In the midst of the arrival of Kick-Ass to blow the minds of the movie-going populace, Breffni O’Sullivan looks back at some misfiring superhero movies
10. Spider-Man 3
Extravagance ahoy! A movie that truly exemplifies that excess, when mishandled, leads to gluttony. Stuck with the unenviable task of bettering his previous two Spidey epics, Sam Raimi – through studio and corporate interference – provides a film overburdened with action, villains, story, conversations and spandex, laced with a groan-inducing wave of patriotism. Oh and Emo-Spiderman.
9. Superman Returns
Superman reruns. I couldn’t think of anything else to add for this limp-wristed, largely aimless regurgitation of everything else you’ve ever seen in a Superman movie so here’s what I would have said if “Hulk” had been on this list; “You won’t like him when he’s Ang Lee.” See, that was much better.
8. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
A bitter disappointment from Academy Award-winning director Gavin Hood which succeeded in both making expensive special effects look cheap and throwing logic, gravity and the redeeming qualities of a short Canadian lumberjack’s epic sideburns completely out the window – in favour of a complete mishandling of the source material and a bitterly wasted opportunity to return to the heights of X-Men and X-Men 2. Magneto’s up next, kids. Oh joy.
7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3
Don’t get me wrong, the Turtles rule. They’re heroes in a half-shell and they’re green. When the evil Shredder didn’t come back, these Turtle boys don’t cut him no slack, yet Michaelangelo continued to be a party dude like a trooper. Gotta love optimism. Terrible plot, bugger-all action and some of the worst costuming you’ve ever seen.
6. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Who ordered the exposition? Sadly this is a case of the director trying to cram too much of the source material into a film wherein the good intentions are ruined by shoddy CGI, a complete lack of emotion or indeed anything to make the audience really care, and an over-involved list of studio execs. A sadly squandered opportunity.
5. The Punisher (1990)
Everyone’s favourite Dirk Diggler look-alike stars in a movie framed by the cheesiest backdrops, awful fight sequences and just plain boring typecast villains who become allies who become villains again. It’s like watching early 1990s wrestling but with less Bret Hart. And that’s a bad thing, folks.
4. Ghost Rider
Nicolas Cage on fire for two hours. Sounds entertaining. It really isn’t.
3. Batman & Robin
Thank Christ for Christopher Nolan. Prior to the awesome Batman Begins, our last visit to Gotham city came via Joel Schumacher’s tongue-in-cheek ri-cock-ulousity attempting to emulate the campy greatness/horribleness of Adam West’s TV ‘Batman’ from 1966.
Completely devoid of a coherent plot, likeable characters, or an ounce of good dialogue, it is arguably one of the worst scripts ever greenlit and seemed designed to make the audience laugh. They did. Then they cried a little bit.
What happens when you take Jennifer Garner, a woman universally regarded as being lovely, and make her pretend she’s a heartless, soulless killing machine? Well, you get this. Imagine Kill Bill. Gut it of anything that made it great. Invert the remains, and now you have Elektra. Or a particularly bloody casserole.
Unmitigatedly, unrelentingly, apocalyptically horrendous in every way, except for Halle Berry in a catsuit – though that’s pretty much the only reason this piece of shallow, superficial exercise in celluloidal bullshit was even made. No doubt this’ll be used to quell insurgencies and as a method of torture for years to come. And another thing, where the f**k is Batman? Doing the five-knuckle shuffle, probably.