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19 March, 2013

Bad Superhero Movies?

Nowadays movies about superheroes are dominating the film industry. Think about it, just last year there were five big budget superhero movies: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, Dredd and The Dark Knight Rises.

Back in the late 1970s and 1980s, there was a sudden demand for superhero movies after the success of Superman in 1978. Hollywood was churning up all the superhero they could make with the technology they had at the time. Many masterpieces were created like Batman (1989), Robocop (1987),  and The Swamp Thing (1982).

Then came the 1990s when superhero movies started to get stale. Every film studio were still trying to push out as many superhero movies as they can no matter how bad the stories were. So here are some of those bad superhero movies back in the 90s in chronological order.

Before I go on, I have to clarify that these movies I included are based on comic books or manga, so movies like Darkman (1990) will not be included. (On a side note, Darkman is a good movie, go watch it!)

#1: The Guyver (1991)
I have a feeling nobody knows about this obscure superhero movie, or even the source material it was based on. The movie and its title character was a Japanese manga called 強殖装甲ガイバー, translated to English as Bio Booster Armor Guyver.
It is about a normal guy who gets a biomechanical armor that gives him enhanced capabilities to fight mutants, or Zoanoids, as they are called in the manga. It is a typical hero story that should have been an average superhero movie but one of the many flaws is the overall cheap look of both the Zoanoids and the Guyver costume. Not to mention the biggest disappointment when we find out that Mark Hamill is not the Guyver, the poster was just a big fat lie. *This film has a sequel that is much better than the first movie*

#2: Tank Girl (1995)
I have not heard of this comic book series before but based on the movie, it is one of the weirdest post-apocalyptic stories I have ever encountered. This British comic has its main character living in a tank, travelling around with a mutant kangaroo-human boyfriend in a Mad Max 2 styled world.
This movie actually had a shot of being a good movie with a great cast like Naomi Watts, Malcolm McDowell and great effects by the great Stan Winston. Unfortunately it did very badly in the box office, so bad that it only grossed $4 million on a $25 million budget. If you like a cheesy action movie with random dance routines and comic styled still graphics in a live movie, this is a movie for you.

#3: Barb Wire (1996)
Remember a time when Pamela Anderson was hot? Yup! It was the 90s and she was the hottest lifeguard on  the hit show Baywatch. She was given many choices to star in blockbusters and she ended up with this comic book movie.
As many critics have pointed out, this movie lacks originality since it borrows the exact same plot as Casablanca, set in 2017 post apocalyptic world. Some might enjoy it if it was executed well, but the acting in this movie is so wooden that I bet nobody was looking at the actor's faces. One redeeming factor is that the movie has some decent action sequences said to be done by Pam Anderson herself. Let's move on, Babe!

#4: The Phantom (1996)
I watched this movie quite a long time ago on TV thinking it was The Phantom of the Opera from the TV guide. As it was playing I realised that the main character was the weird jungle guy in spandex riding a horse I always see in the newspaper comic strips. I have never read The Phantom on the newspapers because like the Spider Man comic strips, they were connected everyday and I did not want to read four panels and wait a whole day for the next four.
This movie was ambitious for putting the main character in the exact same purple outfit in the comic book while still trying to match the awesomeness of Indiana Jones. To my surprise, this was the first superhero movie that followed its comic book costume almost perfectly, but it is not a complement in anyway since it looks weird.

#5: Steel (1997)
This was probably the last of the bad superhero movies of the 90s. Like Pam Anderson, Shaq O'Neal was one of those celebrities who tried many times in the movie industry but did not go very far. This was the last movie where he played the main character and he was nominated for a Razzie for it, that says a lot about this movie.
Notice the difference between the comic book and the real life version? After watching the movie, I had a feeling the film makers were trying to make the character more realistic and down to Earth but that back fired on the whole premise. In all respects, Shaq is a horrible actor and that ruined the film's overall mood too. Imagine this guy being compared along side other non-superhuman heroes like Batman and Iron Man... I think you get what I mean.

Of course that was only the 90s, who knows how many bad superhero movies were made in the last decade and more to come in the future... Does Catwoman (2004) starring Halle Berry ring a bell? Hopefully film makers start to understand that not all graphic art can be transferred to live action successfully.


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