Right now, my kids are burning through several big-screen franchises that had previously been off-limits to them, and sitting through some of the films with them is, to say the least, difficult.
It's difficult not only because several of the movies are wretched, but because I am very, very careful not to tip my own feelings about some of these movies to them as we're watching. I want them to have their own reactions. I want them to feel free to enjoy anything they enjoy. Toshi's eight, and Allen's six, and if they think Jim Carrey is amazing as The Riddler, then I want them to feel free to think that.
Fresh exposure to the highs and lows of how Hollywood has treated some of these characters has been on my mind for the last week anyway as the entire HitFix editorial team tackled the task of putting together a list of the worst superhero films ever made.
What struck me as we batted e-mails back and forth is just how many films there are that could have made the list and that didn't. We left some truly terrible movies off this list, movies that caused me genuine pain when I sat through them the first time, but it's hard to argue with the films that actually did make the list.
The standards when picking the very worst examples of this genre are simple: did the movie make you wish they would stop making superhero movies altogether? If someone watched the film as their introduction to a character, would they ever watch anything else about that character again? If you tried to lay out the plot of the film in simple narrative terms, would it make any sense at all?
The truth is that any genre, especially one that is as popular as this, is going to be filled with just as misses as hits, especially as the genre becomes better-defined over time. The best movies of this type serve as a bar for the rest of the films to try to reach, and the worst films of the genre are reminders about just how wrong it can go.
So wade in. Let us know which of these films you feel we've treated unfairly, and let us know which movies left you with personal scars you're still dealing with, and let's hope that as this summer unfolds, we don't feel the need to revise this list at all.