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The 5 worst movies of 2024 so far, ranked

The cast of Poolman.
Vertical

As of the beginning of July, 2024 is now officially half over. And so far, we’ve had some really bad movies in theaters. That’s not even counting the made for streaming dreck that clogs up the selections on Netflix. The only reasons why Atlas and Rebel Moon: Part Two aren’t on this list is that we tried to keep our choices limited to theatrical releases only.

Our picks for the five worst movies of 2024 so far include two horror flicks, one action comedy, one comedy without laughs, and a superhero movie that may go down in history for its sheer ineptitude on all levels.

5. Argylle

Sam Rockwell and Bryce Dallas Howard in "Argylle."
Apple Studios

Director Matthew Vaughn has expressed his shock and dismay at the terrible reviews that Argylle received earlier this year. My advice for Vaughn is simple: If you don’t want bad reviews, then stop making bad movies. The director has been on a declining scale of quality since the second Kingsman film, and Argylle is where Vaughn’s spy caper films turn into a complete self parody.

The film isn’t entirely charmless, as both Bryce Dallas Howard and Sam Rockwell are fun co-leads. Elly Conway (Howard) is a novelist who has no idea that her stories are mirroring real-world events. So Aidan Wilde (Rockwell) is sent to protect her from harm. That’s not a bad setup, but the film’s script goes through so many twists and turns that it’s easy to lose patience with it. This film’s biggest sin is that it’s not nearly as funny as it seems to believe it is.

4. Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2

A killer Winnie the Pooh in Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey 2.
Altitude Film Distribution

When Superman and Batman enter the public domain within the next few years, you should expect to see more creatively bankrupt takes on them in the vein of Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2. This was a hastily made sequel to last year’s Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, which reimagines the adorable talking critters of the Hundred Acre Wood as bloodthirsty monsters who want their revenge on Christopher Robin for abandoning them.

The sequel is more of the same, as Christopher Robin (Scott Chambers) is blamed for the murders in the previous film. Meanwhile, Winnie-the-Pooh (Ryan Oliva), Piglet (Eddy MacKenzie), Tigger (Lewis Santer), and Owl (Marcus Massey) prepare to go on another bloody rampage. It’s enough to make Walt Disney spin in his grave, or his cryogenic chamber.

3. Imaginary

Chauncey, the stuffed bear killer from Imaginary.
Lionsgate

The sad part about Imaginary is that the premise is intriguing. A woman named Jessica (DeWanda Wise) moves back into her family home with her new husband, Max (Tom Payne), and his daughters, Taylor (Taegen Burns) and Alice (Pyper Braun). Once the family is settled in, Alice comes across a teddy bear named Chauncey, who was once Jessica’s imaginary friend. Except there’s nothing imaginary about this fiend.

Unfortunately, the execution of that premise leaves a lot to be desired. This horror film has a distinct lack of scares and an inane script that falls apart under the slightest scrutiny. This movie plays like a bargain basement version of Stephen King’s It, and it should have stayed buried.

2. Poolman

Chris Pine in Poolman.
Vertical

It’s not uncommon for actors to seek out a passion project for their directorial debut. Poolman is Pine’s first film as a director, and he co-wrote the script in addition to starring in the title role as Darren Barrenman. But after this flick, we really have to question Pine’s cinematic instincts. The short version is that this is Chinatown by way of the Coen brothers, minus the laughs or engaging characters.

DeWanda Wise makes her second appearance on this list as June Del Ray, the woman who gets Darren to play amateur detective as he retraces the plot points of Chinatown, including a water resource conspiracy in Los Angeles. Pine attracted a really good supporting cast, including Stephen Tobolowsky, Clancy Brown, Ray Wise, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Danny DeVito. It’s just too bad that the resulting film is borderline unwatchable.

1. Madame Web

Four women stand in a NYC corner in "Madame Web."
Sony Pictures

There may be a movie this year that’s worse than Madame Web, but it just hasn’t been released yet. Let’s start with the incredibly lifeless leading performance by Dakota Johnson. The script certainly didn’t do Johnson any favors with its astoundingly awful dialogue. But Johnson is so clearly uninterested in being in the film that it carries over to all aspects of her character, Cassie Web. It’s impossible to believe that Cassie is a good or even heroic person since she can’t seem to stand anyone’s presence.

In the comics, Madame Web is a supporting character at best, and she’s never held down her own comic book series. Yet she’s inexplicably supposed to be able to headline her own movie here. This film was a shameless attempt by Sony to ape Marvel’s MCU with several lesser-known heroines. The film actually gets a trio of actresses on the rise — Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced, and Celeste O’Connor — to play the three future Spider-Women. But in an especially egregious decision, they’re only in costume and empowered in brief visions of the future. That robbed the film of the only thing worth checking it out for.

Ezekiel stands in front of a billboard in Madame Web.
Sony

Finally, there’s the villain, Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim), an evil Spider-Man wannabe whose dialogue appears to have been completely reworked in post-production. You may have noticed that Ezekiel’s lips rarely match what he’s saying. Madame Web was a misfire from the word go, and it really reinforces the idea that Sony is incompetent at making live-action superhero flicks if Marvel isn’t directly involved. If Kraven the Hunter also flops later this year, we can only hope that Sony stops pretending that Spider-Man’s supporting cast and villains can carry their own shared universe.

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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