Over the years, we’ve seen superhero movies in which a whole lot of fantastical mayhem goes down. We’ve seen buildings topple, superpowers in action, and, in the past decade or so, virtually all the major Marvel characters travel to the big screen. However, one thing no one going to see a superhero film expects to see is a dance scene. Yet, an uncharacteristically high number of films featuring superheroes do just that, taking a break from the action and drama to let heroes or villains let loose with a bit of soft shoe.
While a handful of these are actually fun (The Mask) or dramatic (Batman Returns), the vast majority are just plain sad. Of course, it makes sense that some of the lamest superhero films would feature some embarrassing dance scenes, but some of the best also fall prey to this surprising superhero movie misstep. Let’s take a look at some of the very worst. (For the record, we’re not limiting this list strictly to films featuring superheroes who are based on comic books.)
10. Batman (1989)
By and large, this Tim Burton film is a classic. But let’s not forget the fact that the Joker’s impromptu dance party in a Gotham museum brings the story to a screeching halt. Sure, Prince’s “Partyman” is a fun song, and there are a few moments of sadistic glee from the Joker and his henchmen. Yet, in the end, this scene contributes nothing to the film’s narrative and is merely a chance for Jack Nicholson to be outrageous.
9. Batman Forever (1995)
What is with the Batman villains and their strange dance moves? Unlike the Joker, Jim Carrey’s Riddler doesn’t get an entire number to drag down this Joel Schumacher Batman film (you know, the one that is still more or less watchable). Rather, we get a brief glimpse of his awkward dance moves during a party scene in which Edward Nygma asks Nicole Kidman’s Chase Meridian for a dance.
8. Barb Wire (1996)
We never thought we’d be confusing whether we were watching a comic book hero in action or soft-core porn, but congratulations, Pamela Anderson, you’ve effectively blurred the line for us. This ludicrous mess of a film starts off with a wet striptease featuring the titular character in action, ending with an even more terrible death by heel. Yes, really. If you haven’t seen this one by now, consider yourself lucky.
7. Daredevil (2003)
Long before Netflix made The Man Without Fear cool again, this Mark Steven Johnson film gave the geek community a bad feeling about Ben Affleck’s superhero prowess. The scene we’re calling out today though is the schoolyard “fight” — let’s be real, it’s a dance — between Affleck’s supposedly blind Matt Murdock and Jennifer Garner’s Elektra Natchios. It’s intended to be a flirtatious scene, but instead is a low point.
6. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
We warned you not all of our entries would be based on comic books. Neo may not hail from Marvel or DC, but the Keanu Reeves character most definitely has superpowers. Lucky us, because we get to use this opportunity to rail against the single most irritating scene from the Wachowskis’ trilogy. That’s right; we’re talking about that sweaty, writhing rave at the last human city of Zion. Ugh, no thanks.
5. Son of the Mask (2005)
We name-dropped The Mask as an example of a superhero/comic book film with a memorable and fun dance scene. This much-detested sequel is pretty much an embarrassment from top to bottom, but it also deigns to include another nightclub-set dance sequence in the vein of the first film. This is, predictably, a huge misfire, as Jamie Kennedy lacks the charisma and solid material Jim Carrey had in 1994.
4. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Wow, there’s so much to choose from here. When it comes to embarrassing superhero dance sequences, Spider-Man 3 is the gift that keeps on giving. There’s the awkward omelette dance scene with James Franco and Kirsten Dunst doing the twist, and of course, the maligned “emo Peter” montage in which our friendly neighborhood hero pulls a Saturday Night Fever. The worst of the worst though? That pivotal jazz club scene in which Peter uses Gwen Stacy to make MJ jealous, only to thoroughly embarrass himself.
3. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Ever want to see Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd) boogie down on the dance floor, elastic limbs at all? No? Neither did we. Yet, this sequel features just that. We’re not going to say that the mid-2000s Fantastic Four films are anything special — they’re still better than that 2015 reboot — but this sequence still stands out as one of the most egregious in either film.
2. Iron Man 2 (2010)
Part of the storyline in this Marvel Studios release (arguably the weakest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) centers on Tony Stark’s poisoned blood and his diminishing health. Despite the fact that this subplot was completely ineffective, its culmination is even more ridiculous. Clearly drunken and feeling hopeless, Stark throws an impromptu party and starts to dance and deejay, endangering the guests and peeing in his Iron Man suit. It’s sad how low this franchise stooped after the amazing first film.
1. Suicide Squad (2016)
Critics essentially hated this David Ayer film, and fans are largely mixed on it as well. But one scene that sticks out as particularly strange is the one in a nightclub where Margot Robbie’s Harley engages in full-on stripper behavior, as Joker (Jared Leto) pimps her out to a fellow criminal (Common). In a film filled with questionable decisions, this scene is perhaps the worst of all, serving little purpose in the grand scheme of things.
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