5 Comic Book Movies Way Worse Than 'Batman and Robin'

For years, people have called Watchmen "unfilmable," and they said it would never make it to the big screen. Those people, we have no doubt, never saw any of the movies on this list. If there's one thing this list proves, it's that Hollywood will film anything and call it a comic book movie.

#5. Captain America (1971)


Reb Brown

The Trailer:

The Plot:

Steve Rogers is a young artist who enjoys wallowing in self pity as much as he enjoys remembering his far superior father (which is to say, very much). His father was a patriotic government agent during the war who, due to his dedication and bravery, was given the nickname "Captain America." He also developed a "super-steroid," which seems less brave, but people went with it because they had already gone to the trouble of giving him that nickname.

When young, whiny Steve suffers an accident and is given his father's special steroid during surgery. Not only does the steroid save his life, it gives him super strength and speed, which he uses, at the behest of the government, to fight evil.

"Now that I'm virtually indestructible, I'll gladly fight crime!"

Oh, but instead of serving in the war (like his father, and the Steve Rogers in the comics), he uses his super-speed to buy a giant cargo fan and a moderately fast motorcycle and rides around for a good portion of the movie, briefly pausing only at the end of the film to foil a random terrorist plot that involves hiding a bomb somewhere.

Why It Sucked:

Steve Rogers from the comics was an artist at heart, sure, but he was also prepared to fight for his country even before he was loaded up with super steroids. He was a superhero who could have genuinely been considered a true hero pre-powers. The writers of 1971's Captain America thought this was so inspiring that they decided to leave it out completely and focus on the whiny, artsy side.

"I'll tell you what Red Skull hurt the most: my feelings...

One of the other great things about Captain America was that he willingly volunteered to take the super serum, because it meant he would be better at doing what he loved (punching Nazis). In this movie, the serum is given to Rogers without his consent, and he reluctantly decides to fight crime after it turns out he has superpowers. Basically, everything that made Steve Rogers honorable and respectable was removed and replaced with... art? A helmet? We don't even know. A see-through shield?

Gay undertones?

Now, the good Captain's transportation doesn't really come up too often in the comics, so we can't say the filmmakers behind this movie screwed it up. Still, we feel fairly secure in the belief that he would not roll around in a blue GMC Van that shoots an almost useless motorcycle out of the back.

And finally, the costume. Instead of just copying the already awesome comic book costume, they apparently hired a costume designer who'd never heard of Steve Rogers (or America), and said, "Make an American motorcycle superhero in 10 minutes or you're fired."

Why You've Never Seen It:

This movie was only made for TV and the general reaction of the public was so collectively indifferent, that they decided to make a terrible sequel that received a similar amount of disinterest.

#4. Nick Fury: Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1998)


David Hasselhoff and Lisa Rinna.

The Trailer:

No trailer available. Please enjoy this clip of Nick Fury being alarmingly sweaty.

The Plot:

The film opens with an already retired Nick Fury, who lives comfortably in the Yukon until he receives a call from S.H.I.E.L.D. who explain that Fury's "old nemesis has returned," and only he can stop the bad guys, because apparently there isn't a single other S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who is qualified to do anything.

The plot is painfully and needlessly drawn out. Fury returns to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier in order to diffuse the threat which turns out to be that the children of his old nemesis have a deadly virus. We quickly realize the real problem is that S.H.I.E.L.D. thinks a one-eyed, cigar-chomping, retired David Hasselhoff would be better at stopping it than a giant flying helicarrier.

The plan falls just outside the borders of "too retarded to be believable" but lands somewhere in "just retarded enough to work" territory, so Nick Fury saves the day.

The best of the best?

Why It Sucked:

The weirdest thing about this movie is that it shouldn't have sucked. It was written by David S. Goyer, the guy who wrote The Dark Knight. The biggest non-Hasselhoff-related problem is it couldn't decide if it was a serious drama or a high camp movie, and it failed at both. And the biggest Hasselhoff-related problem is that David Hasselhoff was in it.

Man, we have used this picture in a TON of articles already, and we don't even care.

Why You've Never Seen It:

This one is a little tricky because it's available for purchase. After Goyer struck gold with Batman Begins, Best Buy bought the distribution rights and started selling the DVD. It's still available, for the hardcore fan who has to have everything related to Marvel, and also hates himself.

#3. Punisher (1989)


Dolph Lundgren, Lou Gossett, Jr.

The Trailer:

The Plot:

Dolph Lundgren plays ex-cop, Frank Castle. After his entire family is killed by the mafia, he leaves "Frank Castle" behind and becomes The Punisher: a vigilante delivering justice to organized criminals--well all except for the ones who killed his family. In this version, after the Yakuza kidnap their children, the mafia (the folks who killed Castle's wife and kids) begs Frank for his help in bringing their children back alive.

Instead of saying "Of course not- *murder murder murder*," The Punisher agrees to help, eventually teaming up with Franco, the head of the mafia, to raid the Yakuza headquarters and rescue Franco's son.

Because Franco is, of course, still evil, he decides to, of course, turn on Punisher and he, of course, loses. The child is left fatherless, The Punisher learned nothing and the audience wasted 10 bucks.

Why It Sucked:

The Punisher's costume is simple. It's a friggin' black t-shirt with a friggin' skull on it. That's the Punisher shirt. You can pick it up an Kohls, for Christ's sake. If you're making a Punisher movie that doesn't put Punisher in the Punisher shirt, you are making a very bad movie.

Having Castle team up with the mob bosses who killed his family is a cardinal sin. What made The Punisher of the comics so compelling was his obsessively stringent moral code; he sees only in black and white. He takes it to the extreme, he can't be reasoned with, he can't be controlled and we fucking love him for it. Proving the screen writers didn't even bother reading the name of the comic, he not only lets bad guys off the hook, he helps the bad guys who killed his children make sure they don't lose theirs. By the end, we were hoping it was part of an elaborate plot to make Franco watch him molest his son. We suppose it would have been a touch dark, but at least it would have been a freaking Punishment.

Why You've Never Seen It:

Thankfully, real comic book movies were there to overshadow the release of The Punisher. When it came out in 1989, DC released Tim Burton's Batman, and the people rejoiced. The original Punisher movie exists now only as a footnote, a bit of trivia to accompany the 2004 Thomas Jane Punisher film.

#2. Dr. Strange (1978)


Peter Hooten, Jessica Walter, and John Mills.

The Trailer:

Again, no trailer. Please accept the first 10 minutes as our apology.

The Plot:

Our world is constantly under threats of a magical nature and the man protecting us from these threats is a man known as the Sorcerer Supreme. The current Supreme of the Earth is an old man called Thomas Linmer who can basically do everything that Obi Wan Kenobi can do, except use a lightsaber (so who gives a shit?).

Linmer, for a while, just hangs out in his Greenwich Village mansion, being magic and whatnot, when he is disturbed by a threat from his past, a sorceress called Morgan Le Fay. To defeat her, Linmer takes porno-stash-clad psychiatrist and heir to the Sorcerer Supreme Throne, Dr. Steven Strange, under his wing to teach him, you know, magic. They use magic to defeat Morgan, Strange becomes the new sorcerer and refuses to shave his Holmesian mustache.

Why It Sucked:

This plot is as far from Dr. Strange's actual origin story as you can get. In the comics, Strange is a cocky surgeon who gets in a car accident and loses his fabulous dexterity. He then travels to the Himalayas to find a hermit who might be able to help him get his job back, and it turns out the hermit is the current Sorcerer Supreme. Strange decides that this is way too much like Batman Begins and wants to leave, but can't due to a blizzard, so he decides to stick around and learn magic. The film replaces "learning magic in the Himalayas" with "learning magic as a psychiatrist in some dude's study." They also decided that the cocky surgeon who lost everything before gaining magic powers was a less compelling protagonist than a boring shrink who just gets born into magicdom.

Also this happens at one point. Not sure if that matters.

Also, Dr. Strange probably doesn't deserve his own movie. He's just not interesting enough. Still, the creators took a character who was inherently boring and made him more boring, dressed him up like John Holmes and made a shitty movie. We have simple rules when it comes to movies. If you're going to make a movie with superheroes, make it exciting and interesting, and if you're going to make a movie with porn stashes, make it full of titties and funk music. This film fails at both.

But, look, it's the mother from Arrested Development!

Why You Never Saw It:

Dr. Strange couldn't decide if it wanted to be a TV movie or a TV pilot, so it just settled on being awful. If you're mad that you weren't around when it first debuted, you can take comfort in the fact that, in 2012, another Dr. Strange film will be released, so you can make sure you don't watch that under any circumstances.

#1. Fantastic 4 (1994)



The Trailer:

The Plot:

Reed Richards and Victor von Doom are science-loving college buddies that major in science at Science University. One day they attempt a science experiment involving a comet that leaves Doom horribly scarred. Instead of learning from his friend's mistake, Reed decides to do the exact thing, only with faster science and some innocent friends. When he conducts the exact same experiment with Johnny Storm, Sue Storm and Ben Grimm, lo and behold, it fucks them up too. But instead of killing them, it gives them extraordinary powers. Science.

Three of the Fantastic Four are kidnapped by Dr. Doom's henchmen, for reasons that are never quite clear. The Thing goes to live in the sewer with a gang of jewel thieves led by The Jeweler, but then Doom steals an important diamond from The Jeweler, because he needs it to power a laser he plans on using to destroy New York. Questions are raised all over the place: Why did Doom get an iron mask instead of, say, reconstructive surgery? If you're stealing diamonds, why are you still living in the sewers? What time is it? While some questions are answered (for example, "It's Clobberin' time, for real"), most are completely ignored. And if all of this seems confusing, keep in mind there's also a blind artist and at least two marriage subplots. The team eventually uses some hard science to stop Doom and the laser, and, while they're not totally sure why, they decide to fight crime forever.

Why It Sucked:

The film was extremely low budget, leaving this "extraordinary" team looking like kids in Halloween costumes. Still, even though the acting was subpar and The Thing looked like he was covered in shit, we can't totally blame the suckage of this movie on a lack of money or dedication. Fox proved that, even with experienced actors and a huge budget, you just can't make a decent Fantastic Four movie (proved it twice, in fact).

Why You've Never Seen It:

Constantin Films owned the rights to a Fantastic Four film but, by late 1992, they stood to lose those rights if they didn't make a film by the end of the year. So, they shot Fantastic Four in one month for under $2 million. From the get go, the producers knew it would never actually see the light of day, but they never informed the director or actors of this fact, so they all went out and talked to the press and signed autographs and promoted the movie, which is the saddest thing in the history of the movie business.

To further honor the release of Watchmen, check out Dan O'Brien's epic quest to see it for free, in My Heroic Quest to Attend the 'Watchmen' Premiere. And to further honor the absolute worst in comic books, check out The 20 Most Ridiculous Batman Comics Ever Released and The 7 Crappiest "Super Heroes" in Comic Book History.

And don't forget to further honor us by visiting our Top Picks, because we deserve it and you bastards know it.

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