Top 10 Superheroes Who DESERVED BETTER
VOICE OVER: Rudolph Strong
WRITTEN BY: Jordy McKen
Why'd they have to do them like that? For this list, we'll be looking at superheroes in live-action cinema who were done dirty in story arcs or films we saw on screen. Our countdown includes Frank Castle, Harley Quinn, Natasha Romanoff, and more!
Top 10 Superheroes Who DESERVED BETTER
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Superheroes Who DESERVED BETTER.
For this list, we’ll be looking at superheroes in live-action cinema who were done dirty in story arcs or films we saw on screen.
If you could have the abilities of anyone in this video, who would you choose? Let us know below!
#10: Frank Castle
While he got a lot of love for several Netflix TV shows, his film appearances have been less celebrated. The 1989 film adds nothing, so we’ll start with 2004’s “The Punisher” with Thomas Jane. Critics found the film joyless and a pretty standard revenge storyline. But it still made more at the box office than its budget. But with a sequel called off, as Jane had creative differences, it was followed with a reboot in 2008’s “Punisher: War Zone.” But even a great cast featuring Ray Stevenson as Castle and Dominic West as Jigsaw couldn’t bring in the cash at the box office. Punisher is a difficult character to do well in a superhero universe, especially when limited to a film franchise.
#9: Johnny Blaze
When it was announced that Ghost Rider was getting his very own film in 2007, fans were dripping with anticipation at seeing the flaming-skulled, chain-wielding character on the big screen. This was a chance to see a gritty exploration of Marvel’s supernatural realm! Similar to what Blade did! But then…well, we got Nicolas Cage amping it up as Johnny Blaze. Usually a great performer, Cage often overacted in the role, which is all anyone can remember. Still, it wasn’t all bad as the film had some financial success at the box office. So, with 2011’s “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” fans were carefully hopeful. But that got dashed when the filmmakers leaned into the kooky by having Cage’s Blaze be even more strange throughout.
#8: Wanda Maximoff
Things got a bit rough for the Scarlet Witch after “Captain America: Civil War” when she lobbed an explosive Crossbones into a building. But still, that was an honest mistake. Fans were on her side when she wrecked Thanos in “Avengers: Endgame.” But after that, her next film outing was in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” Corrupted by the Darkhold, she went looking for her children across the multiverse. On top of attempting to steal the powers of America Chavez, Wanda didn’t let anyone get in her way. So, she graphically slew the Illuminati. Even fan-favorite Charles Xavier was a victim, which is pretty unforgivable. It’s going to take a lot to showcase her as a hero after all that destruction.
#7: Armando Muñoz
Making his screen debut in 2011’s “X-Men: First Class,” Muñoz, known as Darwin, was treated like a big deal. After all, his power to adapt to any situation to survive is pretty nifty. In the comics, when faced with a raging Hulk, he develops a teleportation power to get away. Yet, in the film, when Sebastian Shaw appears to the young mutants to recruit them, Darwin tries and fails with a little double-cross. Shaw responds by redirecting Havoc’s energy into Darwin, causing him to perish. But…how? He should’ve just adapted to the massive amount of energy. It doesn’t make any sense. Even actor Edi Gathegi wasn’t pleased with Darwin’s demise and felt the filmmakers missed out on a great cinematic possibility with that power.
#6: Natasha Romanoff
In the early days, the MCU was pretty void of women heroes. In the Avengers, it was just Black Widow. But instead of putting everything behind her and giving her a solo movie, Marvel didn’t bother. Instead, giving Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America multiple individual films. Eventually, it was announced she was getting her own movie! Fans rejoiced! But then, Natasha Romanoff kicked the bucket in “Avengers: Endgame.” Suddenly, the fans were a lot more skeptical. In 2021, we saw the release of “Black Widow,” and some people were happy this finally happened. But it was obviously set before the events of “Avengers: Infinity War,” and many felt it was redundant as Romanoff’s story wasn’t going to lead anywhere.
#5: Jonah Hex
What if we told you there was a film about a supernatural cowboy that featured an amazing cast of Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, and Michael Shannon? You’d be pretty excited, right? Well, so were we…until we sat down for 2010’s “Jonah Hex.” The film was messy, disjointed, and made none of the characters likable or interesting. According to Brolin, at one point, they reshot 66 pages in 12 days! He hated his experience in the movie. And so did the audience. With a budget of $47 million, it made $10.5 at the box office in the States. It had a limited release internationally that only brought in around $360,000…yikes.
#4: James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes
From being Steve Rogers's bestie, surviving a catastrophe, losing an arm, being brainwashed into an assassin for decades, breaking free, and joining the Avengers, Bucky has been through the mill in the MCU. Yet after playing a role in saving the universe in “Avengers: Endgame,” Bucky saw his BFF leave and return as an old man, ruling Rogers out in future films. The former Winter Soldier is kinda directionless now with a boatload of past guilt to trudge through. While his previous deeds have been explored in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” the same treatment hasn’t happened on the silver screen. As such, there's a danger of Bucky falling into irrelevance or his redemption arc being changed into a heel turn.
#3: Harley Quinn
With the amount of love Margot Robbie has for the character alone, you’d expect DC to be fully invested in making Harley Quinn a mainstay in their films. After all, the animated TV show is beloved. But the live-action version doesn’t get the same respect. Firstly, Quinn had to carry 2016’s “Suicide Squad.” Next, she did great in a poorly marketed “Birds of Prey” film in 2020. Then, she was a bit-part player in the reboot for 2021’s “The Suicide Squad.” Finally, there was the Knightmare future in “Zack Snyder's Justice League,” where she perishes off-screen. Her DC film history has really been all over the place, and for a character as interesting as Harley, that’s not great.
#2: Peter Parker
Before you get too annoyed, we’re not talking about Tom Holland. Instead, Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker. After seeing him reprise the role in 2021’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” we all wondered, “what could’ve been?” Especially the impact we felt from his emotional speech about coping with Gwen’s loss. After a debut success in 2012, the reaction to 2014’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” was mixed. Still, fans were excited to see how Parker copes after his devastating loss. There were plans for a third and fourth addition to the “Amazing” series but they were canned. Sony and Marvel had negotiated a new working relationship by introducing Spider-Man into the MCU, sadly destroying Garfield’s take on the character.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
Being Pushed Hard in the MCU Has Resulted in Some Backlash Against the Character
After Leading the First Suicide Squad & Joining the Second, Flag Is Slain as a Plot Device for Peacemaker
Janet van Dyne
Known as a Founding Avenger in the Comics, She Was Locked in the Quantum Realm for Years in the MCU
#1: Clark Kent
When you picture a superhero nine times out of ten, it’ll be Superman. With that in mind, he should have a sprawling film franchise. But Supes’s recent history has been a mixed bag. Even though he took part in some amateur spinal readjustment on General Zod in “Man of Steel,” fans were still excited with Clark Kent facing off with the Dark Knight in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” But then it got weird. Even though the two heroes went to war, apparently realizing that their mothers share the same name was enough to get them on the same team. This moment tarnished everyone involved. DC just doesn't seem to know what to do with Superman on the big screen.