Every failed DC movie before the DCEU (and why they didn’t work)

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Many dc movies were released before the birth of the DCEU, but a large percentage of them were critical or commercial bombs. Like Marvel, DC has a virtually limitless source of ideas for movies and TV shows of all kinds. From Batman and Superman to Ratcatcher 2 and Polka-Dot Man, many DC characters have been the stars of acclaimed and unpopular live-action adaptations. Yet even though the most famous icons seem to be infallible box office gold, there have been many failed attempts to translate the comic book pages to the big screen.

Warner Bros. ‘ DC Extended Universe has stumbled several times since the release of Steel man. However, the DCEU has featured some of the best DC casting picks, including Henry Cavill’s Superman and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Movies such as Wonder woman and Aquaman have also become benchmarks in the genre of superheroes, and others like that of Zack Snyder Justice League and that of James Gunn The suicide squad righted the wrongs of their predecessors to become gems on their own terms.

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The advent of shared universes has helped modern superhero films capture the magic of comics like previous films never could. Some live-action DC adaptations that predated the DCEU like Constantine and Superman Returns weren’t entirely popular, but they still managed to garner a sizable share of fans. Others like Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman and Tim Burton Batman have been massive successes, but a considerable number of DC films have failed on all fronts. Here are all of these.

Superman III (1983)



After the unprecedented success of Richard Donner Superman and Superman ii, Superman iii had to complete the perfect first superhero movie trilogy. Richard Pryor joined the sequel alongside a return of Christopher Reeve as the more veteran Superman. However, what would have seemed like the recipe for success at the time resulted in a messy mess of unintentional comedy and jokes that missed the mark. The main plot, which introduced another Lex Luthor-style villain wanting to wreak havoc on the world, turned out to be uninspired and silly. From the good side, Superman iii presented an exciting match between Superman and his evil counterpart, but that wasn’t enough to save the movie.


Superdaughter (1984)



Supergirl 1984 movie

1984 Super girl can be called the first great franchise builder in the superhero genre, as it tried to continue the story of Ssuperman III within the same universe. Unfortunately, Christopher Reeve didn’t reprise the role of Superman in the spin-off, and Supergirl alone wasn’t popular enough with moviegoers at the time to ensure a prosperous future on the big screen. Super girl copy Supermanyour playful tone, but its story was convoluted and unoriginal. Though it failed audiences, critics, and the box office, Super girl is commended for being the first superhero film to star in a female lead.


Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)



Christopher Reeve in Superman IV The Quest for Peace

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace did not learn any lessons from Superman iii and Super girl. Rather, it became the first unanimous failure of the superhero genre. While the previous three films were shamelessly light, Superman iv was cheesy in all the worst ways. The dialogue, plot, and visual effects felt more like a cheap parody of the original Superman, with events happening for no logical reason and the main villain, Nuclear Man, shouting ridiculous lines over and over again throughout the sequel. Failure of Superman iv killed all hopes for a sequel and marked Christopher Reeve’s last appearance as Superman.


Related: Why Affleck’s Batman Returns To The DCEU (But Not Cavill’s Superman)

The Return of Swamp Thing (1989)



The Return of Swamp Thing 1989

Surprisingly, the more obscure Swamp Thing found it easier to capture the public’s attention than Super girl two years before. Directed by famous horror film director Wes Craven, 1982 Swamp thing was a lovely mix of campy sci-fi and horror. However, its 1989 sequel The return of Swamp Thing doubled over the cheese of the original, to its own detriment. While the dark tone of the first film sounded like Wes Craven’s eerie mark of scares Nightmare on Elm Street, The return of Swamp Thing lost its credibility because it wasn’t serious enough to be an eyesore or funny enough to be a parody. Dark heroes like Swamp Thing, John Constantine, and Zatanna are still waiting to reach their full potential in a Dark Justice League movie, but The return of Swamp Thing still remains a movie exclusively for fans of B-movies.


Batman Forever (1995)



Batman Forever originally had a better batman and dynamic robin val kilmer

After the success of his Batman and Batman Returns, Tim Burton planned to lead Batman continues, but the project was canceled. Instead, Joel Schumacher took the lead of Batman forever, where Val Kilmer played the Caped Crusader and Chris O’Donnell played Robin. While Jack Nicholson’s Joker and Danny DeVito’s The Penguin were by no means entrenched villains, they were still believable in the highly stylized Gotham that Tim Burton had created. Jim Carrey’s Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face, on the other hand, were hugely over the top, leading them to clash with Val Kilmer’s stoic portrayal of Batman. Although the costumes of Batman and robin were criticized for adding the infamous “Bat-Nipples”, it was in fact Batman forever who created them. In short, Batman forever pushed the Batman franchise into a downward spiral that Christopher Nolan set in 2005 with Batman begins.


Batman and Robin (1997)



While not objectively the worst DC movie of all time, Batman and robin is certainly the most infamous. Joel Schumacher doubled down on the cartoonish tone of Batman forever with even more extravagant sets and costumes. Replacing Val Kilmer as Batman, George Clooney clearly phoned during his performance. On the other side of the spectrum, Arnold Schwarzenegger played a ridiculously over-the-top Mr. Freeze, who couldn’t help but play puns at Batman, Robin, and Batgirl. To make the movie even more exaggerated, Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy created a simplified version of Bane, and Batgirl was linked to Alfred instead of Detective Gordon. Batman and robin managed to be less serious than the 1960s Batman series but without the heart that made Adam West’s Batman so popular.


Steel (1997)



In the DC comics, Steel is one of the heroes who fills the void left by Superman after his death. Kenneth Johnson’s 1997 adaptation took a lot of creative liberties with the character, but none seemed to hit the mark. The biggest difference from the comics was that John Henry Irons had no relationship with Superman, so he was absent from all of the film’s marketing. Like most failed DC movies, Steel was hilarious when he wasn’t trying to be. The action is also steep and the spin is awkward. While Shaquille O’Neal isn’t known for his action chops, Steel is one of his strongest attempts.


Related: Henry Cavill’s Superman Plan Shows He Was The Perfect DCEU Man Of Steel

Catwoman (2004)



Halle Berry as Catwoman in the 2004 movie Catwoman

Another of the most infamous DC movies ever made is 2004 Catwoman, Who was born from Batman Returns‘canceled Michelle Pfeiffer’s Selina Kyle spin-off. After the end of Joel Schumacher’s films in Tim Burton’s Batman universe, cat woman released to even worse reviews. The story and performances are superficial at best, with much of the film focusing on the hypersexualization of Halle Berry. There is no real threat to Catwoman in this film other than an antagonistic shot played by Sharon Stone. cat woman was so aimless and goofy that it won five Razzie Awards, including Worst Picture and Worst Actress.


The Losers (2010)



Losers“The connection to DC comics is forgotten, but the movie itself isn’t remembered too often anyway. Losers follows a motley group of action heroes who bear no resemblance to the film’s title. While the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the DCEU The suicide squad forced two groups of mismatched characters to work together despite their differences, the elite team of black-op agents in Losers, which features Zoe Saldana’s Aisha al-Fadhil, Idris Elba’s Captain William Roque, and Chris Evans’ Captain Jake Jensen, are all incredibly smooth action stars who barely flinch with every ball thrown. Losers hasn’t suffered from the myriad of issues that have doomed other DC films, but it hasn’t innovated enough in the genre to overcome its obscure sources.


Jonas Hex (2010)



Jonah Hex Movie Poster

Jonah Hex counts with big stars like Josh Brolin and John Malkovich, but it wastes their talents with messy script and aimless action. Though action-packed to the brim, the comic book western backs down on the brutality of the source material. The performances were steep and the story was shaky, all at a time when superhero movies were gaining momentum to dominate the Hollywood landscape with the MCU and DCEU, burying Jonas Hex In the process.

Green Lantern (2011)



Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern Movie

The Green Lantern was the last big flop to come out before the start of the DCEU. In reality, The Green Lantern was meant to be the first movie in a shared universe of dc movies, but it was so poorly received that Warner Bros. decided to start from scratch with Steel man. The Green Lantern has been criticized for abusing CGI and for its uninspired story. Hector Hammond is an exaggerated villain who seems to come from Batman and robin, and Hal Jordan doesn’t have the personality Ryan Reynolds ultimately delivered with Deadpool. Even Reynolds himself expressed his distaste for The Green Lantern, as he didn’t care about Deadpool in his subsequent films.


More: Justice League 2: Predicting The Future Of The DCEU List

  • The Batman (2022)Release date: 04 March 2022
  • Black Adam (2022)Release Date: Jul 29, 2022
  • DC League of Super-Pets (2022)Release Date: May 20, 2022
  • Lightning (2022)Release date: November 04, 2022
  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022)Release Date: December 16, 2022
  • Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)Release date: June 02, 2023


Marvel Blade Mahershala Ali better ignore the comics

MCU blade will be better ignoring the comics


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