Six horrible superhero films from the ’80s and ’90s

Yeah, we’re living in a grand age of superhero flicks, replete with hefty special effects budget and actual popular acclaim.  ‘Twasn’t always the case, my friend; the road to X-Men and Batman Begins was littered with dozens of terrible films from the 1980s and 1990s that are best forgotten.  So here’s us, not forgetting any of them!

1. Captain America (1990)

It’s a sad, laughable flick that loosely adheres to the comic book origins while giving you a hero that steals cars and acts as bland as possible.  There are a few points to be given for the production values of the beginning (Red Skull is kinda cool), but the kidnapped President storyline is just… sad. Also, despite what the poster said, it came to theaters nowhere.

2. Condorman (1981)

Well, here’s Walt Disney giving you a superhero movie decades before The Incredibles, and man what a long way we’ve come.  Our “hero” here is a comic book writer who builds himself a pair of wings of a carrion bird so that he can help a Russian lady defect.  It’s really pathetic and the blaring theme music is used a billion times.

3. Fantastic Four (1994)

For my money, this unreleased Roger Corman dud is light-years more entertaining than the big budget remakes.  Don’t get me wrong: It’s so bad it’ll make you cross-eyed, but there’s a charm to that.  It’s definitely better than the newer Fan 4 flicks, in my opinion. Bonus points for this movie being the inspiration to a plot thread in the fourth season of Arrested Development.

Read our review of Fantasic Four!

4. Supergirl (1984)

Yes, it was pretty cool to give a female superhero the leading role in a movie… but this is not a good movie. Not in the least. I mean, Superman’s cousin was squandered fighting a witch and name-dropping Clark Kent every chance she got. At least we got to see the inside of the Phantom Zone, so that was something!

5. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

And lest we let Superman himself off the hook, here’s Superman IV: The Quest for Horrible Special Effects, Preachy Writing, and Dumb Villains. It was a vanity project for Reeve, but unfortunately, the plot was just all over the place and the budget kept the movie from looking as good as the first two. It’s fun to mock, but not much more than that.

6. Steel (1997)

The ’90s had a lot more superhero flicks than you’d think. Of course, most of them were just downright forgettable. Steel was one of those, even with Shaquille O’Neal’s headlining presence. Guess we shouldn’t just grab random sports celebrities and tell them that they’d make great actors? I’m just surprised they let him do this after Kazaam a year earlier.


  1. There’s a documentary available on Amazon Prime (and perhaps other streaming platforms) called Doomed!: The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four which goes into he details.

  2. Wait, no love or hate for David Hasselhoff’s attempt at the Punisher? Or did he try Nick Fury (before he got made into Samuel L Jackson) and it was Dolph Lundgren who attempted the Punisher?
    … great, now even I can’t remember how bad the movies were.

    • Oh that’s a good one too! I never got around to watching and reviewing both of those, but they’re going on my list now.

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