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Worst Marvel Movies of All Time, Ranked

Fantastic Four 2015 Marvel

When most of us think of Marvel films today, we think of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The MCU is, essentially, a collection of films and TV shows based on Marvel characters that all occur within the same universe and are produced by Marvel Studios. The MCU first kicked off with Iron Man in 2008 and has produced 27 more films since then. So far, the MCU has held up extraordinary well as far as media franchises go. Of all its 28, films only one, Eternals, has ever dipped below ‘Fresh’ on Rotten Tomatoes. It popular for people to now mention Eternals as the worst rated Marvel movie.

However, the MCU is far from the only producer of Marvel films. In fact, ever since 1986, various studios have been producing live-action films based on Marvel comics. Sony, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, and Columbia Pictures are just a few studios that have capitalized on Marvel’s plethora of characters and storylines. Unfortunately, it is largely these studios that have produced the biggest Marvel failures and flops of all time. It is not rare to hear people complain about the worst rated Marvel movies.

The reasons for such failures range from not having the technology necessary for compelling visuals and CGIs to simple miscasting and poor storytelling. While the MCU makes it seem easy, it truly isn’t quite that easy to replicate a comic book on the big screen in a way that will appeal to audiences. What are the worst Marvel movies? Is Eternals the worst Marvel movie? Here are the worst Marvel movies of all time, ranked.

12. The New Mutants

new mutants not great shocker
(20th Century Studios)

The New Mutants is a spinoff of the X-Men film series and premiered on August 28, 2020. The film follows five Mutant teenagers—Mirage (Blu Hunt), Wolfsbane (Maisie Williams), Cannonball (Charlie Heaton), Sunspot (Henry Zaga) and Magik (Anya Taylor-Joy)—who are sent to a treatment facility under the guise of training to become X-Men. In reality, the facility has much more sinister plans for them, and they must band together to survive.

The New Mutants just barely made this list. It isn’t terrible, but it was a box office flop and received largely negative reviews. Among the X-Men film series, though, it certainly was among the worst and ended the franchise on a sour note. The New Mutants feels cheap, rushed, and poorly written. While there are flailing attempts at being a coming-of-age film and featuring a queer romance, these aspects are not fully developed. Additionally, this film featured some of the best young actors of our generation. This gave the film expectations that it came nowhere close to meeting with its boring, underdeveloped plot and rushed storytelling.

11. Dark Phoenix

X-Men: Dark Phoenix
(20th Century Fox)

The New Mutants just escapes being the worst X-Men film of the series, thanks to Dark Phoenix. Dark Phoenix tells the origin story of Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and how she came to be the Phoenix. After a cosmic force enhances her abilities, she slowly starts to spiral out of control. Soon, she becomes the X-Men’s most formidable foe as the Phoenix entity is unleashed within her.

Dark Phoenix wasn’t all bad. Like the majority of X-Men films, it boasts stunning visuals and strong performances, and Turner especially impressed as young Grey. However, the storytelling, plot, tone, and pace is far below the level of sophistication we’re accustomed to with X-Men films. The film is dull, the tone inconsistent, and the plot pretty choppy. It feels cheap and unevolved, like the numerous films before it were for naught. On the whole, it’s not the worst of the worst, but for a well-established film series, we expected way more.

10. Fantastic Four (2005)

Fantastic Four (2005)
(20th Century Fox)

Fantastic Four premiered in 2005 and traces the origin story of The Fantastic Four and Victor von Doom. The film follows scientist Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), who is conducting cosmic experiments aboard Victor von Doom’s (Julian McMahon) space station. While aboard the space station, Richards, von Doom, researcher Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), pilot Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), and astronaut Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) are all exposed to a cosmic storm that gives them superpowers.

Fantastic Four is largely an origin story. Thus, it really doesn’t have enough plot to intrigue viewers. Still, it’s certainly entertaining and fun to see the Fantastic Four coming into their powers and bickering amongst each other. The film does even boast some heartfelt performances. However, it is very campy and very mediocre. Fantastic Four falls flat and is not the spectacle it needs to be to do justice to Marvel’s first superhero team.

9. The Punisher (2004)

Thomas Jane as The Punisher 2004

The Punisher premiered on April 16, 2004, and stars Thomas Jane as Frank Castle (a.k.a. The Punisher). In the film, Castle is a FBI agent who transforms into the Punisher to seek vengeance for the brutal slaying of his entire family at the hands of crime boss Howard Saint (John Travolta). Saint believes Castle dead after calling for a hit on his family, but Castle is very much alive and is a heavily armed vigilante who will stop at nothing to get vengeance and to take down the entire criminal underworld in the process.

Jane’s portrayal of Castle isn’t on par with Jon Bernthal’s iconic take on the character in Marvel’s Netflix series, but he’s still actually quite good as Punisher. In fact, the strong cast is one of the few highlights of the film. However, the cast really has no story to work with. The Punisher is just about as clichéd as a vengeance story can get. It’s a standard revenge story that rehashes elements of every revenge-action film ever made, adding very little depth or complexity in it. If you judge it as standard action film, it might be alright, but if judging it against its comic book counterpart, it is an adaption that badly misses its mark.

8. Blade: Trinity

(New Line Cinema)

Blade: Trinity is the third and final installment in the Blade trilogy and premiered in 2004. The film follows Blade (Wesley Snipes), a human-vampire hybrid, who continues navigating the war between humans and vampires. However, when Blade is framed for multiple murders, he must team up with a rogue band of vampire hunters to face his biggest threat yet: Dracula (Dominic Purcell).

The first two Blade films are not perfect, but they are by no means bad. They are compelling, visually appealing, action-packed, and boast strong and charismatic characters. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about Blade: Trinity. Unlike the first two films, Blade: Trinity lacks a distinct style, resulting in a rather boring and meaningless blood fest. The action, visuals, and other saving graces of the first two films are also absent. Not only that, but the film is only mildly entertaining in rare parts, making it not even that great as solely a vampire action film.

7. Morbius

Jared Leto in full vampire face as Morbius
(Sony Pictures)

I’m sorry, “morbin time,” enthusiasts, but Morbius does still belong on this list. Morbius is the third film in Sony’s expanded Spider-Man Universe. It premiered on April 1, 2022, after several delays, and stars Jared Leto as the titular character. The film follows Michael Morbius, a doctor suffering from a rare blood disorder. In desperation for a cure, Morbius splices his genes with those of a vampire bat. While he does cure himself, he also gives himself superhuman abilities and an insatiable thirst for human blood.

The performances of Matt Smith and Leto are the only reason Morbius isn’t among the very worst of the worst on this list. Still, their performances alone can’t make up for the many shortcomings of Morbius. The plot is messy and jumbled, the CGI is unconvincing, the storytelling drags, and the film lacks depth and, most importantly, reason or purpose. While Morbius has gained a cult following in recent months due to memes, that still doesn’t change the fact that it is a very poorly made film. Some claim that Morbius is the worst Marvel movie.

6. The Punisher: War Zone

Ray Stevenson as The Punisher in The Punisher: War Zone

The Punisher: War Zone was originally intended to be a sequel to The Punisher (2004). However, Thomas Jane left the franchise due to creative differences with the directors. Hence, the franchise was rebooted with The Punisher: War Zone in 2008, starring Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle. The film sees Castle still waging his war of vengeance against the criminal underworld in New York. The tables turn, though, when one of Castle’s previous victims, Jigsaw (Dominic West), launches his own mission of vengeance on Castle, alongside many criminal recruits.

Unfortunately, The Punisher: War Zone didn’t learn from the mistakes of The Punisher (2004). Just like the first, this is a film that is just plain depressing and features pointless violence. Despite the violence and vulgarity, the dialogue is deeply stunted, stiff, and almost childlike. Some viewers may enjoy it as a splatter film, but again, it fails to truly bring the Punisher to life. Also, The Punisher: War Zone is one of the biggest Marvel box office failures of all time. The film grossed $10 million at the box office, as opposed to its $35 million budget.

5. Ghost Rider

Nicholas Cage as Ghost Rider in Ghost Rider (2007)

Ghost Rider premiered in 2007 and starred Nicholas Cage in the lead role of Johnny Blaze (a.k.a. Ghost Rider). The film follows Blaze, a young motorcycle stuntman who sells his soul to Mephistopheles/The Devil (Peter Fonda), in exchange for his father’s healing from cancer. Blaze’s father is healed, but dies in an accident the next day. Mephistopheles still considers his part of the deal fulfilled and makes Blaze the new Ghost Rider. He then offers to return Blaze’s soul if Blaze defeats Blackheart (Wes Bentley), Mephistopheles’ son who seeks to overthrow him.

While Ghost Rider was a box office success, it certainly didn’t receive positive critical reception. The film is just pretty terrible across the board. You see, Cage is a great actor … just not in Ghost Rider. Unfortunately, the acting is nothing sort of atrocious and exaggerated, and is further deteriorated by extremely cheesy, lifeless dialogue. The CGI has its moments, but aside from that, the film is a pretty old-fashioned and about as basic and campy a superhero film as you can get.

4. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Nicholas Cage as Ghost Rider in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

You would think Ghost Rider‘s reviews would be enough deterrence to making a second film. Still, because of those box office figures, a sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, came out in 2012. Nicholas Cage reprises his role as Blaze and has made his way to Eastern Europe. Blaze is continuing to struggle with the Ghost Rider curse that he chose to keep at the end of the first film. However, when he meets a priest named Moreau (Idris Elba), he has a chance to have his soul restored in exchange for finding a young boy who was abducted.

Strangely, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, again, performed decently at the box office. Yet, it unsurprisingly received even worse reviews than the first film. Basically, take all the shortcomings of Ghost Rider and multiply them by two, then you get Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Cage, once more, devastates in his role as Ghost Rider. The acting is still over the top, the plot is cheesy and pretty much nonexistent, and the CGI isn’t even cool in this one. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’s only real success is that it somehow made the terrible Ghost Rider film not look so bad in comparison.

3. Elektra

Jennifer Garner as Elektra in Elektra (2005)
(20th Century Studios)

Jennifer Garner first took on the role of Elektra Natchios in the 2003 film Daredevil. The film spawned Garner’s solo spinoff Elektra in 2005. Elektra sees Elektra brought back to life by martial arts master Stick (Terrance Stamp), after she was killed in Daredevil. Stick teaches her the way of the Kimagure, but she leaves her training to become a contract killer for The Hand. However, when one of her targets turns out to be a father and his young daughter, Elektra spares them, but she now must protect them as The Hand comes for them.

Elektra was a failure, both critically and commercially. In fact, its failure is a major part of the reason why Daredevil 2 was called off. There really weren’t any redeeming qualities in this film. While Garner is charming and she certainly does her best, her acting in Elektra isn’t what it is in other projects. Additionally, the CGI and script fall flat and are underwhelming. The film isn’t realistic, has no saving graces, and isn’t particularly entertaining or thrilling. Hence, there’s not really any reason to watch it. Also, it’s one of the only films on this list that was so bad that it totally derailed any potential of a continuation of the franchise it was part of.

2. Fantastic Four (2015)

(20th Century Fox)

The Fantastic Four of 2005 faired poorly enough to make Marvel’s worst films list, but Fantastic Four (2015) astonishingly proved to be significantly worse. The film follows four teenagers—Reed Richards (Miles Teller), Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), Sue Storm (Kate Mara), and Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan)—who build a trans-dimensional portal that gives them superpowers. As they explore their newfound powers, they must also stop Doctor von Doom (Toby Kebbell), previously thought to be dead, from destroying the world.

If you read that summary and thought, “Uh… what?” that is basically what you’ll think after seeing the film, too. The film doesn’t make any sense. There’s an extremely confusing 1-year time jump mid-film in which one character goes to Latin America for no known reason, and von Doom reappears and becomes a villain with no motivation. Oh, and then the Fantastic Four defeats him by punching him. Truly, you will think a literal 8-year-old wrote this film. Additionally, the film is horribly cheesy and uninteresting. It grabs random elements of superhero films and mashes them together in a nonsensical way. The cast definitely tries, but there’s really not much they can do with this mess of a film.

1. Howard the Duck


As ridiculous as it sounds, yes, Howard the Duck is a Marvel film. It is a superhero film adaption of a Marvel comic. This superhero comedy premiered in 1986 and was produced by George Lucas. While originally intended to be animated, it eventually settled on being live action. Howard the Duck follows Howard (Ed Gale), a duck who is suddenly beamed from Duckworld to Earth. When attempting to get back to Duckworld, he finds Dark Overlords are also being transported to Earth and are possessing people.

While we enjoy seeing Howard’s cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy, we most certainly do not enjoy a feature length film of him. Howard the Duck is just bizarre and terrible. It doesn’t work as a superhero film … it also doesn’t work as a comedy, thriller, children’s film, adult film, etc. In fact, I really don’t even know what it is suppose to be. It has a few mediocre jokes, a nonexistent plot, a duck they truly didn’t even try to make convincing, and poor special effects in general. Just look up the 1986 Razzie Awards—Howard the Duck basically got nominated for every Worst quality a film could possibly have, and for very good reason.

(featured film: 20th Century Fox)

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Rachel Ulatowski is a Freelance Writer, blogger, and aspiring author. As a Freelancer Writer she hopes to give readers the same comfort and enjoyment that she finds in all things nerdy and noteworthy, as a blogger she enjoys snarking on YouTubers and reality stars, and as a future novelist she hopes to raise awareness for child abuse through literature.