By now you’re probably very familiar with this story: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was absolutely crucified by critics and then went on to become a box office hit. Now, having seen the film I don’t think that the vitriol from the early reviews was deserved but it wasn’t a great film. Good, but not great although it does serve the purpose of introducing the DCEU and all of the (hopefully much better) subsequent films.
Why did this film do so well at box office despite terrible reviews before it came out? The fan-base already existed – no matter how bad this film was, people were going to watch it because their favourite characters were in it. Now more than ever it feels like the big, blockbuster movies that studios are releasing are based on previous works (comics, TV series, books) rather than original screenplays. Some of these are great (the Harry Potter franchise) but some of them are painful to watch. Let’s talk about those.
In no particular order, the five worst movie adaptations:
1) The Last Airbender
Avatar: The Last Airbender was one of the best TV shows that ever aired on Nickelodeon. Maybe, it’s a generational thing but everybody I know watched it and loved it: the story was original and exciting, the animation was beautiful and over three seasons you became invested in the journey of these characters. So of course when the film came out, there was a mad rush to see it. This film swept the 2010 Razzies and became regarded as one of the worst films ever made. I guess it was still exceptional, just not in the way that fans would have liked.
A lot of people tried to forget about the 2003 Daredevil movie but then Ben Affleck went ahead and took another role as a superhero (where, kudos to him, he was much better) and brought all of those memories flooding back. I watched it as a kid and perhaps it was the age-inappropriate violence or awesome Evanescence song but I loved it. That nostalgia prompted me to buy the DVD from Amazon a few years ago: easily the worst purchase of my life. I felt as though I had been robbed of that £2.98. Fortunately, Daredevil has been saved with a fantastic Netflix series and we can all go back to pretending that this film never happened.
3) Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief
You know that a film is bad when even the author of the original work publicly denounces it. To be fair, this film only makes this list because I’ve read the books. Without having read the books it’s not that bad (which explains why they even made a sequel – it’s not better) but once you’ve read the original series you can’t un-see all of the flaws in this film. Corny jokes, plot holes, and awful writing. That’s probably the worst thing you could do with a book-to-film adaptation: clearly it was well-written before and then some screenwriter takes it and ruins it – it’s criminal.
4) Green Lantern
Just as Ben Affleck redeemed himself with Batman, Ryan Reynolds redeemed himself with Deadpool but let’s not forget the shit-show that created this need for redemption. Green Lantern is one of those films that I feel genuinely sad thinking about. He is easily one of the coolest superheroes with the best powers and there was so much wasted potential. I went out to the cinema twice to see this film because I was sure that my first impression was skewed because I was tired and ill. Now I can confidently say that that’s the best way to watch it – it only got worse when I wasn’t high on pain medication.
As somebody who has never watched an episode of the TV show Entourage, the film convinced me to carry on with that streak. If the show is anything like the film then I don’t know how it reached the status of ‘critically-acclaimed’. At best it’s a B-movie with a ton of great cameos. I watched this “comedy” in complete stone silence and about three quarters of the way through I was checking my watch for when it was going to end.
What films did you hate that didn’t make the list? Do you think that any of these films shouldn’t be here? Let me know in the comments.