The X-Men are responsible for bringing in superhero movies as we know them today. Whether you think that’s a good thing or not, it’s undeniable that without Bryan Singer’s first few X-Men movies, we simply wouldn’t have the majority of comic book movies that we have today. And in those movies are some world class actors, truly some of the best. There’s those that have a long prolific career and others that are just coming into their prime. And because the franchise boasts some incredible well-known names, many of the actors have been working for many years, if not decades.
And like any career, an actor has to start somewhere. It’s fair to say that many of the actors have starred in some absolutely awful films. And some of them have even given some dreadful performances. It’s not that we’re saying they’re bad actors, the X-Men franchise has some of the most entertaining performances in the last few years. Just look at the emotional weight that Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart brought to Logan. But we’re not here to talk about what they’re good at, we’re here to remind you of the roles these actors aren’t proud of. Here are 15 embarrassing roles of X-Men actors they wish you forgot.
15 KEVIN BACON IN HOLLOW MAN
The Footloose actor starred in X-Men: First Class as the villain, Sebastian Shaw, causing havoc across the world and igniting the Cuban Missile Crisis. But before that he’s had a prolific film career. He starred in the science fiction horror flick, Hollow Man. It starts with his character developing a serum that turns him invisible, and then it all goes downhill from there.
Bacon’s character turns insane for some reason and goes on a killing spree in the laboratory he worked at. Did we mention the part where he sneaks out, watches a woman in the shower and then assaults her? Yeah, it’s not exactly family friendly. Plus, the latex mask he wears so his colleagues can see him is undoubtedly creepy. Sidenote, even Josh Brolin’s performance in the film is pretty poor. If that gives you any indication as to how bad Hollow Man is.
14 MICHAEL FASSBENDER IN ASSASSIN’S CREED
Oh Magneto, where did you go so wrong? Michael Fassbender is world renown as a class actor. And his portrayal of a younger, rage filled Erik Lensherr has been praised in each film. Who can forget that forest scene in Apocalypse? But one of Fassbender’s most recent performances is truly terrible.
He plays Callum Lynch in the Assassin’s Creed movie, a character written especially for the film. And Fassbender is boring. It’s like the actor is running on auto-pilot throughout the film aside from one scene where he maniacally starts singing before going in the Animus for some unknown reason. To say that the actor had supported the film right from the get go, he seems completely bored across Assassin’s Creed. Come on Michael, you’re better than that.
13 REBECCA ROMIJN IN ROLLERBALL
Rollerball is a reboot of the 1975 film of the same name, and focuses on a violent new sport that has taken the world by storm. It involves motorbikes, a giant metal ball and all sorts of spiky obstacles to get in the way of players. And unfortunately, the original actress behind Mystique, Rebecca Romijn, has a starring role.
She plays the ‘Aurora the Black Widow’, the romantic interest of the film who’s purely included because she’s an attractive woman. She’s there to raise the stakes for the hero when she nearly dies. And that’s the entire purpose for her. For a film that was originally intended to be used as a social commentary on TV and sports, it became very trashy. Romijn’s performance was disliked so much that she was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for her role… Ouch.
12 JAMES MARSDEN IN HAIRSPRAY
When Bryan Singer brought Cyclops into the Hollywood mainstream during the first X-Men film, it proved that superheroes could be done in a realistic way. And a lot of this was down to the performance of James Marsden, as he conveyed the sensitive side of Scott Summers as well as his confrontational nature perfectly. So where was the depth in Marsden’s acting talents when he starred in the Hairspray musical?
The film saw him play Corny Collins, the host of a dancing show on television in the ‘60s. And although the character’s intentions are great, looking to integrate African-American teens onto the show, Marsden’s performance feels somewhat hollow. His smile and personality seem so obviously fake. Maybe that’s the point for the television show host, but it’s not a high point for James Marsden.
11 JENNIFER LAWRENCE IN THE BEAVER
The Beaver is a very strange film. It stars Mel Gibson as a depressed man who uses a beaver puppet to try and cope with his mental illness, but actually this makes it worse. He becomes estranged from his family, and has a long road to recovery. For the most part, The Beaver is actually a very good film. But Jennifer Lawrence’s role in the film feels completely unneeded.
Her role in the film is to be the romantic interest for Gibson’s son, Porter, played by Anton Yelchin. She’s dealing with her own depression, but her portion of the film feels like an unneeded sub plot that actually distracts from the lead. Yes, she gives some motivation for Porter, but her performance just doesn’t stand out enough for this to be a career making role.
10 HUGH JACKMAN IN MOVIE 43
James Howlett. Logan. The Wolverine. Hugh Jackman brought one of the most iconic superheroes in comic book history to life with such accuracy and energy, he quickly became everyone’s favorite character. But one of his performances could be as famous as Wolverine, but for all the wrong reasons.
Movie 43 shows off a variety of different short comedy sketches as part of one feature length film with many cameos from famous actors. One of those is Hugh Jackman, who goes on a date with Kate Winslet, and she discovers that he’s got a pair of testicles on his chin. What? No seriously! We’re not joking, that’s a real thing. It’s meant to be funny, but it just falls flat because of the toilet humor. Sorry Hugh, but you can do comedy in a better way than that.
9 ROSE BYRNE IN KNOWING
X-Men: First Class reintroduced Moira MacTaggert into the X-Men universe, with Rose Byrne playing the romantic interest for Charles Xavier. But before then, the actress starred in the disaster film, Knowing. If you’re not familiar with the film, a girl writes a set of numbers that predict a set of disasters and then the end of the world. That’s it.
Byrne plays the older version of the girl in a photograph, and the girl’s daughter. But don’t expect an award winning performance from Byrne, it’s actually quite bland. And although we won’t completely ruin the ending, the way her character’s story ends feels like a complete side step from the rest of the film. But then again, the ending of the film is pretty bizarre anyway.
8 PATRICK STEWART IN THE EMOJI MOVIE
It’s undoubtable that Patrick Stewart is one of the finest actors ever to grace our screens. If he’s involved with a project it’s usually a good signifier that the film or TV show has a certain caliber of story, characters and themes. Star Trek, X-Men, his Shakespearean works are all critically acclaimed.
So why on earth did he voice the poop emoji in The Emoji Movie? Oh Sir Pat, why? He spends most of his time making poop jokes in between all the other characters and it’s completely bizarre. What’s even weirder, is that supposedly, Patrick Stewart enjoyed playing the role quite a lot. That baffles us Professor X, it really does. How does he go from an incredibly popular franchise like X-Men to playing Poop. Isn’t that 2017 in a nutshell?
7 FAMKE JANSSEN IN HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS
In the original X-Men trilogy, fans got to see the formidable Jean Grey come to life as Famke Janssen portrayed the red haired mutant. Her performance in the first two X-Men films were highly praised. Let’s skip over The Last Stand for now though. And in the years after her time in the X-Mansion, she’s taken other roles. Unfortunately, her villainous witch in Hansel & Gretel is terrible.
She plays the ‘Grand Witch’ out to sacrifice children so she’ll be immune to fire. It seems like a very specific goal, why not just go for immortality? But anyway, Janssen’s performance is very cheesy. She may as well be in a parody of a Hansel & Gretel film, that’s how bad her ‘Grand Witch’ is. We’re not fans.
6 MORENA BACCARIN IN RODGER DODGER
The Deadpool actress hasn’t had a hugely prolific film career, mainly sticking to television. We all know her from Firefly and now Deadpool, but before then she had an extremely small role in Rodger Dodger, the film famous for bringing Jesse Eisenberg on the scene. But her role is reduced to inflating the ego of the main character.
Her character isn’t even graced with a name. Baccarin is merely credited as ‘girl in the bar’, which about sums it up really. She’s hit on by the main character and he berates her in an attempt to seduce her which backfires completely and she walks away. But the scene feels pointless, all it does is make the audience dislike the lead. Baccarin is given a handful of lines that don’t really lead to anything. It’s a shame with her talent, but she eventually landed the better roles!
5 HALLE BERRY IN THE FLINTSTONES
Remember The Flintstones movie? Halle Berry certainly does, because she played Miss Stone. This is before she took on the role of Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, which helped propel her into the Hollywood stratosphere. But in The Flintstones, she was still trying to prove her worth in the industry.
Unfortunately, her role in The Flintstones didn’t do much. She’s a villainous secretary who plays along with her boss’ plans. But she just doesn’t have anything to do other than be a villain. There’s nothing in her performance that makes her funny or makes the audience care why she’s playing into the scheme. It’s a disappointing portrayal from Berry, who’s usually capable of selling some fantastic roles across her career. It’s probably best we forget about this one.
4 JAMES MCAVOY IN PENELOPE
Yes, even the young Professor X has had the occasional misstep on his way to critical acclaim. James McAvoy’s performances in The Last King of Scotland, Atonement and Split have all garnered praise from critics and audiences alike. But we’ve got a feeling that his role in Penelope is one he’d rather just fade into the distant past.
Back in 2007, McAvoy starred in Penelope, a film about a girl with the ears and nose of a pig. Obviously. McAvoy plays Penelope’s love interest in a plot that becomes convoluted when it turns out he’s not as rich or from a wealthy family. His role feels weak even though he’s one of the leads. It’s a typical rom-com, but McAvoy doesn’t sell his attraction to Christina Ricci’s Penelope in a believable way. It’s probably best just to forget this film ever happened.
3 ELLEN PAGE IN FLATLINERS
We’ve not seen Ellen Page suit up as part of the X-Men since Days of Future Past, and she’s currently out pushing her career in new directions. Unfortunately, one of those directions was the recent remake of Flatliners. It focuses on a group of medical students who allow themselves to die to see what’s beyond death before being resuscitated.
But Ellen Page is horrifically underused in Flatliners. She’s got some incredible acting chops (watch Hard Candy), but here she’s reduced to panicked crying and hysterical confessions. There’s nothing about her character that grabs the audience and allows us to really connect with her, she’s very two dimensional. The rest of the film was also a disappointment so it’s not surprising that the performances weren’t that great. But Kitty Pryde deserved better.
2 IAN MCKELLEN IN THE SHADOW
It seems that both versions of Magneto have performances they’d rather not make much fuss about. In the Alec Baldwin driven adaptation of The Shadow, a descendant of Ghenghis Khan causes the hero some trouble as a telekinetic villain. Okay. But he’s also after a Dr. Reinhardt who can build him a nuclear bomb.
Enter Ian McKellen. Unfortunately, for an actor of such legendary standing, McKellen is a mcguffin throughout the film. He’s the driving force of the film, the thing that all the characters are after. But he certainly won’t be winning any Oscars for this performance, it doesn’t push any boundaries and nor does it capture the imagination of millions like Magneto did in the X-Men franchise. There’s a reason that everyone remembers the actor for Gandalf and Magneto, but not from The Shadow.
1 RYAN REYNOLDS IN SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH
No, you didn’t misread that. And no, we’re not talking about Green Lantern! Ryan Reynolds really was part of Sabrina The Teenage Witch’s film. It starred Melissa Joan Hart as the supernatural teen, who lives in Riverdale (remember, she’s a character from Archie Comics). The film acted as a pilot to gain interest for the TV series, and whilst that worked, Ryan Reynolds’ performance did not.
His acting is nothing short of terrible. It’s awkward, cheesy and there’s absolutely no chemistry with his co-stars whatsoever. Comparing his performance in Sabrina to his Deadpool portrayal is interesting to see how far his talents have developed. Luckily, the actor managed to up his game from there (not that it was difficult) and became the jokey heartthrob who has entertained millions.
Which of these roles is the most embarrassing to you? Let us know in the comments!