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The Worst Performances In Good Superhero Movies

March 27, 2020 48.0k votes 6.7k voters 180.9k views12 items

List RulesVote up the performances that hold back awesome movies.

Just because a movie receives favorable reviews doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Nothing is perfect, not even superheroes. There’s almost always a fatal flaw; Superman has kryptonite and Batman has his self-righteousness. Flaws are what accentuates all of the good.

Performances in the best superhero movies are the same thing. Some actors and actresses feel misplaced in their own films, and this can be because their characters are one-dimensional or the performer’s sensibilities just don’t match up with the material. Miscasting superheroes can tank an entire movie, and while miscasting a supporting role isn't quite as detrimental, it still detracts from the film's overall enjoyment. The following acting performances in superhero movies are the most flawed of their kind. If you want to be nasty, you could even call them the worst.

  • After X-Men: The Last Stand, the X-Men franchise needed a fresh start. X-Men: First Class brought the collective mutants back in spectacular fashion. With talents like James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence, Fox’s superhero franchise was reinvigorated. They even managed to get Kevin Bacon to play a Magneto-esque baddie. However, January Jones does not work as his seductive sidekick. 

    Jones's performance can only be described as wooden. Everyone else in this film is on point, making Jones’s shortcomings all the more apparent. Her character almost always seems disinterested in what is going on and her screentime is wasted because of it.

    This may be why her character didn’t make it into the franchise's next installment, X-Men: Days of Future Past

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  • The character of Rachel Dawes is unique to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. She is played by Katie Holmes in Batman Begins and then by Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Dark Knight. Dawes is important to the story of this Bruce Wayne, first as a childhood friend and then as a love interest. Understandably, she has great influence over Batman.

    Holmes chose not to reprise her role in The Dark Knight in favor of other roles at the time. In retrospect, many fans prefer Gyllenhaal’s portrayal, as Holmes’s Dawes has next to no chemistry with Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne.

    The scene at the end of Batman Begins, when she tells the Caped Crusader she’ll be there for him when Gotham no longer needs Batman, doesn’t land. The moment would feel more at home within an episode of Dawson’s Creek than Nolan’s gritty universe. In comparison, Gyllenhaal brought needed maturity to the character in The Dark Knight

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  • Iron Man 2 certainly isn’t as good as its predecessor (or its successor, for that matter). This could be due to its lackluster plot, confusing character development, or weak villains.

    When the film debuted, Mickey Rourke was in the middle of a comeback, having just come off his Oscar-nominated turn in The Wrestler. Everyone assumed Whiplash would be a great foil to Tony Stark. He wasn’t. He speaks with a terrible Russian accent and is as compelling as a teaspoon. 

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  • Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy is not a traditional comic book film. It’s funny and visually stunning in a way that only del Toro can craft. Ron Perlman excels as the demon dubbed “Hellboy,” so much so that the viewer wants to spend as much time with him as possible.

    However, the film instead follows Rupert Evans’s John Myers as a sort of quasi-protagonist/stand-in for the audience. This should work, but it doesn’t. It only distracts us from fully connecting with our cat-loving hero, as well as Liz and Abe.

    Del Toro must have realized this, because Myers does not appear in Hellboy II: The Golden Army. He's given only a passing mention in the sequel, and is said to have been "transferred to Antarctica."

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