With great power, comes great responsibility. We’ve seen quite a few different live action versions of Spider-Man. He had humble beginnings on television during the ‘70s, but once Sam Raimi partnered with Sony we got our first cinematic wall-crawler. And then Andrew Garfield in 2012 before Sony and Marvel partnered together to bring Tom Holland’s version of the character to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These three different versions all have different strengths in playing the role, with fans ultimately divided on the definitive version of the hero. With a whole host of villains, love interests, friends and mentors -- the Spider-Man has plenty to deal with. But some of the best performances actually come from the characters that surround Peter.
Each cinematic Spidey has a fantastic array of actors and actresses around them in their films. But with such talent behind them, also comes some pretty large mistakes. Some of these actors have some shameful roles in their back catalogue. It’s extremely surprising since we know the type of performances they’re capable of. It’s almost quite funny seeing how far these actors have come in contrast to their roles with one of the most famous heroes around. From Maguire to Downey Jr., here are 15 embarrassing roles of Spider-Man actors.
15 TOBEY MAGUIRE IN CATS & DOGS
Before Spider-Man was part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he was brought to life by Sony and Sam Raimi in the form of Tobey Maguire. But as well as being Peter Parker, Maguire has also played another animal-based hero, a beagle. No we’re not joking. He voiced Lou the Beagle in the first Cats & Dogs film in 2001.
It turns out that Dogs have been at war with Cats for thousands of years, all the way back to Ancient Egypt. And there’s two warring spy agencies for each species. Lou becomes part of the Dog agents. It’s silly, bizarre and Tobey Maguire’s voice on top of a dog just seems extremely weird. Sorry Tobey, but we preferred you as Peter Parker over a dog, it’s more plausible than a Dog secret spy anyway. Sort of.
14 KIRSTEN DUNST IN THE CROW: SALVATION
Direct to video. Three words that signify a film may not be so good. Well, The Crow: Salvation is definitely not very good whatsoever. Unfortunately, Mary Jane Watson wasn’t the first superheroic movie role that Kirsten Dunst had taken on. In 2000 she played Erin Randall in The Crow: Salvation opposite Eric Mabius.
Across the course of the film, Erin is kidnapped, attacked, finds her father has committed suicide, has her mouth literally sewn shut and also helps electrocute a man to death. Wow. It’s not exactly the greatest performance from Dunst, with the chemistry between the actress and Mabius feeling very weak in comparison to the relationship with Peter Parker. Well, at least The Crow: Salvation was direct to video, so she wasn’t too embarrassed with a wide theatrical release.
13 JAMES FRANCO IN THE WICKER MAN
Creepy parental figures, villainous costumes and absolute madness. Surprisingly, those descriptions work for both Spider-Man and the 2006 remake of The Wicker Man. The film itself has descended into infamy, with many fans seeing it as a comedy rather than a horror flick. But surprisingly, Harry Osborn himself makes an appearance towards the end of the film.
After the sisters of a mysterious island make a sacrifice out of Nicholas Cage (“NOT THE BEES!”) they begin looking for their next victims. When they enter a bar, who do they find but off-duty cop James Franco. It’s a bizarre cameo considering the actor was already well established by this point. But still, it seems the sisters want some Osborn blood in their next sacrifice! Best get on that Goblin Glider quickly, James.
12 WILLEM DAFOE IN MR. BEAN’S HOLIDAY
Willem Dafoe is one of the most underrated actors of his generation. He’s brought some incredible performances to the screen over the course of his career. And say what you will about the Green Goblin costume, Dafoe brought Norman Osborn’s villainous persona to a terrifying new level. Do you want to know what’s equally terrifying? The fact that Dafoe plays a role in the abysmal Mr. Bean’s Holiday.
Mr. Bean accidentally walks into a film shoot by director Carson Clay, played by Dafoe. And even ends up blowing the shoot up in an explosion, obviously. But it’s Dafoe’s performance that’s bizarre, it’s like he’s not even there when he’s reading his lines. He looks dead behind the eyes. Maybe he was running on autopilot. Regardless, we don’t think Dafoe will be remembering this as one of his best performances.
11 ANDREW GARFIELD IN THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS
Isn’t that one of the strangest titles you’ve ever read? Well, it’s fitting because the film itself is completely insane. It involves alternate dimensions, different interpretations of characters, immortality and the devil. Just a well-rounded mix of themes really. Oh, did we mention that Andrew Garfield crossdresses as a curvy woman complete with wig?
Yeah that happened. It’s a far cry away from the gritty reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man which catapulted Garfield onto an international platform. Another costume we see the pre-Peter Parker actor dressed in looks like a cross between a medieval soldier and the Jay Garrick Flash helmet. We’re not saying that Terry Gillam’s mind-bending cinematic trip is a bad film, but it’s unbelievably weird, okay. Look at the positives, at least it shows the range of performances that Andrew Garfield can give…
10 JON FAVREAU IN G-FORCE
What is it about children’s movies and making animals into super spies? It’s a very bizarre idea but seems to re-emerge every few years. 2011’s animalistic spy adventure was G-Force. Guinea Pigs that happened to be special agents, obviously. Oh dear. Well, Happy Hogan has his own special role in the film.
Favreau plays Hurley, a rookie FBI agent who slowly becomes part of the team by the end of the film. We just don’t get this one. Favreau’s a comedic actor, and there are far better roles for his talent than a Guinea Pig. We’re disappointed, Happy. Why on earth do the FBI have a Guinea Pig unit? Stupid. We know it’s a children’s film, but come on. Next they’ll be crossing it over with Cats & Dogs. Animal Spiesverse? Don’t get any ideas, Disney.
9 ROBERT DOWNEY JR. IN DUE DATE
When Marvel took a risk and cast Robert Downey Jr. as the charismatic Tony Stark, who knew that it would’ve propelled the actor into a global stratosphere of fame? It opened the doors for Downey, with many roles becoming open to him almost immediately after the release of Iron Man. One of those roles, unfortunately, was Due Date.
It’s a road trip movie partnering the actor with Zach Galifianakis. But the comedy that the film goes for just doesn’t work. If anything, it feels like The Hangover, but without the actual fun and originality of that film. Due Date doesn’t give Downey much to play with, considering all he does is argue with Galifianakis throughout the film. It’s a shame, because we all know what Downey is capable of. Let’s just forget it ever happened.
8 RHYS IFANS IN GARFIELD: A TAIL OF TWO KITTIES
The Welsh actor went from voicing an animal, to playing one. In 2006, Rhys Ifans joined the cast of Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. For some reason (probably money), the studio behind the original Garfield movie felt like there was enough of an audience for a sequel. And this is what we were given, another poor comedy involving a CGI cat. But this time, there are more animals! Yay.
Ifans voices McBunny. Yes, that’s really the characters’ name. No, it’s not an advert for McDonalds. He’s not really given much to do in the film, but then again, there’s not a lot of scope for wildly interesting things when voicing a rabbit. He did get to play around with his animalistic tendencies when played The Lizard during The Amazing Spider-Man though. So it wasn’t all wasted. Aside from our time when we watched the Garfield sequel, of course.
7 JAMIE FOXX IN RIO
Jamie Foxx is one of the coolest actors in Hollywood, no doubt about it. And although his performance as Electro during The Amazing Spider-Man 2 wasn’t brilliantly received by critics, it’s a lot better than the role he voiced during Rio and Rio 2.
The animated film focuses on a Macaw named Blu who falls in love and has to escape from a smuggler. Foxx voices one of the supporting characters, Nico. The yellow bird with a passion for samba. Wow. Edgy. It’s one Foxx’s worst performances, but we’re just thankful it was only his voice and not a physical performance. Oh, and he has a bottle top to use as a tambourine when he’s dancing. We’re really not keen. Why waste an actor like Jamie Foxx on a silly role like that? Such a shame.
6 EMMA STONE IN THE HOUSE BUNNY
What if a Playboy Bunny was in charge of a sorority house? That’s the entire premise of the film, and it’s terrible. Sorry, but it’s just a very bad film. Terrible writing, awful storyline and poorly timed comedic moments. Oh, Emma Stone, what were you thinking? Surprisingly, her role in the film isn’t so bad, playing a dorky student who learns to love herself for who she is.
It’s not such a bad character arc. It’s just a shame that we have to sit through idiotic sex jokes and misogynistic views about women. Sure, there’s an emotional core to it in places, but the whole thing just feels like an advert for Playboy rather than female empowerment. It’s a below average rom-com, and not something Stone should brag about in her repertoire. After all, if it’s drama and romcoms you’re after -- there are much better examples starring the actress.
5 MARTIN SHEEN IN SPAWN
Remember the wild R-rated Spawn movie where Spawn was taken to hell and the CGI was unbearably poor? The film where the terrifyingly evil Malebolgia and his army of demons looked like incredibly average video game graphics? Those were the days. And the only reason we got to see the birth of Spawn, was because Martin Sheen murdered Al Simmons.
Sheen plays the incredibly cheesy villain of the movie, Jason Wynn. He spends most of his time reading from the stereotypical bad guy script. He wants to blow the world up and generally just cause all manner of nastiness. Why? Well, why not? Because there’s legitimately no reason given for his evil nature whatsoever. It’s a cut and paste performance from Sheen. He could’ve done so much better. With great power…
4 MICHAEL KEATON IN MINIONS
Look, we’ll just come right out and say it. We hate Minions. They’re annoying, stupid and not at all funny. We just don’t understand the hype whatsoever. But what’s even more confusing is that they were given their own solo movie. And just to further confuse us, they managed to coerce Michael Keaton into having a role.
Now we’re not saying he was forced against his will to be a part of the movie, but since he’s well known for giving Oscar-worthy performances (we’re looking at you, Birdman) it seems incredibly bizarre for him to star in a film like this. Just look at how he brought The Vulture to life! A once silly character was given a grounded sense of relatability. But yeah, Michael Keaton played Walter Nelson. Go on, complement his performance. We dare you.
3 ALFRED MOLINA IN THE PINK PANTHER 2
Who thought that a villain like Doctor Octopus could be brought to live action on the big screen in a believable realistic way? And with Alfred Molina portraying the scientist, Sam Raimi was onto a winner. The villainous choice was one of the reasons why Spider-Man 2 is highly regarded as one of the best comic book movies ever made. But what about the time Otto wore a pink tutu?
Okay, to clarify, Alfred Molina starred in The Pink Panther 2 alongside Steve Martin. And as a bet that Molina’s character lost in the film, he had to wear a pink tutu for a day. It’s a huge contrast going from the genuinely captivating villain of Otto Octavius to the tutu-wearing Detective. It’s just one of many things in The Pink Panther 2 that makes us wish the film never existed. Poor Doc Ock.
2 DONALD GLOVER IN THE MUPPETS
Also known as Childish Gambino, the world is currently Donald Glover’s oyster. He can pretty much take on any project he wants. And whilst The Muppets Movie came out in 2011 before Glover’s film career really took off, he was already a huge figure in television. Maybe The Muppets was just something he’d always wanted to do, but his role is a bit odd.
By the time he cameoed in the film, he had already established himself as a talented actor on television, so why did he just take a tiny cameo as a junior executive in the film? It seems completely out of place with the rest of his career since he can give an impressive performance. Since he’s just appeared as a pre-Prowler Aaron Davis and he’ll be starring as Lando Calrissian pretty soon, we doubt he’ll be bragging about his role in The Muppets any time soon.
1 MARISA TOMEI IN THE TOXIC AVENGER
Long before there was even plans for a Marvel Cinematic Universe or even many of the comic book movies we have today, there were other types of superhero movies. One of which, was the infamous B-movie, The Toxic Avenger. Featuring a janitor who fell into a drum of toxic waste giving him super strength, the film also starred none other than Aunt May herself, Marisa Tomei.
She has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance during the locker room chase, as Toxie attacks Julie. She walks into the changing rooms, screaming as she sees the hideously deformed hero. Little did she know back then that it wouldn’t be her first run in with a superhero, as her Aunt May was like a big sister to Peter in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Which of these roles is the most embarrassing to you? Let us know in the comments!