Venom & 9 Other Superhero Spin-Offs, Ranked According To Rotten Tomatoes – Screen Rant

From the maligned Catwoman to the positive reception of DCEU’s Birds of Prey, Sony’s Venom is far from the only superhero spin-off that critics saw.
Sony’s Spider-Man Universe has gone off to a successful starts thanks to the release of Venom. The 2018 movie was a spin-off to the Spider-Man franchise, as the superhero is busy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Hardy will return in the sequel, and fans have high hopes for it.
RELATED: 10 Things Only Comic Book Fans Know About Spider-Man & Venom’s Rivalry
But, what about other superhero spin-off movies? These range from the traditional offerings featuring other Marvel and DC characters to superhero films that vary in genres, like action comedies and drama thrillers. According to critic reviews in Rotten Tomatoes, the reception behind the spin-offs has been mixed. Some, like Venom, haven’t set the reviews on fire, while certain others have won over most viewers.
Starring Halle Berry in the title role, the movie was a botched spin-off attempt that was late on arrival after initially intended as a follow-up to Batman Returns. Its story deviates from the Catwoman in the comics, with the character known as Patience Philips and having genuine cat-based powers. 
It was largely blasted for needlessly sexualizing Catwoman, and the story of her attempt to expose her former workplace’s illegal activities didn’t fit her comic book persona’s villainous traits. The lack of connection with the extended Batman universe was also a down point. Many agree that Berry remains perfectly cast for her role in X-Men rather than this watered-down attempt at a superhero.
While Helen Slater’s performance in the title is still well-received, the spin-off to the original Superman series has never wowed critics. It has a generic plot of Supergirl seeking a MacGuffin known as the Omegahedron as part of her attempt to return the object to her homeworld.
It also didn’t feature Supergirl’s usual comic book villains in favor of presenting a hammy antagonist called Selena. Superman himself only received a passing mention, which didn’t do the film favors in the connection with the overall universe.
Among the top when it comes to Jennifer Garner’s worst-reviewed movies, this spin-off sought to create a Daredevil universe as a follow-up to the original. Elektra was brought back to life to protect a target of the criminal organization known as The Hand, which eventually morphed into a predictable love-based plot.
Much as the criticism for Daredevil, critics had an issue with the presentation of the movie, in that it tried too hard to be dark material but was hindered by lackluster dialogue and so-so action. Garner’s performance is credible and she would have done better if the script did the character justice.
The Men in Black series is part of Marvel Comics and is considered a superhero organization. The 2019 spin-off sees Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thomspon team up again after their roles in Thor: Ragnarok, but to negative results. In the movie, the two agents uncover a plot of a parasitic alien race’s attempt to overtake humans.
RELATED: 10 Best Venom Story Arcs From Marvel Comics
The story is forgettable because it’s clear from the start that this will be about one partner being incompetent but funny while the other’s skilled but too by-the-numbers. The movie plays up the superhero element more than the original trilogy of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, but the lackluster action sequences are filled with too much CGI for them to be too entertaining.
Talks of a follow-up to the Venom seen in Spider-Man 3 didn’t materialize, but Tom Hardy eventually portrayed the character in a new universe. The story saw Eddie Brock reluctantly bond with the symbiote and save Earth from a potential invasion. While the plot was largely unoriginal, the chemistry between Eddie and Venom is the movie’s main stand out.
Critics weren’t too happy with the obvious CGI onscreen, but the banter between the lead characters was good enough for this not to be too much of an issue. Another issue was the lack of references to Spider-Man, which somewhat defeated the purpose of this being a spin-off.
The intention of expanding the X-Men universe ended up leading to an unsatisfying send-off, as The New Mutants was the final movie in the 20-year series. Featuring teenagers locked in a facility, the story is about their collective efforts to escape and gain their freedom.
Despite the presence of quality actors like Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Willians, the movie believes too much of its own hype. The horror is too on the nose and doesn’t mesh well with the superhero genre, while the romantic elements feel forced. Critics also disliked the minimal connection to the X-Men films, as this could very well have been a standalone movie.
It seems like the studio was looking to cash in on Hugh Jackman’s popularity as the character to tell stories only comic book fans would know about Wolverine. This film starts off with Logan’s role in William Stryker’s team, it then shifts to his arc of vengeance against Stryker for killing his lover. 
The movie is largely remembered for its poor CGI of Wolverine’s claws and the portrayal of Deadpool, who was nothing like his comic book counterpart and made out to be a generic, remorseless villain. Hugh Jackman’s portrayal is once again well done, and at least the movie can be enjoyed as a fast-paced romp.
Joaquin Phoenix won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role as the titular villain, as the spin-off followed the origins of The Joker. Arthur Fleck, as he’s known here, spirals into an anarchist after the people of Gotham City continue to treat him like dirt.
RELATED: 10 Things About Venom Only Comic Fans Know
The references to Batman were kept relevant to the plot, as Bruce Wayne’s own origin story was set up alongside his archnemesis. Some critics felt that the movie promoted violence while the ones who praised the movie appreciated how the story acknowledged the topic of grief and mental illness.
2016’s Suicide Squad was a spin-off in itself of the larger Batman universe, and the movie got its own spin-off in the form of Birds of Prey. Following Suicide Squad member Harley Quinn, the story features her getting over The Joker by protecting the teenager Cassandra Cain from Black Mask, with the help of the titular team.
The movie was praised for expanding Harley’s horizons by portraying her as an anti-hero as opposed to a true villain. It was also noted for setting up further characters for future movies. The chemistry between the cast is undeniable, although a downside is a relatively low-stakes plot due to the lack of a truly threatening antagonist.
The spin-off to The Lego Movie, this one centers fully on the Caped Crusader in a family-friendly setting. After insulting The Joker, Batman finds himself the target of his rival’s greatest scheme and has to assemble the Bat-family. Voiced by Will Arnett, the character’s funnier portrayal was very positively received.
The movie’s overall presentation was lauded for taking a serious concept and making it a light-hearted venture. It manages to even turn The Joker into a likable character, while the use of lego graphics allows it to appear as a comedic movie that still contains action sequences.
NEXT: 10 Best Quotes From Venom (2018)
Saim Cheeda is an entertainment writer covering all of Film, TV, Gaming and Books. He’s been a writer for Valnet since 2017, contributing 500+ articles for The Gamer, The Things, Game Rant, Comic Book Resources and Screen Rant. Apart from freelance writing, Saim is a lifestyle blogger, co-owning the blog 3 States Apart.


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