Since the dawn of the MCU in 2008, beginning with Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, it’s been difficult to imagine the stars of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as having done anything else. So many of them signed on for multiple pictures, agreeing to portray the same characters in trilogies and ensemble films that it may have been a decade since their last movie that didn’t involve spandex and capes. The MCU relies on multiple storylines and plots that become increasingly interconnected to show the overarching character development of its superheroes. Some build on foundations of altruism, loyalty, and justice, while others start off that way but quickly succumb to the seduction of acquiring more power.
Villains switch sides, friends betray friends, but through it all, the only thing that can be seen as “offensive” about the characters or their films is that they’re incredibly violent. But never fear, CBR has dug into the past of your favorite MCU actors and found 15 of the most offensive movies they’ve appeared in. What is offensive is a matter of opinion, and doesn’t mean the films are terrible. But hopefully, it reminds you of the range of the MCU cast members, and demonstrate how far along they’ve come in their careers.
15. CHRIS EVANS – NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE
This movie is one giant stereotype of every teen movie that’s come before it, with every stereotype from the nerd to the jock all playing into their tropes at John Hughes High School. There’s also Areola, the perpetually naked foreign exchange student, Malik, the token black student, a couple desperate virgins, and Jake (Chris Evans) the jock that decides he can turn the ugliest girl in school into a swan by prom.
It pokes fun at the cliches of teen movies through raunchy humor and tasteless situations which is admirable, but doesn’t decide to have the same heart that went along with some of its predecessors. But for a film in the vein of the Scary Movie franchise, it’s easily one of the better ones.
14. JEREMY RENNER – SENIOR TRIP
When you think of Jeremy Renner, the first genre that normally wouldn’t pop in your mind is comedy. However, he’s been in several during his career including the Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler vehicle, The House. Although not a very funny movie, the one thing we can say about The House is that it at least isn’t offensive. National Lampoon‘s Senior Trip on the other hand is both very unfunny and reviled for many reasons.
Renner stars as Mark ‘Dags’ D’Agastino, a constantly stoned senior in high school who, along with his fellow idiot classmates, takes a senior trip to Washington and Dags and his crew decide to make their principal’s life a living hell by throwing a party in his home and ruining his worldly possessions. Featuring a potential drug overdose and a “hilarious” bus crash, this is one film Hawkeye would much rather have the world forget about.
13. BEN KINGSLEY – THE DICTATOR
To many, Ben Kingsley is an incredible thespian, able to morph into a wide variety of roles. This is what made his performance in Iron Man 3 so ironic and tongue in cheek. When a great actor does a lowbrow comedy, it’s either because they want to stretch their range, acquire fans in a new demographic, or just need to pay the bills. The Dictator follows the exploits of a Saddam Hussein/Castro-esque dictator from a Middle Eastern country as he attempts to be taken seriously, and is full of racist jokes.
The movie itself, like Borat or Bruno, is as offensive as any of Sacha Baron Cohen’s movies, and not to be taken seriously. Sometimes it’s surprising the amount of star power he can get for his movies considering their subject matter, but there will always be a fanbase for them.
12. SCARLETT JOHANSSON – GHOST IN THE SHELL
Based on a beloved Japanese anime of the same name, Ghost in the Shell takes place in a fictitious Japanese city and follows the members of Public Security Section 9, a special operations task force of ex military personnel who deal with everything from sensitive political conspiracies to cyber crime. Many members possess cybernetic implants, like the main character Motoko Kusanagi, whose whole body prosthesis houses her cyberbrain after an accident as a child.
While visually stunning, the live action version that was made was criticized for whitewashing the lead role by giving it to Scarlett Johansson and not an Asian actress. Some audiences found it to be offensive and boycotted it. Equally offensive was the detour from the look and feel of the source material, which looked far less like a giant rave.
11. PAUL RUDD – THIS IS THE END
Gather the then most relevant male comedians at James Franco’s house for an epic party, and then force them to survive the Biblical Apocalypse. The success of this movie will greatly depend on just how funny you find Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill, and the like. The movie is also peppered by a long list of other celebrities, from Channing Tatum to Rihanna, as well as consistently funny people, like Paul Rudd.
The movie sort of meanders around a form of plot, with no coherent humor (unless you count James Franco talking about dropping loads everywhere), because most of it was ad libbed by the stars. But Paul Rudd does run around callously refusing to save people holding the world’s largest bottle of wine topped with the world’s largest bow.
10. EDWARD NORTON – DEATH TO SMOOCHY
Much like Tropic Thunder or some of the other entries on this list, people either love or hate Death to Smoochy, the film about the bitter host of a children’s sing-along program who loses his job and plots the murder of his replacement. Both Robin Williams as the original host and Edward Norton as his replacement (Smoochy) give hilarious and nuanced performances, but the humor isn’t for everyone, especially those that find swearing around children to be just fudging wrong.
The movie wasn’t terribly well received and wasn’t a feather in the cap of either star, but it’s gained a following of fans for its cult classic elements and enjoys a special fluffy place in the dark hearts of those that love gallows humor and black comedy.
9. GWYNETH PALTROW – SHALLOW HAL
It’s hard to believe that we used to live in a world where movies by the Farrelly Brothers were at the pinnacle of comedy movies. With such classics as Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary and Me, Myself & Irene under their belts, the duo set their sights on their next “hilarious” target: overweight people.
When Shallow Hal hit theaters in 2001, future Pepper Potts Gwyneth Paltrow seemed as invincible as Iron Man himself, and accepted the role of a morbidly obese woman named Rosemary that a hypnotized Jack Black sees as the Gwyneth we all know, while the audience saw her in a fat suit. The movie takes major shots at women for being overweight, and we’re sure Paltrow herself looks back at this garbage as one of her biggest career regrets.
8. CHRIS PRATT – MOVIE 43
The plot of Movie 43, in which a washed up and out of work producer pitches a series of short films that are all somehow connected to one another and populated by big stars sounds exactly how this movie came into being in the first place. All sorts of folks pop up, like Seth MacFarlane, Hugh Jackman, and Kate Winslet, as Dennis Quaid (the producer) pitches his ideas to an executive (Greg Kinnear).
As though reflecting what the audience is thinking, the executive resists each vignette, forcing Quaid to continue to pitch them to him at gunpoint. One includes parents of a homeschooled kid trying to recreate an average high school environment, complete with insults and bizarre seductions, and another woman who offers her neck to her boyfriend (Chris Pratt) to poop on as a testament to her love. Clearly a movie that needed to be made!
7. MICHAEL KEATON – GUNG HO
Since appearing as Long Duck Dong in Sixteen Candles, Gedde Watanabe was apparently going to have a long career as the personification of the Asian stereotype. Gung Ho focuses on what happens when a Japanese car company buys an American plant, and the inevitable clash between Japanese management techniques and the workforce. Michael Keaton plays Hunt Stevenson, who has to step up his labor output or find himself out of a job. But how can he compete with the totally inhuman, robotic tendencies of the Japanese? And how can they use chopsticks to eat? And what’s with those funny accents?
While it suffers from cheap laughs at Japan’s expense, in the global economic world that burgeoned right after this film was made, Japan got the last laugh. It did however paint an accurate portrait of the mood of the American industrial workforce at the time, and highlight Western cultural failings.
6. SCOTT GLENN – THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
To some, The Silence of the Lambs is one of the most thrillingly taut, chilling pieces of drama and horror conceived on film, starring several great actors in stand out performances. To others, it’s a gory, shock fest aimed at cheap thrills, full of offensive images. It has a man wearing another man’s face. It has a serial killer sewing a human suit from the flayed skin of young women. It discusses cross dressing, transvestism, as well as complete mental dysfunction.
Either you’ll wish to follow Agent Clarice Starling as she locates the serial killer with the help of the depraved Hannibal Lecter, or you’ll call it campy and pandering to slasher enthusiasts. Or maybe you should just let those five pesky Oscar wins decide.
5. VINCENT D’ONOFRIO – THE SALTON SEA
Since early in his acting career in Full Metal Jacket, Vincent D’onofrio has made a name for himself playing intense characters that make audiences uncomfortable. In The Salton Sea, he’s at his most despicable and depraved as a drug lord ironically called Pooh-Bear. With bright bleached blonde hair and sporting a metal nose because his has been completely eroded due to habitual cocaine use, he is at his most eccentric torturing the rest of his crew at the drop of a hat, as well as making Val Kilmer’s life hell (who has just lost his wife and turned to substance abuse).
This is a movie about the lowest sorts of pond scum people who purposefully put themselves in horrible situations. It’s not a movie for the squeamish to watch with gratuitous violence and drug use, and there are no sympathetic characters.
4. SAMUEL L. JACKSON – DJANGO UNCHAINED
At this point, Samuel L. Jackson has starred in four Quentin Tarantino movies, from Jackie Brown to Pulp Fiction. If it’s a Tarantino movie, it will be offensive in some way shape or form, whether from having too much blood, too much foul language, or too much nudity (or some combination of the three). When he made Django Unchained, he didn’t play his usual tough hombre character — no, that role belonged to Jamie Foxx, the freed slave intent on rescuing his wife from another plantation.
Samuel L. Jackson played the “Uncle Tom” house slave trope who sucked up to the master and ratted out the behavior of other slaves. It’s a character that many didn’t want to see depicted on film, but it was necessary to show the dichotomy between the different types of people existing in the Civil War era.
3. MARK RUFFALO – XX/XY
In something that sounds right up there with such cinematic masterpieces as The Secretary or a romantic thriller on the Lifetime network, Mark Ruffalo portrays the guy in a steamy three way relationship that devolves into jealousy, suspicion, and desperation. Two college best friends meet a guy at a party and there’s an instant attraction, and they all participate in a polyamorous relationship until it leads to reckless conclusions of drug addiction and depression.
This movie fetishizes poly relationships, and reduces them to the meandering, selfish issues of three wealthy young people who are bored and looking for something taboo to add a spark of something interesting to their otherwise insipid lives. Mark spends time either under the sheets or lying on top of them, staring at the ceiling, pondering the meaning of love.
2. NATALIE PORTMAN – YOUR HIGHNESS
Given Natalie Portman’s track record as either a manic pixie dream girl or an emotionally volatile lost soul, it’s hard to believe that she would agree to be in a movie like Your Highness. Intended as sort of a spoof on quest movies, it follows a noble prince (James Franco) and his journey to rescue his kidnapped bride with the help of his idiot brother (Danny Mcbride) and a swashbuckling maiden (Portman). There’s weed jokes, phallic jokes, fart jokes, and extensive nude scenes, all of which some audiences will find offensive.
That can all be overlooked (or enjoyed) if the actual movie itself is entertaining, but The Princess Bride already holds the crown for being both funny and a well made film. What this movie gets props for is having ordinarily serious characters talk about poop like it’s no big deal, which makes for its most amusing scenes.
1. ROBERT DOWNEY JR. – TROPIC THUNDER
Tropic Thunder is one of those movies that you either love or hate, depending on how funny you find the cast members and the bizarre situation they’re put in. It follows the story of a motley crew of actors that have been cast in a movie about Vietnam, and while on location filming the director gets blown up in an accidental pyrotechnic explosion, leaving the actors to embody the tactics of their soldier characters to make it to the rendezvous point of extraction.
One of the actors is portrayed by Robert Downey Jr., who is Australian and playing a black soldier in the film because he’s apparently just that great a thespian. His method skills transcend the fact that he’s wearing blackface. Is it poking fun at political correctness or just racially insensitive? There are a wide range of opinions on the subject.
Which of these is the most offensive? Let us know in the comments!
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