Young Superman is a 1992 comic book movie starring Brandon Pratt, Michelle Botkin and Ed Stallsworth, based on the Superman character from DC Comics. Despite a massive ad campaign and a huge budget, the movie was a spectacular box office failure and was critically reviled, leading it to be called "one of the biggest movie disasters of all time," and significantly embarrassing Dooley Brothers studios, which avoided the Superman series for the next decade. The film killed the careers of both Pratt and Botkin, who were early-90's teen idols, and dampened enthusiasm for comic book movies that had become popular in the early 1990's, arguably helping kill the Tim Burton I Am Batman project slated to be released a year and a half later.
Critical reception for Young Superman was overwhelmingly negative. Critic Roger Ebert called it "a bad high school movie filled with dumb slang and an excruciatingly painful attempt to make Clark Kent hip to modern teenagers, made even worse by feeble attempts to incorporate his Super powers." Robert Keeler lampooned the dialogue and thin characters, saying, "There's no Lex Luthor, no Lois Lane, no Perry White; if the writers had tried to shoehorn them in, this mess would have been passable. Alas, mixing edgy modern teen angst with themes of Superman's natural outsider-ness, an idea with so much potential, sputters like the atrocious dialogue one can only imagine Hollywood writers came up with after reading a book on teenagers. This is one of the most cynically awful movies I've ever seen."
The overseas reception was even worse, where Superman is not as established as a character. From Roger Fox in England: "The high production budget and attempts to weave themes of modernity in conservative parts of America into a tapestry of an alien being trying to survive an American high school leaves us without anything we were promised; we get no intelligent commentary on modern youth, we get no comic-book action which superhero movies are required to provide, and we don't even get any genuine Americana; everything is so fabricated and out-of-touch, so unlike good teen movies that have come out in recent years, and so devoid of acting talent that it turns into a huge mess."
The film gained a cult following in the late 1990's due to its reputation as one of the worst movies of all time.