What Is The Worst Superhero Movie, And Is Nicolas Cage A Good Actor?

There has been a disagreement in the SSA Campus Organizer office today.

Resource Coordinator Nick Stancato believes Thor was a good movie.  I thought it sucked.  This led to a perfectly amiable discussion (as amiable as one can be throwing things across the room at the opposing side) on what the worst superhero movie was.

I said Spider-Man 3.  Nick said X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  Our event coordinator, Sarah Moglia, liked Wolverine because Hugh Jackman is dreamy.  Nick and I both gagged.

So what is the worst of the bunch?  Spider-Man 3X-Men Origins: WolverineGhost RiderGreen Lantern?

Also, I think Nicolas Cage is a good actor (Raising Arizona, Adaptation, National Treasure…c’mon, the guy’s good!).  Nick and Sarah disagree.  What say you, internets?

Lastly, let’s not mention Face Off, ok?  It is the equivalent of Godwin’s Law in a movie thread.  Mistakes were made, and most of us have moved on.

You guys are wonderful.
PERSONAL: The corrupting power of fame and my love for my commenters.
PERSONAL: Mid day lab pics from the wife.
Update and pics from #AACon15. MST3K cast members were at my talk.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Kaintukee Bob

    The worst superhero movie was obviously X-Men 3. Spiderman 3 was close, but didn’t suck quite as much. Thor was enjoyable, even if Natalie Portman never lost the look on her face that said she knows her career is over. I haven’t seen GL or Origins, so my answer may change if and when I do, though it’d be hard to be worse than X3.

    And Cage is a good actor in the same way as Owen Wilson and Keanu Reeves: they always play the same character, but do it well.

    Oh wait…Superman IV. I think we have a winner.

    • Glodson

      I was trying to think up bad superhero movies, but I think you hit it out of the park with Superman IV. That was so bad that it effectively killed the franchise. Hell, Batman got over Batman and Robin with the Bat-nipples.

      • josh

        Superman IV actually tag-teamed the franchise with Superman III in a beatdown of dignity professional wrestling refs have termed ‘unconscionable’. I dare anyone to watch them back to back.

  • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

    Nicholas Cage is a bad actor, with Ghost Rider being one of the worst superhero films in recent years. Thor was good, but not great (poor character development, but generally fun). Also, my wife also finds Hugh Jackman to be hot.

  • kirk

    X3 was truly terrible, as was Superman IV. Batman and Robin was pretty bad, especially with what they did to Bane (similar to the dumbing-down of Sabertooth in the first X-Men movie, but X-Men was overall a much better movie).

    I think it’s sometimes hard to judge a superhero movie these days outside of the context of other movies in the franchise. Spider-Man 3 is viewed so much worse, I think, because we have Spider-Man 2 to compare it to. It’s hard to say if X3 could be viewed worse than it really is if X2 didn’t exist (which I liked, though some don’t).

    For that reason, I’m holding off judgment on Green Lantern for now. I liked parts of that movie, and I think they’re doing a sequel, so it may be that the then-inevitable Green Lantern 3 will truly be the stinker of the lot.

    Wolverine does indeed get Hugh Jackman dreaminess points from the ladies and us nontraditional males out there. I was sufficiently distracted from the plot at time to fully judge it negatively.

    And Nick Cage is truly a good actor. But he’s one who also mails it in for a paycheck a bunch of times. So, I’d call him good, but frustrating.

    Back to the original question, what about a movie like Masters of the Universe? That was truly terrible. But would it fall under the definition of superhero movies that we’re talking about?

  • http://ogremk5.wordpress.com ogremk5

    Wolverine was a fail on so many levels. On the other hand, I sat through the whole thing. I couldn’t even do that for any of the Spiderman movies.

    I thought Thor was good. Green Lantern was OK, but it seemed pedestrian, not amazing, not cool, definitely not a collection candidate. Ghost Rider was not good, but enjoyable in a campy sort of way. The Iron-man’s are, of course, the best of the bunch.

    I like Nick Cage… sometimes. The first National Treasure, The Rock… OK, that’s about it. The problem with Cage is that he’s either crazy or played the part so much he just seems crazy all the time. The kid from the Transformers movies seems just like a young Cage too.

    Just my thoughts… that and $4.50 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

  • http://pretendbiologist.blogspot.com Travis

    I like Nicolas Cage, sometimes. But he has a tendency to what to play the superhero, to be an action start and I absolutely hate those films. But I really rather enjoy Adaptation, Raising Arizona and Leaving Las Vegas.

    On Portman:
    Oh Natalie Portman, why were you in Thor and that other medieval themed comedy recently? Why? I loved you in Closer, I really liked Black Swan. Why do you hurt me so.

    I am not really sure what the worst superhero movie is though, I am not a fan of the genre at all.

    • mbj1

      Ha! I’m one of the ten people that really loved Your Highness. I think we’re the same ten that loved Cabin Boy, and caught the fish stick reference.

      Portman seems to be a director’s actor; without proper direction, you might as well have a cardboard cutout. Haven’t seen Black Swan yet. Aronofsky’s a weird one; I usually like his movies a lot on first viewing, with drastically diminishing returns.

      • JT Eberhard

        I loved Your Highness and I love Natalie Portman. Haters gonna hate. :P

  • Jen

    I like Face Off.

    • Kaintukee Bob

      Actually, I agree. I have no problem with Face Off – I leave my brain at the door and enjoy the ridicuousness.

    • http://aratina.blogspot.com Aratina Cage

      Yeah. What was wrong with Face Off? I seem to remember liking it.

  • http://www.twitter.com/thedudediogenes thedudediogenes

    “Thor” sucked?! What movied did you watch, dude? “Thor” was fantastic!

    If I can only judge movies that I’ve seen, then Spider-man 3 is the worst superhero movie. I was NOT a fan of the first X-men movie, even though I’m a huge Hugh Jackman fan, either.

    Best superhero movies? Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Hellboy 1 and 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.

    Worst: Spider-man 3, X-men, Iron Man 2.

    (Clearly I haven’t watched nearly as many superhero movies as I ought to have, given how nerdy I am.)

  • dfl42

    Ugh, Thor. Ugh. One of the most boring, predictable, 2-dimensional movies I’ve ever had the displeasure of being subjected to.

  • http://twitter.com/mowgli3 Sarah

    Hugh Jackman is dreamy. Don’t even act like you aren’t impressed by him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=80401939 christucker

    How about the Punisher? And I am not even talking about the terrible 2004 remake, I mean 1989 Dolf Lundgren. Swedish Punisher fighting the mafia by saving orhans. Even though I have to agree that his He Man is also way up there.

  • Frogmistress

    I would say Daredevil was the worst, but that would make it the best at being bad. And it wasn’t good enough at anything to win any category.

    Regardless of whether or not Nick Cage can act, he is not someone who should ever, ever be cast in a period piece.

  • Kraig

    I actually like most superhero movies. Though I will admit that I am a big fan, and that skews my views. Thor was fantastic, Wolverine was awesome, Ghost Rider was sweet. Spider man 3 was even okay (note that okay is as far as I will go).

    The worst though was the Catwoman (2004). Not far behind was Superman IV (1987). Not far behind that was a duo of 1997 movies Batman and Robin and Shaq as Steel. Supergirl (1984) and Superman Returns (2006) are up there as well. (5 points to anyone that notes the trend)

  • nanook

    the ORIGINAL captain america & fantastic four (roger corman!!!) movies from the early 90′s. view at your own risk!

  • julian

    I was going to say X-Men 3 but then I read your post and realized Green Lantern was so bad I had forced myself to forget watching it.

  • sithrazer

    I mostly liked Ghost Rider, personally, and Punisher (2004) too. Although I do tend to expect a certain amount of camp and cheese in superhero movies. I only managed to sit through about half of the first Spiderman movie and never even bothered giving 2&3 a try, but I’ve never been a big fan of spiderman, either.

    I agree with some of the others about Nicholas Cage. His range of ability is limited, which probably right there bars him from ‘good actor’ status, but that doesn’t mean he can’t give a good performance in those roles that do fall within his range. Although I suppose ‘good actor’ depends on if you mean technical ability or ability to be entertaining.

  • http://terahertzatheist.ca Ian

    What can compare to Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer? That movie, an even crappier sequel than the original Fanstastic Four, is the superhero-movie equivalent of watching Ken Ham debate Dinesh D’Souza. It makes Elektra look like a not-bad film!

    Yes, the Spiderman movies (all three) were bad. Wolverine was okay (IMO). But nothing beats Silver Surfer in my mind.

  • Richard

    The entire spiderman movie series made me want to gag. I was a fan of the comics, since the guy was a nerd. The majority of his powers were built by him back in the day: his webs and his ability to climb. Making them genetically built in, not only fails on a biological level, since web would be coming out of his ass… but compromises the character. That small flaw, got worse and worse each movie till it became simply bloody fucking awful.

    No one wants to deal with an emo hero.

    • Jakanapes

      Actually, the sticking to walls has always been biological and a result of the spider bite.

      And, honestly, Spider-Man was always emo. That’s why I loved the first Spider-Man movie, they got Peter Parker exactly right.

  • Michael Swanson

    I contend that Nicholas Cage is an excellent actor, but also lazy and a paycheck whore. Bringing Out the Dead, Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation, Raising Arizona – all brilliant acting. Most of the rest of his stuff? Phoned in.

    And I have to say that Ang Lee’s The Hulk is the worst just for sheer boredom. There are a ton of horrible superhero movies, more bad than good by far, but The Hulk was just mind-numbingly dull!

    No, wait! Unbreakable! Good Sprang Almighty I hate that goddamned movie! Apparently everyone shares the same super ability: moping.

  • Jakanapes

    X-Men: First Class. Hands down. Not just an dismal failure as an x-men movie, but just a putrid movie underneath that. I quite enjoyed Thor. Not as good as Captain America, but fun.

    And Cage CAN be awesome, but when he’s bad, he’s really bad. I’ve been waiting for a sequel to The Rock forever, but Con Air makes me want to gouge out my eyes and ears.

  • mbj1

    I’m surprised to see so many that don’t like the Spider Man movies; the second one especially seems to get a lot of love. Not from me, of course. I wanted to like them, and thought the first one was OK until I saw it a second time.
    I’m really not sure what I would consider the “worst” superhero movie, but of the ones I’ve seen, I might consider FF…Silver Surfer or X-3 to be strong contenders in recent years. I thought Thor was pretty awful, but definitely not the worst I’ve seen. Then again, you should take into consideration the fact that Ang Lee’s Hulk is my personal favorite superhero movie, and I think it is a contender for one of the most hated superhero movies, anyway.
    Oh, and I can’t stand Nic Cage. I like a few movies which he stars in, but his presence is generally a pretty good indicator that I will hate something.

  • ajb47

    I kind of like Cage, but he does seem to play the same character most of the time. And the reason he’s a “paycheck whore” is that he got swindled by his business manager a couple years ago.

    I’m not sure you’ll ever get a consensus on the worst superhero movie just because of how different people’s tastes are. My votes would go to the War Journal version of Punisher (didn’t mind Lundgren’s one, despite motorcycle riding in the sewer, and liked Jane’s version), the early Captain Americas, and both Kilmer’s and Clooney’s Batmans.


  • Thomas Eldon Robbins

    The passion of the christ. But Nicholas Cage would have saved it.

  • Kevin Pettay

    I think JT needs to give some sort of explanation as to his dislike of Thor. I sincerely believe that if you think Nicholas Cage was the worst actor in Face/Off then you might need to back that up. Come now. You are all the most accomplished debaters I know. Some examples and real breakdown of movies should be within your arguments.

    Personally, I feel that Nicholas Cage is a good actor, though his last ten years have been something of a Charles Bronson era. Typecast not as the individual but how the individual deals with a conflict is, I feel, the root cause of his poor ratings.

    Masters of the Universe is definitly on the top of my worst superhero movie list, as it’s low budget and poor acting were highlight to the inexplicably horrible plot.

    Wolverine was horrible when I saw it. To make the final fight scene occur on a cooling tower of a nuclear power plant is nearly jumping the shark. Hugh Jackman may be attractive, but he doesn’t make a movie by himself. Hiring Ryan Reynolds to be a mouthy dipshit is like hiring Pam Anderson to show off her cleavage. There’s other options.

    The Spiderman saga was something of a cartoon made with live actors. All of us adults were expecting to see something a little darker. Perhaps Nolan could do something with it that we all don’t expect.

    All superhero movies have one thing in common. You go to see it expecting to find a plot, acting, and scenery that gives you a warmer and fuzzier feeling than you got from reading the comics as a child and counting the days until you got to read the next issue. No memory I have as a child quite compares to the sense of dread you get when you realize that you have completely memorized the current issue and that there are no less that five days until you get to read some more. At some point, the series reaches a finale, ushering it into some strange spinoff that you don’t really care for. Well, that’s how it happened for me. Punisher will never quite be the same since he was less broad and intimidating. Spiderman was never the same after the 90′s got to the artists. Going to see a superhero movie is the culmination of waiting as an adult for the same dopamine release you got as a child and what do they give you? Toby Maguire? No wonder people didn’t like it. Instead of arguing it as the expectant kid we all become waiting in line for the movie theater to open, realize that the movies may have been geared to the ones who never read it, attempting to bridge a gap between generations to drive up sales in an industry that will go as far to insert lesbian scenes and explosions all for the sake of driving up revenue. Hollywood didn’t ask our opinions. They asked them of surveys and focus groups that they selected. If you weren’t in it, they really didn’t care.

  • Onshay

    JT is correct on all counts. End of story.

    I can’t believe that this thread isn’t full of Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Oreleans citations honestly…

  • GaryU

    My worthless opinion is that Mr. Cage is a good actor who chooses to do really crappy roles more often than not.

  • http://aratina.blogspot.com Aratina Cage

    I usually enjoy Nicolas Cage (no relation) movies, though he’s been in some weird ones. A good one of his I last saw was Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and a really bad one, mostly because of the crappy ending, was Knowing. Ghostrider was OK. So, I agree he is a good actor.

    I haven’t seen Green Lantern, but the other ones you listed were all OK but not too great. I did enjoy Thor, however. The Batman with Jim Carey as The Riddler has to be the worst comicbook superhero movie ever. Watchmen is pretty good as is Iron Man, but the Keaton Batmans and the Bale Batmans are pinnacles of achievement in that genre IMO.

  • janee

    I didn’t see Thor but ghost rider was pretty bad. And you really think Nicolas cage is a good actor? oh my it, I’m sorry to have to tell you this but…he’s awful haha.
    But origins was pretty bad. Well it was good as a movie but bad as an origin story since that wasn’t y’know his origin or anything.

  • Hannah Mae

    Spiderman 3 is definitely the worst of all superhero movies. I don’t think that’s even a competition :P Also, Nicholas Cage is AWFUL, in my opinion at least. The only movie I like him in is Kick-Ass because his character seems to be just as awkward as he is :O

  • http://mid-west-atheist.blogspot.com/ Volizden

    Superman III Was the worst ever…

    Thor was good, didn’t need character development if your were a comic series fan… Wolverine Origins was OK though they deviated from the comic BADLY and ruin the story for me…

    Nick Cage Awesome Actor

    Sorcerer’s Apprentice was awesome, I really liked it, though almost anything he does I like

  • Ayush

    The worst movie EVER : IRON MAN 1 & 2; HELLBOY !!
    No movie is worst than iron man even superman iv is better

    ….IRON M