It is not hyperbole to say that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the shining light of mankind. Even the relative stinkers of the MCU have been passable — your Thor: The Dark Worlds and The Incredible Hulks were, you know, fine. And then there's the marvelous Netflix Defenders properties. It took a while to get to this point, however. There’s no shortage of bad Marvel movies out there, and there are even some Marvel TV shows that are (hopefully) forgettable.
While DC catches a lot of flak for their live-action adaptations, they don’t have anything nearly as bad as 1979's Captain America II: Death Too Soon. DC fans rejoice! You’ve been provided some ammunition for the next time someone harasses you about Green Lantern. (Well, as long as they don't bring up Batman v Superman: Dawn of Wow, How Was This Movie So Bad, It's Mind-Boggling). Let’s check out some bad, and in some cases, forgotten Marvel movies.
If you’re struggling to remember the 1990 version of Captain America, that’s because it was a straight-to-video movie. There’s really not much more to say than that. The term “straight-to-video” is about as unsavory as “low-cal,” or “alternative facts,” or “volcanic diarrhea.” It’s bad news. And no, that's not John C. Reilly underneath the patriotic cowl, it's Matt Salinger, J.D. Salinger's son. Despite all his "star power," the film flopped miserably, both critically and commercially.
#79 on The Best Movies of 1990
The phrase "made-for-tv movie" should trigger a gag reflex for any reasonable person, but when it's in regards to the Sorcerer Supreme, it should also evoke rage. CBS had no business trying to make a film about the Doctor in an era where the best visual effect had to offer was Obi-Wan Kenobi melting into his robe after being struck by a lightsaber. To no one's surprise, this 1978 attempt at Dr. Strange earned an audience score of 24% on Rotten Tomatoes. At least star Petter Hooten went on to have an illustrious porn career. Presumably.
Captain America & Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)
Man, Cap sure did get a lot of terrible live-action adaptations. These two made-for-idiots made-for-tv movies came out in 1979, and while the first had a paltry RT score of 10%, they must have really figured it out with the second because it got a whopping 15%! Cap's transparent plastic shield inspired awe to anyone who gazed upon it, looking capable of stopping anything from flies to slightly larger flies.
Eric Bana, you are officially Bana’d from Marvel. More unforgiveable than Bana’s dead-eyed performance in this just-plain-weird Hulk adaptation was Ang Lee's bizarre direction (not to mention Nick “Nightcap” Nolte's grumbling efforts). Ang took some... creative license by splitting the screen occasionally to mimic the appearance of comic book panels. Not an altogether terrible idea, if he had used it more than twice, but the infrequency just made it jarring and out of place. Shockingly, this fever dream of a movie just made Rotten Tomatoes's “Certified Fresh” category with a 61% aggregate rating.