Kids growing up in the ’80s and ’90s dreamed that one day Hollywood would figure out how to make movies that looked as exciting as the comics Marvel and DC printed every single month. Back then, the one complaint leveled constantly against the rare comic-book movies that did get made was “They’re nothing like the comics!” It was true, too. Even the good comic-book movies of the era like Batman often played very fast and loose in adapting comics to the silver screen. After all, superheroes were silly stuff for children. They would never work if you just directly translated the source material, right?
Today, of the ten biggest domestic films in history, five are based on Marvel properties. (Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and The Avengers.) All of those movies successfully turned comics into big business. But there are plenty of other movies that made major changes to their stories with very disappointing results.
This list collects 12 of the worst offenders. We’re not only judging the movies by their quality here; we’re evaluating the degree to which they took a specific comic book or storyline and bungled its adaptation to the big screen. Supergirl is a pretty dreadful comic-book movie. But it’s not necessarily a bad movie version of a specific Supergirl comic. The movies below aren’t just crappy, they’re drawn from legitimately great books that they do a legitimately poor job of adapting. In other words, they’re nothing like the comics.
The Worst Movie Adaptations of Great Comic Books
These comic-book movies aren’t just bad. They all took classic comic book stories and turned them into junk.