Superhero films are incredibly popular these days. From origin stories to grand finales that bring fan favorites together, we as a society can’t help but become immersed in the comic book world as it’s transferred onto the silver screen. One big issue is that the hype doesn’t live up to expectations for them all.
Fant4astic was a reboot, and yet the plot and editing felt inadequate, while Iron Man 2 had a great starting point but couldn’t muster up a solid villain as it did in the original. Keep scrolling to read about some of the most over-hyped superhero movies that ended up bombing.
Fans of the X-Men franchise were very excited that Jean Grey was finally going to have her origin story in Dark Phoenix. The fact that the beloved Sophie Turner was going to play the infamous anti-villain was just the icing on the cake. Yes, the franchise was releasing flop after flop, but people were optimistic about Dark Phoenix.
They shouldn’t have been. The film made $254.4 million in the box office, but that was with a $200 million budget. A low total that no film wants to see. Dark Phoenix received a solid 32 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the lowest-rated X-Men movie on their website.
After the mess of Batman v Superman, people thought the DCEU was going to turn things around with Justice League. It brought all of the beloved superheroes together, including Batman, Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, Wonder Woman, and Superman, so the studio was bound to get something right this time. Wrong.
While the action sequences were spot on, the writing and plot were all over the place, leaving nothing to be admired. The New York Post‘s Sara Stewart said, “Justice League is a pointless flail of expensive (yet somehow cheap-looking) CGI that no amount of tacked-on quips, or even Gadot’s luminescent star power, can rescue.”
Spawn was a highly-anticipated film in 1997. The character was immensely popular with comic book lovers. So when New Line Cinema decided to buy the rights to the origin story, fans were thrilled. They were finally going to see everything before Al Simmons led Hell’s Army. People were very excited to see the demonic violence Spawn is known for!
The film was not well received. Its use of CGI is corny, the writing’s all over the place, and the ill-timed humor could have been left out of the R-rated movie. Thankfully, the sequel was put on the backburner and left there. Spawn received an 18 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice
In 2016, the DCEU decided it was going to take a stab at a superhero crossover movie, starting with two of the biggest names in the universe, Batman and Superman. People were hyped up; they were going to see two of the most iconic heroes battle on the silver screen.
Alas, the action-packed movie was laughable. In what was supposed to be an epic final battle scene between the Dark Knight and Man of Steel ended all because Batman learned that his and Clark’s mother shared the same name. Throw in Jesse Eisenberg’s odd manic take on Lex Luther and what’s left is a disorganized film backed by effects-driven action.
X-Men: The Last Stand
Coming off of the success of the first two X-Men movies, people were ready for the third installment. X-Men: Last Stand was supposed to be the exciting conclusion of the original trilogy. Fans were thrilled to be introduced to some iconic comic book characters, including Angles and Colossus, and to see Jean Grey finally turn into the Dark Phoenix.
Too bad the trailer was the best part of the movie. All of the subtle undertones from the first films were replaced by dialogue that might as well have had characters saying “it’s a metaphor” straight into the camera. Surprisingly, the film received a 57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Green Lantern was supposed to be the kick-off for the DCEU after Christopher Nolan finished up his Dark Knight trilogy. With The Avengers right around the corner, Sony and DC wanted to start assembling their on-screen Justice League. And what better way to start the train than with one of the most outlandish superheroes on their roster?
Fans were originally thrilled for the prospect of Ryan Reynolds playing Hal Jordan. The film even won a Scream Award for the Most Anticipated film of 2010. Too bad it failed to uphold the honor. The fanfare quickly wore off after people viewed the CGI-disaster of a movie.
Howard The Duck
Howard the Duck was Marvel’s first attempt at starting the MCU. Fans of the comic were excited to see the wise-cracking over-the-top waterfowl on the silver screen. The hero was unlike any others in the comics. Little did the fanbase know that they were about to witness one of the worst films ever made.
The movie was released in 1986 in what was supposed to be a quirky animated flick. Instead, viewers got a live-action film with a nightmarish-looking duck character that did nothing more than make a lot of inappropriate comments. Compared to its $37 million budget, the film only grossed $15 million domestically.
In 2003, Marvel released a new superhero movie, Daredevil. The film was highly-anticipated, as it was supposed to set the pace for more MCU movies. Ben Affleck starred as Matthew Murdock, a blind lawyer-turned-vigilante in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. The well-known character and plot were expected to translate well over to the silver screen. They didn’t.
Although the film became the second-biggest release of February 2003, the critical reviews were negative. Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly said, “Daredevil is the sort of half-assed, visually-lackadaisical potboiler that makes you rue the day that comic-book franchises ever took over Hollywood.”
Superhero fans still aren’t sure how to rate the first Fantastic Four movies. But it seems as though everyone was fairly excited about the prospect of a cool reboot featuring Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch, a role previously portrayed by MCU all-star Chris Evans.
It fell flat. Fans weren’t thrilled with the lackluster plot and poor editing throughout the film. And while Jordan went on to make a fantastic villain in Black Panther, his acting chops weren’t enough to carry the Fant4stic team. There is another reboot underway, so fingers crossed that Marvel gets the “First Family’s” story right this time!
Batman & Robin
The success of Batman, Batman Returns, and Batman Forever left fans hoping that they would return to Gotham with another action-packed film. Batman & Robin was anticipated to be yet another movie filled with the iconic hero and a few of his enemies, including Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze.
The fourth installment didn’t live up to its high expectations. Instead of a grand finale for the series, fans were left with silly dialogue that included one too many cold/ice-related puns. George Clooney, who portrayed Batman in the film, has come out and said, “I think we might have killed the franchise. It was a waste of money.”
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: The Killing Joke was the highly-anticipated animated Batman movie that had fans running to the theaters. Mark Hamill was back, reprising his Joker for what is considered to be one of the greatest Batman stories ever written. People were finally going to get the origin story of the Joker, and they couldn’t wait.
Batman: The Killing Joke was so hyped-up that when it was released, viewers were very disappointed with the result. The biggest critique was that the film added questionable plot points to the original iconic source material. One such unnecessary liberty was the lengthy introduction showcasing Batman and Batgirl’s odd father-daughter relationship.
Iron Man 2
The bar was set high after the release of the first Iron Man. People were enamored with Robert Downey Jr.’s take on the one and only Tony Stark. So when it was announced that there was going to be a prequel movie, fans of the up-and-coming MCU were thrilled.
Although it wasn’t horrible, Iron Man 2 was unable to surpass people’s high expectations. The villain Whiplash was underwhelming and Stark’s rival Justin Hammer was too ridiculous to be taken seriously. One critic said, “It isn’t quite the breath of fresh air that Iron Man was, but this sequel comes close with solid performances and an action-packed plot.”
After Michelle Pfeiffer’s portrayal of Catwoman in Batman Returns, fans were excited to see the anti-heroine get an origin movie. Leading lady Halle Berry was going to grace the silver screen in the iconic black leather catsuit and fans couldn’t have been more thrilled. Unfortunately, all ideas aren’t necessarily good ones.
The film flopped and is now considered to be one of the worst movies of all time. Catwoman was nominated for seven Gold Raspberry Awards and wound up winning for Worst Actress, Worst Director, Worst Picture, and Screenplay. Even so, Catwoman managed to snag the highest-grossing female-led superhero movie until the release of Wonder Woman.
To say Suicide Squad was a superhero (villain) fail of a movie is an understatement. Fans of the DC comic were excited to see what the studio was going to do with some of the more well-known super-villains of the universe, including Batman’s greatest foe, the Joker. If the plot wasn’t enough to upset viewers, Jared Leto’s over-the-top Clown Prince of Crime surely did the trick.
Reviewers generally disliked the film. Vanity Fair‘s Richard Lawson said, “Suicide Squad is just bad. It’s ugly and boring, a toxic combination that means the film’s highly fetishized violence doesn’t even have the exciting tingle of the wicked or the taboo.”
Punisher: War Zone
Punisher: War Zone was the highly-anticipated over-hyped R-rated Marvel movie that was full of violence and vendettas. Ray Stevenson took on the role of Frank Castle, aka the Punisher, battling it out with Jigsaw and his cannibalistic brother Loony Bin Jim in New York. It was going to be an action-filled reboot that already had a sequel in the works.
It didn’t work out as planned. The film was dark for the sake of being dark, it swung way too far on the violent side without any boundaries, and the plot was going every which way. So, the sequel was canceled, and Netflix picked up the character for a series.
Following the flop of Daredevil, the boss upstairs decided to take one of the supporting characters and create an origin-type story. Elektra was hyped-up to be action-filled with a more concrete plot than Daredevil. Unfortunately, it wound up being just as bad as the other film, if not worse.
The movie was a critical and commercial flop. Although critics praised Garner’s performance, the storyline was lacking, there were magical tattoos for whatever reason, and there were one too many ninjas for any movie’s well-being. At the time, it was the lowest-grossing film featuring a Marvel character since Howard the Duck. It has since become a cult classic.
When it was announced that the Hulk would be getting an origin film, fans of the Marvel character were ecstatic. Eric Bana played the role of Bruce Banner, the scientist who is exposed to gamma radiation that results in him transforming into the Hulk when he’s angry. On the big screen, that was going to be amazing to witness!
Too bad that the plot fell quite short of spectacular. While the visual effects were praised, critics thought there was too much dialogue where there should have been more action sequences. What is the point of a Hulk movie without a lot of smashing?
The first two Spider-Man movies in the original Tobey McGuire trilogy were well-received. So when the trailer came out showing a sneak peek of Venom for the third installment, there was a lot of hype surrounding it. Spider-Man 3 was going to be a great third installment to the trilogy.
It fell short of expectations. There were too many villains to make a solid plotline, and the script wasted its chance for a strong introduction to the anti-hero Venom. And although we all appreciate the dancing Peter memes that came out of the movie, we will never forgive the studio for allowing the weird emo Peter scene.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
X-Men Origins: Wolverine was the film that was finally giving fans of the X-Men franchises a story surrounding the beloved character Wolverine. Finally, the question of Logan’s backstory and how he came to have his adamantium claws was going to be answered. Fans were ready.
Sadly, instead of paying attention to any of the plotlines, people were more focused on the annihilated representation of Wade Wilson/Deadpool and the underutilization of comic fan-favorite Gambit. Deadpool is known for his wit and sassy remarks, and yet this film had his mouth glued shut. Other than that, critics say that the film was just enough to keep the franchise afloat.
Iron Man 3
After the mediocre reception from Iron Man’s second solo film, the studio thought a third film was in order. As they’d come to realize, it didn’t matter if it turned out badly or not, people would flock to see more of Tony Stark. And while Iron Man 3 did a great job showcasing Tony’s trauma after the events in The Avengers, it still fell flat.
The MCU made a mistake, making the Mandarin, one of Tony’s long-time rivals in the comic books, nothing more than a decoy actor. The real villain was a psycho-genius with a chip on his shoulder and limb-regeneration capabilities, which made it worse.