Rogue 10: Ten Terrible Superhero Movies With Something Good to Offer

Thursday, 06 February 2014 12:42 Written by  iamrogue
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Rogue 10: Ten Terrible Superhero Movies With Something Good to Offer

Every dog has his day.

And every awful superhero movie gets a tiny little something right.

Okay, maybe not every awful superhero movie.  Unless we're talking about the kind of bad that's actually funny, like, say, every moment that Arnold Schwarzenegger is on screen in Batman & Robin, then there are some cinematic spandex-fests that really don't do their subjects justice for even a moment.

But for so many maligned movies based on the exploits of our comic book neon gods, there's some small moment, some goal only briefly achieved, or some performance that really works. 

So, for our latest Rogue 10, we here at IAR have compiled a list of ten objectively bad superhero movies that nonetheless have something good or even great within them.  It's been said that you can't polish a turd, and we're certainly not looking to polish any of these turds, but we also believe that sometimes, very rarely, a turd can have a diamond somewhere inside.

With no further ado, here's a Rogue 10 compiling ten bad superhero movies that nonetheless do some small thing right:

Ghost Rider

One of two Mark Steven-Johnson-directed efforts on this list, this one is here almost entirely for longtime comic book fan Nicolas Cage at his Cagiest, mega-acting with typically Cageian touches like Johnny Cage's love of jelly beans in martini glasses.  Oh, and Rebel Wilson in a brief appearance.

The Phantom

It's silly, but it's also pulpy and straightforward about its own silliness.  Its tagline was "SLAM EVIL!" for crying out loud.  Billy Zane in purple spandex can't compare to Iron Man's armor and the villain's evil plan is lame enough to be forgettable even while watching the movie, but The Phantom does contain a bit where its 1940s hero slides down an elevator cable using his trusty pistols to avoid burning his hands.  Mostly, though, this one's here because it slams evil (!).

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Obviously, taking the X-Men's most mysterious loner and eliminating the mysterious part isn't a great notion in the first place, but X-Men Origins: Wolverine compounds the basic problem with its premise by making bad choices every step of the way.  Also generally being a ramshackle procession of mutant cameos and hokey nonsense.  As always, Hugh Jackman admirably plays his beefy heart out as Logan, but he's hobbled by histrionics.  The only thing that really lands in Wolvie's first solo adventure is simple: Liev Schreiber.  As Victor Creed, aka Sabretooth, Schreiber is a blast.  It's a truly inspired bit of comic book casting that gives a great actor an opportunity to have fun.  Too bad about the one-liners he's saddled with, though.

Green Lantern

There's really only one thing that works in this attempt to start a franchise around Hal Jordan, and that's Mark Strong as Sinestro.


Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Like its predecessor, this sequel is embarrassed by its source material, but at least Johnny Storm gets company in this one with the introduction of another tolerable character, the Silver Surfer.  Even with his silly cosmic grandeur toned way, way down, Norin Radd is still a cool and compelling figure, particularly in comparison to some of the other heroes featured in the film.

Jonah Hex

Okay, this one's tough, but it gets points being about a mumbling, disfigured Confederate veteran.  That said, Jonah Hex is a shamblefest.  Still, it's one with a score co-composed by Mastadon, an inexplicably brief appearance by Michael Shannon, a snake-man, and Michael Fassbender in one hell of a pre-Magneto performance as a tattooed, snarling henchman.

Punisher: War Zone

More than probably any other movie on this list, the third crack at a Punisher movie is actually fun in its commitment to ridiculousness.  The movie's gleefully over the top approach is summed up best by the moment when Frank Castle punches through a bad guy's face. 

Spider-Man 3

The original idea for Spider-Man 3 was to pit an arrogant Spidey against a trio of villains who, in many ways, were more sympathetic than the hero.  The studio-mandated inclusion of Venom, however, meant that Vulture was out, along with any cohesive thematic statement.  After the delirious highs of Spider-Man 2, Sam Raimi's final wall-crawling movie represents a notorious series of miscalculations.  Still, vestiges of a better, more unified movie poke through from time to time.  The birth of Sandman, for example, is beautiful bit of technical ambition and character, a really elegant scene in a movie that's anything but.

Superman III

For all the awful humor, super-stubble, weird super-sexual-agression, shabby effects, and any number of other terrible things in this sequel, there is at least the knock-down drag-out junkyard fight between a drunk Evil Superman and Clark Kent.


There's a scene in this movie where Colin Farrell's Bullseye uses a peanut to kill a fellow passenger on a commercial airplane flight.  That has to be worth something.  Mark Steven Johnson's second entry on this list is notable for at least attempting, however sporadically, to bring some grounded, heroes-get-hurt-too stakes to the genre, showing the scars Ben Affleck's Matt Murdock has accumulated over years fighting crime.  Unfortunately, the brief attempt is drowned out by an overstuffed story, cliches around every corner, lifeless staging, and weightless CGI imitating Spider-Man, a big success the year before.

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