15 Times Comic Book Movies Almost Ruined Great Characters

List Rules
Vote up the movies that completely whiffed on classic characters.

These days, it seems a month doesn't go by without a comic book movie hitting the silver screen, and with so many Marvel and DC films being released over the years, some are bound to upset fans. It would be hard to argue that characters like Captain America, Batman, or the Silver Surfer weren't all amazing characters, but that doesn't mean they always translate perfectly from the page to the screen.

These actors certainly did their best with the material they were given, and while some of the performances were certainly better than others, most fans agree that these movie versions of comic book characters were rather awful.


  • Ryan Reynolds showed up in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as the loquacious mutant Wade Wilson, and for the first part of the movie, he seemed somewhat similar to the comic book character he was based on. Then, the final act came around, and Wade was transformed into Deadpool - only, he wasn't remotely similar to the character from the comics. 

    Even without his signature red costume, which Reynolds would wear years later when the character was done properly, there was enough wrong with the evolution of Wilson to make him unrecognizable. The Merc with the Mouth had his mouth removed, and he was given numerous mutant abilities he never possessed, including Cyclops's laser blast and a retractable sword that came out of his fist.

    The portrayal was so bad, Reynolds offed him in a post-credits scene from Deadpool 2, which helped the world heal from the awful portrayal he'd been forced to do many years earlier.

    888 votes

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  • There's a reason Halle Berry showed up to collect her Razzie Award for Worst Actress when it was presented for her work in Catwoman: She agreed with them. It was a terrible performance, but it wasn't because the Academy Award-winning actress suddenly forgot how to do her job; it was because the movie and the characterization of Catwoman were epically awful. When she accepted the award, she quipped, "Thank you for putting me in a piece of s***, god-awful movie!"

    The biggest flaw of this film stemmed from Catwoman being a character in name only. She wasn't even Selina Kyle and was instead given the name Patience Phillips. Her origin was changed, her depiction as a criminal turned anti-hero was absent, and all of that resulted in a terrible movie that failed to depict the DC character in any recognizable way.

    721 votes

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  • The first commercially released Fantastic Four movies weren't the best adaptations in the world, but they were far better than the one released in 2015 - again, to maintain the rights to the characters. Everything in this movie, including the story, the pacing, the special effects, and the acting, has been lampooned by critics around the world.

    It changed the origin story, messed with the characters in every way but their standard set of superpowers, and turned Doctor Doom into a strange-looking thing that somewhat resembled the Silver Surfer.

    The plot was the worst part of the film, as it was little more than a mishmash of every film cliche used since the dawn of the industry. Throwing in the characters with little resemblance to their comic book inspirations made fans angry, and Marvel stopped publishing the books for years so they wouldn't be compared to the tragic film that finally sealed the deal on movies made to maintain the rights, leaving Marvel Studios to finally bring them into the MCU... eventually.

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  • Believe it or not, there was a Captain America movie released back in 1990, and it was a co-production between the United States and Yugoslavia, which is a country that no longer exists. The plot included an origin, which had Steve Rogers receive a dismissal from the draft due to his affliction with polio that left him crippled. He's given a formula, which reverses all of that, and makes him into a super-soldier.

    Despite those changes, they still managed to somewhat mirror the origin from the comics, but there were numerous alterations and story problems that made the movie almost unwatchable.

    Rogers is frozen and reawakened to stop an evil crime syndicate led by the (Italian) Red Skull intent on assassinating the president due to his pro-environmental policies. The Red Skull, a character known for his eponymous facial description, was shown to have his face returned to normal because, as the screenwriter once said, "I didn't think people wanted to keep looking at this horrible skull face forever." Fortunately, Hugo Weaving and the good people at Marvel Studios proved him wrong.

    439 votes
  • There are countless articles online about how truly terrible Batman & Robin was, and the heaps of criticism are well-deserved. The movie ruined the franchise, and one of the biggest reasons it flopped was due to the plethora of characters who acted as over-the-top and horribly as possible. The only two characters who were remotely decent were Uma Thurman's Poison Ivy and Alicia Silverstone's Batgirl, but they were only the best of the worst.

    The truly bad characters from the movie were, in order of how badly they were portrayed, Robin, Bane, Batman, and Mr. Freeze. Starting with Robin, he was given some of the cheesiest dialogue in cinematic history, and Chris O'Donnell simply wasn't given anything decent to work with. Bane attempted (somewhat) to mirror the comic book character, but like O'Donnell, Jeep Swenson wasn't given anything to work with, making him a poor reflection of the classic Batman villain.

    George Clooney should not have played Batman. His performance was uncharacteristically awful and was played off with too many attempts at laughs that didn't land at all. As for Mr. Freeze, the only thing decent to come out of Arnold Schwarzenegger's performance was a massive amount of cheesy one-liners that make up the bulk of the actor's list of his worst dialogue.

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  • Ever since Marvel sold the film rights to The Fantastic Four, every film adaptation has managed to harm the comic book characters' image in some way. The first film to feature the titular heroes was produced in 1994 but was never commercially released. The only reason it was made was to keep the rights with Neue Constantin Film and New Horizons, and that didn't amount to a great deal of effort or interest.

    Everything about this film screams low-budget B celluloid crap, and while it is somewhat campy, it never became what anyone would call a cult classic, though illegal copies have been around for years and are mostly collected so people can see how bad it truly was.

    It was based on two comics, The Fantastic Four Annual #1-2, but it wasn't even true to that story outside of the origin, which was somewhat close to the comics. The film had a budget of around $250,000, which is pretty much nothing by today's standards, and as a result, everything from the Human Torch's flame powers to Mister Fantastic's stretchy arms looked incredibly fake.

    394 votes