In case you didn't notice, superheroes are now the biggest part of Hollywood today and there are those who will handle the properties well and those who won't. Many times, this leads to casting choices that just feel... wrong. We've all experienced a time where a name was announced for a character and we all shook our heads (Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, anyone?). It's an unfortunate reality of a big genre of media. However, there are moments where a director will cast someone in a role that they don't seem fit for, but after they've been on screen, fans are singing a different tune. These moments showcase how good some of these actors can be, as many roles have been defined from people we never would've thought would be good in their roles.
It's an impressive feat, to say the least. These roles were up in the air when the names were announced, but never have we been more glad to be wrong. Read on to know our 15 picks for insanely bad superhero casting choices that actually worked out for the better. You may disagree with our choices, and if that's the case, feel free to comment above which actors/roles you would've liked to see here.
15 BEN AFFLECK - BATMAN
There are tons of people who have played the Dark Knight over the years, but of all the choices for the DCEU interpretation, Ben Affleck was not on the top of our list. As a matter of fact, when the decision was announced, there were tons of people who went to the Internet to express their displeasure. Even we were a bit skeptical.
It came as a surprise, then, that Ben Affleck completely nailed his role in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. While the movie certainly has its problems, Affleck's Batman is certainly not one of them. We easily got the sense that he was jaded and scarred from war. We believed his hatred of Superman and we bought that he was a brutal and broken Caped Crusader.
14 CHRIS EVANS - CAPTAIN AMERICA
Chris Evans doesn't play morally upright characters (or at least, he didn't). Before his work in the MCU as Captain America, he starred in films where he was generally the bad boy biker (like in the Fantastic Four films). There was a lot of hesitation when Marvel stated that he would be leading their new team as the Star-Spangled Avenger.
Fast forward to Captain America: The First Avenger, and we couldn't have imagined a better fit for the role. He even got better as time went on, further defining the character in The Winter Soldier and Civil War. We've followed his journey from being a really small guy with a big heart, and now we're ready to see him fight his way to (and, hopefully, through) Thanos in Infinity War.
13 GRANT GUSTIN - THE FLASH
Grant Gustin wasn't a big name before his time on The Flash. He was mostly relegated to minor roles in various TV shows, but his biggest part had to be the jerk, Sebastian Smythe, in the musical series Glee. It was there that he got to express his petty drama chops. The Flash, on the other hand, is a dimensional character full of quirks and PTSD -- there's no way Gustin would be able to pull it off.
Once again, we were wrong. Grant Gustin as Barry Allen proved to be heartwarming and believable. We cried with him when he chose not to save his mom. We wanted justice with him when he tried to take down the Reverse-Flash. If only he could do better when portraying other versions of himself (that future Barry was particularly painful to watch).
12 JENNIFER LAWRENCE - MYSTIQUE
Remember a time before The Hunger Games when Jennifer Lawrence wasn't that big of an actress? Neither do we. While becoming big as the girl who played Katniss Everdeen, she also took over the role of Mystique in X-Men: First Class, a prequel reboot of the franchise.
However, without much experience in that type of role, many of us weren't sure that she would be able to pull it off. Thankfully, Lawrence perfectly communicated a conflicted and oppressed mutant girl who would easily turn to Magneto's Brotherhood. She did even better in Days of Future Past where she tried to assassinate the programmer of the Sentinels. Unfortunately, her performance faltered a bit when she was given generic material in X-Men: Apocalypse.
11 HEATH LEDGER - THE JOKER
Heath Ledger was a very popular guy among the young women of the time. He was attractive, confident and a very fine and accomplished actor. He had great roles in 10 Things I Hate About You as well as A Knight's Tale. While he did well in these positions, many people were convinced that he would do a poor job as The Joker in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.
Oh, man, were we wrong. Despite Ledger being a different interpretation of the character that wasn't attempted before, he brought his A-game to the table. Never before have we been treated to a more iconic Joker than Ledger. He was insane, he was chaotic, he was the embodiment of anarchy and stood as the perfect counter to Bale's Batman. And he won posthumously won an Oscar for his work.
10 VIN DIESEL - GROOT
Piggybacking off of Guardians of the Galaxy, we were also a little worried about Vin Diesel being cast as a literal tree. He is a big actor and brings a certain presence every time he's on screen, and walling him behind CGI made for an interesting setting.
We'd never believe it had we not seen it, but Vin Diesel effectively plays a character who says only four different words in the movie ( he can say "we" after all). Better yet is the fact that they used him again to record entirely new dialogue for the second film (despite saying the same words) and distorting it to properly reflect the fact that he was a baby this time around. We have to praise Diesel for going with the flow and being willing to play such an oddball character.
9 JAI COURTNEY - CAPTAIN BOOMERANG
We'll get this out of the way. Suicide Squad isn't a very good film. On top of that, Jai Courtney isn't a great actor either. His work on Terminator: Genisys as well as the Divergent series made us sure that we didn't want to see him in any movie in the foreseeable future. Yet, his name was given to David Ayer and he was cast as Captain Boomerang.
Despite the problems of Suicide Squad, Jai Courtney actually gives a good performance. He's a sleazy yet comical bad guy that genuinely got a few laughs out of us. While he wasn't utilized perfectly in the film, we would love to see him return for the upcoming Flashpoint movie and play off of Ezra Miller's jovial Flash.
8 ANDREW GARFIELD - SPIDER-MAN
Notice how we stated "Spider-Man" in this entry and not "Peter Parker." The point here is that Andrew Garfield is a cool guy and good looking. Many people believed that he wouldn't make a good Peter Parker because of these factors, and they were right (why in the world would Peter Parker have a skateboard?). When it comes to him putting on the suit, though, that's a whole different story.
While it took him a minute to fully get into the swing of things (intentional pun) in The Amazing Spider-Man, he perfected the character in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Having a lot of clever jokes unlike Tobey Maguire's performance, Andrew Garfield was fun to watch when he was running around New York. He was eventually toppled by Tom Holland in the unofficial rankings of Spider-Men, though.
7 WENTWORTH MILLER - CAPTAIN COLD
Wentworth Miller is an actor who was largely known for one role: the heroic and selfless Michael Scofield on Prison Break. He practically held that show together, but it was his intelligent charm and consistency to help those in need that had us on board with him the entire time. The CW eventually picked up on him for The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, but this time, he was supposed to play a villain.
As we're happy to report, Miller's Captain Cold was easily one of the best parts about season one of both of the shows that he starred in. He's not around as much anymore, but he is still used in the Arrowverse from time to time. His subtle charm and honesty drew us closer to his character. He even got a chance to prove his worth by becoming a hero in the end.
6 DAVE BAUTISTA - DRAX THE DESTROYER
There are several times where people bring in wrestlers to big budget movies as a way of pandering to audiences. It rarely signifies a good thing, and that's why we hedged a little when it was announced that Dave Bautista would be playing Drax the Destroyer in an already experimental film by Marvel Cinematic Universe standards -- Guardians of the Galaxy.
As we've come to find out, James Gunn knew what he was doing. Bautista not only proved to bring the right physique to the role, but communicated the right amount of humor, heart and emotion that we've come to expect from Drax the Destroyer. He wasn't used as well in the sequel film, but we still had a lot of fun watching him interact with the other Guardians.
5 PETER DINKLAGE - BOLIVAR TRASK
Peter Dinklage is a great actor, but most of his roles revolve around his stature. In Elf, the entire reason he was there was so a joke could be made about his size. This occurs regardless of how good he is in the role he plays.
Thankfully, Bryan Singer didn't go this route in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Dinklage was cast as the interim villain, Bolivar Trask, who was being targeted by Mystique. After nearly being killed by mutants, he moves forward with the production of his Sentinels quicker than normal, and we perfectly understand why he does what he does. He fears the mutants and decides to take reasonable action, which is more than what most do in the face of perceived danger.
4 JAMES FRANCO - HARRY OSBORN
James Franco is more of a dark comedy kind of guy and less likely to want to star in a blockbuster superhero movie. Appearing in films like The Interview and Spring Breakers (though that happened much later in his career), he built up a standard image for himself. Before Spider-Man, he didn't have a lot of credit to his name, and many people didn't even know who he was.
That said, he brought a lot of heart to the role of Harry Osborn. Portraying the best friend of Peter Parker but a hater of Spider-Man isn't an easy thing to do, but Franco nails it. He also holds an arc throughout Sam Raimi's trilogy, and we're glad to have seen it go all the way to the end.
3 GAL GADOT - WONDER WOMAN
Gal Gadot is mostly known for being a model. When you bring a model to the Hollywood world, it doesn't always go well. Yet, for the case of the DCEU, it was one of the best choices they could've made. No matter how skinny Gal Gadot looked as the Amazonian princess in comparison to her stature in the source material, we're fully on board with her interpretation.
Gal Gadot not only holds the best DCEU movie to date, she held that entire story from start to finish. Perfectly conveying the naivety of Wonder Woman in a new world, we can get behind her performance. She was also one of the best parts about Batman V Superman. We're excited to see where the character goes from here, and as long as Gal Gadot is on board, so are we.
2 JOSH SEGARRA - PROMETHEUS
For a lot of shows, producers seem to tap into talent that hasn't been fully realized yet. Take Josh Segarra, for example. His credits revolved around Sirens, The Electric Company and the movie, Trainwreck. Not exactly the greatest portfolio to give to potential employers. Yet, he was the one chosen to be Arrow's main antagonist for season five, Prometheus.
There was much reservation at first, but not only did Segarra give off a great performance, he nailed it from start to finish. Although the costume wasn't what comic fans were expecting, he effectively portrayed an insane man hell-bent on getting revenge for his father. He was appropriately creepy and very Joker-like in execution. He taunted Oliver, he laughed in the face of adversity and in the end he, and the audience, won.
1 MICHAEL KEATON - BATMAN
Finally, we have to address the pinnacle of actors who didn't seem like a good fit for the character at first: Michael Keaton. He wasn't exactly known for playing dark and brooding characters. Yet, after his performance in Batman and Batman Returns, there were plenty of people that felt he was the best Batman on screen (some still believe that today).
Michael Keaton effectively conveys that playboy side of Bruce Wayne while still being imposing enough to make the audience believe he would totally fight crime dressed as a bat at night. He doesn't change his voice as much as Christian Bale did in the Nolan films, but it's more than enough to get the job done effectively. Going up against Jack Nicholson on screen, we'll always remember Keaton's work.
Which of these castings was the biggest surprise? Let us know in the comments!