Comic book movies require a suspension of disbelief to really work well. And in some of the great ones, you’re so sucked in that you don’t notice little problems here and there. But in the not-so-great ones, there are often moments of cataclysmic failure; either special effects that are more like special defects or gigantic plot holes, or worse, an apparent lack of familiarity with the character. These will take you right out of the movie and most likely will piss you off to the point that you rant and rave to your friends for months on end about how damn stupid the scenes are.
Here are a few moments of fail from superhero movies. Pop that blood-pressure medication now; you will need it later.
Superman IV: Superman rebuilds the Great Wall of China
You know, it was one thing to overlook Superman throwing his S-shield at Non in Superman II, or Zod having the ability to levitate someone with a beam from his finger; as a nerdy kid, you’d reason that maybe Superman had time to set that up or that at some point during his stay in the Phantom Zone, Zod could’ve been exposed to some kind of radiation, red kryptonite, something.
But damn, in Superman IV, it’s like they’re not even trying. Granted the whole movie is one giant moment of fail, but one part in particular sticks out like a turd in a punchbowl. Long story short: Lex Luthor clones Superman to create a super-powered villain, The Nuclear Man. The clone, oddly looks nothing like Superman and has mostly different powers, but we’ll ignore that.
At one point during one of the shittiest fight scenes in an action movie, Superman is chasing Nuclear Man around the world, and Nuclear Man blows up part of the Great Wall of China. How does Superman fix it? Does he rebuild it at super-speed? Nope. He uses his heretofore unseen “Rebuild the Great Wall of China vision.” No, really.
And it doesn’t even look convincing in the slightest, despite Superman’s “Later, bitches!” look he gives before flying off. Seriously, if you know you don’t have the money for the proper effect, don’t try to half-ass it by making up some completely bullshit super power.
Batman Returns: What a ripoff
Batman Returns was a bit uneven; it had some great parts, and they got Batman’s symbol right this time, but there were other parts that seemed like they were written at about 5:30 on a Friday before a three-day weekend. From the Batmobile’s schematics being easily accessible to anyone who goes to the library to Batman getting to the bomb hidden on the Batmobile by punching through the floorboards with his feet like he was Fred Flintstone or something.
But near the end there’s a part that is a bit more subtle but for some reason even more disappointing. When Batman is trying to talk Catwoman down from the metaphorical ledge, he reveals his identity to her by ripping the cowl off his costume as if it were made from Fruit Roll-Ups. And you know something is coming because right before that, the black makeup around his eyes disappears.
Fantastic Four: Dr. Douche
If you’re even a teeny bit familiar with the Fantastic Four, you know that he’s a tyrannical monarch who is so badass that he refers to himself in the third person and uses the phrase, “Bah!” without any sense of irony. So what is he like in the first Fantastic Four movie? An ethically challenged businessman/genius.
This is the kind of thing that comic geeks flip their shit over, perhaps disproportionately, but justifiable at least. This is the badass who will take over the world?
And let’s not get started on the painfully overused trope of the villain sharing his origin with the hero. Can’t things happen separately? Does everyone have to have the same thing happen at the same time?
Superman III: Gesundheit!
One of the biggest problems with Superman III was that it tried to be funny. One supposes that they figured if they had comedy great Richard Pryor in the movie, they may as well yuk it up. That would be fine if it were, you know, actually funny. The entire opening credits scene is supposed to be a hilarious slapstick pastiche, but it feels so out of place for a Superman movie–especially after the solid Superman II–that they may as well have had Superman flying around with a dildo strapped to his head.
But the moment that really frosts my Popsicle is the scene where Clark Kent is hanging out with former classmate Lana Lang at a bowling alley. It’s not as skeevy as it might sound–they’re there to watch her son, Ricky, play. Ricky is the shit-on, last-to-get-picked kid, and presumably this hits home for Clark. You’d understand that he’d want to help Ricky by surreptitiously using his powers, right? Something subtle.
That kinda blows the whole secret identity thing, doesn’t it? And since when does Superman sneeze? It doesn’t look like it’s just for show. The guy who can juggle planets with his dick gets the sneezies from dust at a bowling alley? I know it’s supposed to be cute/funny, but it isn’t.
Batman and Robin: Are you f$%king kidding me?
Another giant steaming pile of fail, but there was one part that made me almost get up and leave the theater. You probably know exactly which scene this is going to be. Check the video below. Were you right?
Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Tinseltown! Who thought that was: a) a good idea; b) funny; or c) not the stupidest thing to hit the screen since that Great Wall scene in Superman IV?
I don’t know what’s more insulting, that the card is good “forever” (I see what you did there.), the cha-ching sound when he whips it out, or “Don’t leave the cave without it.” If you want to get real anal-retentive about how colossally dumb that line is, it references a commercial catchphrase that was about 20 years old when the movie came out, *and* it was for travelers checks, not a credit card. Asshats.
And let’s not go into the ice skates Batman and Robin had in their boots. There’s a reason people say this movie killed the franchise, and they’re right.
There are lots more moments of fail from other films, but they’ll have to wait for another list another time. Feel free to add yours in the comments.