The Most Overqualified Love Interest Performances In Superhero Movies

List Rules
Vote up the actors whose performances were way more than just damsels in distress.

“Superhero movie love interest” is a pretty thankless role to play. That may be the truth, but it is a role someone has to portray in nearly every comic book movie that hits the big screen. And major studios aren't just going to give such a prominent yet unrewarding part to just anyone. This is how we end up with acclaimed actors depicting damsels in distress on a yearly basis.

For example, Natalie Portman in the first two Thor movies. Or Emma Stone in the Amazing Spider-Man films. Or Nicole Kidman in Batman Forever. So scroll on down and vote up the actors you feel were completely overqualified to do little more than bat their eyes at a hero in tights.

  • Rachel McAdams is entirely wasted in Doctor Strange. While the actress will be forever tied to romantic films like The Notebook, The Time Traveler's Wife, and About Time, she has more than proven herself over the years. Anyone who has seen Spotlight, Game Night, State of Play, or A Most Wanted Man knows this to be true. She was even good in the exceedingly mediocre second season of True Detective.

    And, at the end of the day, she is good in Doctor Strange too… but, like, why is she there? Her role as Christine Palmer is wholly necessary. Christine and Strange never really date, and they certainly don't end up together at the end of the film. McAdams's inherent talent goes unused throughout most of the movie! Marvel Studios knows this too, as they tried to ret-con the Christine/Strange relationship into something meaningful in What If…? but that came off pretty flat, as well.

  • Chris Pine In The 'Wonder Woman' Films
    Photo: Wonder Woman 1984 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    It's hard to imagine anyone but Chris Pine in the role of Steve Trevor, as he sincerely ended up making the character his own. Of course, Trevor is just Diana's love interest and her impetus for leaving Themyscira in the first Wonder Woman film. There are more than a few actors that could've played that kind of role with ease. By the time Pine was playing second fiddle to Gal Gadot's superhero, he had headlined numerous big-budget films. He's the face of the rebooted Star Trek franchise, for crying out loud. 

    However, the fact of the matter is that Pine's non-Star Trek outings have never fared all that well at the box office. Everybody likes the guy, but it's not like This Means War, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, or The Finest Hours put too many butts in seats. Perhaps Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves will put him back on top?

  • Amy Adams In The DCEU Movies
    Photo: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice / Warner Bros. Pictures

    It isn't all that outlandish to say the DCEU has been somewhat of a mess since the very beginning. It seems like a news story comes out every couple of years saying Warner Bros. and DC are “taking a step back” and thinking about “restructuring” what they're doing with their comic book movie slate. Of course, 2022 is no different, as news broke that the newly named Warner Bros. Discovery is considering going back to the drawing board with DC films in the future

    One of the many people hard-done-by throughout the past decade of DC-related films is Amy Adams. You know, Amy Adams? The six-time Academy Award nominee? She signed on to play Superman's infamous love interest, Lois Lane, and it's hard to see why they needed an actor of her caliber for the role based on what we've gotten since 2013's Man of Steel. The Superman movies of the 1970s and 1980s give Lois more of a starring role and that really is saying something. 

  • Natalie Portman In The 'Thor' Franchise
    Photo: Thor: The Dark World / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    It's hard to believe Natalie Portman has been in the acting game for nearly three decades, but her debut in Léon: The Professional did hit theaters in 1994, so here we are. Almost three decades later and Portman has found the time to headline major franchises like Star Wars while also earning three Academy Award nominations along the way. Have you seen Black Swan? She's sincerely awesome in it.

    The last decade or so of her career has seen a pivot to mainly small-budget dramas like Knight of Cups, Jackie, and A Tale of Love and Darkness (which she also directed). Of course, Portman also starred in the first two Thor movies in the thankless role of Jane Foster. No one in their right mind blamed Portman for bowing out of Thor: Ragnarok way before production started. 2022's Thor: Love and Thunder marked her return to the MCU after nine long years away. And, no, both the new voiceover recorded for Avengers: Endgame and voice work for an episode of What If…? don't really count.

  • 2003's Hulk, directed by the great Ang Lee, is an interesting movie. It's not necessarily a good or bad movie… merely an intriguing one that was released before the superhero movie boom that would shortly follow. As you'd expect, this comic book flick directed by a multiple-time winner of the Academy Award for best director is not a straightforward affair. Lee used the considerable clout he built up following Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's success to make the movie he wanted to make, for better or for worse.

    Coming off of impressive dramatic work in Requiem for a Dream and A Beautiful Mind, Jennifer Connelly seemed a perfect choice to play Betty Ross in a more grounded take on the big, green meanie. Unsurprisingly, Connelly handles the role just fine. Also unsurprisingly, the role is entirely beneath her. Connelly wouldn't appear in another superhero movie until 2017 when she voiced Karen, the Spidey-suit AI in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

  • Michelle Williams In The 'Venom' Movies
    Photo: Venom / Columbia Pictures

    How do we feel about the Venom movies, everybody? Are they good? Are they bad? Are they mediocre? Are they so bad they're good? Are they none of the above? Does it even matter at the end of the day? Sony is going to keep plowing on with its plan to make a movie about each and every Spider-Man villain possible and the Venom movies absolutely clean up at the box office, so it's full steam ahead, people.

    Along with beloved actors like Tom Hardy, Riz Ahmed, Woody Harrelson, and Naomie Harris, Michelle Williams is in the Venom movies despite there being little need for serious character work. Like, why is a four-time Oscar nominee playing Eddie Brock's love interest? Sony obviously would've paid Williams a pretty penny to be in these things, but that just takes her away from other projects that could highlight her talent. Oh well. A paying gig is a paying gig, after all.