EJ Moreno looks at a selection of unfairly maligned superhero movies…
Nowadays, all we hear is “superhero fatigue,” with audiences and critics growing tired of the genre. As cinema has been dominated by DC and Marvel for decades now, it seems like almost every superhero movie is met with a blah reaction.
But that wasn’t always the case, and we had an era where almost every comic book movie (mostly the MCU) was well-received and became massive moneymakers. That made the outliers, the hated superhero movies, even more special as they felt like a rarity.
Is the hate for every project deserved? Absolutely not. So, we are here to redeem some superhero films that’s that came out during the modern era that were unfairly maligned by viewers or critics. Check out the list below and be sure to share your picks for the most overhated comic book movies…
- Wonder Woman 1984
- The Marvels
When you see that title, you can hear that cringe-worthy Eminem song playing in the background. Venom, by no means, is perfect, but damn if it doesn’t bring back some charm from a different era in superhero films.
As someone nostalgic for the nu-metal superhero era that includes such “hits” like Blade and Daredevil, the Tom Hardy-led superhero romp takes you back to that simple time. Venom strives so hard to be “cool,” in the vein that many found the Deadpool movies to be, but Venom misses that mark and feels like a beautiful, campy mess.
It’s no wonder this didn’t hit the mark with critics, but the audience was hungry for something different than everything else, so they turned up at the box office for this. As overly hated as it is, Venom has spawned two sequels, one heading into cinemas next year.
The most “modern” film on this list, as it was released this past year, Blue Beetle hasn’t found its cult following yet, but that will surely grow over time. It’s a charming film, even if it sometimes feels too small.
Blue Beetle scratches that itch Venom attempted, returning to basics and offering fans something straightforward. The action, villain, and, at times, the central hero all feel a bit simplistic, but with the hectic nature of Marvel and even wilder DC Studios, this felt welcomed. Amidst the chaos, Blue Beetle attempts to remind you why we’re here.
As the lowest-grossing film in the DCEU, this movie didn’t find a home at the time of release, but it did manage to get the rare Fresh tomato for an entry on this list. Blue Beetle won’t change your life, but start here if you want less daunting comic book movie content.
The MCU proper makes its first (and only) appearance on this list, but in the past few years, Marvel has racked up a few somewhat hated projects. No one got as much flack as Eternals, though.
Hailed as the first MCU movie ever to get a Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes, you’d think this would be a hot mess, unlike any other project before it. If Thor: The Dark World could be Fresh, this must be remarkably worse. But Eternals is a simple “Gods and Monsters” story in most superhero catalogs. This is entry-level stuff by now, or so you’d think.
Audiences, critics, and diehards Marvel stans all rejected the film, which remains my personal favorite Marvel movie post-Avengers: Endgame. It’s highbrow, high stakes, and felt like the introduction to a new type of story for the MCU. Sadly, this feels like a forgotten film now.
Birds of Prey
2020 was a rocky year for all movies, but those few projects released before the pandemic madness are a bit lost in time. Birds of Prey is one of those projects that feels more forgotten than hated.
We have another film that managed to land a fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes but received more backlash from audiences than it deserved. Birds of Prey does everything you’d expect fans to enjoy: tonally, it’s fun compared to most DC projects with more fights and Deadpool stylings. All of that was turned away as passe or cringe.
We’d never know if the pandemic, dude-bro hate, or the film being too niche killed this. It’s hard to tell, but it’s strange to see the DCEU attempt everything audiences typically want and still be met with such disdain. It’s possible they were just burned too much by now.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
The film shifted the landscape of superhero films for better and worse. No matter how you feel about BvS, you can’t deny how much ruckus it caused upon its release and how much it changed both brands.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was met poorly upon release, but it saw a slight increase in admiration when the Ultimate Edition dropped. Sadly, none of that could save this, and Zack Snyder’s film never recovered in the public eye. It would gain a cult-like following, which led to the now-infamous Snyder Cut era.
On its own, the film does feel like a rushed attempt to launch a cinematic universe, but to overlook its political and social commentary and its Superman arc feels wrong. It’s a well-thought-out dry drama that no one was ready for then, but we’d see Marvel attempt multiple times after.
Which superhero movies do you think came in for too much criticism? Let us know on our socials @FlickeringMyth…