Great Actors who gave less than steller performances in a Comic Book Movie

Great Actors who gave less than steller performances in a Comic Book Movie

The final part of my series, performances that didn't really live up to what they could have been.

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By havoc9987 - 3/14/2011


Danny Devito as The Penguin

Danny did a decent job but Tim Burton turned this classic Batman villain into a raw fish eating black mucus spewing freak. Damn shame really cause Devito could of really delivered on this one.



Eric Bana as Bruce Banner

Eric is a good actor but he really wasn't right for the part. He wasn't great but wasn't terrible.



Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face

I really can't get my head around this one Tom is a great actor and a very good choice to play Dent. But Joel Schumacher wanted Two Face to be a really bad Joker impersonator.



Kelsey Grammer as Beast

Kelsey played the part very well but something just wasn't right about the look of Beast. To be honest it had the right idea but the blue fur looked really fake.



Colin Farrell as Bullseye

I thought this was a pretty good casting choice but the performance was painful at times.



Jennifer Garner as Elektra

I think Jennifer is a good actress but she failed to really embody that deadly assassin vibe.



Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin

Duncan put in a pretty good performance but in the end there were other actors that could of played Kingpin and stayed true to Wilson Fisk's actual race. I didn't really mind that Kingpin's race was changed but there are lots of people who did.



George Clooney as Batman

I know I'm going to get alot of heat over not including this one in my worst of, but George is a really good actor and if given a decent script and a director not hell bent on ruining the Batman franchise Clooney could of been a decent Batman but BAT-NIPPLES made sure that won't happen.



Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider

Cage is a good actor sometimes but this movie was strange I didn't hate it but I didn't like it. A younger actor would of been better suited but thats life.



Ioan Grufford as Reed Richards

Grufford is a very good actor but he was really stale in this one, Evans really overshadowed him which is sad cause Reed Richards is supposed to be the main man in the F4.



Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy

Another one I can't understand Uma should of made an awesome IVY but in the end Schumacher made sure that IVY would be crap too.



Jack Nicholson as The Joker

Jack was great as the Joker but in the end it really was just Jack as the Joker he didn't embody the character like Heath did. But to Jack's credit he did make the Joker more like a dangerous mad man rather than Ceaser's near harmless clown.



John Malkovich as Quinten Turnball

Even though the movie sucked hard John really didn't give the performance you would expect of an actor of his talent.



Josh Brolin as Jonah Hex

Josh really tried but in the end the movie was just too awful.



Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor

This should of turned out great Kevin is a great actor but the script and Byran Singer's lack of vision made sure that this Lex was lame.



Jim Carrey as The Riddler

If Jim had played this more seriously and not let loose like a mad man he could of been a great Riddler but we will never know now.



Tyler Mane as Sabretooth

Now I'm not saying that Mane is the best actor out there but if the character wasn't treated like dumb muscle and a side kick for Magneto he could of been awesome. I say this because of that one line he was give the "Scream for me" that he said to Storm sounded totally bad ass damn shame.



Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man

There was nothing wrong with Tobey's Parker he played Parker very well but his Spider-Man lacked the smartass wise cracking that Spidey is known and loved for.



Val Kilmer as Batman

Val really could of done better he is a good actor but his Batman had nothing on Keaton's.



Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin

This was almost perfect Willem Dafoe put in great performances both as Norman Osbourne and the Green Goblin but that terrible costume ruined it.

Well there you have it.
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Denn1s - 3/14/2011, 5:30 AM
grammer and dafoe rocked. the suits were not perfect (green goblin's at least. the beast was spot on for me) but their performances were awesome. which is what this article is about, right? performances, not costumes...
havoc9987 - 3/14/2011, 5:46 AM
@Denn1s

you are right grammer and dafoe were great but I'm looking at the complete package and sometimes the costumes can ruin a near perfect performance might be unfair but sometimes things like can hurt the end product.
Orphix - 3/14/2011, 5:47 AM
It's difficult to criticise an actor completely if their performance was based on what the director wanted and how the character was written on the page.

Also I thought the definition of this article is that the actor is 'good' but put in a bad performance. So why is Tyler Mane in there? He ain't that great and actor and his performance wasn't that great either.
havoc9987 - 3/14/2011, 6:05 AM
I didn't say a bad performance but not as good as it could have been. The concept of this article is that with these actors it should of been great and that certain factors prevented that from happening.
havoc9987 - 3/14/2011, 6:13 AM
I know Tyler Mane is not a great actor but he could of been an awesome Sabretooth if the script was better for him. Plus Sabretooth is my fav villain and seeing him mishandled was disheartening.
marvel72 - 3/14/2011, 6:19 AM
nic cage a great actor......XD hahahahahahahahahaha!

jack nicholson joker is better than heath ledgers.

bob kane thinks val kilmer portrayal of batman/bruce wayne is the best portrayal of the character.
Orphix - 3/14/2011, 7:06 AM
marvel72@ Wow! Interesting. I hated JNs version of the Joker from the moment I saw it.
CorndogBurglar - 3/14/2011, 7:23 AM
whoa whoa whoa, Jack Nicholson played the Joker exactly how the Joker was in the comics at the time. If anything, Ledger took too many liberties and made the Joker into something he's not in the comics. And before anyone says Nolan wrote him that way, well, no he didn't. Nolan has said that he gave the part to Ledger and let him do his thing.

alos, the way Beast LOOKED in the film has nothing to do with Kelsey Grammer. He played the part perfectly and I couldn't even begin to imagine another actor to play that part any better.

Other than that, I think i agree with everything else.
Caedus137 - 3/14/2011, 7:56 AM
Sorry...can't help myself... "Could HAVE", "Should HAVE" "Would HAVE" - The correct word is "Have" not "Of"...
Grammar Police out.
AlexdoxA - 3/14/2011, 8:00 AM
Great article but, I'm sorry I couldn't help but notice: "could of" or "would of" or "should of" are not correctly used they just don't exist. It's "could've", "Would've", "should've" ;0)
Caedus137 - 3/14/2011, 8:11 AM
See! Not just me then...
marvel72 - 3/14/2011, 8:19 AM
@ thegoddamnsuperguy

this ain't right,we're agreeing on stuff,bale batman sucks.

have you actually looked at some of his photo in the bat-suit,his face when he wears the cowl actually makes me laugh.
Dumegg - 3/14/2011, 8:48 AM
Jack Nicholson was great as The Joker.
RoscoeFolgers - 3/14/2011, 8:55 AM
@GoddamnSuperguy- It could be a number of different reasons, but the one I suppose it is that he feels differently than you.

@Orphix- If you don't care for Tyler as an actor (most people don't) most that actually give credit to the silent types think he made a great Michael Myers in the Halloween remake. He can adequately do what's given to him without [frick]ing it up, but not making it special. So while he's not a great a actor he's better than bad.
PaulRom - 3/14/2011, 9:08 AM
I don't think Cage is a bad actor, but Ghost Rider? I think he's too old looking for the role.
Maguire was nearly perfect as Spidey IMO, only major flaw was his age.
Devito was splendid as Penguin, but I agree that his spin was more of a freak styled Penguin.
Carrey was decent as Riddler, but to me he seemed too plastic. Same with TLJ/TwoFace.
I think Kilmer did a better Bruce Wayne than Michael Keaton, but was meh as Batman. I won't bother discussing George Clooney.
Nicholson wasn't bad as Joker, but he seemed too recognizable. I couldn't recognize Ledger behind the makeup at all, to be honest.
Dafoe, IMO, is nearly irreplaceable as Green Goblin.
Thurman wasn't THAT horrid as Poison Ivy (mainly in looks), but her actual performance was pretty barf-deserving.
OBTW, you should have added Bane to your list of worst performances.
manymade1 - 3/14/2011, 9:16 AM
I still don't get why people are hating on Burton's Penguin. So they made, him way diffrent from his comic counterpart. Big Whoop. Nobody has a problem with the Joker being far diffrent from his comic counter-part. Some people, might give the excuse that he acts the same, just looks diffrent. That's the same thing with Penguin. Yet people hate Penguin, while they praise Nolan's Joker.
havoc9987 - 3/14/2011, 9:17 AM
@PaulRom

The Bane from Batman and Robin was so forgettable he isn't worth mentioning.
PaulRom - 3/14/2011, 9:33 AM
@havoc9987 Good point. :P
ultimatefan1974 - 3/14/2011, 10:10 AM
I think some of the choices here are missing the point. The article is about performances, and you shouldn´t judge perormances for problems with the script, or costume, or make-up. It´s not Tobey Maguire´s fault that Spidey wasn´t a wisecracker, or Dafoe´s fault that his costume didn´t look good, or e Vito´s fault that his version of Penguin was too different from comics - and let´s face it, "classic" is a strong word to use for the Penguin, he´s not one of the most interesting characters in Batman´s rogue´s gallery. You can´t say the actors gave less than stellar performances if the problems weren´t with the performance.
Orphix - 3/14/2011, 10:36 AM
corndogburglar@ "whoa whoa whoa, Jack Nicholson played the Joker exactly how the Joker was in the comics at the time."

Seriously? SERIOUSLY??? Which comics are you thinking of when you say that, cos I certainly haven't read them. All I saw during Batman '89 on the big screen was Jack - not acting very well.

To me his performances in Chinatown, One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest and The Shining had more to do with the Joker than anything he came up with in Batman.

RoscoeFolgers@ I never said Tyler Mane was bad - just not great. I was just refering to the title of the article really and that I don't consider his performance as notable. Not cos he was SO bad - just that he wasn't a GREAT actor underperforming.
Rhys - 3/14/2011, 11:24 AM
HAH! Nic Cage............"great actor".........................................good joke.
CorndogBurglar - 3/14/2011, 11:52 AM
@ orphix

actually, back in the 80's, which is when Jack Nicholson's Batman came out, Joker was more lighthearted, and goofy. sure he killed people, but he wasn't this dark character that he is these days. Thats my point. The Joker In Batman 89 was exactly like he was in the comics. Maybe you should go pick some of them up?

In fact, this article is the first time i've EVER heard anyone complain about Jack's performance in that movie. So that speaks volumes. He was praised as being the perfect choice for that role. Where have you been, lol?
ultimatefan1974 - 3/14/2011, 11:57 AM
That´s not exactly true, by the time Batman 89 came out, DC had already released The Killing Joke - which Burton even claims was a major inspiration for the movie - and Arkham Asylum, both with much darker takes on The Joker, much closer to Heath Ledger than Nicholson.
George88 - 3/14/2011, 12:12 PM
Kilmer, Dafoe and Grammar def don't deserve to be up there. And also Ivy was for me the best part of the movie. She was smoking, an eco-terrorist and if the film wasn't so crap then perhaps Ivy would of come across better.
BrotherStarkofMABMindz - 3/14/2011, 12:34 PM
Grammar, Dafoe and Maguire owned their roles, OWNED
Imtooldforthis - 3/14/2011, 12:55 PM
I didn't finish the article, I didn't read the comments, the moment I saw Nicholson, I thought, this is bullshi.....

Sorry, I don't mean to sound like an A.hole, but he literally brought that character from the comics to the screen.
LP4 - 3/14/2011, 1:17 PM
Dude I totally disagree with you about Danny DeVito, Tobey Maguire and Michael Clarke Duncan.

DeVito's Penguin was by far the GREATEST Batman villain portrayal of ALL the villains from the old films of Burton/Schumacher, his Penguin was vile and disgusting and scary, just as a villain should be. Yeah it wasn't exactly like the 'classic' Penguin but damn...I'm a huge Batman-fan too but I [frick]ing LOVED his Penguin. It was interesting and multi-layered in terms of character depth- you actually felt bad for him.

Tobey was a great Spider-Man/Peter Parker, yeah Spider-Man3 wasn't all that great like the first 2 but I still say he was a lot better than Routh. I'm still surprised you keep making articles attacking good actors but you still are reluctant to add Brandon Routh to your list.

Also- Michael Clarke Duncan was a great Kingpin- great villain in DD. He was very evil and deceptive and his fight with DD at the end was great.

Those 3 don't belong up there and I'm still waiting for Brandon Routh to get a spot up there. He didn't deliver on ANYTHING he's done. I mean you're picking on Tobey just because he didn't do the smart-talk while fighting?? Yet Routh's Superman was an- emo, stalker, impregnator...and those liberties with his role were somehow more acceptable to you? DO YOU FU*KING READ COMICS???

I also agree with the masses on here- Willem Dafoe DOES NOT belong on that list, he gave a phenomenol performance- played the whole split-personality thing to a "T"

Your list is really crummy, sorry to say. I mean you also put Collin Ferrel in your list? I liked his Bullseye. I just don't get it. You put really good actors on your shit lists but you leave out the obviously bad ones. As for Eric Bana I thought he did really well with what he was given in that SHITTY Hulk film. Bana himself did a great job though.
golden123 - 3/14/2011, 1:36 PM
Yeah costumes shouldn't matter.
As for Kingpin his race could've been a fine change, but the problem wasn't the new appearance it was the way that they played on his new race. They made Kingpin seem like more of a pinp than a crimelord at times. I mean, whos idea was it to introduce Kingpin into the film while playing rap music in the background.
and Jack Nicholson easily deserves to be on the top cbm performances list.
Orphix - 3/14/2011, 2:15 PM
Corndogburglar@ hehe - I got plenty of Batman comics from the 80's thanks very much ;o)

And it is interesting - especially as Tea is agreeing with you - cos I obviously view those comics and the performances completely differently.

When I saw Heath's portrayal it really reminded me of The Killing Joke and, inparticular, a Death in the Family. Of course there are some MASSIVE differences but just in the tone of the performance I though Heath really caught what the Joker was about. I just found JNs Joker a bit dull.

I have to admit though that you're right about the majority of fans loving Jack Nicholson's version. But then I have funny tastes (just ask Tea) I even like the poodle scene in The Hulk!!
Orphix - 3/14/2011, 2:18 PM
Though I don't want to turn it into a Ledger Vs Nicholson thing cos i always disliked Nicholsons Joker WAY before The Dark Knight came out.
ultimatefan1974 - 3/14/2011, 2:20 PM
The Killing Joke was 450% more Heath. His philosophy, his point of view about the world, is totally taken from the Alan Moore graphic novel. His lines about moral codes being a joke, civilized people eating each other, living without rules being the only sensible way, being an agent of chaos, they could have almost being ripped off the pages of TKJ, even the subplot about driving Harvey mad was inspired by his attempt to drive Gordon insane in the GN.
manymade1 - 3/14/2011, 3:09 PM
@ Orphix Please excuse me for getting in this conversation, but Ledgers, joker was more based off the original Homicidal Joker, than any thing. Though he did have some elements, of Killing Joke in him, as that was his "Bible" when he was preparing, Nolan mainly focused on the Jokers less playful more maniac, homicide self. In fact Nolan based some of it off of the Joker, and Batmans first battle.
CraptainAmerica - 3/14/2011, 3:10 PM
DeVito, Nicholson, Clarke Duncan & Grammer were perfect for me! Ok so Kelsey's flimsy arms and lacklustre costume ruined it for me but he was great in the role! Maguire was a great geeky Spiderman. He lived up to the part! If Carrey had have played the Joker how he played Edward Nigma then he'd have been perfect...but in a Schumacher Batman movie he had no chance (see also Clooney, Kilmer(Schumacher's wet dream) Lee Jones and Thurman). Garner was lazy in her part. And Cage *I just sicked in my mouth* is the worst offender of all of them! Even the casting was wrong let alone the acting! So how he gets a second bite of the cherry I'll never EVER understand
ultimatefan1974 - 3/14/2011, 4:35 PM
The Heath Joker does cruel things with playfullness too, such as the pencil magic trick, using the school bus in the bank robbery, the circus truck with the slaughter pun, he just didn´t do killing electric buzz and other things that became cliché about the character over the years. If enjoying the wind out of the police car window after he blew up a police district and Rachel and disfigured Harvey isn´t the relish of enjoying his own insanity, nothing is. Nicholson´s Joker didn´t have Moore´s Joker´s nihilism, the belief that life in itself is a tragic, meaningless joke, and that insanity is the only real answer.
ultimatefan1974 - 3/14/2011, 4:42 PM
Nicholson´s Joker was more wicked, flamboyantly evil, more like the Joker from the seventies, than the nihilistic, almost punk rock-like philosopher of insanity and chaos that Moore portrays. His Joker sees the darkness deep down everything, even the hero, and toys with it, just like Heath´s joker. NIcholson´s is more like Joker from the seventies, with a touch of Cesar Romero´s goofiness.

Nolan combined Moore´s nihilistic Joker with the unstoppable serial killer mastermind from the early appearances of the character, and the "psycho-terrorist" who throws Gotham into a wave of panic and chaos from Ed Brubaker´s The Man Who Laughs
ultimatefan1974 - 3/14/2011, 5:02 PM
Complaining about things being overrated is the most overused and boring internet message board stuff. Everything from Citizen Kane to Apocalypse Now to Taxi Driver gets called overrated, it´s just the easiest, cheapest way for message boarders to make themselves look "cooler" or "smarter" than others. You can like or dislike whatever you want, but TDK and Ledger´s performance have achieved a very significant cultural resonance. It´s a fact, and all you can do is live with it.
ultimatefan1974 - 3/14/2011, 6:14 PM
I don´t know your opinion because you didn´t state it in any elaborate, thoughtful, or interesting way, you just did the exact cliché internet comment that at best doesn´t add anything to the discussion and, at worst, starts flame wars,it may have come off as a poor attempt at being rebeliious, even if it wasn´t your intent, because it´s exactly how it was articulated.
Dumegg - 3/14/2011, 6:18 PM
i heard the hype about ledger's joker proformance before
i saw the movie. after i saw it i thought he did a good job, but I dont think it was as incredible as some say.
soundwave129 - 3/14/2011, 6:22 PM
God, what's wrong with you?
Grammer= Great
Farrel= Great
Duncan= Great
Nicholson= Great
McGuire= Great
ultimatefan1974 - 3/14/2011, 6:55 PM
To put my money where my mouth is, let me explain, much as I can in this format, why I think Ledger´s praise is earned. It was a totally immersive, and bold performance. I didn´t recognize him, and it wasn´t just make up. Nicholson wore make up, and I could tell it was him from a mile away. I t was his voice, his expressions, his body language, he became someone else entirely, and that´s what acting is all about. And he wasn´t afraid to go real dark, to portray a demon who could see the darkness in everything, to enjoy it and exploit it, who could do the cruelest things and shamelessly savor them, who could push the heroes to their own dark edge and force them to impossible choices, or even all the way into darkness, and all that in a summer popcotn blockbuster. If that´s not challenging, envelope-pushing acting, nothing is.
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