Top ten cringe-worthy superhero movie moments

Sometimes, movies just make you want to crawl out of your skin in embarrassment. Here are 10 terrible moments in comic book films

Ghost Rider

Seeing your favourite hero on screen can often turn into a nightmare when the dialogue or action they are involved with leaves you squirming with in embarrassment. Here are some of the worst offenders:

1. Superman’s big plastic S (Superman 2)

By far the best Superman adaptation put to screen, and for nearly two hours as a viewer you find yourself completely captivated by the fight between Superman and the troops of Zod. However, when the action moves to the Fortress of Solitude, the awe-inspiring fight scenes take on a rather daft edge when Superman, out of nowhere, envelops his nemesis in a big plastic sheet with the Superman symbol on it. Now I have read many, many Superman books, and have never come across a story where he has power over plastic bags. Presumably, they weren’t even bags for life.

2. Daredevil and Elektra’s playground fight (Daredevil)

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Daredevil is half a decent superhero film that has a lot going for it in the form of Colin Farrell’s scene-chewing Bullseye. And, to be fair, Ben Affleck’s take on the man without fear was okay. However, the complete tonal change of the film comes about halfway through, with a truly jump-the-shark moment where Matt Murdock and Elektra spar in a kids’ playground. Not only is it embarrassing to watch, but it ruins the film’s premise that Murdock is blind. So how the chuff is he supposed to balance on a see-saw and dodge numerous kicks and punches from the ever-lovely but hollow-eyed Jennifer Garner? Surely at the end of the fight the dialogue should be changed to:

Elektra: Wow, you can really fight! Your wire-fu work is excellent! I bet you’re not blind at all, are you? Hang on, let me guess: are you Daredevil?

Matt Murdock: Yes… yes, I am.

3. “When a toad is struck by lightning” (X-Men)

X-Men is one of the better series of comic adaptations, and while the fight scenes between the X-Men and the Brotherhood were generally handled well, the film was let down by a line that was delivered so badly there was a collective groan given out by the entire cinematic audience at the screening I was at. Donning a laughable wig, Halle Berry’s Storm has done nothing of note for the first hour of the film, and when it was time for her to deliver the goods and provide the proverbial smackdown on the bad guys she comes out with “Do you know what happens to a toad when it gets struck by lightning?” Shudder! It’s a good job that that director Bryan Singer didn’t give her much screen time or that much to say in the rest of the film. She’s supposed to be an Oscar winner, for crying out loud.

4. Bat iceskates (Batman & Robin)

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Only ten minutes into the film we are treated to ‘bat-booties’, in a scene that would make the makers of the very worst neon-filled 80s nightmare rock video cringe. And it goes downhill from there. There’s no excuse for this entire film. It should be wiped from our collective consciousness. If I ever see the producers of this excremental piece of cinematic tat, I’ve got quite a lot I want to talk to them about…

5. Banner vs Father (Hulk)

Nick Nolte and Eric Bana on screen, debating issues in front of a large power generator thingy? Wow, that’s some action they’ve put there on the screen in this lamentable superhero flick. While it is debatable whether or not Ang Lee’s Hulk is a masterpiece or a great big pile of gamma-dung, what was needed from this was action, adventure and a bit of fun. However, what we got was a father and son waxing lyrical about life, the universe and everything until Nick Nolte bites through a bit of cable and we are left with an incomprehensible, unwatchable pile of pixels getting thrown at each other for the big climatic pay off. Dull, boring and just plain silly, this scene was the nail in the coffin for the Hulkster and unless the new Incredible Hulk film knocks it out the park, then it will seem that the best on-screen Hulk work remains in the 70s.

6. Doctor Doom & Susan Storm (Fantastic Four)

Another attempt by Marvel to get its icons on the screen that well and truly got a drubbing by fans and critics alike. While watching the slow death of Marvel’s First family on screen, head-in-hands viewers were then given the proverbial kick in the happy sacks when the limp-wristed Dr Doom (as portrayed, without any hint of menace, by Julian McMahon) asked his former partner (the peroxided and dead-eyed) Susan Storm to stop fighting. Bad. So, so bad. We all know Doom in the comics would have blasted her to cosmic ray dust without a second thought.

7. The emo dance (Spider-man 3)

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Spider-man 3 was two quite good films edited down to make one piss poor movie. And while Sandman, Green Goblin 2 and Venom all helped make this hotch-potch of a movie completely unwatchable, on a second viewing it was the sight of Peter Parker strutting his funky stuff complete with emo hairstyle and hideous perverted sneer that makes the movie so very unlikeable. Sam Raimi, we all know that the studio pushed you into adding all the elements they needed to sell toys and such, but really? It was completely on your shoulders that this abominable piece of work ever graced the cinema screen. Shame on you Sam, and if it wasn’t for Evil Dead your days in the my personal hall of fame would be very numbered indeed.

8. Giving the finger (Ghost Rider)

Having been chased by police and various other emergency services, the Spirit of Vengeance does the only thing a flammable, skull wearing demonic bail-bondsman could do in a situation like that. He turns round and gives them a single, middle-digit salute. How very hellish…

9. Shredding Hendrix (Howard The Duck)

Poor Steve Gerber was plucked, stuffed and well and truly basted in this insane (and yet enjoyable) romp from Lucasfilm. However, no matter how much Leah Thompson love there is in the world, and no matter how cute and sexy she looks decked out in 1980s pop paraphernalia, there is no excuse for a vertically challenged man in a duck suit pretending to play Jimi Hendrix on a guitar. None whatsoever.

10. Everything Mr Freeze says (Batman & Robin)

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A second mention for Batman & Robin, but so very, very deserved. It’s surely reason enough to let Joel Schumacher nowhere near even a comic ever again. The icing on this particularly unsavoury cake though was Arnie as Mr Freeze, whose every word left you wondering just how it could get worse. The answer, sadly, was usually just minutes away. Whether it’s “Adam and Evil” or “A new age is coming…an Ice Age”, every word muttered from the blue painted lips of the Governator is just one sad puerile pun after another. It’s no wonder that he took up politics shortly after this mess, as surely any British actor would be obliged to hand in their Equity card.

More superhero stuff:

The Incredible Hulk review10 ways to improve The Incredible HulkWhy Ang Lee’s Hulk rulesHellboy II: early footage review12 roles Michael Keaton could have played in The Dark KnightRecast Your Franchise!Iron Man review

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