Top 10 Tuesday: Worst Marvel Movies
By Kevin McVicker
Last Tuesday, we went over the Top Ten Marvel Movies, but today we are going over the worst of the worst. If you’re a fan of my work and follow my articles on other sites I wrote for (Hey, Mom!) then you saw where I wrote about the worst overall comic book movies of all time, and that list may not completely match this list in terms of Marvel movies. Editorially that wasn’t originally a top ten list, but just a list of me mocking back comic book movies in no particular order. In terms of marketing, definitive ordered lists work better than a random cacophony of words which is my general style (“Kevin McVicker” is actually a nom de plume for a room full of monkeys banging on typewriters in the infinite improbability of attempting to rewrite Hamlet). Marvel has put out a lot of horrible movies with their name on it, so let’s celebrate all the cinematic disasters we can!
This movie was set up for failure from the start. For a $10 million budget even at this time it didn’t have a lot of hope. While it attempted to follow the Captain America story fairly faithfully to the comic, the slow pace, lack of action, and surprisingly gory Red Skull made what otherwise tried to be a kid friendly film enjoyable for no one. In a time when comic book properties weren’t being taken as legitimate source material for strong stories (even after the success of Batman) and the complete lack of a budget makes it hard to be too brutal to this film.
9. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
This movie is a perfect example of having too much of a good thing and then adding in an awkwardly sexist scene by Peter Parker that ends with him dancing. Sandman, Harry Osborn, and Venom are all great characters, but when mashed into this movie it made a strange story where no one really got the screen time they deserved (but Peter got to dance). I’m a huge Sam Raimi fan from the Evil Dead days, so I get the type of humor he was trying to achieve, but sadly he failed because it was a dissonant tone to the rest of the film. I don’t think this is as bad of a film as most people do, but it is a perfect example of a film company having their own vision for a film with a writer/director team that has their own vision for a film and everyone tries to make everyone happy. Raimi wanted Sandman, the studio wanted Venom, and the story dictated the second Green Goblin (it didn’t, but that was the excuse given). It was too much for one film which is the true fault of this movie regardless of all the hatred for Peter Parker pulling a Ron Burgundy flute-solo stunt.
8. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
I am not a bandwagon hater of the Fantastic Four movies. I thought as a family-fun movie a lot of things worked. When the two movies were released, the Thing didn’t look too horrible. With hindsight and modern movies as a standard- these movies aged horribly. I stand behind my belief that they actually did the Silver Surfer extremely well. However, Doom’s face healing and the actor they had play him just made this impossible to not put on this list. I’m trying to get only one movie per franchise on this list and since I haven’t seen the latest incarnation of this team on film, this one has to take its place. It’s also completely unforgivable to ruin Warren Ellis’ reimagining of Galactus.
7. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
This is my petty pick for this list. One, it makes me uncomfortable when the lead actor is far more attractive than his love interest. Two, Emma Frost’s initial mutation was her secondary mutation and her sister (who was way too Native American looking to be related to her) had her initial mutation. Third, whatever that was – that wasn’t Deadpool. I know comic book movies can’t be completely like the the comics but at least try to not get basic, simple ideas mixed up just because it is easy for the plot and casting.
6. Blade: House of Chthon (2006)
When a movie franchise is obviously in a nose dive after the third film, the worst thing that can happen is for the main actor to get recast, the action to get slowed down, the over-the-top violence to be toned down, and for the story to be moved to a cable channel no one watches. After Blade: Trinity, Wesley Snipes was replaced by a rapper named Sticky Fingaz who couldn’t really fight, and the once hard R-Rated action/horror story was turned into a TV-14 series on FX at 11PM. To launch the series, the movie folks tried so hard to make a fourth movie which would launch the inevitably failed Blade television series eleven episodes later. While with the recent success of other horror series like The Walking Dead and The Strain, this series could probably thrive if done properly today. It was doomed back then due to a remarkably small budget and poor production values.
5. Elektra (2005)
Like so many entries that are on this list (and maybe others that deserved to be on this list), the Elektra movie made one extreme sin – ignoring the comics and the history of the character. For the movie experience, things have to change and you can’t represent the years of serial stories on most of these characters with the accuracy that die-hard fanboys want. While some of the characters have analogs by the same name in the comics, it is almost impossible until you watch the credits to figure out who some of these characters are supposed to be, almost to the point that I’m not even sure the filmmakers paid attention to the comic characters’ bios but just saw names and liked the names (which the filmmakers in our number one spot opening admitted to doing). Most people love to hate on Daredevil because people hate Ben Affleck (watch the director’s cut of that film which isn’t really too terrible, but kind of good), but this movie as a “sequel” of sorts to that film made it look like Lawrence of Arabia.
4. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
I said early I would try to not have two from the same franchise on this list. I said I’d try. X-Men has not only had more entries than most other movie franchise, but has also broken more cardinal sins too. Like Wolverine: Origins, they mixed up and confused character powers. Jean Grey didn’t turn into the Phoenix, she became Scarlet Witch. Did you know Psylocke was in this movie?? Her mutant power is some kind of shadow-hiding thing. The Juggernaut was a mutant apparently, not of mystical origins. Was there even a need for Angel? Madrox was made into nothing more than a “clever” plot point. Can we take Halle Berry’s Oscar away for her “acting” in this franchise? Like Spider-Man 3, the filmmakers tried to cram too much of a great thing into one movie, but unlike Spider-Man 3 apparently didn’t bother to read the source material. Was I the only one that thought Dr. Rao was going to turn into Apocalypse?
3. Man-Thing (2005)
This was a “movie” which I believe I only saw because I was working at Blockbuster when it came out. We had free rentals then, so I took home one of the two copies or store received of this “movie” and watched it a week before any of you did (unless you also worked for Blockbuster). That sounds like a brag, but it is really my attempt to apologize for not making enough noise to make sure none of you were tragically sucked into the too-dark-to-distinguish-anything bog that was this “movie.” I can honestly say, I’m not sure if you ever entirely get to see the title creature in the film or if it’s just the red-light eyes the entire time.
2. Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United (2013)
I didn’t plan on having such a small and relatively unknown release as this movie in such a high place, but when I thought back I couldn’t help but remember all the awful things about it. This movie was an animated release that I watched because it was on Netflix, and so thankfully I paid nothing extra to watch it. It has the computer animation of the old Transformers: Beast Wars cartoon from the 90’s or the MTV Spider-Man cartoon from the early 2000’s which looked good fifteen years ago. The dialogue, the voice acting, the story… just everything about this cartoon was awful. Above all, this should have been a 30 minute short for kids, like little kids, but the 70 minute run time made it too long for anyone to sit through except for a someone with their eyes taped open. The horrible image that is now in your mind is slightly happier than the feeling you get from watching this cartoon film.
1. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)
This movie is what happens when you give people high-def cameras and truck loads of meth. It’s like what Beavis, Butthead, and Nicholas Cage think would be a super cool movie. “Heh heh heh, make him pee fire! Fire! Yeah!” The choice for a villain was honestly the filmmakers looking through a list of Marvel villains that the studio had the rights to and picking Blackout because he had a cool name. They then proceeded to do zero research on the character (not my opinion, but openly stated by the writing/directing team). They even said they never watched the first film and that this could be a prequel or sequel (later that was back tracked and said to be a joke, but if you watched the same movie I did I think they honestly thought that). To be fair, this isn’t just a bad movie because I’m a comic geek; it’s just a bad movie. The action moments are insane and I can understand why they’d be presumed fun, but the lulls and dramatic moments in the film (you know, the points that are supposed to develop things like plot and characters) are boring and full of wasted screen time. The filmmakers on this movie made the Crank series, which is literally at points an action movie on meth, and there was a freshness and a b-rated fun nature to those movies that made them enjoyable (not great or worth owning, but fun), which is fine for a movie to be unmemorable but escapism for ninety minutes. It’s the McDonald’s meal of movies: rare, but acceptable. This movie foregoes the fun for a dark, muddled mess and additionally ignores the mythology it purports to pay homage. This movie is the worst Marvel movie ever made.