Comic book characters have to be one of the most fun roles for an actor to take on. It not only gives them the chance to portray some of their biggest heroes from childhood, but also allows them to reach out to the diehard fans of the property. However, this kind of role doesn’t come without its share of responsibilities. An actor must look cool in a costume, put themselves into the mind of a fictional character, and make this all look convincing.
It’s not for everyone, as it usually takes an actor outside of their comfort zone. They’re also usually the most scrutinized roles an actor can take on, as it usually comes followed with a massive fan base. Those who take on these coveted parts will realize quickly that they haven’t signed on for just any ordinary movie role, but an opportunity to portray a legacy.
In the past, there have been a number of fumbles on Hollywood’s end in terms of casting for comic book characters. There are for sure a number of politics that go into this process, but box office numbers usually speak for themselves… along with the critics. Here are 12 actors that portrayed some of the biggest flops in comic book movie history.
12. James Franco as Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man franchise
Movie fans rarely enjoy when a comedic actor signs on for a serious role. This goes double for serious comic book roles. It takes the viewer out of the film’s tone and usually hinders the more experienced actor’s performance.
In Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man franchise, Mr. James Franco was this hindrance. While he didn’t initially appear as the Green Goblin villain until the third film, he came off totally unconvincing as Peter Parker’s damaged and soon resentful best friend. His boyish good looks at the time may have not contributed to his portrayal either.
11. Eric Bana as Bruce Banner in Hulk
“HULK SMASH” didn’t seem to be present in this Ang Lee adaptation of Marvel’s titular green giant. Moviegoers must have been fairly disappointed when they arrived in theaters to see a brooding and depressed Bruce Banner who transformed into a comical CG rendition of his better half (which can be attributed to the time period’s technology).
Eric Bana‘s performance of the character felt misplaced in what fans believe the movie should have been. The conflicted portrayal the actor attempted to emit appeared forced and didn’t resonate with viewers who were less than familiar with Bruce Banner.
10. Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider
Hollywood has trusted Nicolas Cage to portray many different kinds of characters, however we believe it best that we draw the line at undead comic book characters.
Here’s another actor who couldn’t be saved by his CG counterpart. The persona that Cage decided to bring to the daredevil seemed to just conflict with what true comic book fans were familiar with. Ghost Rider is scary and can commonly teeter on the line of anti-hero and villain. We need a true badass to take on that kind of role and Cage, like the whole film, came off just too lighthearted.
9. Brandon Routh as Superman in Superman Returns
To be fair, attempting to follow up an act as coveted as the late Christopher Reeves is pretty much close to impossible, but that still doesn’t excuse this actor’s bland rendition. Brandon Routh‘s portrayal almost seemed like it was meant to bring no spirit to the Man of Steel at all.
What Superman fans enjoyed about the Christopher Reeves movies was the actor’s ability to bring emotion and a sense of hope to the Kryptonian superhero. What was most sad about Routh’s performance was that it landed him at the bottom of Hollywood’s pool of lead male roles, as he was unable to hold together the rebooted franchise.
8. Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in Green Lantern
We’re pretty sure after the recent Deadpool trailer, we can all agree that Ryan Reynolds looks a lot better in red and black rather than green. While there are some actors that should never play superheroes ever, it’s fair to say that some just shouldn’t play certain ones.
Reynolds simply conflicted with what the studio was attempting to do which made for quite the unsatisfactory movie viewing experience. Green Lantern is a A-list superhero that has yet to be done justice on the screen, and this performance only helped attribute to making the character more of a joke.
7. Keanu Reeves as Constantine in Constantine
Who better than the actor that brought us Neo to portray a slick-talking paranormal investigator that uses his skills in the dark arts to fight the forces of Hell on Earth? Matt Ryan apparently, but that conversation is for a different list.
Keanu Reeves didn’t only fail as his Americanized version of the character, but the movie failed to be recognizable to fans of the long-running Hellblazer comic book series which it was based off of. The character’s witty personality was all but lost in Reeve’s rendition and may have marked the hiatus of his action movie career up until John Wick.
6. Jessica Alba as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman in Fantastic Four
A pretty face may serve to get moviegoers in the theaters, however it may not get them to stay. Fans of the Fantastic Four franchise and unfamiliar viewers alike were unimpressed with this actress’s take of the titular Invisible Woman, yet after the recent rebooted film, we’re sure fans wish the whole franchise did a disappearing act.
There’s no secret that attractive actors gain favor for highly sought-after movie roles, and at the time of this film’s release, Jessica Alba may have been at the peak of her career. Along with many of the characters, Fox got it all wrong with Sue Storm’s identity. The intelligent and refined researcher was traded for a more ditzy and unconfident female lead.
5. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin
This movie committed an insurmountable amount of mistakes in general, but casting The Terminator as Dr. Freeze had to be somewhere near the top. Actors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger are one of the many victims to typecasting, and for good reason!
What we received in the first ever live action interpretation of this Batman villain was a mix in between pathetic and comically depressing. The costume and horrible puns the character was given only added fuel to the flames. We’ve yet to see Dr. Freeze reinvented in a Batman reboot, and it’s most likely because we’re still getting the taste out of our mouths from this adaptation.
4. Ben Affleck as Daredevil in Daredevil
Actors like Ben Affleck took a rocky road to his point of success, and let’s just refer to this movie as one huge pothole. In fact, the actor has probably only been forgiven for this dismal performance based on the fact that he has proved himself to be a stellar performer prior.
One would imagine playing a blind crime-fighting vigilante wouldn’t be too hard, however Affleck managed to make the character as interesting as oatmeal. Whether the actor was attempting to evoke an emotionless character or not didn’t serve to excuse how bad it disappointed long time fans.
3. Halle Berry as Catwoman in Catwoman
Why not cast an Academy Award winning actress as Catwoman in her solo film? What’s the worst that could happen?
This is a question that should have been taken into consideration before the career-ending performance that Halle Berry gave in this horrible idea of a movie. Aside from disregarding nearly every piece of source material, the studio decided to hand over the titular role to an actress that clearly didn’t want to play the character. The cringeworthy film is something that both Berry and fans would love to just forget ever happened.
2. George Clooney as Batman in Batman and Robin
Every man in the world may have wanted to be Batman at one time or another, but no man wants to bear the shame of being the one to nearly destroy the franchise. We just hope this movie wasn’t anyone’s first introduction to the beloved character.
While the acclaimed actor has apologized for the abysmal performance, we’re all still in shock as to the studio giving the green light for this portrayal. Perhaps the name Clooney as Bruce Wayne appeared better on paper.
The dialogue is beyond corny, the costume makes Batman appear as a joke, and nothing about his rendition translated to Bruce Wayne. It would be unfair to not mention that every cast member performed horridly and only assisted in making this the worst Batman film of all time.
1. Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom in Spider-Man 3
After years and years of awaiting Spider-Man’s most recognized villain in a live-action movie, and under that black symbiote we get… Topher Grace? It’s the equivalent of opening a huge present at Christmas to only receive socks.
Grace may not be a bad actor and in his own right is fairly talented, but there very well may have been a hundred or so available actors that could have been a better choice. In the comics, Eddie Brock is depicted as bodybuilder and a pretty intimidating dude. Grace merely only served as a watered down version of the fearsome supervillain, which also served to bring down the movie as a whole.