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10 of the Worst Superhero Movie Visual Effects Ever

These are the ones that still make us cringe to this day. Both DC and Marvel are guilty of creating some of the worst superhero movie visual effects of all time.

By Jesse KinneyPublished 6 years ago 6 min read
Top Story - July 2018

Everyone loves superhero movies these days. Marvel cranks out at least five every year, with DC desperately trying to catch up by releasing even more. Stories from comic books are experiencing the most cinematic success in history. However, that does not mean all of these movies are home runs. A lot of them swing for the fences and fall way short of expectations.

There are usually a lot of problems with these movies, but the most common is low-quality special effects. Even though most of them have a big budget, the computer-generated imagery (CGI) just doesn't pan out all the time. So let's take a look at the worst superhero movie visual effects that still make us laugh (and cringe) to this day.

The League of Extraordinary Gentleman is riddled with flaws, including bad writing, bad special effects, and not the best acting. However, it is the Mr. Hyde fight scene at the end that really spells doom for this movie. After watching it you'll be asking yourself, "How much do big budget movies spend on special effects like that?" It's a great question, and anything over ten bucks would be a bad answer in all honesty.

This fight scene takes place at the end of the movie and is intended to be a big brawl that captures the audience's attention and has them excited for more. Unfortunately, the terrible CGI does not give the viewer any of that. It actually made me laugh the first time I saw it, not a prolonged laugh, just a "Are you kidding me?" chuckle. It's so over the top bad, it's no wonder it has a 17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

A recent addition to the worst superhero movie visual effects, Justice League missed its mark in quite a lot of places. One of the most glaring issues is the film's villain, Steppenwolf. Regarded as Darkseid's (the big bad of the DC universe) top general, Steppenwolf is supposed to be fearsome and menacing.

Instead, he is a CGI mess that inspires laughs, not fear. It was hard to feel any sense of danger or impending doom with a gigantic computer blob of a villain taking on our favorite heroes. It wasn't an impossible task either. Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War proved that a giant CGI villain—Thanos—can be scary and have you holding your breath. DC just hasn't figured out the secret formula yet, I guess.

I don't mean to pile on Justice League, but it's not my fault they had the worst superhero movie visual effects of 2017. First, it was Steppenwolf. Then, it was Superman's mouth. In what has become an infamous story over the past year, Henry Cavill was unable to shave his mustache for Justice League reshoots due to contractual obligations with Mission Impossible 6.

The studio was then forced to use special effects to try and hide his mustache for every new scene they shot. The result was...less than stellar. Cavill's CGI'ed mouth looked unnatural and was noticeable from the start—having several close scenes throughout the movie didn't help. So even though Superman is one of the most powerful DC heroes, audiences and fans couldn't take him seriously in DC's biggest movie thus far.

The first Matrix film was groundbreaking. It had an interesting premise, good characters, and great action sequences. The sequel wasn't necessarily bad (73 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but there was one fight scene that counts as one of the worst superhero movie visual effects that should never have been approved. Neo has to fight Agent Smith, Agent Smith, Agent Smith, Agent Smith, etc.

All in all, Keanu Reeves probably fights a few hundred agent copies. While that sounds like it would be cool to watch, it slowly escalates into the realm of so-bad-it's-good movie content. It becomes comical and hard to watch really fast. And before you question the validity of the Matrix on here, these are the facts: a superpowered being (Neo) fights off an evil force (Agent Smith, those creepy twins, etc.) to save the world from destruction. Sounds like a superhero movie to me.

Does Eric Bana have the worst luck ever? The answer is a resounding yes. The reason is simple: there were two actors that followed his performance as the green rage-monster and both of their CGI creations were much, much better. Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo have both been the Hulk since Bana's 2003 Hulk was released, and both are extremely thankful that they weren't the guinea pig of the group.

Despite being a solid movie in its own right, the special effects just drag this one down. This is especially true now after Ruffalo's Hulk has looked immaculate for several Avengers movies. Here's hoping Marvel can figure out how to make a solo Hulk movie; we'd all be onboard for that one, just don't use the CGI program from this movie.

It pains me to put Hugh Jackman on here because he plays Wolverine so perfectly, but this is more on his visual department than him, so I think it's fine. Wolverine's claws are one of the most iconic weapons in comic book history and they've been created so well in other movies, just not this one.

This is most apparent in the scene above. The way they look, the noise they make, the sparks they generate from barely touching each other, everything about them is too gimmicky. They surely qualify for the worst superhero movie visual effects of all time. Thankfully, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the only installment of Logan's legacy where this is a noticeable issue.

Oh, Suicide Squad, I had such high hopes for you. What looked to be one of the best superhero movies ever made before its release, Suicide Squad disappointed on almost every front imaginable. Besides a handful of good performances in my opinion (Viola Davis, Will Smith, Margot Robbie), the movie fell flat on its face with reviews (27 percent on Rotten Tomatoes).

One of the gravest sins was the visual work that was done. That's why I had several options for worst superhero movie visual effects to pick from. I think Incubus is the right choice because he's not really introduced that well and stands around looking badly designed for the entire movie. Am I the only one who thinks he kind of looks like a poorly-drawn Jamie Foxx?

Poor DC, creators of most of the worst superhero movie visual effects we've seen, they just can't seem to get it right. Maybe they should, I don't know, hire some new people in that department. However, no matter how skilled your special effects people are, there was no saving the decision to make Ryan Reynolds' suit in Green Lantern animated.

The end result of that decision is still remembered to this day, for negative reasons obviously. Every shot that he's wearing it takes you out of the movie, making you question why they wouldn't just make a regular costume. At no point does it look real or authentic, it is just awkwardly there most of the time. Luckily, Reynolds bounced back with Deadpool. He even took a shot at his old suit in his latest superhero flick—it was even featured in the Deadpool trailer.

Michael Jai White's Cape in Spawn

There were a lot of special effects blunders to choose from in Spawn, but I'm going to go with the cape. If you've seen Spawn or will check it out after seeing it on here, I am fairly confident you'll agree with me on this one. In the 1997 superhero flick, Spawn's cape is able to perform a variety of feats.

Some of these include allowing him to fly, protecting him from gunfire, and transforming a motorcycle into a hell-rocket. If only the CGI could've made it look cooler while doing all of those things. Almost every cool action the cape pulled off was negated by the terribleness of its graphics.

It makes sense that one of the worst superhero movies of all time has some of the worst superhero movie visual effects of all time. The two just go hand in hand, really. The special effects were not the only reason this movie failed but man, were they awful. The CGI of Halle Berry's movements were so bad that it looked like a video game for long stretches of time. The whole production was a nightmare and I'm amazed no one spoke up before they released it.

Halle Berry actually accepted a Razzie for Catwoman, and called the film a "piece of shit." I can only agree with her subtle, veiled remark. There is hope for the future, though. With the Gotham City Sirens coming to the big screens sooner rather than later, and up to 10 actresses that could play Catwoman convincingly, redemption is there for the taking. Let's hope DC can get this one right.


About the Creator

Jesse Kinney

Huge sports fan, primarily hockey and football. Also a big TV and movie fan. Recent Marist graduate writing about whatever interests me!

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