While there have been many truly incredible portrayals of characters in comic book movies and television series, there have also been more than a few absolute clunkers. Some of these aren’t necessarily the actor’s fault; they were just written horribly, given awful dialogue, or were stuck with crappy plots. But whatever the reason, they still flopped. Here are my worst of the worst.
25. Iron Fist (Finn Jones) – Iron Fist
Netflix’s Iron Fist isn’t very good. It lacks an identity, has subpar fight choreography for a show about a Kung Fu master, and the worst thing about it is the lead. There’s literally nothing interesting about Danny Rand. He comes across as whiny and immature. For someone that’s supposed to be a “living weapon”, I wasn’t blown away by his fighting ability. In fact, I’d take Charlie Cox’s Daredevil over his Iron Fist any day.
24. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) – X-Men First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men:Apocalypse
Jennifer Lawrence is a fine actress and seems quite likable as a person, but her portrayal of Mystique is so inconsistent. Her motivations and characterization seem to change from movie to movie, and are whatever the writer needed her to be in that story.
23. Ghost Rider (Nicholas Cage) – Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Ghost Rider would be a very easy character to make silly and over-the-top, and Nicholas Cage didn’t even attempt to play it otherwise. He’s already known for being quite the over-actor, and it’s on full display here, complete with terrible puns and one-liners.
22. Dr. Doom (Toby Kebbell) – Fantastic Four
Will we ever get a good Dr. Doom in a live action movie? Hollywood writers just can’t seem to understand the things that make the character great and compelling. Sadly, another entrance in a long line of failed attempts at bringing Victor Von Doom to life.
21. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) – Thor, Thor: The Dark World
Natalie Portman reportedly hated being in Marvel movies, and it shows. For such a talented actress, her performance is flat and uninteresting. She also has zero charisma with Chris Hemsworth, making for a very blah love story.
20. Batman (Ben Affleck) – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Justice League
If there’s anyone that clearly hates playing their role in a comic movie more than Natalie Portman, it’s Ben Affleck when he dons the cape and cowl. He seems like he’d literally rather be anywhere but making these movies. With the quality of the 3 DC movies he’s been in, I can’t entirely blame him.
19. Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) – X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand , X-Men: Days of Future Past
One of several prominent X-Men characters that are supposed to be from countries other than the US that are passed off as American in the films. Piotr Rasputin, otherwise known as Colossus, is supposed to be from Russia, yet there’s no hint of a Russian accent on him whatsoever. And for a character whose power is to turn his skin into organic steel, we actually see him transform once for all of about 15 seconds in 3 movies.
18. Electro (Jamie Foxx) – The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Another example of a good actor being stuck in a crappy role. Completely devoid of interest, and despite what was clearly meant to be a sympathetic role, you don’t even feel sorry for the guy because he’s so badly written.
17. Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) – X-Men: First Class
Kevin Bacon delivers one of the most one-dimensional performances of his career. You just don’t care about his character whatsoever, nor is the character anything close to resembling his comic book counterpart.
16. Storm (Halle Berry) – X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Days of Future Past
Here’s where the “drop the accent” game started in the X-Men franchise. Halle Berry at least attempted an inconsistent one in the first film, but then dropped it all together in the second movie on. Spoiler alert: this isn’t the only time Ms. Berry will be appearing on this list. I promise I’m not picking on her as a performer in general…just in comic movies apparently.
15. Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) – X-Men: Apocalypse
Everything about this take on Marvel’s first mutant falls completely flat. Poorly acted. Poorly written. Poorly designed. Even his plans and motivations don’t make sense. Severely disappointing as I love Apocalypse in the comics and had high hopes for him here.
14. Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) – Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3
Could they have made audiences care less about the love interest of the hero? Mary Jane is supposed to be a constant, grounding force in Peter Parker’s otherwise tumultuous life, but here she’s flighty, annoying, and really serves no other purpose than damsel in distress and creating relationship drama…bouncing around between 7 different relationships in 3 movies.
13. Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey) – Luke Cage
I am unfamiliar with Harvey’s work outside of Luke Cage, but I seriously hope it’s better than what we got in the Marvel Netflix series. Tries way too hard to come across as a cool villain, but it doesn’t work at all. Just rather boring to be honest, especially in the shadow of Mahershala Ali’s brilliant performance as Cottonmouth.
12. Elektra (Jennifer Garner) – Daredevil, Elektra
There’s plenty to hate about the Daredevil movie, and Jennifer Garner’s bland turn as Elektra is definitely one of them. For a character that’s supposed to be exotic and enticing to Matt Murdock, she gives a performance about as compelling as watching paint dry. Oh and on the topic of being exotic, they claim she’s Greek (as she’s supposed to be), yet she makes no attempt to speak with an accent.
11. Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) – X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Much like Daredevil, there’s a lot to hate about X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a stupid story with plot holes big enough to fly the X-Jet through being first and foremost, but it also contains some of the absolute worst comic character portrayals ever (there’s another to come on this list). A primary example of writers shoehorning a character into a story that he had no business being in…and the version we got has very little in common with his comic counterpart other than his name. Gambit is known for his silver-tongued charm and razor sharp wit, yet Kitsch plays him with all the charisma of a coma patient…and seriously, why doesn’t his staff explode like everything else when he charges it with kinetic energy?
10. Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Oh, the DCEU and their consistent misunderstanding of their own properties. Whiny, neurotic, and just plain stupid…that’s really the only way I can describe this version of Superman’s nemesis. And talk about idiotic motivations: Luthor wants to show the world how dangerous Superman is, so he creates Doomsday, which is even more powerful and dangerous…um, what?
9. The Joker (Jared Leto) – Suicide Squad
Easily the DCEU’s biggest bomb as a character is Leto’s pseudo-Joker (I refuse to refer to that as the actual Joker). Before I trash his utterly stupid look (which I’m going to), I’ll focus on the actual performance. It’s bad. Just plain bad. Not once did I believe I was watching the Clown Prince of Crime. His motivations are counter to those of the actual Joker, who would never have attempted to break Harley out prison. He would have let her rot until she found her own way out. Ok now for his appearance: what on Earth made them think that THAT is a look people wanted? This “Joker” looks like he’s a douchy rapper that’s part of a drug cartel, who just got some stupid tats in prison, and is on his way to a crappy Avenged Sevenfold concert. Oooo…how “dark and gritty”…
8. The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) – Iron Man 3
Speaking of pseudo characters. What was meant to be the MCU’s greatest plot twist ended up being nothing more than its biggest middle finger to comic book fans. Turning Iron Man’s nemesis into a fake and nothing but a distraction from the “real” villain, was a giant “F you” to longtime readers who were excited to see this major villain brought to life.
7. Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones) – X-Men: The Last Stand
If there’s one thing 20th Century Fox knows better than making terrible Fantastic Four movies, it’s delivering awful performances in its X-Men franchise, and sadly this isn’t the worst. A cheap rubber muscle suit and a stupid-looking helmet that’s purpose is never explained in the movie, so he just runs around with a trashcan on his head for the sake of looking dumb. Also, Cain Marko is not a mutant, yet he’s somehow effected by Leech’s power draining ability?
6. Bane (Jeep Swenson) – Batman & Robin
The first of 3 craptacular portrayals from Joel Schumacher’s equally awful Batman & Robin, making up half of the top 6. Take one of Batman’s most brilliant and strategic enemies and turn him into a mindless monster just because he’s big. Great choice. *insert eye roll*
5. Venom (Topher Grace) – Spider-Man 3
You can tell that Sam Raimi didn’t want Venom in this movie, but was forced to by Avi Arad (former head of Marvel), as he gave the character no direction or seemingly any thought. Totally unbelievable as an antagonist. Why does the symbiote make Eddie Brock bigger, but didn’t Peter Parker? Why did it latch on to Brock and mutate immediately since he didn’t have adrenal cancer like he did in the comic? The only thing worse than Venom in this movie is watching the My Chemical Romance version of Peter Parker dance.
4. Catwoman (Halle Berry) – Catwoman
Here I am to crap on Halle Berry again. Everything about this role is bad. The acting, the writing, the direction, the costume…all of it. I appreciate the attempted homage to Eartha Kitt’s Catwoman from the 1960’s Batman television series, but the cheesiness and camp are just too much and it comes across like a B-movie performance.
3. Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) – Batman & Robin
But no one out camps Arnold’s turn as Mr. Freeze. Seriously, 75% of his dialogue is cold puns. One at the right moment would have been acceptable and might have gotten a little chuckle, but not a constant bombardment of “chill out’s” and “everybody freeze’s”. It really makes you hate a villain that should actually be one of the most sympathetic antagonists in comic movies.
2. Batman (George Clooney) – Batman & Robin
The final entrant in my dump on Batman & Robin trilogy. Completely unbelievable as Batman. Not even a decent Bruce Wayne. All the things that make Batman special are absent and quite frankly not things that Clooney is capable of pulling off. He was cast simply because he was a hot name.
1. Deadpool (Scott Adkins) – X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Here we are: the worst of the worst of the worst. Take everything about Deadpool that makes him unique and special and compelling…Hell take literally EVERYTHING away. Instead of kitanas, slap on some blades that pop out of his forearms like he’s freaking Baraka from Mortal Kombat. Instead of guns, have him shoot lasers out of his eyes. Instead of being a mercenary, make him a science experiment and slave. Oh and sew his mouth shut. Wouldn’t want the Merc with the Mouth to actually talk. Because I mean, come on…a source material faithful Deadpool would NEVER work…oh…wait…