Superhero films with terrible Rotten Tomatoes scores that you should watch anyway

There's a debate raging about the impact of Rotten Tomatoes scores and box office totals, but even if the critics hate 'em, there are still some superhero "duds" out there well worth checking out. 

From fascinating peeks at would-be franchises that died on the vine, to bizarre sequels that will leave you scratching your head and cackling in disbelief, we've assembled a list of superhero movies that Rotten Tomatoes pretty much hates—but we think you should check out, anyway.

Check the critical consensus at the door, let's dig in.

Blade Trinity (2004) - 25 percent

It's easy to forget these days, but Blade was one of the first modern day comic book films to actually take its subject matter seriously. Wesley Snipes brought Marvel Comics' daywalker to life in glorious fashion in the first two Blade films, but things went a bit off the rails with the final film in the trilogy: Blade Trinity

Instead of mostly focusing on Blade's mission to take out vampires, Trinity spent a whole lot of time introducing two new would-be heroes to join Blade in his adventures. Future Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel join Blade this time around, but rounding out the cast didn't do much to enrich the universe or open up stories we hadn't seen before in the first two films. Critics basically derided it for too much sizzle and not enough steak, but still, there's nothing wrong with a little sizzle, right? Blade still kicks a whole lot of butt, and the film is a precursor to the comic book A-lister Reynolds was destined to become.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) - 27 percent

This one made pretty much all the money at the box office, and still has a whole lot of fans who absolutely love it, but critics were not kind to the flagship kickoff of the Warner Bros. DC Extended Universe, and the first big screen meeting between the Dark Knight and Man of Steel. 

Sure, the movie is a bit overlong and packed with some weird turns (Lex Luthor's cup of urine comes to mind), but it still features some of the most bone-crushing action scenes ever dreamed up by director Zack Snyder. The scene where Batman busts into the warehouse and takes out a room of goons is worth the price of admission alone, and the film also features the big screen debut of Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman. Sure, Wonder Woman's solo movie would go on to be fantastic, but Diana first stepped onto the big stage in Dawn of Justice.

Fantastic Four (2005) - 27 percent

The 2005 Fantastic Four film is a fascinating anomaly in the modern day superhero movie landscape. It isn't all that good, admittedly, but it's bright, funny, and fun—something you can't say about a whole lot of superhero flicks the past decade or two. 

It treads beyond camp into outright goofiness more often than not, but still, director Tim Story put together an ambitious love letter to Marvel's First Family. The cast is also top notch, with future-Captain America Chris Evans as Johnny Storm, A-lister Jessica Alba as Sue Storm, The Shield alum Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm, and Julian McMahon as Victor Von Doom. It was a bit paint-by-numbers, sure, but it got more things right than it did wrong. Considering the most recent attempt to bring the characters to the big screen ended as an utter train wreck in 2015, this remains the definitive take on the characters—even if it is by default. 

Batman and Robin (1997) - 10 percent

The big screen Batman franchise started out with a bang thanks to Tim Burton, whose first two films were absolutely fantastic. Then, Burton left and Joel Schumacher stepped in and things got interesting—and kind of bad—but still, interesting. 

Schumacher helmed Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, the last of which was so reviled by critics that they put the Batman franchise on ice for almost a decade. The film was a big, silly mess. Despite its flaws, Batman & Robin is still worth seeing for the utter weirdness that Schumacher brought to screen. He expanded the Bat-world immensely, with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, Chris O'Donnell as Robin, Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl, and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy. It's a spectacle of comic book insanity, but Schwarzenegger playing a scientist turned ice villain is worth the price of admission alone.

The Shadow (1994) - 35 percent

A young Alec Baldwin stars as the classic pulp hero The Shadow in this 1994 adaptation, which followed the titular hero on a period-set adventure with a whole lot of swash-buckling and action. The film was conceived to kick off a potential franchise around the 1930s icon. Sadly, a less-than-stellar box office take turned it into nothing more than a 1990s footnote. 

It's really not that bad, though. Sure, the script is a bit clunky, but the cast of Baldwin, Ian McKellen, Peter Boyle, Jonathan Winters, Tim Curry, John Lone, and Penelope Ann Miller do their best with the material. The film wears its pulpy influences on its sleeve, making for a film with a tone all its own. It's a lush gorgeous adventure that needs to be—and should be—seen.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012) - 17 percent

Back before Marvel reacquired the rights to the Ghost Rider and introduced him to the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with the new-look Robbie Reyes version, there was Nicolas Cage's Johnny Blaze. Two big screen Ghost Rider films were released with Cage on the Rider's trademark motorcycle, but the second one threw pretty much everything at the wall in the best possible way. 

Cage has always been a squirrelly type of actor, and casting him as an antihero with a flaming skull goes exactly like you'd imagine. The story is threadbare, but that's okay, because the movie itself is basically brain candy—delicious, dumb brain candy. Cage's performance ties the whole thing together with a manic weirdness that makes it hard to look away, and with the film clocking in at a tight hour-and-a-half, it's short enough you don't want to.

The Punisher (2004) - 29 percent

There's no doubt that Marvel finally got the character of the Punisher right by casting Jon Bernthal in its Netflix universe of television shows—but Thomas Jane did a pretty good job with the character a good decade earlier. 

The 2004 film cherry-picked pieces from several different Punisher comics, but Jane embodied the role of Frank Castle perfectly. Critics said the film was too dark and violent, but if you're looking for a Punisher adaptation, those are elements fairly central to the character. The Punisher doesn't do much to elevate the story beyond its revenge story plot, but it doesn't need to, because that sums up a whole lot of the Punisher's origin story. With Netflix prepping a solo Punisher TV series for later this year, this early big screen adventure is well worth tracking down if you dig the character. 

Kick-Ass 2 (2013) - 31 percent

The first Kick-Ass was a surprise critical and commercial darling, bringing a hilarious, R-rated bloody nose to the superhero genre. By the time the sequel came around, though, the joke had started to wear a bit thin for critics. 

Pretty much everything was amped up in Kick-Ass 2, but the simple story of a high school kid suiting up to crack skulls had trouble adjusting to the larger narrative canvas. Plus, as many critics noted, Kick-Ass 2 was basically treading a lot of the same territory as the first film—but who cares? The second film is still a F-bomb-dropping, white-knuckle thrill ride loaded with humor and action. If you enjoyed the first film, the second is just as much fun. Sometimes, more of the same is just fine.

Superman III (1983) - 26 percent

The first two Christopher Reeve Superman films are seminal works in the genre, but Superman III was the beginning of the end for the beloved franchise. Instead of the more heroic tone of the first two films, Superman III took a more comedic route to the story, much to its detriment. 

The addition of Richard Pryor still has us scratching our heads, and the weak script basically rehashed stories we'd seen before, doing the Man of Steel no favors. Despite all that, it wasn't all bad. The film still featured some solid effects work and an excellent performance from Reeve and, if nothing else, it's the final halfway decent Superman film from the original run before it went completely off the rails with the franchise-killing train wreck Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

Hancock (2008) - 41 percent

If for no other reason, Hancock is worth checking out because it's a rare, big-budget, fully original superhero film—starring A-lister Will Smith, no less. The project bounced around development hell for more than a decade before finally getting off the ground (no pun intended), and seeing the finished project, it's clear why it took so long for Hancock to finally get a green light. 

It has a lot of trouble figuring out exactly what type of tone it wants to convey—from superhero story to family drama to a nonsensical twist-fest by the time the final act roles around. Even with its faults, though, Hancock is still a wild superhero romp. The effects work and the cast (Smith, Charlize Theron, and Jason Bateman) are both top notch.

Constantine (2005) - 46 percent

This one failed to catch on with audiences and critics alike, despite being a truly original and clever take on the DC Comics antihero John Constantine. The noir-style setting digging into the seedy underbelly of demonic activity was a fascinating and stunning world to explore, while Keanu Reeves did a capable job of embodying the damaged soul of Constantine. 

Sure, the plot has a few holes and Reeves' accent still grates DC Comics purists, but the film was a capable take on a story that had so many chances of going wrong in the translation from page to screen. It may have missed a few of the specifics, but Constantine nailed the heart of what makes the Hellblazer comics so great.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) - 58 percent

Famously directed by Brett Ratner after Bryan Singer jumped ship to tackle Superman Returns, X-Men: The Last Stand is unequivocally the black sheep of the X-Men film franchise. After returning to the series, Singer went so far as scrambling the timeline in X-Men: Days of Future Past to effectively erase the film from continuity. 

It wasn't all bad, though! The Last Stand tackled some of the biggest stories in the X-Men canon—most notably the Dark Phoenix Saga—and at least tried to bring the original film trilogy to a satisfying close. The script and action feels a bit rushed, and the film randomly kills off characters in ways that will leave you scratching your head for days, but it still features the excellent original trilogy cast telling some ambitious stories. It may not tell them all very well, but still, it's a grand X-Men adventure. Plus, you can watch it with no stress now, since it's all been erased from continuity anyway.

Green Lantern (2011) - 26 percent

For a hot minute in 2011, it looked like Green Lantern would be the movie to finally turn Ryan Reynolds into a superhero star (instead, he had to wait a few more years for the foul-mouthed Deadpool), but even though it was a box office dud, Green Lantern is still worth making a construct of a TV and Blu-ray player to check out. 

The film had a hard time getting its tone right, veering from slapstick silliness, to deep space adventure, to life and death stakes all within the same scene, at times. The story was also, somehow, both hard to follow and too simple, all at the same time. The introduction and explanation of the Green Lantern Corps was fairly clumsy, but the good vs. evil story was the same bare bones super face off you've seen a million times. Despite that, the script from future Arrow creators Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim did show some glimmers of promise, along with Reynolds' likable take on Hal Jordan. Plus, if nothing else, it's still awe-inspiring to see Sinestro, Abin Sur, and Kilowog brought to life on the big screen.

Catwoman (2004) - 9 percent

No, your eyes do not deceive you—we really did put Catwoman on a list of movies you should actually see. The 2004 travesty assembled an A-list cast, including Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, and Benjamin Bratt, then put together a film that is one of the worst-reviewed movies of all time. Seriously, it's bad. The acting is awful, the story is awful, the action is awful. It's just plain awful. So why would we recommend you watch it? Because it's a train wreck worth seeing, at least once. 

It's an unmitigated disaster, and you really just can't look away. This was a big budget action flick based on Catwoman, starring the massively successfully Halle Berry, and it went horribly, horribly wrong. It's basically a vehicle to show you how lovely Berry is (which, yeah, she's a lovely actress), but gets pretty much everything wrong when it comes to the Catwoman character. Berry actually received a Razzie Award for her performance, and famously showed up in-person to accept it. She knew it was a mess, yeah, but at least she owned it. That counts for something, right?