone
Excessively violent and needlessly stupid, “Warzone” is the worst of 80s action two decades too late.
55.) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
This is another one certain to raise consternation. Unlike every other entry in this section, this film had excellent qualities and a vast potential. Ben Affleck is the best live action Batman to date. Gal Gadot’s introduction as Wonder Woman was in this movie. In the end that means its failings had to be that much more substantial. To steal a perfect quote from @MovieBob,
“…here is a film that is not only bad but disastrously conceived, ineptly produced, poorly written, incomprehensibly directed, badly acted, creatively splintered but also crushed by pretense in a way that only an auteur project can be, hideous to look at, painful to listen to, and existentially depressing to think about after the fact. A film willed into being by a marketing algorithm yet somehow believing it had been birthed fully formed from the kiss of the muses. That flails about with no coherent plot or theme, bludgeoning its audience, knee capping the very ambitions it was meant to empower, and does genuine violence to eighty plus years of pop mythology from which it was drawn. And on top of all that, a film that in its totality embodies everything wrong and that can go wrong with a self-referencing continuity obsessed franchise…”
Let’s be honest about Elektra as a character; she is almost entirely sex appeal. Now while Ms. Garner is more than appealing enough to meet that requirement, that gives her story possibilities a very limited and shallow capacity. Pair that up with Hollywood hacks grinding for a paycheck and you’ve got a plot doomed to fail. Cloying emotionality and absurdly convoluted pretense cannot disguise that the appeal of this project is only skin deep.
57.) Batman & Robin
It is very evident that Joel Schumacher wanted to return Batman to the Adam West era. That was wildly out of synch with the trend of the pop mythology for the character. You can explain in a hundred different ways at great length every terrible choice decision made by this movie but it all boils forth from that conceit. Since the Burton films were too far removed from the characters for my liking then this neon circus might as well have been from another dimension.
58.) Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
What can I say about this movie that hasn’t been said a hundred times over? It’s cheap, ridiculous, nonsensical, bizarre, and an affront to the genre. This is what happens when you don’t know when to stop or how to course correct. If you can find joy in the mockery then I am not one to cast stones, but it is too tall a task for me to abide for myself. Believe it or not this is not the worst film in this franchise. That dubious distinction belongs to…
Oh Kara, what have they done to you. To say that this film has a plot is an insult to the concept of plot. To say that it has characters is to fail to comprehend the notion of character. Random events occur without reason of significance to narrative objects that are forced to interact with them. The blatant sexism directed at the lead and her antagonist is gruelingly offensive. Absurd and horrendous.
60.) Howard the Duck
Yes, you seeing the above image correctly. That woman is about to get intimate with an animatronic duck. From the mind of George Lucas!
Question…Do you have a camera phone? Do you either cosplay or know someone who does? If the answer to both is “yes” then congratulations! You can make a better movie than “Steel”.
What do you get when you combine the shallow sexuality of “Elektra”, the childish logic of “Fantastic Four”, and the blatant sexism of “Supergirl”?
A truly horrendous movie. There is not a single virtue to this movie’s name. Take one of the most played out concepts in Hollywood script writing, dumb it down, throw some tattered leather onto it, film everything way too close, and pay zero regard for the source material. Truly the genre at its absolute worst.
Before we arrive at our last entry I would like to explain the absence of several films from this list. Remember that this list is comprised of what I have seen, ergo “Fant-4-stic” will be spared judgment. Now I have seen “Batman Forever” but not since I was age 10 and I feel like that shouldn’t really count. Now we come to the worst of the worst…
63.) Spider-Man 3
In terms of objective quality this film is far from the worst but no film has ever personally wounded me as deeply as “Spider-Man 3”. While far from being a fan of the Raimi trilogy I can still recognize when something comes up short in one regard and blows it in another. This movie blew the chance at a “son of the goblin” story that had been so well set up by the second movie whilst failing to deliver on the potential of Sandman. Now the most common complaint against the film is that its overstuffed with villains, which it most definitely is, but that fails to address the scope of the failure.It’s not like these were good portrayals of these characters that got cut short. Harry fulfills his anti-arc by descending into villainy but is immediately hit with one of the lamest tropes in fiction, bonk on the head amnesia, so that they ca reset him to not be an antagonist. Sandman is a nice idea that is given no purpose in the plot. I still can’t believe that the comic fans didn’t riot over how they butcher Gwen Stacy…And then there is Venom…
Before I dive into this you need to be made aware of one fact. Eddie Brock Venom is my favorite comic book character. I adore the dynamic between the predatory alien that wants to be Batman and the over aggressive, hungry for justice, distrustful of authority disgraced journalist. To my eyes Venom is the quintessential Marvel anti-hero; made a villain by his vendetta against the hero while performing heroic acts in service of the downtrodden and vulnerable. Venom gives a damn about the wretches of society and is more than happy throw down with the structures of power to have their back, the Lethal Protector of the innocent…and what does this movie do to him?
It reimagines him as a petty weak romantic rival (which Eddie and Peter have NEVER once been in the comics), a cowardly tabloid photographer, and a mindless/soulless killing machine. Not only did they destroy his character by having him kidnap Mary Jane for that awful joke, but they also had him make a veiled rape threat at her. Raimi took everything I loved about the character and dismissed it out of hand. Worse, Raimi’s abominable iteration would go on to poison the character in the comics for a better part of the decade.
This is what makes “Spider-Man 3” the worst movie going experience of my life.