10 Worst Superheroes Ever Put Into Movies And TV

These superhero adaptations should have never seen the light of day.

By Erika Hanson | Updated

Swamp Thing (1982)

Wes Craven brought DC‘s Swamp Thing to the big screen in the 1980s, but the elemental supe failed to deliver an iconic feature in the now-beloved genre. Receiving negative to mixed reviews when released, the laughable rubber suit worn by Dick Durock and the movie’s campy style has made the film oddly enjoyable today, if not just for a good laugh.

The Tick (1994-1997)

Created by Ben Edlund in 1986, The Tick is a clich√© parody of the superhero. The mighty hero would eventually be given his own animated series, which aired on Fox Kids Block for three seasons. Designated to protect “The City” from evildoers, The Tick series has since gained a cult following but ultimately is one of the worst superheroes to be put onto television.

The Rocketeer (1991)

Disney acquired the rights to bring The Rocketeer to the big screen, but the 1991 film failed to make much more than enough to break even. Making our list as one of the worst superheroes to grace both the big and small screen may be due to the character’s offbeat style; the Rocketeer is no Superman. After discovering an experimental jetpack, Cliff Secord uses his newfound gadget to save the day without any supernatural powers.


The Spirit (2008)

Even two of Marvel’s biggest stars (Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson) couldn’t help make this superhero jump from the comics to the big screen work. Coined Frank Miller’s knockoff of his more famous work in Sin City, The Spirit follows Denny Colt, aka The Spirit. A cop killed in the line of duty, Colt is reborn as The Spirit, a crimefighter who unfortunately has no unique characteristics to help make this movie stand out amid a slew of similar genre films of its time.

Steel (1997)

He may be considered one of the greatest in Basketball, but as far as superheroes go, Shaquille O’Neal made a disastrous defender in 1997’s Steel. Considered one of the worst superhero films ever made, terrible acting and downright awful concepts didn’t help O’Neal’s odds. O’Neal took on the role of John Henry Irons, a weapon engineer who makes a mech suit that we are certain would not impress Tony Stark.

The Phantom (1996)

The Phantom was such a terrible movie not many people even know of its existence. Billy Zane starred as the titular superhero who has no extraordinary powers unless you consider out-of-style puns a major strength.

Daredevil (2003)

Today, Ben Affleck might be best known in the superhero genre as Batman, but no one has forgotten his short stint as the lawyer Matt Murdock, better known as Daredevil. The 2003 origin movie failed to impress moviegoers, and as acclaimed as Affleck may be, Charlie Cox would prove that he was much better suited for the role years later.

Green Lantern (2011)

Once again proving that it’s all in the casting, DC landed Ryan Reynolds as their beloved Green Lantern superhero. But a lousy script and spotty special effects left fans disappointed in the film. Luckily, Reynolds seemed very aware of how disastrous the role was, and he opted to go back to portraying his fan-favorite Marvel superhero, Deadpool.

Captain America (1990)

Decades before Chris Evans would portray the first Avenger, another actor attempted to bring Captain America to Hollywood success. Matt Salinger played the superhero in 1990’s Captain America. The low-budget movie attempted to cram Steve Rogers’ origin story into a 97-minute film and even boldly changed a ton of the comic canon.

Batman (1966)

Gotham’s Caped Crusader has often been portrayed on the big and small screen. Some adaptations, like Christian Bale’s Dark Knight trilogy, are considered some of the most successful superhero movies ever made. However, Adam West’s turn as the defender in 1966’s Batman¬†was utterly absurd. Still, the movie and spawned television series are widely believed to have saved the character’s mainstream popularity.