If today the Marvel Universe is the franchise that dominates all the rest of the box office and Hollywood cinema, there are more or less gone days when the Marvel films were turnips. So here are the ten worst Marvel movies of all time, listed in order of release.
Howard … a new breed of heroes (1986)
Today, Howard the Duck is a member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The famous duck (at least among comic book readers), has indeed appeared in the two opus of Guardians of the Galaxy, and very briefly in Avengers : Endgame. But before you join the big MCU party, Howard the Duck had his own movie. In 1986, Willard Huyck (still screenwriter of American Graffiti and of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) stages a whole film centered on the duck of space. But this production, funded by George Lucas, is clearly at the bottom of the Marvel movies basket.
Deeply kitsch work, impossible to tackle today in the first degree, Howard … a new breed of heroes is marred by bad dialogue and situations that are at best absurd, at worst unhealthy (impossible to forget the sex scene between a human and a duck). However, with some nostalgia, Howard … a new breed of heroes sometimes breathes the Georges Lucas productions of the time. Special effects remind Ghostbusters, the music is very much inspired by that of Back to the future, and it comes out a nice little cartoon side borrowed from Who wants the skin of Roger Rabbit?. Nevertheless Howard … a new breed of heroes has been so badly received, by the press as by the public, that Georges Lucas tried to make the film disappear. Without success.
The Punisher (1989)
Before the Punisher had a revival on Netflix with Jon Bernthal, the first film centered on Frank Castle dates back to 1989. At the time, it was the famous Dolph Lundgren who embodied the anti-hero. Unfortunately, the direction of Mark Goldblatt offers a terribly kitsch work too. Whether in the dialogues, the artistic direction, the choreographies or in the situations, everything exudes amateurism. The anti-hero obviously lack of violence, and the production remains a pale copy of the action flicks of the 1990s. And unfortunately for fans of the character, the next two film adaptations were hardly better …
Captain America (1990)
So there we have a hell of a piece. In 1990, Albert Pyun (Cyborg, Kickboxer 2) stages the first film Captain America, while the hero is played by Matt Salinger. Captain America is definitely the biggest dud on this list. If the work did come out in 1990, she breathes the 1970s and very much reminiscent of the series Batman with Adam West, released in the 1960s. It’s quite astonishing to imagine that this movie actually came out in 1990..
The Fantastic Four (1994)
To be, this is a somewhat special case. Directed by Oley Sassone (Mortal Kombat series, Xena the warrior) this version of Fantastic Four is a bit of a scam. Indeed, at the time, producer Bernd Eichinger was about to lose film rights to Fantastic 4 universe, ready to return to Marvel Comics. However, the contract stipulated that if he produced a film about this superheroic team, he could retain the rights to it. Neither one nor two, to only three months from the deadline, Bernd Eichinger lance la production of a totally low-cost Fantastic 4 film.
The feature film is being shot in confidence, and the cast, like the tech crew, are unaware that they are making a ghost movie. Yes, because what Bernd Eichinger didn’t tell his teams was that the film Fantastic Four is not even not intended to be distributed in cinemas, and to be broadcast anywhere. The producer only really did this to piss off Marvel and keep the rights to this license. Thus, the film is shot in deplorable conditions, without means, without money, and truly without envy. Since, Bernd Eichinger tried to burn all copies of the feature film, without being able to achieve it.
Nick Fury : Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1998)
Before the famous Nick Fury was played by Samuel L. Jackson, the inimitable David Hasselhoff played the boss of SHIELD in front of Rob Hardy’s camera (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Robinson Crusoe) in Nick Fury : Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. And what about this potential nanar? Big impressive turnip of nullity, it is placed somewhere between the famous Captain America cited above and an episode of Scooby Doo.
After appearing in Daredevil (which was still very close to appearing in this list), Elektra had her own movie. Still played by Jennifer Garner, the superheroine is entitled to her own story in front of Rob Bowman’s camera (The reign of fire). The early 2000s are truly a difficult time for superheroines. While at the time the DC competition produced the bad Catwoman, Marvel offered its fans the equally unsuccessful Elektra. Production of bad quality, non-existent villain, unreadable fights against a background of bad techno, all the snaps from the failed superhero movie of the time are featured in Elektra.
Man Thing (2005)
Man Thing, the DC equivalent of Swamp Thing, got his own movie. A feature film relatively unknown to the general public directed in 2005 by Brett Leonard (Programmed to Kill, Highlander – Guardian of Immortality). With Conan Stevens in the role of The Man-Thing, Man Thing takes up the story of this cult character for comic book readers. Unfortunately, the work, like Nick Fury and Captain America, is a huge potential nanar.
Ghost Rider (2007)
Ghost Rider is an extremely exciting character in the comics. Brutal anti-hero from the underworld, this ambiguous protagonist deserved a violent and filthy R-rated approach. But the fans got Ghost Rider de Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil, Face to Face). Deplorable aesthetics, bland, extremely poorly-written villains, and an uninteresting narrative, the Rider clearly deserved better. There remains Nicolas Cage who is hitchhiking nervously on the screen, perfect for artist fans. As for Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance, it is hardly less missed.
Fantastic Four (2015)
Decidedly, it is apparently quite complicated to stage a good adaptation of Fantastic 4. Already the two Tim Story films could also have ended up in this top 10, la version de Josh Trank (Chronicle, Capone) released in 2015, no exception. Worn by Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B Jordan and Jamie Bell, nothing is right in this version of Fantastic Four, who has the biggest budget on this list. Bad special effects, a Fatalis even less successful than in its previous appearances, a warmed-up scenario and above all a studio which put handcuffs on the filmmaker. In any case, that’s the words of Josh Trank, which accuses 20th Century Fox, and its will to control everything, of the failure of the film.
Venom : Let There Be Carnage (2021)
Eh yes, Venom : Let There Be Carnage has its place in this ranking. Because it’s still crazy, in 2021, to go out such a superhero movie. Andy Serkis takes up all the bad sides of the first Venom and pushes them to their climax. Mediocre special effects, non-existent artistic direction, insipid villain, grotesque situations, absence of violence and dramaturgy, in short, nothing goes. As for Tom Hardy, he is simply lunar …
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And for you, what are the worst Marvel movies ever? Do not hesitate to tell us in the comments.