When it comes to comic book movies, the hype is generally massive, which can sometimes lead to fans believing they’re better than they actually are. The excitement of seeing the latest movies starring Iron Man, Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Thor, Wonder Woman, Wolverine, Hulk and company can sometimes alter viewers’ perception of the movies themselves.
Only days, weeks or months after a movie has been seen for the first time, when the hype has started to die down, do we realize that it might not have been quite as good as we – and indeed other people – first thought.
That’s not to say it happens with all comic book movies. Some, like 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy are every bit as good as people make out, while others, like 2009’s Watchmen, are actually terribly underrated.
In this article, however, we’re going to be focusing on the movies that fans think are better than they really are. We’re not saying that any of these are bad movies, incidentally – in most cases they’re actually pretty damn good – it’s just that they’re not quite as good as some people would have you believe. Here are the fifteen most overrated comic book movies ever.
15. The Dark Knight
Let’s start with a controversial entry because, let’s face it, pretty much everybody thinks 2008’s The Dark Knight is the best comic book movie ever made. Sadly, however, it really isn’t. Like many of the movies to come on this list, it absolutely is a very good movie, but everybody got so caught up in celebrating the brilliant performance of the late Heath Ledger that it got a lot of additional praise that it didn’t really deserve based on sentimentality. Harsh but true.
The Dark Knight looked great, was a fairly thrilling crime saga that transcended its comic book movie billing, and Ledger was indeed fantastic, but Christian Bale’s Batman remained uninteresting and his voice was as hammy as ever. When a movie’s titular star gets completely upstaged by a supporting character, seeing it receiving almost universal acclaim means it’s definitely overrated.
14. Spider-Man 2
Like The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 2 is undoubtedly a very good movie, but some people believe to this day that it’s still the best comic book movie ever made – and that’s just not the case. It had a fantastic and complex villain in Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus, no doubt, and it effortlessly combined the superhero aspect with the human aspect, but there were too many negatives.
Tobey Maguire remained lacking in charisma and had a weak presence as the titular hero, there was absolutely nothing to Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson and, quite frankly, there was far too much talking in the first half of the movie that rendered a large chunk of it absolutely tiresome. The second half certainly made up for it, but a movie that is boring for its entire first half can’t be as flawless as some people say.
13. V For Vendetta
2005’s V for Vendetta wasn’t exactly universally praised, but it was generally viewed as a decent movie that kept people interested throughout. In particular, it received praise for the way it worked as a political and social commentary – but the fact is it was actually terrible and any praise for it is completely undeserved.
Alan Moore – the man responsible for writing the V for Vendetta graphic novel – had his name removed from the movie completely, which should really tell you all you need to know about it. It’s a woeful and depressing movie with a terrible script and dialogue, which left its talented cast helpless when it came to making the movie watchable. Moreover, it looked terrible and cheap, as the lighting, sets and overall cinematography looked like they belonged on a low-budget television show. Simply put, V for Vendetta is massively overrated.
We might be being a bit controversial again here! 1978’s Superman is undoubtedly a classic – mainly for nostalgic reasons and because we all watch it every Christmas – and, for its time, it was pretty damn spectacular in terms of its special effects, but it has dated very badly, so the fact that it is still ranked amongst the best comic book movies ever made is baffling to say the least.
More to the point, it was actually a pretty flawed movie. While Christopher Reeve was great in the titular role, Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor was weirdly camp, it relied on a lot of very shallow comedy and, tonally, it really was absolutely all over the place. It should – and will – always have a place in our collective hearts, but there are much, much better comic book movies out there now and Superman should no longer be considered amongst the very best of them.
11. Man Of Steel
Unlike the aforementioned Superman movie from 1978, 2013’s Man of Steel wasn’t universally praised. That being said, the reviews were mixed, with some people saying Henry Cavill’s Supes was as iconic to this generation as Christopher Reeve’s version was all those years ago. That’s simply wrong because, quite frankly, Man of Steel was absolutely terrible.
More than anything else, it’s just a very, very boring movie. It’s far too long and takes an age for anything of note to happen and, even then, it’s massively underwhelming when it does. Cavill oozes stiffness and lacks the charisma and screen presence to make either his Clark Kent or his Superman remotely interesting. The score is turgid and dull. And even the best thing about the movie – Michael Shannon’s General Zod – pales in comparison to his predecessor Terence Stamp. All things considered, it’s a tedious train wreck of a Superman movie.
10. Batman Returns
While they’re not in the same iconic bracket as Christopher Reeve’s Superman movies, the Michael Keaton Batman offerings will forever be etched into cinematic lore. 1989’s Batman was almost flawless and rightfully sits among the best comic book movies ever made. Its 1992 sequel, Batman Returns, is held in equally high regard by some, with a minority even saying it’s better than its predecessor – but that’s absolute nonsense.
It was darker and more violent than Batman was, which is a good thing, and Keaton was excellent – as were Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Christopher Walken as the made-for-the-movie Max Shreck – but there was little else to heap praise on. The movie’s main villain – Danny DeVito’s Penguin – was absolutely ridiculous and a vastly inferior successor to Jack Nicholson’s Joker. The action was poor, there was very little suspense, and the story was sometimes lacking in coherence. Moreover, it had some language and references that were unsuitable for children, in spite of its rating suggesting otherwise (prompting McDonald’s to shut down their Happy Meal promotion for the movie!).
9. The Mask
1994’s The Mask was an extremely enjoyable movie that provided lots of laughs. It propelled Jim Carrey to international superstardom and cemented Cameron Diaz as a leading lady. It received major, almost universal praise, and performed surprisingly well at the global box office, in spite of the fact that The Mask comic book really wasn’t well known at the time.
While it was a great movie, because of the fact that The Mask still isn’t a very popular comic in comparison to the Batman and Spider-Man comics of the world, very few people know that The Mask was absolutely nothing like the comic book and, as far as it being a Mask movie was concerned, it was actually very poor. The Mask is a much darker character in the Dark Horse comic books and a gorier, grungier and more violent big screen adaptation would be very welcome today in order to show how it should be done.
2010’s Kick-Ass may have been a very different type of comic book movie, but it was indeed a comic book movie. It took the genre to what was a very new place at the time, with a completely different visual style to anything seen before it, a more “real” approach, bloody violence not seen since the Blade trilogy, and profanity of the most extreme variety.
Many people loved it, but it was really nothing more than a wasted opportunity and nowhere near as good as its refreshingly unique nature made some believe it was. While its language was indeed needlessly coarse, Kick-Ass was nowhere near as shocking as it thought it was and nowhere near as funny or entertaining as it should have been. Moreover, the way it revels in the abuse of childhood is, frankly, morally reprehensible.
We now come to the first of the two most recent entries on this list (the other of which follows straight after this one) and it’s 2017’s Logan. The final outing as Wolverine for Hugh Jackman – after seventeen years in the role, no less – was a very good movie, period, but there are people saying it’s Oscar-worthy and that there’s never been another movie quite like it, and that’s just not even close to being true.
It’s emotional, the action scenes are great, and Jackman and Patrick Stewart in particular are fantastic, but Logan is essentially just a road movie in which adults are trying to evade bad guys to keep a child safe – and that’s been done to death. Moreover, the bad guys in question are some of the lamest in comic book movie history – seriously, can you even remember any of their names? We bet the answer is “no”.
6. Wonder Woman
We now arrive at the second 2017 movie on this list and its inclusion might surprise you even more than Logan’s did – it’s the DC Extended Universe’s Wonder Woman. It’s undoubtedly a good movie and Gal Gadot absolutely nailed the titular role, while Chris Pine was excellent as Steve Trevor, but Wonder Woman is far more flawed than some people would have you believe.
It takes far too long to get started (seriously, it’s really slow), relies far too much on exposition, and the action in the movie is very stop-start (the backstory continues just when you think Wonder Woman is ready to start kicking some serious ass) and the villain is, quite frankly, pretty lame, with an Iron Man 3 style twist that doesn’t really work as well as DC and Warner Brothers might have hoped.
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier well and truly transcended the superhero genre as a highly enjoyable espionage thriller. But was it really as good as its since been made out to be? No, not really.
The movie gets off to a really interesting and thrilling start, but it seems to run out of steam before truly getting a chance to live up to its early promise – and the final battle is far too uneventful, due to Marvel Studios seemingly being too safe and risk-averse. In fact, the action in general is rather unexciting and illegible.
Another problem was the Winter Soldier himself, because he really didn’t come across as much of a threat. Captain America is, at the very least, his equal – and he had Black Widow, Nick Fury and Falcon watching his back for most of the movie. He was certainly an interesting character – and the whole “being a buddy of Steve Rogers” thing really added to that – but, as a villain, he never had you on the edge of your seat worrying for the hero’s safety.
4. The Avengers
Okay, let’s be absolutely clear with this one: The Avengers is absolutely fantastic. The 2012 movie brought Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye together for the first time and it blew our minds. It was an enormously fun popcorn flick, the cast’s chemistry and performances were wonderful, it was action-packed and the special effects were great, and pretty much everyone enjoyed it. But let’s not get carried away – it definitely had its flaws.
The main problem is that the movie’s villains were weak. Loki is a superb character, but he was never, ever a viable physical threat against the entire roster of Avengers, and the alien “muscle” he brought into to fight them were beaten in one-on-one fights against Black Widow, so what kind of threat were they seriously expected to pose against the likes of the Hulk and Thor?! Moreover, there are times in between the action and laughs that feel a little empty and cynical. Still, what a movie!
3. X-Men: First Class
2011’s X-Men: First Class is one of the most lauded movies in the X-Men movie franchise. The first prequel in the X-Men franchise created a fictional history that most fans seemed to enjoy, as a new and youthful cast breathed new life into the franchise for the first time in its then eleven year life. It was acted well and served as an interesting allegory for various forms of prejudice and political movement – but, quite frankly, it was really boring.
For a franchise that had appealed to kids for so long before it, any child watching would be bored to death. It’s far too long for a start, but it’s generally very chaotic and baggy, with an unexciting tone that doesn’t lend itself well to the comic book genre at all – and there are far too many characters without any kind of backstory or depth. It’s a good movie, but it’s not the kind of movie many X-fans would have been expecting – we definitely don’t mean that in a good way – and that renders it something of a disappointment.
2. Iron Man 3
2013’s Iron Man 3 is one of the most divisive comic book movies ever made, and a lot of people did indeed think it was garbage. It makes this list, however, because some people thought the opposite – and the fact that anybody thought it was anything other than terrible means it’s massively overrated.
It was darker than previous Iron Man movies, which was refreshing, Robert Downey. Jr was brilliant as usual, and director Shane Black’s brand of humour shone through, but the movie as a whole sucked. The villain twist was awful (no matter how hard some people try to convince us otherwise), the secondary villains – the Extremis soldiers – didn’t have a remotely convincing motive, the final fight was a lumbering bore-fest, the inclusion of a child “sidekick” was terribly desperate and cliched and added nothing to the story, and it glaringly lacked the emotion and heart of previous Iron Man instalments.
1. Iron Man
Let’s end on the most controversial note possible, by telling you that 2008’s Iron Man is actually very overrated. Like so many of the previous entries on this list, we’re not saying it’s a bad movie, but it’s certainly not the best comic book movie ever made, as so many people would have you believe.
Iron Man benefited from the fact that nobody expected it to be very good. In fact, most people thought it would be terrible and wondered what the hell Marvel Studios were doing. Iron Man was a B-list superhero that a lot of non-comic book readers had barely heard of, while Robert Downey Jr. – a recovering alcoholic with a history of legal troubles – was cast in the role against Marvel’s wishes because director Jon Favreau wanted him.
The result was a much better movie than people expected, with Downey Jr. performing absolutely brilliantly, but it’s a movie that’s far from being as perfect as many people would now tell you it is. The final battle was extremely boring, Gwyneth Paltrow was terrible, Terrence Howard looked disinterested, and the whole thing was a little depressed and seemed to be going through the motions. That being said, it’s still great and undeniably laid the groundwork for the Hollywood monster that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!