Marvel Comics have always found themselves the origins of numerous great film adaptations over the years, from the massive groundbreaking scale of the MCU to all the iconic portrayals of Spider-Man. However, for every great film adaptation, there’s one that drops the ball in every way possible. Whether because the budget couldn’t support the filmmaker’s vision, complications from studio interference, or simply just not being executed well, there are any number of reasons why a Marvel adaptation can flounder.

As the modern hub for film connoisseurs in the digital era, Letterboxd is the perfect platform to see the common consensus from modern film fans. While Letterboxd normally is highly receptive to Marvel adaptations, with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse at one point becoming the highest-rated film on the site, not all Marvel films are created equally in the eyes of the Letterboxd community. From notorious flops to recent disappointments, fans on Letterboxd have voted for what they believe are the worst Marvel films ever.

10 ‘The Fantastic Four’ (1994)

Letterboxd Average Rating: 2.05/5

The often forgotten live-action created before the better-than-you-remember Fantastic Four 2000s duology, The Fantastic Four tells the classic origin story of the superhero team as they receive their powers. They soon decide to form their iconic superhero group and are forced to face off against their arch-nemesis, Dr. Doom.

As far as low-budget adaptations go, it’s quite easy to see the restraints and limits placed upon The Fantastic Four right from the get-go, especially considering it was released the same year as adaptations like The Crow and The Mask. While the film does have its moments of bringing the spirit of the comics to life, the low budget simply gets in the way too much for the film to be anything more than a curious novelty at best.

Not available to stream.

9 ‘Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ (1998)

Letterboxd Average Rating: 2.01/5

Image via 20th Century Television

While the character is most commonly recognized for his portrayal in the MCU by Samuel L. Jackson, people often forget that Nick Fury had his movie in the 90s, portrayed by David Hasselhoff. Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. follows the titular Nick Fury as he faces off against the deadly menace of Hydra after exiling himself in the Yukon following the end of the Cold War. Back in the foray, Fury plans to take down Hydra, who plans to obtain a deadly virus and use it to threaten the destruction of America.

Especially after the MCU has knocked its portrayal of the character out of the park, returning to the strange, low-budget, cheesy spy-thriller version of Nick Fury feels like a letdown in every way. Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. is less a cinematic experience and more a feature-length TV pilot to prove the character’s worth in classic week-to-week spy adventures. Despite its negatives, the film does have a surprising legacy as a major stepping stone for writer David S. Goyer, who would go on to write the Blade Trilogy and The Dark Knight Trilogy.

Not available to stream.

8 ‘Captain America’ (1979)

Letterboxd Average Rating: 1.85/5

The often-forgotten TV movie Captain America follows a modern-day Steve Rogers, who finds himself taking on the mantle of Captain America, a title once held by his father as an agent in the 1940s. After being injected with his signature super serum, he goes off on a quest to solve the mystery behind his father’s murder, bringing those who are guilty to justice, with help from his gadget-loaded motorcycle and signature shield.

Especially with how commonplace of a character Captain America is to audiences nowadays, the major differences story-wise and design-wise in 1979’s Captain America are jarring. It’s bewildering to see a version of Captain America who was never in the army, wasn’t born in the 40s, and is wearing a suit that looks as if someone drew Captain America from memory. The film’s minuscule TV-movie budget really shows in the film, from the jaded acting to the cheap set design to the overreliance on underwhelming motorcycle stunts as action.

Rent on Prime Video

7 ‘Man-Thing’ (2005)

Letterboxd Average Rating: 1.84/5

While the character only recently had his return to the big screen with his appearance in Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing had his own signature horror movie that was released in 2005 on the Sci-Fi Channel. Man-Thing follows a local sheriff who begins investigating a swamp after a number of oil tycoon agents begin vanishing, as he comes face to face with the swamp monster at the center of it all.

While TV movies had been nothing new for Marvel in the past, by 2005, Marvel had long since gone on to greater pastures, releasing amazing films like Spider-Man 2 and X2. Thus, Man-Thing left a sour taste in many fans’ mouths as nothing more than a generic, low-budget eco-horror monster film that fails to do anything especially new or interesting with the concept. Thankfully, with Man-Thing’s return in Werewolf by Night, he will finally get his chance to shine and be given due justice with an adaptation that truly lives up to his legacy.

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6 ‘Captain America’ (1990)

Letterboxd Average Rating: 1.83/5

Another strange and often forgotten pre-MCU adaptation, Captain America follows the recently de-frosted Steve Rogers. Tasked with saving the President of the United States from a crime family descended from Red Skull that doesn’t like his environmentalist policies, Cap must jump back into action. He soon takes the battle to the Red Skull’s massive castle lair, where the duo continue their lifelong rivalry that has spanned across generations.

Of all the strange, low-budget Marvel adaptations released over the years, Captain America is the one movie that qualifies as so bad, it’s good. From its strange environmental messages and impossible-to-comprehend plot to even smaller, equally baffling decisions, like having Captain America’s suit feature fake rubber ears, this one is a peculiar Marvel effort. While The MCU and Chris Evans would eventually reinvigorate enthusiasm surrounding Steve Rogers, films like 1990’s Captain America only made it that much harder to take the character seriously.

Rent on Prime Video

5 ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ (2011)

Letterboxd Average Rating: 1.82/5

Image via Columbia

The sequel to 2007’s Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance sees Johnny Blaze reluctantly coming out of hiding after the devil returns with plans to take over the world in human form. Johnny again transforms into his flaming skull supernatural hero, Ghost Rider, as he is tasked with rescuing a 10-year-old boy with a crucial role in the devil’s plans to take over the world.

While the original film was at least partially grounded in its approach, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance takes a much more chaotic and sporadic approach to the character. Released at a time when comic book movies were beginning to be taken more seriously, Spirit of Vengeance stands out for its puzzling, nonsensical tone. The film is a case of love-it-or-hate-it; there’s no middle ground thanks to its maximalist approach and unique take on an already extreme character.

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4 ‘Inhumans: The First Chapter’ (2017)

Letterboxd Average Rating: 1.64/5

Image via ABC

Inhumans: The First Chapter is an extended intro to the eponymous TV show released in theaters – after all, Inhumans was originally planned as a feature film during the MCU’s phase 3. The film follows the isolated community of superhumans known as the Inhumans, who continue to fight to protect themselves from all of those who plan to destroy their way of life.

The team had a rocky and difficult path to finally being introduced to the MCU. This theatrical event seemed to be a way to make up for the canceled movie; unfortunately, Inhumans: The First Chapter only cemented their fate as the ultimate failures in the MCU. The First Chapter failed to garner any sort of interest among MCU fans and was very blatantly a cheap, cookie-cutter TV product brought to big screens as a desperate final attempt to salvage the franchise. Although certainly interesting, the Inhumans’ story in the MCU is mostly defined by this underwhelming introduction.

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3 ‘Morbius’ (2022)

Letterboxd Average Rating: 1.63/5

Image via Sony/Columbia Pictures

One of the most infamous recent comic book releases, Morbius follows the story of dangerously ill Dr. Michael Morbius, who, in a desperate attempt to save his life, experiments on himself with bat DNA. His dangerous actions transform him into a superhuman vampire with incredible strength but an unsatiable hunger for human blood. Morbius forces himself into isolation to protect those around him but is forced to take things into his own hands when his best friend performs the same experiment upon himself.

Morbius has become iconic for all the wrong reasons, often ranking among the all-time worst superhero movies. It feels more at home with the cheap and lazy origin stories of the early 2000s than a film released in 2022. Nearly everything that could go wrong did; Morbius is a hilariously bad experience, from the generic story and character dynamics to the rushed special effects and complete lack of star power from Jared Leto. The film has become a joke in itself, and while some audiences are able to find the humor in it, the vast majority only see Morbius as a miscalculated flop.

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2 ‘Elektra’ (2005)

Letterboxd Average Rating: 1.60/5

Image via 20th Century Studios

A sequel spin-off to the already negatively received Daredevil, Elektra sees the return of the titular character, who, after surviving her near-death experience, becomes an assassin for hire. However, Elektra soon finds herself protecting her latest targets – a single father and his young daughter – from a group of supernatural assassins.

Daredevil was already considered one of the worst movies from 2003, so it’s baffling that a spin-off movie would even exist. Elektra is a prime example of the lack of quality in comic book movies before the MCU and The Dark Knight. Jennifer Garner gives it her all, but even she can’t save this notorious turkey. The film is filled with cheap and lackluster action and is much more focused on the sex appeal of its lead character than on actually developing her in any sort of meaningful way.


Rent on Prime Video

1 ‘Fantastic Four’ (2015)

Letterboxd Average Rating: 1.30/5

mic book movies, 2015’s Fantastic Four has a place of honor. An origin story for the titular superhero team, it features the outsiders obtaining their powers following a visit to an alternate dimension gone wrong. With their lives forever changed by the advent of their powers, they are soon forced to team up when a former friend from their past returns with powers of his own, threatening to destroy the Earth.

It’s hard to get more generic and underwhelming as a superhero film than Fantastic Four, a film that, from its very core, almost feels embarrassed of its source material. While the film does have some positive aspects, such as the casting of Michael B. Jordan as The Human Torch, the overall viewing experience of Fantastic Four is defined by overwhelming boredom. The film is more than just one of the worst Marvel movies of all time; it’s generally one of the worst movies the 2010s has to offer.

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 From Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Elektra and Morbius, these are the worst Marvel movies according to fans on Letterboxd.  Read More