A-List: Five Worst Comic Book Movies
By J. Don Birnam
July 7, 2014
The string of summer blockbusters sequels continued when Transformers: Age of Extinction hit multiplexes. Indeed, I don’t know if I recall a summer with as many comic-book based or genre type movies such as this one. Every summer, of course, has some welcome surprises in the area of these crowd-pleasing popcorn flicks, as well as epic and notable duds.
Here’s a challenge: make a list of the top five worst comic book-based movies of all-time. It’s not easy, as there are many of them. To make my life easier, I winnowed it down as follows: sequels and remakes don’t count. So, as much as I would like to include some of the most recent Superman movies or some of the Batman sequels, I’m going to stick to first time offerings to make matters a bit simpler.
As usual, there will be a lot of (dis)honorable mentions of flicks that weren’t quite as bad as some of the disasters that do make the list. I’ll probably get skewered for this, but I thought the Watchmen movie was pretty terrible, but its redeeming qualities (the artsy and interesting cinematography) keep it off my list. Fantastic Four was also pretty disappointing, but at least the eye candy of some of the stars (Chris Evans, Jessica Alba) keeps it as a somewhat tolerable (drunk on an) airplane movie. And I didn’t think that Nicolas Cage could ruin movies more until I saw Ghost Rider - that movie was one big flop and I would not force it upon my worst enemy. Alas, I can think of at least five other comic book-based movies that are worse than that train wreck.
Here we go.
5. The Green Lantern
What a disappointment. Not even the eye candy of Ryan Reynolds can keep this movie off the list, despite my earlier exclusion of Fantastic Four for a similar reason. The acting is pretty terrible and the story is convoluted, confusing, and uninteresting. Not even the effects are that memorable. It’s hard to find anything to even write about the movie other than I was so glad when it was over, and I have never said that about a Ryan Reynolds movie - not even some of his other duds.
I mean, I should not have been surprised - I don’t think this comic translates into a movie as some others might. Part of the problem for this movie was that it was made in the 1990s, when effects were worse and the genre hadn’t really been perfected. Arguably, comic book movies took a turn for the better with the advent of Spiderman in 2001, but a few years before that duds like the Batman sequels and Spawn were littering the theaters at a consistent clip. And who played the lead character? I bet you couldn’t remember that with a gun to your head. Michael Jai White. That’s right. Do you remember ever hearing from him again? Not only did Spawn arguably ruin his career, it ruined comic book movies for me for a very long time.