(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!
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.
Synopsis: Figuring they're all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret... [More]
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.
Synopsis: Spawned from a lab experiment gone awry, teenage terrapins Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael live in the sewers beneath New... [More]
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.
Synopsis: Now hiding out in Eastern Europe, Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is still struggling with the curse of the Ghost Rider... [More]
(Photo by Buena Vista/ courtesy Everett Collection)
All Diane Lane Movies Ranked by Tomatometer
Diane Lane has been leading films since age 14, when she debuted in 1979’s first-love story A Little Romance. In the ’80s, she brought New Wave to the big screen with hip, unusual musicals Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, and Streets of Fire, along with collaborating with Francis Ford Coppola in Rumble Fish and The Outsiders.
In the ’90s and early 2000s, Lane appeared in a variety of big productions, including Chaplin, Judge Dredd, Jack, and The Perfect Storm, pulling her away from leading roles. That changed with 2002’s Unfaithful, the erotic sizzler with Richard Gere for which she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. This led to a mid-career blossoming as romantic lead, with films like Under the Tuscan Sun, Must Love Dogs, and Nights in Rodanthe.
Since then, Lane’s movies have been among the most critically acclaimed of her career, including Certified Fresh marks for Inside Out, Trumbo, and her latest, Let Him Go, opposite Kevin Costner. She’s also been Ma Kent in the DC Extended Universe since 2013’s Man of Steel, helping guarantee we’d never hear the name Martha the same way again. And now we look back on all Diane Lane movies ranked by Tomatometer!
Critics Consensus:Justice League leaps over a number of DC movies, but its single bound isn't enough to shed the murky aesthetic, thin characters, and chaotic action that continue to dog the franchise.
Synopsis: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Prince... [More]
Critics Consensus: While the special effects are well done and quite impressive, this film suffers from any actual drama or characterization. The end result is a film that offers nifty eye-candy and nothing else.
Synopsis: Based on a true story, the film tells of the courageous men and women who risk their lives every working... [More]
Critics Consensus:Chaplin boasts a terrific performance from Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role, but it isn't enough to overcome a formulaic biopic that pales in comparison to its subject's classic films.
Synopsis: Re-creation of the life of comic genius Charlie Chaplin, from his humble beginnings in south London through his early days... [More]
Critics Consensus:Cinema Verite is a disappointingly incurious dive into the birth of reality television, but terrific performances and the inherent intrigue behind the making of An American Family keep this drama compelling.
Synopsis: In the 1970s Bill Loud (Tim Robbins) and his wife, Pat (Diane Lane), allow cameras to film their personal lives... [More]
Critics Consensus:Trumbo serves as an honorable and well-acted tribute to a brilliant writer's principled stand, even if it doesn't quite achieve the greatness of its subject's own classic screenplays.
Synopsis: In 1947, successful screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) and other Hollywood figures get blacklisted for their political beliefs.... [More]
A little like Rocky, Sylvester Stallone seemed almost destined to fail in the film business. A bit part in Woody Allen’s Bananas, resorting to shooting a softcore porn flick (The Party at Kitty and Stud’s), and having to sell his dog at a 7-11 for $50 was what Stallone’s acting career was amounting in the ’70s. Then his screenplay about an underdog Philly boxer met the right director, John G. Avildsen, and after that it was step-by-step all the way up to national phenomenon and Best Picture winner. And as for his dog? Stallone bought him back and he appears as Rocky’s sidekick, Butkus.
Since 1976, Stallone has built a fascinating body of work, fashioned from numerous creative starts and stops, of incredible highs and crashing lows. He turned Rocky into a sequel machine, becoming a punchline by the ’90s (Rocky V), before multiple miracle turnarounds (Rocky Balboa, Creed) restored its former glory.
Stallone’s friendly (?) competition with Arnold Schwarzenegger gave him a taste of the ’80s action world, compelling him to pump out flicks with the quickness: The likes of Nighthawks, Cobra, Over the Top, and Tango & Cash give him enduring cult status, and mainstream derision. The ’90s saw him at his funniest (Demolition Man) and most dramatic (Cop Land), but also brought bigger bouts of embarrassment (Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot).
By the mid-2000s, Stallone was digging through his own legacy, and uncovering plenty of veins to tap. There was the Rocky Balboa restart, ’80s throwback franchise Expendables, Schwarzenegger team-up Escape Plan, and duking it out with the Raging Bull himself, Robert De Niro, for Grudge Match.
And the one we’ve yet to mention: a certain John Rambo. 1982’s First Blood was a sensitive, terrifying indictment of Vietnam War veteran treatment. It’s a subdued film, without much to suggest the blistering violent fantasies the series would morph into across First Blood Part II, Rambo III, then just Rambo, and finally into Rambo: Last Blood. And now we celebrate an entire movie-making career as we rank the all Sylvester Stallone movies by Tomatometer!
Critics Consensus: Featuring a bewildering array of talented actors pummeled by disjointed direction and a dull, hackneyed script, Reach Me is so fundamentally misbegotten that its title reads more like a threat.
Synopsis: A mysterious author's (Tom Berenger) self-help book inspires a journalist, his editor, a former convict, an actor and others to... [More]
Critics Consensus: The opening's got a great fiery explosion and Stallone puts in another earnest, sympathetic performance, but all else in Daylight feels designed to annoy the audience into submission.
Synopsis: A group of armed robbers fleeing the police head for the New Jersey Tunnel and run right into trucks transporting... [More]
Critics Consensus:Rocky V's attempts to recapture the original's working-class grit are as transparently phony as each of the thuddingly obvious plot developments in a misguided installment that sent the franchise flailing into longterm limbo.
Synopsis: Recently retired boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) falls on hard times after his accountant mismanages his finances. He stages a... [More]
Critics Consensus: Like its predecessors, Expendables 3 offers a modicum of all-star thrills for old-school action thriller aficionados -- but given all the talent assembled, it should have been a lot more fun.
Synopsis: Years ago, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) co-founded the Expendables with Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). After Stonebanks became an arms dealer,... [More]
Critics Consensus: Taut, violent, and suitably self-deprecating, The Expendables 2 gives classic action fans everything they can reasonably expect from a star-studded shoot-'em-up -- for better and for worse.
Synopsis: Mercenary leader Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) and the rest of the Expendables team reunite when Mr.... [More]
Critics Consensus:Cop Land matches its star-studded cast with richly imagined characters while throttling the audience with carefully ratcheted suspense, although it lacks the moral complexity of classic crime thrillers.
Synopsis: When hotheaded Superboy (Michael Rapaport) accidentally gets involved in an ugly racially-motivated incident, his uncle Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel), a... [More]
Critics Consensus:Creed brings the Rocky franchise off the mat for a surprisingly effective seventh round that extends the boxer's saga in interesting new directions while staying true to its classic predecessors' roots.
Synopsis: Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never knew his famous father, boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died before Adonis was born.... [More]
We bet those pesky xenomorphs are getting smug now that their last two movies, Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, have gone Certified Fresh.
Enough with the space jockeys, unqualified cartographers, and people who run in straight lines: How about terrorizing someone who can put up a real fight? Vote on our 10 suggestions below or leave your dream Alien deathmatch in the comments!
There has yet to be a Fresh-rated entry in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie franchise (whose latest installment, Out of the Shadows, is out Friday), not that it matters much considering how deep “Ninja Rap” runs in our nostalgia veins. The Turtles, in fact, are in fine company as comic adaptations have walked a long, ignominious road in Hollywood, inspiring this week’s gallery: the 24 worst-reviewed comic book movies by Tomatometer!
Moviegoers will have plenty to choose from over the long Christmas holiday weekend as four new star-driven wide releases hit the marketplace adding to an already crowded marquee.
The Ben Stiller fantasy pic "Night at the Museum" leads the way as the frame’s only new comedy while the Matthew McConaughey football drama "We Are Marshall" offers an inspirational story based on true events. Meanwhile, a pair of Italian Stallions hop into the director’s chair as Sylvester Stallone‘s boxing drama "Rocky Balboa" and Robert De Niro‘s espionage thriller "The Good Shepherd" offer even more choices to holiday moviegoers. As is typical of this time of year, Christmas Eve will hurt the box office on Sunday as last-minute shopping and early theater closings will take their toll. But the Monday holiday will see a major recovery since Christmas Day brings forth a surge in traffic to the multiplexes.
Blasting into nearly 3,700 theaters including 72 Imax venues is the comedy "Night at the Museum" which finds Ben Stiller playing the new night watchman at New York’s Museum of Natural History where all the artifacts and statues come to life each night. Director Shawn Levy ("Cheaper by the Dozen," "The Pink Panther") leaves behind Steve Martin to work with a younger funnyman and more special effects. The PG-rated film is aiming for broad audiences hoping to bring in entire families looking for a fun time this holiday season. "Museum" also plans to score with teens and young adults as the only major comedy option for them. With "The Holiday" being the only other laugher in the top ten to register with that lucrative group, look for a solid response.
Stiller brings considerable starpower to the film but he also gets backup from comedians like Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, and Dick Van Dyke. Plus with the prestigious ‘and’ credit already claimed by Williams, Owen Wilson takes a sizable supporting role but is so cool that he is nowhere to be found in the credits at all. Audiences want happy and funny films during the Christmas holidays and "Night at the Museum" should post muscular numbers thanks to its starpower, lack of comedy competition, mild rating, and formidable marketing and distribution push. Fox looks to close up the books on 2006 by taking over the number one spot this weekend. Attacking 3,688 locations, "Night at the Museum" could debut to about $34M over the four-day Friday-to-Monday holiday period.
Ben Stiller in "Night at the Museum."
Sylvester Stallone brings the eye of the tiger back to the multiplexes one last time in "Rocky Balboa" which got a jumpstart on the holiday weekend with its Wednesday launch. The MGM release brings the iconic boxer back to the screen in what is supposedly the end of the franchise with Stallone back in the saddle as writer and director. In this tale, Rocky is brought back into the ring when media hype prompts fans to wonder who the best boxer is of all time. The underdog story on screen mirrored the one within industry circles. How could a franchise that died 16 years ago with the poorly-received "Rocky V" find its way back into the hearts of today’s moviegoers. MGM and the "Judge Dredd" star moved forward. Today, they proudly claim one of the best reviewed films of the Christmas season and the Wednesday bow is being counted on to get die-hard fans out early so they can spread positive buzz at work and in school going into the lucrative yet overcrowded weekend period.
With so many other films in the marketplace, and plenty with PG or G ratings aimed at luring in full families, "Rocky Balboa" will have to take its time at the box office as many moviegoers may need some convincing before spending money on the followup to the Tommy Gunn flick. Older adults are the ones who remember the excitement of the franchise, but the studio is hoping they could bring their kids with them for an uplifting tale that makes you feel good inside. "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "We Are Marshall" will be direct competitors in the feel-good genre and the latter will steal away many sports fans too. "Balboa" will have to rely on nostalgia and good word-of-mouth to carry it through round after round. Already playing in 2,752 theaters and adding more locations on Friday, "Rocky Balboa" may gross about $16M over four days and around $21M over six days.
Stallone is back for one more round in "Rocky Balboa."
For football fans this holiday weekend, Warner Bros. trots out another pigskin drama with "We Are Marshall" starring Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, and David Strathairn. The PG-rated film tells the true story of the football program at Marshall University in West Virginia which had to be rebuilt from scratch after a plane crash killed most of the players and coaches. Hollywood seems to have an endless line-up of sports dramas these days and since most of them become commercial successes, it’s no wonder that they keep getting churned out. Just a few months ago, moviegoers powered the football flicks "Invincible" and "Gridiron Gang" to the number one spot with bows of $17M and $14.4M, respectively. "Marshall" should play to much of the same audience and with its underdog feel-good story, the time of year will help since people are in the mood for that type of emotion.
Reviews have not been too good, but that should not matter much. "We Are Marshall" is meant for sports fans and those who love stories about overcoming adversity, regardless of how predictable they may be. Sales from the heartland should be solid and with the tame rating, entire families can come out together. Plus McConaughey is a reliable draw at the box office and is believable as a quirky football coach. Still, competition will be strong and coming from all directions so a blowout will not be possible. Opening in 2,606 theaters, "We Are Marshall" could score about $14M over the Friday-to-Monday frame.
They are Marshall.
Countering the parade of PG flicks is the R-rated CIA thriller "The Good Shepherd" directed by Robert De Niro. The Universal release stars Matt Damon as Edward Wilson, a loyal government agent who helped to create the agency during the Cold War. Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, William Hurt, John Turturro, and De Niro also star. "Shepherd" boasts solid starpower which could help the film have broad appeal. The subject matter appeals to the 30+ crowd, but Damon and Jolie should help to pull in twentysomethings. Teens and ethnic audiences will have minimal interest. Critics have been mixed on the film which could impact the overall turnout.
The last few months have not been kind to star-driven period dramas aimed at adult audiences. Pictures like "Hollywoodland," "All the King’s Men," and "Bobby" have all struggled to find paying audiences with none reaching the $15M mark in total sales. "Shepherd’s" cast is what will allow it to rise above those failures. But the fight for the attention and time of mature adults will be fierce and a running time of nearly three hours will allow for one less showtime per day on every screen further cutting into its commercial potential. Infiltrating 2,217 locations, "The Good Shepherd" might capture around $13M over four days.
Matt Damon and Alec Baldwin in "The Good Shepherd."
Last weekend, Will Smith scored a number one hit with "The Pursuit of Happyness" which continues to please audiences. Overall moviegoing should increase over the holiday weekend, but more choices for adult audiences will give Sony some competition. "Pursuit’s" four-day take could drop 25% from its three-day debut gross giving the film about $20M and a cume of $58M after 11 days.
As a sci-fi actioner, Fox’s "Eragon" is likely to see one of the largest drops in the top ten. The dragon adventure might fall by 35% to around $15M over the four-day session leaving the studio with $46M.
Kidpics score big points over Christmas so "Charlotte’s Web" might see many of those fans who skipped out last weekend actually show up this time. The Paramount release’s four-day tally may slip 10% from its three-day bow and bring in roughly $10M. That would give the family film a total of $27M after 11 days.
LAST YEAR: With Christmas falling on a Sunday, the observed holiday on Monday gave the box office an expanded four-day holiday frame allowing the mega holdovers to repeat atop the charts. "King Kong" spent its second weekend at number one and grossed $33.3M over four days and was closely followed by "The Chronicles of Narnia" with $31.7M in its third adventure. The combined haul for the pair soared to $285M with much more still to come. Newcomers rounded out the top five with Jim Carrey defeating Steve Martin in the battle of the comedies. Sony’s "Fun With Dick and Jane" opened in third with $21.5M over four days while Fox’s sequel "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" settled for fourth with $15.3M. Final tallies reached $110.3M and $82.6M, respectively. Sony also claimed fifth with "Memoirs of a Geisha" which expanded nationally and took in $10.2M over the long weekend. Also opening were Fox Searchlight’s Johnny Knoxville comedy "The Ringer" with $7.7M over four days, the Jennifer Aniston pic "Rumor Has It" with $7.5M in two days for Warner Bros., and Universal’s "Munich" with $6M in four days. The films went on to reach $35.4M, $43M, and $47.4M respectively. The debuting horror pic "Wolf Creek" opened outside the top ten with $4.9M in two days on its way to $16.2M.
Generally when a movie gets "bumped back," it’s a bad sign. But when a studio pushes a flick closer to Award-Bait Season, it’s usually a sign of confidence. (Or wishful thinking.) Anyway, those of us who can’t wait to see Darren Aronofsky‘s "The Fountain" will simply have to wait … an extra month.
The crazy-looking romantic sci-fi epic was (most recently) scheduled for an October 13th release date, but will now make its debut on November 22nd. The film stars Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz.
Legendary Japanese actor Sho Kosugi will return to his martial arts roots for "The Return of the Ninja." Screenwriter Steven de Souza ("Die Hard," "Judge Dredd") is hard at work on the project, which focuses on "the last ninja master, who travels to the U.S. to find the American heir to the stealth martial arts legacy." Mr. Kosugi is best known to American audiences from "Enter the Ninja" (1981), "Revenge of the Ninja" (1983), and "Ninja 3: The Domination" (1984). Producer Kevin Foster says "the ninja pic will correct the Hollywood misperception that the masked men in black pajamas are bad guys. Historically, they were viewed as Robin Hood types."