It’s safe to assume that anyone who has stepped foot inside a cinema is aware of how much Marvel is dominating the industry. But it’s not just the big screen that the studio commands, thanks to its partnership with streaming platform Netflix. Kicking things off with the release of Daredevil in 2015 and continuing on with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, the juggernaut brands soon built a world revolving around several of Marvel’s superheroes. In 2017, the characters were able to come together in The Defenders, a team-up which acts as the television equivalent of the slightly more larger-than-life Avengers.
With all of those titles already out there and others such as The Punisher in the pipeline, it’s easy to see why Marvel TV is successful. But while that could be down to the perfect pairing of Marvel and Netflix; it’s also down to great writing, direction and most of all, acting. With its few exceptions ignored in this instance, the Marvel TV world has filled itself with performers that bring their characters to life wonderfully; be it Charlie Cox as blind ninja Daredevil or Krysten Ritter as brash private investigator Jessica Jones. But even the best actors find themselves slipping up before their break.
15. FINN JONES IN SLEEPING BEAUTY
Some fairy tales have been done to death and Sleeping Beauty is no exception. Since Charles Perrault’s classic was published in 1528 and the Grimm Brothers adapted it years later, fans have been treated to enjoyable outings such as Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent, as well as Germany’s 1955 retelling. But there have been several other films, surrounding the snoozing princess, that have somewhat tarnished the original story and Casper Van Dien’s is among the worst.
The film went straight-to-DVD in the US and Japan in 2014 and received its only cinematic release in South Korea. It stars Iron Fist‘s Finn Jones as Barrow — the trusted aid of Prince Jayson — who learns of a cursed kingdom and sets about freeing it from an evil sorceress. Not only does it not focus on the titular character, the performances across the board — Jones included — are pretty dreadful.
14. VINCENT D’ONOFRIO IN EMERALD CITY
Shortly after Vincent D’Onofrio played Wilson ‘Kingpin’ Fisk in the first season of Daredevil, he signed on for NBC fantasy drama Emerald City. Unsurprisingly, given its title, the show was based on The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum and also starred Joely Richardson and True Detective‘s Adria Arjona.
The latter was charged with playing Glinda while D’Onofrio played Frank Morgan — aka the Wizard — but unfortunately, neither character was particularly likable. For instance, the show starts with Morgan trying to transport himself and three of his colleagues to Oz (but he accidentally kills one of them in the process) and things never really got lighter from there! While he might not have been great in it, we blame the show itself for making D’Onofrio look bad, rather than his performance. It’s overall shoddiness was proven by the fact that it was cancelled after just one season.
13. SIGOURNEY WEAVER IN THE ASSIGNMENT
In 2017, Oscar-nominated actor Sigourney Weaver appeared as the villainous Alexandra in the eagerly-anticipated superhero series The Defenders. One year earlier, Weaver appeared as the villainous Doctor Rachel Jane in crime thriller The Assignment; a film that, quite frankly, never should have made it past the pitch.
It revolves around a male assassin, who becomes the target of Weaver’s disturbed surgeon after he kills her brother. Seeking revenge — and curious as to how much physical identity means to a person — Jane has the hitman captured and performs gender reassignment surgery on him. Cue Michelle Rodriguez and a character that is so horrified by his new appearance that he goes on a murderous spree to eradicate everyone involved in the procedure. Before the film was even released, it faced huge backlash, particularly from the LGBT community, who quite rightly labelled it ridiculous and ‘transphobic’. We can’t help but agree.
12. CHARLIE COX IN EAT LOCALS
While Eat Locals hasn’t actually set a US release date yet, it landed in UK cinemas in September of 2017. Despite its relatively well-known cast — which boasts names such as Underworld: Evolution‘s Tony Curran, Dexter Fletcher from Kick-Ass and Sense8‘s Freema Agyeman — the movie received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics (and just so happens to feature one of Charlie Cox’s most cringe-worthy roles too).
If you haven’t already guessed, Eat Locals centers on eight vampire leaders, who meet in a secluded country farmhouse to hold their latest, semi-centennial meeting. Only, there’s a team of vampire killers onto them this time. Now, Cox — who plays one of the blood-suckers — isn’t necessarily bad. It’s just that, he’s not really given all that much to do and next to charismatic performers like Fletcher and Curran, he pales in comparison (and it’s not just because of the vampire make-up).
11. ROSARIO DAWSON IN UNFORGETTABLE
Unlike a lot of career mishaps of the actors in this list, Rosario Dawson’s most embarrassing role to date was in one of her more recent films: Unforgettable. Released in April 2017, it sees Dawson star as Julia Banks, a woman who becomes increasingly harassed by her new husband’s ex-wife (played by Katherine Heigl).
It’s as silly as it sounds and woefully plays on the age-old trope that middle-aged women can’t cope with separation and all go a little crazy when their former partner moves on. Questionable themes and plot drivers don’t stop there either. Abusive relationships are explored simply to up the thrill-factor while mental health issues are paralleled with violent villainy. Every performance is weak with Dawson’s — in all fairness — probably being the best of a bad, bad bunch. But even she couldn’t elevate the film’s gimmicky script or TV-movie-quality.
10. RACHAEL TAYLOR IN THE DARKEST HOUR
Before Jessica Jones, Rachael Taylor has had a bit of a tough time when it comes to landing roles in well-received shows. Prior to playing Jones’ best friend Trish Walker on the hit series, Taylor appeared in headLand, an Australian drama that was dropped after 52 episodes, Charlie’s Angels, Crisis and 666 Park Avenue — all of which were cancelled before their first seasons had even finished airing.
However, Taylor did her best with the material, which is why none of her roles on those respective shows have made it onto this list. Instead, we’re looking at her performance in abysmal sci-fi thriller The Darkest Hour. In it, her character teams up with others to try and thwart an alien race’s plans to eradicate humans. Spoiler alert: She doesn’t make it to the final act, which you could argue is a good thing.
9. CARRIE-ANNE MOSS IN SILENT HILL: REVELATION
Big screen adaptations based on video games are always tricky to pull off. When it was released in 2006, Silent Hill was praised for its visuals but simultaneously slammed for lacking depth. The reception to its 2012 sequel Silent Hill: Revelation was even bleaker and regrettably, Jessica Jones‘ Carrie-Anne Moss was one of its stars.
The film follows teenager Heather (Adelaide Clemons), who learns that she’s unknowingly been living under a false identity on the eve of her 18th birthday. As a result, she finds herself drawn to a nightmarish fantasy world; a place where her adoptive mother is being held hostage by a cult. Moss plays the cult’s leader Claudia but her character doesn’t make half the impact it should have. Villainous humans make way for murderous monsters and predictable retreads this time round and while it might shock at the time, it’s far from memorable.
8. DAVID TENNANT IN ST TRINIANS 2: THE LEGEND OF FRITTON’S GOLD
There’s no denying that David Tennant is a serious thespian. The Scottish actor has appeared in many successful and diverse titles including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Broadchurch and Doctor Who. Not to mention how fantastically menacing he is as manipulative baddie Kilgrave in Jessica Jones. But even he’s made a few mistakes when it comes to selecting roles; his most questionable being villain Captain Lord Pomfrey in St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold.
The film itself centers on the titular schoolgirls who set out on a hunt for buried treasure after discovering their headmistress (played by Rupert Everett) is the descendant of a famous pirate. Pomfrey wants to get his hands on it before they do. While the first installment managed to avoid being a complete disaster thanks to performances from Colin Firth, Lena Headey and Gemma Arterton, everything in the sequel is pantomime-like; including Tennant.
7. ELODIE YUNG IN GODS OF EGYPT
Look, Gods of Egypt is a mess. Because of that, it was unlikely that any actor in it was going to deliver a stellar performance, so Elodie Yung shouldn’t feel too terrible that her portrayal of Hathor landed her on this list. Described as ‘utter nonsense’ by critics, Gods of Egypt sees the ancient country descended into chaos when ruthless deity Set (Gerard Butler) steals the throne from former ruler Osiris. It closely follows Bek (Brenton Thwaites), a mortal who allies himself with god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in order to take down Egypt’s oppressor.
Yung’s Hathor is the lover of Horus and despite being a god herself, she doesn’t really do all that much. In one scene, she does end up saving Horus but all of her efforts lead her to sacrificing herself for the others and while honorable, is miles away from her awesome, butt-kicking stint as Elektra.
6. ELDEN HENSON IN THE MIGHTY DUCKS TRILOGY
We’re going out on a limb with this one as the Mighty Ducks trilogy is beloved by a generation that grew up on it in the ’90s, but we just couldn’t construct this list without mentioning Elden Henson’s portrayal of Fulton Reed. If you’re feeling a little FOGGY on the plot of The Mighty Ducks and its sequels, the first film follows a self-centered lawyer (Emilio Estevez) as he sets about coaching a team of young, misfit hockey players as part of his community service sentence.
The follow-ups detail their ongoing success within the sport. As far as films go, they’re not great but Henson does fare as well as he could have given the predictable material. He had presence despite being part of a huge ensemble casts but this kind of outing would never be regarded as your best work when you’ve gone on to have further success.
5. JON BERNTHAL IN BAR STARZ
Jon Bernthal’s performance as Frank Castle — aka the Punisher — in Daredevil’s second season was so well-received, it inspired Marvel and Netflix to commission his very own standalone show. His acting talents were hardly a surprise, mind you, considering he’d previously shone in apocalyptic drama The Walking Dead and movies such as Fury and Sicario.
That’s not to say he hasn’t appeared in some stinkers though; he did appear in the 2008 film Bar Starz. The film centers on two friends who enter into a competition to join the local club crew known as the “Bar Starz”. You see, the Bar Starz are the coolest group around — (or so we’re told) — and can get into nightclub with ease. Bernthal plays leader Donnie and the character is beyond caricature-like. Okay, so it’s meant to be a comedy but that still doesn’t mean Bernthal should have entertained this drivel.
4. JESSICA STROUP IN PROM NIGHT
Prom Night (2008) was inspired by the 1980 film of the same name (which starred scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis, no less) and follows Donna, a high school senior who tries to forget her grisly, bloody past in order to enjoy the last time her and her friends will be together. The only problem is, her past doesn’t share the same sentiment and soon she finds herself — and her friends — terrorized by the man who killed her parents a few years prior (and he’s not keen on letting her go this time).
Yes, it’s as hammy as it sounds and not one performer among the cast delivers a noteworthy performance, despite the fact the film boasts decent actors such as Brittany Snow and Idris Elba. All Stroup gets to do is argue with her onscreen boyfriend and get murdered halfway through too. Hardly memorable stuff.
3. SCOTT GLENN IN SUCKER PUNCH
Before its release, Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch looked like it was going to be awesome. It promised female heroes, insane special effects and an action-packed plot but all we really got were scantily-clad, unlikable characters and a messy plot. Fortunately, Scott Glenn — who plays Stick in Daredevil and The Defenders — only appeared in Sucker Punch in a supporting capacity but his screen-time is enough for him to feature on this list.
In the film, he portrays Wise Man, a figure who aids protagonist Babydoll (Emily Browning) in her pursuit for freedom within a fantasy world, as her real self attempts to escape a mental institution before an impending lobotomy. He only has one substantial scene but pops up in a couple of others,and while his own performance isn’t terrible, the film itself is so bad, this has to be named as one of his most embarrassing roles.
2. DEBORAH ANN WOLL IN GHOST OF NEW ORLEANS
Not only is Deborah Ann Woll perfectly cast as Matt Murdock’s friend (and sometime love interest) Karen Page, she’s previously wowed in vampire drama series True Blood too. The same can’t be said for her performance in Ghosts of New Orleans, a film that screened at Palm Springs International Film Festival in 2011 (under a different name) but was only released in the US in 2017.
In case you missed it in cinemas — and let’s face it, you probably did — the supernatural thriller centers on disgraced detective Ben Chaney, who resolves to track down the killer of a young cellist when he’s visited by the ghost of the victim. Woll appears in a small role, and credit to her, does the best with the material she’s given but it still doesn’t save the film from being unwatchable.
1. KRYSTEN RITTER IN VAMPS
Having watched her in both Jessica Jones and The Defenders, it’s hard to imagine any other actor doing Jones more justice than Krysten Ritter. She’s also delivered memorable performances in shows such as Don’t Trust The B—- in Apartment 23 and Breaking Bad. But she’s still got a couple of black marks on her filmography and Vamps is definitely one of them.
The campy horror-comedy centers on New York City socialites Stacy (Ritter) and Goody (Alicia Silverstone), who have nothing to worry about other than their love lives. Well, except that they’re also vampires. Early on, it’s established the pair were turned by an ancient vampire queen and if anyone were to kill her, they’d revert back to their real ages; something that will happen when Stacy gets pregnant. Ritter isn’t the only Marvel Netflix actor to appear in Vamps either: Sigourney Weaver plays the blood-sucking queen!
Which of these roles is the most embarrassing to you? Let us know in the comments!
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