Superhero movies haven’t always dominated the box office, in fact they had an awkward star, and with that awkwardness came some seriously bad flops. As it is with every bad movie, the actors in it tend to not look back too fondly at their role in it. There are plenty of superhero roles that actors want you to forget, and for good reason, a lot of superhero movies before the MCU was launched (and some after) were pretty bad. Even the best actor can have a bad role if the script doesn’t give them room to act, and superhero movies are the biggest offender of this.
Everything from box office flops to critical failures, superhero roles are a bit of a gamble for actors. If the role is good or bad, it can also result in some typecasting, another reason actors want us to forget certain superhero roles. Typecasting is especially difficult for actors since whenever a former superhero actor shows up in another film, fans almost always say something like “oh look it’s Wolverine and Batman!” Regardless, there have been plenty of terrible superhero movies, and the actors in them really wish they’d never happened.
15. CHRIS EVANS — HUMAN TORCH
Chris Evans has made a career of comic book movies, currently best know as Captain America in the MCU. However, before that Marvel role was another Marvel role, one that launched his comic book movie career, Fox’s first Fantastic Four film. With very little work under his belt, Chris Evans’ big break was playing the Human Torch in 2005, portraying the cocky superhero rather well.
Though his performance fit the film’s somewhat campy tone, and he was easily the funniest character in it, Fantastic Four was a critical failure. Evans seemed to work hard to make the world forget he was the Human Torch, and he succeeded, since we all see him as Cap by now, though he’s also starred in other comic movies like The Losers, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and Snowpiercer.
14. RYAN REYNOLDS — GREEN LANTERN
Say what you will about Green Lantern, but it definitely had some promise in the early stages of production, and even though the CGI motion capture suit didn’t end up looking too great, it innovated a lot of mo-cap technology for future superhero movies. That said, the film is, without a doubt, terrible, and Ryan Reynolds hates his role as Hal Jordan just as much as we did. Thank goodness he redeemed himself with Deadpool.
And speaking of Deadpool, the film makes a reference to the infamous CGI-suit when Wade requests his superhero suit not be “green or animated.” Green Lantern is no doubt one of DC’s biggest flops, and the actors in it definitely want us to forget it ever happened. That seems like the best idea, and most fans have already followed through with it.
13. BEN AFFLECK — DAREDEVIL
Though there are some good elements about 2003’s Daredevil, Michael Clark Duncan as Kingpin, the depiction of the radar sense, etc., it was a critical failure. Since then, Ben Affleck has redeemed himself in both his acting and his directing, eventually being cast as the DCEU’s Batman. Though fans are split on his performance in Batman V. Superman, as well as the film itself, Affleck has clearly pushed past this flop of a film.
It might even be fair to say that people have generally forgotten that he played Daredevil, though now he may want people to forget he played Batman judging by his reaction to BvS’s reviews. Regardless, Daredevil was not a high point for the Oscar-winning actor/filmmaker, and he must be glad people have mostly forgotten about it.
12. GEORGE CLOONEY — BATMAN
Speaking of Batman actors, who can name the worst one of all time? Val Kilmer? Close, but no. The worst of all time has to be George Clooney, since Batman & Robin was one of the worst superhero movies of all time. Sure, it has that “so bad it’s good” campy charm about it nowadays, but everyone hated Batman & Robin when it came out. It was a critical failure, and many critics were not a fan of Clooney as the new Batman.
Looking back, it kind of makes sense to cast George Clooney as Batman, since he’s sort of like a real-life Bruce Wayne — good-looking, rich, dates a lot of women (prior to his marriage) — but the casting choice just didn’t work out. Nowadays, Clooney has plenty of other roles to be known by, but we bet he still wishes everyone would forget Batman & Robin.
11. SAMUEL L. JACKSON — THE OCTOPUS
Though technically a villain role, Sam Jackson’s portrayal of The Octopus in the terribly received film adaptation of The Spirit is one of the many comic book/action roles the actor has done, and its probably one of his worst. The film, directed by Frank Miller, follows the titular hero, The Spirit, as he aims to take down the crime boss known as The Octopus, who has the same regenerative abilities that he does.
The Octopus doesn’t have much going on, and “I’ve got eight of everything” is about the extent of his character. It’s a good thing this movie, which admittedly has some great stylistic choices to it, sort of faded into obscurity, since it is easily one of Sam Jackson’s worst superhero film roles. Good thing Nick Fury was just around the corner.
10. HALLE BERRY — CATWOMAN
After getting her breakout role as Storm in Fox’s X-Men franchise, Halle Berry had another, much worse superhero role, Catwoman. But it wasn’t the Catwoman we all know and love, it was a “bold reimagining” of the character for her own solo film, and boy was it terrible. This Catwoman was known as Patience Phillips and had actual cat powers, completely throwing away everything about Selina Kyle in favor of a mediocre film that is one of the actress’ few flops.
Along with the strange reimagining of Catwoman, the film has very little redeeming traits, and we bet Berry wishes the film never happened. Luckily, Berry is much more known as the weather-controlling mutant, Storm than as the worst Catwoman. It’s best we all forget that movie every happened!
9. EDWARD NORTON — THE HULK
The Incredible Hulk was not a terrible film by any means. Sure, it’s not the pride of the MCU, but it gave us an interesting take on the Hulk, and Edward Norton gave an excellent performance of the dual-sided Bruce Banner. However, Norton, being notoriously difficult to work with, was axed from further Hulk portrayals, eventually being replaced by Mark Ruffalo.
Since being replaced, we can’t help but assume that Norton must want the world to forget he was ever the Hulk. Heck, Marvel seems to want the same, hardly addressing the cast change and cancelling all solo Hulk films. Ed Norton might have done a good job as Bruce Banner, but his Marvel Cinematic Universe past now seems to be all but completely forgotten.
8. JOSH BROLIN — JONAH HEX
Does Jonah Hex count as a superhero? Eh, whatever, we’re including it. Back in 2010, DC and Warner Brothers put out a Jonah Hex film starring Josh Brolin as the titular character. Before his recent superhero roles, Brolin starred in this flop of a film, which had poor reviews and a poor box office performance. Now that Brolin has moved on to bigger and better superhero movies/franchises, we’re betting he wishes everyone would just forget Jonah Hex.
Brolin is now signed on to play both Cable and Thanos in two separate Marvel film universes, a feat no one thought would happen, but with how bad Jonah Hex did, we’re surprised he even tried another superhero role, let alone two! We’re confident things will go better than his work with DC and Warner brothers, but we’ll have to wait to find out.
7. BRANDON ROUTH — SUPERMAN
It’s kind of a funny story how Brandon Routh got the part of Superman for Superman Returns, which may have failed, but still launched a comic book movie career for the actor. Before getting the role, he once went to a Halloween party dressed as Clark Kent, winning $100 for the costume and his resemblance to Christopher Reeve.
It was this resemblance that got him the part of Superman more or less, director Bryan Singer believing his appearance and demeanor were the embodiment of the “collective memory of Superman.” However, as interesting as this story is, Superman Returns was still a major flop with both the box office and critics. Since then, Routh has gone on to star as Ray Palmer/The Atom in Legends of Tomorrow, which helps fans forget his role as the man of steel.
6. JESSICA ALBA — THE INVISIBLE WOMAN
Like her onscreen “brother,” Chris Evans, Jessica Alba also does not look back fondly on her time as Sue Storm, AKA The Invisible Woman. We already mentioned before that the film was a critical failure, as was its sequel. Despite good box office performances by both Fantastic Four movies, there was a lot of glaring issues with the campy-toned films.
To make matters worse, Sue’s character was mostly just eye-candy. Her suit was much tighter than the others, did not have a muscle suit and was a lot more revealing in the sequel. Not to mention the fact that Sue was just there to be one of the reasons Reed and Doom hate each other. This was not a good role for Alba, and we bet she wishes it had never happened!
5. JENNIFER GARNER — ELEKTRA
It’s kind of hard to place Elektra into a category, since she’s not really a villain or a superhero, having sided with both good and evil. Regardless, the deadly but beautiful Greek assassin should have never been portrayed by Jennifer Garner. No disrespect to the actress, but it was just such a strange choice to cast an actress most-known for dramas and light-hearted comedies in a superhero action movie as a ninja assassin.
It was a ridiculous role in a bad movie and Garner probably wants the world to forget about it, as well as the awful spinoff movie. Plus, she met her future husband and soon to be ex-husband on the set of Daredevil, so it can’t be pleasant to remember her old superhero role.
4. NICOLAS CAGE — GHOST RIDER
This is a bit of a weird one, since we can’t actually be sure that Nic Cage wants us to forget his stint as Ghost Rider. After all, Cage willingly reprised his role in the sequel, despite the first film’s performance. Who’s to say what Cage was thinking with both films, but when all’s said and done, both Ghost Rider films were disasters in terms of critical response, and the second film did poorly in the box office.
With the rights to the character reverting back to Marvel in 2013, which resulted in Ghost Rider showing up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the original films seem so far in the past. Cage himself might be proud of his work, but the comic book community sure would like to forget the Ghost Rider movies ever happened.
3. MICHAEL JAI WHITE — SPAWN
Michael Jai White was the first black person to play a major superhero in a movie. Unfortunately, the movie was a complete failure. Everything about 1997’s Spawn was terrible, though it holds a place in some fans’ hearts as a go-to “so bad it’s good” movie. Regardless, it kind of sucks that the first black superhero movie flopped so bad, and we bet Michael Jai White wishes he never made it.
We can’t speak for White himself, of course, but looking at how the film was received and how it’s looked back on, we have to imagine Spawn was a career low. Not to mention most of the other actors in the films also address it as the worst film of their careers. White’s more recent well-known work was as Black Dynamite in both the original movie and the cartoon spinoff.
2. JANUARY JONES — EMMA FROST
Another sometimes-hero, sometimes-villain is Emma Frost, and she’s only had two film appearances. The first one was in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and it was a poor representation of the character. The second appearance of Emma Frost was in the much-better-received X-Men: First Class, played by January Jones. Unfortunately, as well as this film did with critics, Jones’ portrayal of Frost was widely panned.
Jones, who is now known for playing Melissa on Fox’s The Last Man on Earth, might have been a bad cast for the role, or maybe it was just a poorly written depiction of the White Queen. Either way, Jones has not been brought back to reprise the role and the character seems to have been forgotten altogether within Fox’s film universe.
1. SYLVESTER STALLONE — JUDGE DREDD
Stallone surprisingly has a lot of thoughts on his role in Judge Dredd. To put it in a few words, he thinks the film was a missed opportunity, that it could have been a great action movie with smart political commentary and subtle comedic overtones, but the film lacked a focused path to walk down.
Stallone even admits that he loved the comics when he read them and wanted to do them justice, but the film wasn’t sure if it wanted to be an action comedy or an action drama, and because of that, the production tried to do too much and spread itself too thin. At the end of the day, Stallone might not hate his role as Judge Dredd. In fact, it seems like he wants another shot at it, but we can all admit we’d rather forget about the disaster of a film.
Which of these roles do you want to forget, or which ones do you think we shouldn’t? Let us know in the comments!
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