Total Nerd 14 Ludicrously Bad Versions Of Now-Popular Marvel Franchises  

Zack Howe
3.4k votes 635 voters 21.5k views 14 items

List Rules Vote up the worst pre-MCU titles that make you shocked they tried an Iron Man movie.

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. 


Captain America is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 14 Ludicrously Bad Versions Of Now-Popular Marvel Franchises
Photo: 21st Century Film Corporation

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.

Also Ranked

#81 on The Best Movies of 1990

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Dr. Strange (1978)


Dr. Strange is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 14 Ludicrously Bad Versions Of Now-Popular Marvel Franchises
Photo: Universal Television

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.

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Captain America & Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)


Captain America & Captain ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 14 Ludicrously Bad Versions Of Now-Popular Marvel Franchises
Photo: NBC Universal Television

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.

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The Amazing Spider-Man (1977)


The Amazing Spider-Man (1977) is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 14 Ludicrously Bad Versions Of Now-Popular Marvel Franchises
Photo: Columbia Pictures

This legitimately terrifying made-for-tv movie also got a theatrical release overseas, presumably because the universe is nothing but a swirling void of never-ending misery and confusion. Regardless, reviews at the time were shockingly middling, highlighting just how much weed and cocaine impacted people's judgment in the '70s. Also, the effects were predictably hilarious. Either Spidey could shoot webs from his schlong, or the production quality just wasn't up to snuff. 

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