The 50 Most Cringe-Worthy Moments In Comic-Book Movie History

The 50 Most Cringe-Worthy Moments In Comic-Book Movie History

There have been hundreds of movies based on comic-books, going back to the earliest days of both media. And that cinematic flood has come with a certain amount of “holy crap, what was that” moments. Here are the 50 most shudder-inducing comic-book-movie moments.

Here’s the longer list, in no particular order:

1. Batman and Robin: The Bat-credit card.

2. X-Men: Storm asks Toad if he knows what happens to a toad that’s struck by lightning.

3. Superman II: Superman throws his “S” shield

4. Judge Dredd: His awful delivery of “I AM THE LAW.” (Plus the whole “taking off his helmet” thing)

5. Catwoman: The infamous basketball scene

6. The Dark Knight Rises: We learn John Blake’s real first name

7. Avengers: Age of Ultron: Bruce faceplants into Natasha’s breasts “in a move straight out of the shittiest sort of harem anime.”

8. Steel: Pretty much any scene where he runs around in that god-awful costume.

9. Spider-Man 3: The inexplicable “omelette dancing” scene

10. Man of Steel: Superman asks a random priest for advice

11. Howard the Duck: Duck boobs.

12. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: Reed Richards’ dance scene

13. Daredevil: the terrible schoolyard fight scene

14. Superman IV: “Wall-rebuilding vision”. WHAT?

15. Guardians of the Galaxy: Drax calls Gamora a “whore”

16. Batman Forever: It’s the car, right?

17. Blade Trinity: You made a goddamn vampire pomeranian? Plus everything involving Dracula.

18. Watchmen: Nite Owl and Silk Spectre have sex in the Owlship to Leonard Cohen

19. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder pops out knives. And then knives pop out of the knives

20. Spider-Man: The campy gang of thugs that surround Mary Jane

21. Green Lantern: Hector Hammond sees Carol Ferris at a party and sniffs her hair.

22. Superman Returns: Superman spies on Lois Lane using his superpowers.

23. Amazing Spider-Man 2: Electro plays “Itsy Bitsy Spider” by whacking Spider-Man into the electrical grid

24. X-Men Origins: Wolverine: Stryker shoots Wolverine in the head to erase his memories.

25. Men in Black 3: Emma Thompson’s funeral speech

26. Spider-Man 3: the Jazz dance sequence

27. Batman Returns: Batman has his own Bat-CD player that lets him “scratch” a CD back and forth like a vinyl record.

28. Ang Lee’s Hulk: The Hulk punches a gamma-mutated poodle in the junk.

29. Superman: The Movie: Superman flies Lois Lane through the air, and she recites a tone poem, “Can you read my mind?”

30. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The moment where Sean Connery says “God save the Queen” Or the whole ending, really.

31. Avengers: Age of Ultron: Tony Stark jokes about droit du seigneur.

32. X-Men: The Last Stand: I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!

33. Superman III: The “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” traffic icons come to life and fight each other, because of Richard Pryor’s supercomputer

34. Spawn: Just pick a John Leguziamo moment, basically

35. The Mask: Cuban Pete

36. Spider-Man 2: Mary Jane kisses ex-astronaut John Jameson, who says, “I’m back on the Moon. Are you there with me?”

37. The Crow: The “Brandon Lee puts on his makeup while listening to the Cure” scene.

38. Jonah Hex: Megan Fox decides on a numerical order for all of Jonah’s scars

39. Man of Steel: Pa Kent tells Clark he should have let a schoolbus full of kids drown.

40. Batman and Robin: This sequence showing close-ups of the awful costumes

41. Supergirl: The “construction vehicle comes to life” scene

42. Superman II: Superman’s memory-erasing kiss

43. Batman: The extended “Partyman” dance sequence has not aged well.

44. X-Men Origins: Wolverine: They sewed Deadpool’s mouth shut! He looks ridiculous.

45. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Splinter learned to be a ninja from a book he found in the garbage.

46. Catwoman: The scene where she goes to a fancy bar in her ridiculous costume and orders cream.

47. Punisher: Frank fights the Russian, while the neighbours get their opera on

48. X-Men: First Class: Havok’s “hula hoops”

49. Batman and Robin: What killed the dinosaurs

50. Superman IV: Pretty much the entire fight scene with Nuclear Man.

Anything we missed?

Correction: An earlier version of this article said we learned John Blake’s middle name. In fact, we learned his real first name. Also, an earlier version of this list included a Hellboy scene instead of a Spider-Man scene.


  • Cuban Pete is a classic. No sir. Nope. Its a classic. Plus, the Mask itself was and still is a fantastic movie! Just a true pity they never made a sequel…

    Picking Brandon Lee’s makeup scene from the Crow? Wow. Just… wow. I mean, that’s easily a great scene and you call it cringe worthy?

    John Blakes name turning out to be Robin at the end of TDKR as well, was nowhere near as bad as the authors claiming either. It was logically led up to and a neat little payoff. Having rewatched TDKR last week I was especially pleased with how well its actually held up.

    I mean I can’t defend around 40 other terrible cringeworthy moments but there’s around ten there that clearly *arent*.

    • You beat me to defending Cuban Pete and the Crow’s makeup scene, those were both awesome. I also really liked Drax calling Gamora a whore, that was HILARIOUS, especially when he followed it up with *BLAM* “Nobody talks to my friends like that”.

    • I still think the Robin thing was stupid, but that’s probably because I just wanted the movie to be over already by that point. “Are we done yet?” “OMG, like you have an everyday name I’m gushing over for no reason!” “… We get it, he’s Robin. This should have ended 20 minutes ago.”

      Cringe-worthy, though? Nope. Not when there’s stuff like Luthor’s jar of piss and poor Lea Thompson’s career dying on-screen as she tries to talk Howard the Duck into sex. Where’s those scenes on the list?

      • I was ok with it only because it was (albeit hamfisted) them trying to show basically it was Batman inspiring people to carry on his legacy. The best way to do it? Definitely not. But it wasn’t the worst either. I would’ve just had Blake meeting Gordon on top of the GCPD and saying “I’m Nightwing…” and leaving it at that personally.

        But yeah it wasn’t cringeworthy. Just a bit hamfisted.

        But the fact Elektras forced lesbian kiss didn’t make it onscreen (not the fact it was a lesbian kiss, the fact it was one of those “quick teen boys fap to Jennifer Garner kissing another chick!” moments)

        Or Ghostriders reducing all its demons to emo teens with daddy issues.

        Constantine the Movies EVERYTHING.

        Daredevils playground fight with Bennifer Afflarners seesaw fight at least made it on here. But where’s RIPD on this list? That was one of the worst I’ve ever seen…

        BARB WIRE should be *dominating* this list. Holy shit.

        The Spirit? Sam Jacksons delivery was so terrible it was embarassing…

        Ghostrider Spirit Of Vengeance anyone? I mean Nicholas Cages head bursting into flames is hilarious but this movie was god awful bad in every single respect.

        Ninja Turtles 3! It’s even worst than that remake! Seriously, worst Turtles movie *ever*.

        The SPAWN movie, Malebolgias reveal. Some dynamite 1980 level CGI right there! So horrifyingly bad it’s laughable. The cringe was strong with that one. Check it out! (I know, hard to see with that white crap but you can still see enough, coupled with that cancer-throat voice, it’s terrible, even at the time we were laughing at how bad it was in the cinema).

        And finally, Billy Zanes THE PHANTOM. God, everything about this was terrible. Every. Single. Thing. It was all cringeworthy from start to finish.

        The cringe is strong with that list my friends. Tread carefully.

        • Oh god, I’d forgotten just how ridiculous Malebolgia looks. My god, that’s terrible!

          • Heh like I said, even back in 1997 we were laughing at how shithouse that looked lol. I believe comments like “Did they make that on a playstation?” were thrown around.

        • I really want a good Phantom move and/or game. I loved those comics as a kid, and I think you could do something interesting with him.

          Dig into the whole lineage thing, maybe. A swashbuckling piratey super-hero adventure telling the story of the first Phantom, then follow on through in a way similar to the Assassin’s Creed series.

          But yeah, the Billy Zane version was pretty bad. The producer once said in an interview that the script was actually written to be a parody of the character, then it just got re-worked into a more serious film. That would explain a bit.

          • If you tackled the original idea of the Phantom, taking note of the ideas of colonialism, the way Kit Walker didn’t subscribe to the notion of the native people being lesser than he, that he would co-exist in the jungle rather than trying to be superior etc, then you could have a great movie. The Phantom is, essentially after all, Tarzan with guns and a skull ring. Go away from the idea and have him as an equal to men and women in the area, rather than the great white saviour, have them utilise him as a horror story to those trying to invade the area (like he became in the comics) it’d be fantastic. Just, we’d end up with the Hollywood version unfortunately like before if it were in others hands :\

  • I agree with only 3-4 picks on the list.

    Sure some of them probably weren’t intended to be making fun of themselves but most of them aren’t as bad as they were made out to be.

  • 39 got a good laugh from me. I was thinking ‘way to go dad!’ the whole time that played out.

  • I actually think 39 is not so black and white. It’s actually kind of deep when you think about it. Pa Kent knew that the whole world would change if people found out-

    Ya know what. Yeah that was a shitty argument from him

    • He got his comeuppance in an equally ridiculous development: he was left to die just so Clark’s powers would not be revealed to the world… what, like 2-3 years before he went and did, anyway?

  • I think the author of this piece is on drugs. Partyman has aged extremely well. It’s campy as fuck, but it’s more enjoyable that anything out of the Nolan trilogy.

    And Cuban Pete is a classic… How dare anyone say a bad word against it!

  • Not a single thing from X-Men 3? And too few from Batman and Robin heh. Also, I don’t see how characterisation is a bad thing? (Drax calling Gamora a “whore” gives so much information about Drax’s character that you’d probably need a dozen other lines to convey the same effect).

  • Ryan Reynolds and Triple H were the only good things about Blade 3. Not convinced that a scene with Reynolds cracking wise is more cringe worthy than all the scenes with Wesley Snipes just cracking.

    Also.. Cuban Pete?? Really? Shame Kotaku… Shame

  • What’s most surprising about this is how many people express their surprise in the comments that something which is on the list, isn’t.

    • “The ground, it’s all metal and it’s full of holes. You know, Holey”

      Yes, this is the worst scene of all time.

  • Rewatched the Nolan Batman Trilogy yesterday, still think they should have called the 3rd film Knightfall, or even The Gotham Knight. The whole Robin thing was alright, bit cheesy but still alright. I do find it funny though, Bruce left him with next to nothing to be the new Batman, or next saviour of Gotham, hopefully Lucius would help him out with a new suit, tumbler, gadgets etc

  • No way that The Crow scene should be on this list. Epic movie with a soundtrack to match: “Every night I burn… Every night I scream your name” as he remembers the rape and murder of his fiancee and becomes The Crow.

    Pure class

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