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5 worst superhero movies of all time

By Tim Lammers, Contributing writer
Published On: Jul 13 2011 07:50:37 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 08 2013 09:29:13 AM CDT
spilled box of movie popcorn

iStock/Iowa-X2

With the source material steeped in comic book lore, the most scrutinized type of movie in the film world is the superhero genre.

Every fan generally has their opinion of who would be best to play what part and which filmmaker is the best equipped to bring their beloved characters to life on the big screen, etc.

The last few summers have been a dream for fans of superhero movies and this year is no different with "Man of Steel" and "Iron Man 3."

But no matter how these newest superhero movies fare at the box office or with critics, their creators and fans can probably rest assured they are at least better than the five following superhero movie disasters ...

Superman III, Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor

No. 5: "Superman III" (1983)

It's pretty obvious that, from the atrocious, slapstick-heavy beginning of "Superman III," director Richard Lester wanted his first full film as a Superman director to be much different than its predecessors (he stepped in for Richard Donner after the director was fired on "Superman II").

Lester makes one comedic attempt after the next, and even goes so far as to cast a legitimate comedian, Richard Pryor, in a major role.

Playing a bumbling computer programmer, Pryor's character is responsible for splitting Superman's (Christopher Reeve) personality into both good and evil personas -- a fitting irony for a film that can't decide what it wants to be.

But the really bad news for "Superman" fans is that this wasn't the lowest point the superhero film franchise would reach ...

Superman IV movie image

No. 4: "Superman IV: The Quest For Peace" (1987)

Christopher Reeve (bless his soul) personally wanted to preach the agenda of nuclear disarmament with this fourth and final "Superman" chapter, but despite all of his good intentions, the film dropped a stink bomb instead.

The crux of the film deals with Superman wanting to rid the planet of all its nuclear weapons, but alas, his arch-enemy Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) has the biggest weapon of them all: Nuclear Man (former Chippendale's dancer Mark Pillow), a pretty-boy character who would have mustered more magic in Vegas as a stand-in for Siegfried Fischbacher of Siegfried & Roy.

Speaking of magic, although nine years had passed from the time the original "Superman" was released, there was no noticeable advancement in the film's special visual effects. Sure, the flying scenes were cool in 1978, but in "Superman IV," they're just plain cheesy.
Our next selection shows that not all cats have nine lives ...

Catwoman, Halle Berry

No. 3: "Catwoman" (2004)

It only made sense that Halle Berry thought she'd made the purrfect move by stepping into the esteemed role of Catwoman, given that Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt made the character so memorable in the "Batman" television series, and Michelle Pfeiffer clawed up the scenery in the film "Batman Returns."

But the problem was, the script for "Catwoman" was so out of its league that it didn't even feel like a superhero movie (even Catwoman's alter-ego was changed from Selina Kyle to Patience Phillips).

Quite simply, Catwoman is character who belongs in a movie with other characters from the DC Universe, not one where Sharon Stone plays an evil cosmetics magnate.

At least Berry had a sense of humor about the whole thing and showed up in-person to collect her Razzie Award for Worst Actress.

Next up, a movie so bad its making should have been avenged ...

Captain America, 1990 movie

No. 2: "Captain America" (1990)

Thanks to 2011's "Captain America: The First Avenger," fans of the Marvel superhero were finally able to scrub their brains of this feeble 1990 attempt at bringing the character to life.

Matt Salinger (the second-in-command jock jerk in "Revenge of the Nerds") stars as Steve Rogers, a frail WWII-era volunteer who becomes lab enhanced super-soldier Captain America in order to battle Nazi abomination the Red Skull.

Despite a fairly decent stable of actors to support him (including Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty and Michael Nouri), "Captain America" is doomed by its unbelievably bad B-movie atmosphere and laughable visual effects. Trust us, you're better off watching Chris Evans in the newer version.

Honestly, the 1990 "Captain America" is almost too painful to watch. But even this superhero bomb wasn't as bad as the final movie on our list ...

Batman and Robin movie image

No. 1: "Batman and Robin" (1997)

"Batman and Robin" is so bad that star George Clooney was happy to admit that the ruined franchise.

In all fairness to George, it was not ENTIRELY his fault, but his mugging turn as Batman/Bruce Wayne certainly didn't help. A heap of the responsibility falls on director Joel Schumacher, a usually reliable filmmaker who simply got too caught up in the film's spectacle.

After director Tim Burton made blockbusters out of the first and second chapters, Schumacher took the helm and made a respectable third film with "Batman Forever." But at the same time, every Hollywood headline-grabber HAD to have a role in a Batman film, and by the time "Batman and Robin" came out, the series became overcrowded with a "who's-who" in Hollywood cast.

Overacted and underwhelming, the film can only described, charitably, as an embarrassment.