25 Worst Miscasts in Comic Book Movie History

25 Worst Miscasts in Comic Book Movie History

In the first true comic book film, Superman, Christopher Reeve was the perfect casting choice, to the point where he'll forever be associated with The Man of Steel. Since then, we’ve had a few more actors that represented the characters very well, but others have not been so successful. Here's the 25 absolute worst.

25 Worst Miscasts in Comic Book Movie History
Brian VanHooker
Turtle with Lemonade Productions

25. Tyler Mane as Sabretooth

The cunning, vicious, animalistic Sabretooth is reduced to little more than a growling moron in the first X-Men film. The casting of Tyler Mane instead of a real actor showed that the film-makers had little regard for this character. They also made other really terrible choices for Sabretooth, like the really strange eyebrows, his ability to roar exactly like a lion, and let’s not forget his corny "You owe me a scream" line. The only reason he isn't higher on the list is because most of what's wrong with Sabretooth wasn't Mane's fault.

24. Ioan Gruffudd as Mr. Fantastic

Now, I know Mr. Fantastic isn't the most exciting person to play, but I still think we could've done better than Ioan Gruffudd's lifeless portrayal in "Fantastic 4". The performance is flat and boring. He does seem smart, but not brilliant in the way I would expect Reed Richards to be. And, he just seemed too young for the part, I know he was younger in the earlier comics, but like Iron man, Mr. Fantastic has evolved into a hero who needs to be older.

23. Ben Affleck as Daredevil

So, the producers of "Daredevil" went to Matt Damon to play blind attorney/vigilante hero Matthew Murdock, he said no, but that his friend Ben is free and could use the work and they said okay. At least that's kinda-sorta what happened. Anyway, Ben Affleck's Daredevil is about as flat as most of his other roles. I appreciate his love and dedication to the character, but that doesn't mean he was the right person to play him.

22. Anna Paquin as Rogue

I don't assign much guilt to Anna Paquin for this, she did a fine job in all three X-Men films, but the character in those movies is not Rogue. The role of the young female that Wolverine feels an obligation to protect has been filled by two females in the comic books, at first it was Kitty Pride and later it was Jubilee, and it was their story and personality that was used for Paquin's Rogue. The only thing this Rogue had in common with her comic book counterpart was her power to absorb other's powers. I didn't mind them dropping her flying and super strength for the film, but the original Rogue was, at first, a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and Anna Paquin's rogue seemed like she was fresh out of the Girl Scouts.

21. Terrence Howard as James Rhodes

So far, Marvel has done an excellent job with casting the movies they're producing themselves. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Samuel L. Jackson were all great choices. The only exception to that so far has been Terrence Howard as James Rhodes in "Iron Man." His Rhodey seemed too skinny and soft-spoken to be the commanding, ruthless military man who would become War Machine. We know Howard can play tough, and apparently Jon Favreau directed him true to the comics, but it seems he just chose not to listen and did it his own way. At least Marvel corrected his casting for "Iron Man 2" with Don Cheadle, who was still a bit small, but had a great handle on the character.

20. January Jones as Emma Frost

Not that she had a lot to work with, but January Jones as Emma Frost in "X-Men: First Class" was definitely a low point of a surprisingly good film. She gave a flat, completely uninteresting performance for one of Marvel's most layered females(not that she wears many layers!). Her absolutely forgettable performance makes one wonder if she's capable of playing anything outside of Betty Draper.

19. Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy

Now, I'm not the biggest Poison Ivy fan anyway, I think she's one of the worst Batman villains there are, but I do know she's supposed to be the sexiest eco-terrorist who ever lived, and that she's absolutely irresistible. I'm sorry, but I don't think Uma Thurman is the sexiest woman alive and her neon-red horn hair certainly didn't help. I don't know, maybe all a mediocre character deserves is a mediocre actress.

18. Jennifer Garner as Elektra

Jennifer Garner was just the wrong person to portray Elektra, plain and simple. It's not that she played the part terribly, because she didn't, but the exotic, Greek badass ninja came off as the all-American girl-next-door. She's sexy, and in the right shape for Elektra, but she wasn't tough or dangerous or any of the things Elektra should be. And why someone thought she warranted her own film is beyond me.

17. Dolph Lundgren as The Punisher

Forgot about this one, didn't you? Well, Dolph Lundgren's Punisher was so bad no one would blame you for blocking it out of your memory. Outside of the thrown together plot and the fact that for some inexplicable reason Punisher chose to live in the sewer like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Lundgren's Punisher was a hollow performance and every scene where he was supposed to be angry came off as completely forced. Even the scene where Frank Castle's family is murdered seems somehow empty. People got upset because there was no skull on his chest, but there were many more reasons to hate this Punisher film.

16. Chris O'Donnell as Robin

"Boo-hoo, I became an orphan at age thirty, please take care of me Batman!" Bottom line here was that Chris O'Donnell was just too old to play Robin. Now, maybe the producers had a problem with Batman taking an eleven-year-old boy and having him fight thugs and murderers on the streets of Gotham, but that is the character, and the idea of a grown man becoming Bruce Wayne's ward was just silly. Chris O'Donnell as Robin was almost as bad as Val Kilmer as Batman.

15. Val Kilmer as Batman

Speaking of which… Supposedly, Bob Kane, the creator of Batman, said Kilmer was the best Batman. Now, he died before "Batman Begins," so I like to think he would've changed his mind, but, I'll admit, up until "Batman Forever," Kilmer looked the most like Batman should (even with bat-nipples), but he was just so wooden as both Batman and Bruce Wayne it didn't matter. He had no torment, no anger, no inner demons and no personality.

14. Topher Grace as Venom

Even with putting on some muscle, Topher Grace was way too skinny to play Venom, which I would forgive if his performance was somehow great, which it definitely wasn't. Venom is supposed to be scary and I think if Topher Grace pointed a bazooka at my head he still wouldn't be intimidating. Now, he's hardly the worst part of "Spider-Man 3," I leave that distinction for Sam Raimi, but the Venom from that film fulfills absolutely nothing of what I wanted to see from Spidey's best villain.

13. Halle Berry as Storm

This was just a bad choice all around. The only thing worse than having a Storm who wasn't from Africa was having Halle Berry try really hard to do some sort of accent in the first X-Men film. She would then, inexplicably, drop her accent in the sequels, but nobody minded because it was so bad the first time around. In addition to being a poor casting choice, she just didn't seem to try that hard and complained about doing X-Men at all; only in the last few years has she said she'd come back and that just seems to be because she isn't getting much work. Oh, and let's not forget "What happens to a toad when it gets struck by lightning?"

12. Robert Swenson as Bane

Poor Bane, it seems that just because he is big, Joel Schumacher assumed he was stupid too (God forbid he read a single comic book). Bane was made to be a formidable opponent to Batman both physically and intellectually, but in "Batman and Robin" he can't even speak, he just groans and breaks things. He's green too, for some unknown reason. I'm just glad that Bane got a second chance with Tom Hardy’s amazing, frightening performance.

11. Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl

I'm including Alicia Silverstone's Batgirl in here because every other cast member of "Batman & Robin" is included and I didn't want to leave her out (and it's not like she was any better than the rest).

10. Jessica Alba as Invisible Woman

I'll admit that Jessica Alba's Invisible Woman was not the train wreck I thought it'd be, but she was still a terrible choice. It seems FOX just wanted to cast the hot flavor-of-the-week rather than pick the person most suited for the role. It makes you wonder if the movie was made two years later if Megan Fox would've been Sue Storm. Alba carried none of the weight and intelligence that Dr. Sue Storm, a research scientist and probably the heart of the Fantastic 4, needed. The real reason why Alba was picked was made clear in both films when they found contrived reasons to get her naked.

9. Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face

Rather than the complex, conflicted duality of Harvey Dent, Tommy Lee Jones gave us a cackling, coin-flipping cartoon character. One of the biggest mysteries of "Batman Forever" is why they chose to skip Two-Face's origin story, which is, by far, the best Batman villain origin, and tell Riddler's tale of being a Bruce Wayne stalker instead. Forget the silly half zoot suit and the annoying Sugar & Spice, the clearest example that this movie gives that the filmmakers didn't care about this character was when Two-Face keeps flipping the coin until it lands on tails so he can kill Batman. Two-Face doesn't root for an outcome, the whole point of the coin is to show that the conflict of good vs. evil is trivial.

8. Halle Berry as Catwoman

Halle Berry has the unique distinction of being on this list twice! Halle Berry plays Selina Kyle, oh, wait, no, it's Patience Phillips who becomes Catwoman. In this film, Patience is brought back to life by an Egyptian Mau cat, which is even sillier than Michelle Pfeiffer getting licked back to life by alley cats in "Batman Returns." To be fair, Halle Berry does try in this movie (more than she did as Storm), but her character is so shallow it makes no difference. Even her sexy outfit can't make this film watchable.

7. Seth Rogen as The Green Hornet

In "The Green Hornet" they took the dashing anti-hero from the comics and turned him into a chubby, giggling doofus. I know Rogen lost a bunch of weight for the role and put a lot of work into this film, but he was always going to be wrong for the part. I have yet to see much range in Seth Rogen's acting, making the Green Hornet just like every other character we've seen him play. Rather than get the movie this great character deserved, we got "Batman Gets Knocked Up."

6. George Clooney as Batman

Clooney was a terrible Batman, but one good thing that came out of his portrayal is that he so openly makes fun of "Batman & Robin" and his performance in it. He openly admitted it "was really shit" but I can't argue with the logic of why he accepted the role. His reason for saying yes to "Batman & Robin" was pretty much "wouldn't you want to be Batman?"

5. Taylor Kitsch as Gambit

Apparently, the reason why producers didn't want Gambit in the first three X-Men films was because his personality was too similar to Wolverine. I disagree with that, but, accepting that premise, why the hell would he belong in a movie that's got only Wolverine? And instead of going with Josh Holloway from "Lost" who had tremendous online support (and was perfect for the role), they chose pretty-boy Taylor Kitsch to play him. FOX showed utter disregard for this character all around, having Kitsch simply do a generic southern accent rather than his trademark Cajun, they didn't seem to understand his powers at all, and there was not a hint of the troubled loner persona that has made him a fan-favorite. As far as I'm concerned, we have yet to see Gambit done on film at all.

4. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze

Now, Arnold was an awful Mr. Freeze, but I'll admit that I find "Batman & Robin" more entertaining than "Batman Forever" and that's in large part due to Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Batman & Robin" is a cheesy movie, but it's fun to watch in the same way the old 60's TV show was. I loved "Ice to meet you!" and "My name is Freeze. Learn it well. For it's the chilling sound of your doom" and all his other one-liners. While "Forever" was stuck halfway between a serious movie and a joke, "Batman & Robin" is firmly aware that it's a joke, and I kind of like that.

3. Julian McMahon as Dr. Doom

Dr. Doom, possibly Marvel's coolest, most threatening villain is a shell of his comic book counterpart in 2005's "Fantastic 4." Doom is supposed to be dangerous, menacing, diabolical megalomaniac, but instead, we got a self-obsessed pretty-boy played by Julian McMahon. Some complained he was too handsome, but that makes no difference since he gets disfigured anyway. McMahon's problem was that he was not at all threatening as Dr. Doom. I really didn't even mind switching up the origin if the character came off better, but rather than a ruthless dictator, we got a depressed crybaby with more in common with Dorian Grey than Victor Von Doom.

2. Nicholas Cage as Ghost Rider

This is just one of about 500 examples of a movie Nicholas Cage should not have made in the last ten years. He turned Marvel's scariest anti-hero into a joke, complete with cheesy lines and vapid emotions. Nicholas Cage gives his usual, phoned-in acting presence in this film, shallow, silly and just plain boring. And, I'm sorry, but putting Nic Cage in a leather Jacket does not disguise the fact that he's pushing 50 and is completely burned out as an actor. Why the hell anyone wanted a sequel to this film is mind-boggling.

1. Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man

That's right, the number one spot goes to Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man! For an entire trilogy, moviegoers had to watch Maguire's whiney, sniveling Peter Parker complain about how hard it is to be Spider-Man. What amazed me most about Tobey was how many people defended his portrayal. Yes, Spider-Man is supposed to be geeky, but he eventually comes into his own. And yes, part of his story is the struggle of balancing life with being Spider-Man, but Spider-Man is unique in that he enjoys himself, he has fun, but instead of a wise-cracking Spidey, we got a mopey little wuss. And let's not forget how Spider-Man's best story, Venom, was ruined by Tobey's emo haircut and his stupid dance moves. I don't know about everyone else, but I left every Spider-Man movie feeling like I could beat the crap out of Spider-Man, and it just shouldn't be that way.

Posted By:
Brian VanHooker
Member Since 7/6/2012
Filed Under "Other" 9/5/2012
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RunDTC - 9/4/2012, 7:05 PM
disagree about Maguire. I thought he did very well in SM 1 & 2.

you forgot Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes, Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut, Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Liv Tyler as Betty Ross, and Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern.

AnungUnRama - 9/5/2012, 1:26 AM
"I think you're blaming the actors for being in bad movies, and that isn't fair."

That's exactly what I thought. Most of the criticism isn't about the specific actors but the movies they were in.
CoolantTech - 9/5/2012, 2:35 AM
Good writeup I totally agree with Tobey Maguire sucking ass as Peter Parker, and the completely lifeless Emma Frost character, I guess I agree with all your choices, just not the order they're put in
Yodawars - 9/5/2012, 7:09 AM
I can't say that I agree with this list. Maguire was fine as Spider Man even if the movies are not my favorite. and I thought Terrence Howard was great as Rhodey. He entered a financial dispute with Marvel for Iron Man 2 which is why Don Cheadle was cast as his replacement, not because Marvel thought Howard did a bad job.

Nobody Messes with the Cage...Nobody
AztecRainGod - 9/5/2012, 7:10 AM
Your really reaching for people to slam with some of the selections on this list, including

ioan gruffudd

Ben Affleck

Terrence Howard

Julian Mcmahon

Just because these werent stellar portrayals doesnt mean they belong on a "worst" list.
Newbus - 9/5/2012, 7:10 AM
If the director cant' the character right in the first place I wouldn't say it was a miscast. Doesn't matter who plays the character its wrong from the get-go.
Maximus101 - 9/5/2012, 7:11 AM
Tobey is terrrrrrible lol I hated him and always will. I disagree with Terrence Howard though, I was not happy when I heard they recasted that role.
Marqy - 9/5/2012, 7:12 AM
Maguire "above" Mr freeze ?? really ? coool

I think that "High" Jackman is miscast too but just because of his height and James Bond style
AztecRainGod - 9/5/2012, 7:13 AM
"we’ve gotten Christian Bale, who IS Batman like no other actor was before,"

Your giving Bale too much credit. The Nolan Batman trilogy is far more a product of great writing/directing and cast selection, than Christians Bales decent performance of Batman.
Marqy - 9/5/2012, 7:14 AM
Also I dont agree with Howard .. he was cool
IronSpider101 - 9/5/2012, 7:14 AM
Some I agree with, some I don't.

You lost me with your number one. You couldn't be more wrong, I'm sorry.
AztecRainGod - 9/5/2012, 7:16 AM
This list will be on my "Worst, Worst lists in CBM.com History"
InFamouslyCool - 9/5/2012, 7:16 AM
Kate Bosworth.
SuperPickle - 9/5/2012, 7:17 AM
Good call on most of them. I'm glad somebody finally had the cajones to call MacGuire out on Spider-Man.
bsgbumpersticker - 9/5/2012, 7:19 AM
I'm more interested in the #1 misspelling of this article - High Jackman... FTW! Right below the title no less.
ekrolo2 - 9/5/2012, 7:19 AM
I dont like the Raimi Spider-Man movies and I despise Toby as Spidey, im not saying it has to be 100% like the comics but even as a 8 year old I knew yeah..... this guy is a shitty Spider-Man and this is a boring and soul less movie series based on Spider-Man.
jondoe297 - 9/5/2012, 7:20 AM
I have to strongly disagree with aylor Mane I thought he was a way better sabertooth he l ooked more like the comic then anything just wish they gave him more lines and brought him back for sequels and Jennifer Garner as Elektra I didn't have a problem with its just they needed w better story that's all
Astro - 9/5/2012, 7:21 AM
High Jackman awesome
AxlKomix - 9/5/2012, 7:21 AM
I completely agree with Tobey Maguire being miscast, but those defenders are going to come out like rapid wolves as soon as they scroll down and see him at number one.
silverdog - 9/5/2012, 7:23 AM
Agree with most, but in some cases the writting for those movies wasso bad that not even meryl streep or daniel day lewis could have given a good performance..

you forgot ryan reynolds as hal jordan, deadpool, and hannibal king, kristen dunst as mj, bryce dallas as gwen, keanu reeves as john constantine, gyllenhall as reachel dawes, the mute windmaker and the flying stripper from first class (much worse than jones), shaquille o´neal as steel,kate bossworth as lois lane, malin akerman as silk spectre, josh brolin as jonah hex. vinnie jones as jugernnaut.. just to name a few.

maguire the worst? dont think so... not even close.
Intothepoop - 9/5/2012, 7:23 AM
Lol Terrence Howard makes the list but don cheadle doesn't?

some of these strike me as ok casting in terrible movies. Uma probably was solid casting, the movie was just bad.
EtriganTheDemon - 9/5/2012, 7:24 AM
This list sucks, you're either really whiny or you realized that twenty-five choices were way to much maybe subtract ten or so choices and it would be more realistic. Plus, you seem to be more-so pointing out flaws in the way the character was written, than the way the character was portrayed.

Plus, Andrew Garfield sucked as Parker, why isn't he on this this rather than Maguire, who nailed the role.
SWelch - 9/5/2012, 7:25 AM
Ok Brian first off the first true comic book movie was The Adventures of Captain Marvel serial(1941). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033317/

Doesn't matter when it was made or how corny it may be by today standards. It is and always will be the first comic book movie.

Tom Tyler was great as Captain marvel. Even looked a lot like the comic book version. And for an actor who started out as a stuntman it was all the terrible an actor. By no means the best but not the worst. He was also great in the Phantom serial(1942).

Now Captain Marvel in one chapter he grab a machine gun and shot a bunch of bad guys in the back and in another chapter he tossed one of the top of a building. So he was rough on some of the bad guys.

And Frank Coghlan Jr was pretty good as Billy Baston. He was older in the movie compared to the comics but still did a good job.

Now if you want to say that Superman was first true MODERN comic book movie then I would agree with that.

And as for Ben Affleck I say he captured Matt Murdock/Daredevil perfectly. I wouldn't have chosen Garner as Elecktra but other than that I thought it was a great movie. Both theatrical and director's cut.
DC4everLantern - 9/5/2012, 7:26 AM
At least Green Lantern is not in the List. because he was a awesome Hal Jordan. Great choice for GL. Haters gonna Hate.
plasticman - 9/5/2012, 7:30 AM
Does anyone remember Halle Berry's line from an interview on why she chose to do the role of storm? This is the first reason I can't stand her in this role with the second being her performance.

The reason she said she took the role was not because she was a fan of comics. In fact, she did not read them or would have done that type of role but at that time there were not a lot of parts in Hollywood for black actresses. Like said, that is why she would like to do the role again. For $$$$.

Angela Basset at the time would have been a better Storm.
RobLiefeldFan - 9/5/2012, 7:30 AM
@Brian Van Hooker Thank You for this article and Yes Tobey Maguire is the Worst In History.. He Killed the Image I had of him as a child growing up watching the 1994 cartoon.. Thank God for the Reboot.. And Please could we get you 25 Best
Shadowmaster35 - 9/5/2012, 7:31 AM
This sounds like a lot of reaching and whining. Not the actor's fault if the writers can't write the character properly.
gleetana - 9/5/2012, 7:32 AM
high jackman was the hugh point of the x-men movies.

Maguire worse than Schwarzenegger? yeah right.......
Grimm - 9/5/2012, 7:35 AM
I woulda just wrote Nic Cage down 25 times......
Nubase - 9/5/2012, 7:36 AM
i agree with all of them

But in spiderman 3 when peter started dancing! man!
supermarioworldE - 9/5/2012, 7:36 AM
Ridiculous. Even if you agree that Tobey Maguire wasn't as jokey as his comic book counterpart, you can't seriously believe that anybody in those Shumacher films were more accurate to their source material.

Just another list trying to get a rise out of people.
Wingding - 9/5/2012, 7:37 AM
I agree with most of these. But Tobey being #1? Come on man! Yeah, he DID get really annoying, and I laugh sooo hard every time I see this:

But he certainly does not deserve the #1 spot. He did pretty well otherwise, and it's not like HE completely ruined the whole Raimi trilogy. Aside from some cheesiness in parts (like the dialog with him and Mary Jane), I still enjoy the first two Spiderman movies. The third one....well. That was awfull. And Tobey is to blame for a good part of that one. But, he himself wasnt a half-bad Spiderman/Peter Parker in the first two.

I agree with all of those except Paltrow and Reynolds. Reynolds was NOT to blame for how terrible GL was. He was actually a pretty good Hal Jordan. And why is Paltrow even in your list man? She is a good Pepper, and I've liked her performance in all the Marvel movies she has been in. I honestly don't see anything wrong with her in the role.

But, yeah, Maggie Gylenhaal. Oh my word. I know Katie Holmes wasn't that great, but I would've SO much rather had her for TDK. I HATED Maggie in TDK. That casting choice honestly is one of the only things I despised about the movie. She was so annoying, and her face...ugggh.

Plus, her character's death would've made much more of an impact if it were Katie Holmes because we have already seen her and Bruce's connection.
CoulsonLives - 9/5/2012, 7:38 AM
I agree with all of this... Christen Dunst should be here along with some others
jessepostal - 9/5/2012, 7:38 AM
Dolph in my eyes was the perfect punisher, he looked the part and was dark mysterious,vengeful, and numb from his pain.
ballstothewall - 9/5/2012, 7:39 AM
I wouldn't put Taylor Kitsch and Val Kilmer in there. Kitsch was alright for the most of the part. He looks the role and I accepted that. Val Kilmer was my favorite Batman before Bale took over in Begins,so... yeah.
Rhino4508 - 9/5/2012, 7:41 AM
I can't help, but agree...completely agree.... BRAVO!
EarOne - 9/5/2012, 8:01 AM
for me o'donnell as robin was okay. uma, tommy lee j are both too campy (but i blame the director for that). bane..it's just the wrong interpretation of the character, not the actor..again i blame the director.

i agree on arnold and halle as storm (the halle as catwoman, though, i blame the power that be who green lit the whole project).

as tobey..i disagree regarding his first spidey movie, the second one..yeah, i think this is where he began seeming to mopey, but still okay. the third one...well, everything went wrong on that one, BUT, at least all the action stuff still look 1000x better than any single one in The Amazing Spider-Man. if only they gave Sam Raimi one more chance to redeem himself by rebooting his own spidey series, but without any interference, this time round..i'm sure, he'll more than make up for all the wrong moves he made in the first trilogy.
eleven59 - 9/5/2012, 8:03 AM
most of these can be chalked up to "actor/actress of the month club" casting. in other words, "hey this person is hot right now and in everything so lets cast them". batman forever and bat&robin being the best examples.

others are fans of the character but that doesn't equal perfect casting for the part.

VIRILEMAN - 9/5/2012, 8:05 AM
Kirsten Dunst. How could you do one of these lists and not have Kirsten Dunst as MJ be the number 1. I agree Tobey wasn't perfect, and think Andrew was a MUCH better choice, but I certainly don't think he was worthy of being #1.
PRMR77 - 9/5/2012, 8:07 AM
Hang on, should not the director, producers and casting director get a bit of a bashing here. I agree some of these role were miscast however the actors are dealing with a script and direction they are giving. We all know that they film these scenes several times and the director chooses which one to put in the film. P.S where the hell was Andrew Garfield on ya little list, there was a Spiderman that was not so Amazing!!!
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