Not everyone is cut out to save the world, especially when it comes to saving the world as a superhero. Given the popularity of comic book movies, there's bound to be some bad superhero casting along the way, which leads to the inevitable fan blowback. Even the worst superhero casting decisions can bring some joy, whether it's with a campy performance or just a good old-fashioned internet pile-on.
The failures of these superhero performances aren't solely because the actor is bad - that's rarely the case. Sometimes it's just a case of wrong time, wrong place. Pretty much every actor on this list is beloved for roles that don't have anything to do with comic books, but for whatever reason, they just didn't hit with audiences when they stepped into their spandex and started fighting crime. Vote up the actors who couldn't quite cut it as cinematic superheroes.
- Photo: 20th Century Fox
The reviews for 2015's Fantastic Four reboot all say the same thing - that the talented cast is done a disservice by the film surrounding them. But it's Teller who got the worst rap after taking on the lead role of Reed Richards. The major complaint about his performance is that he looks bored every time he's on screen, whether he's in a board meeting or fighting Doctor Doom.
It's not like previous versions of Reed Richards are particularly beloved; it's just that Teller's detached version of the character didn't connect with audiences at all. That makes sense. The Fantastic Four is such a big, bright, golden age comic that Teller's emotionless portrayal feels like he misunderstands the character even though it matches the film's grim tone. Realistically, Teller tried something and it didn't work. There's nothing wrong with that.
- Age: 33
- Birthplace: USA, Downingtown, Pennsylvania
- Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing
Did anyone think Seth Rogen would make a good superhero? Prior to 2011's Green Hornet, he was the guy who made edgy movies with a lot of heart and a lot of profanity. A profanity-laden movie about a masked detective directed by Michel Gondry sounds awesome, but it's not what audiences saw. Instead, audiences got a PG-13 movie that was riddled with studio notes.
Audiences didn't like Rogen as a crimefighter because it's not really his thing. His Green Hornet is a neutered version of what he does best, and audiences were let down. Rogen blamed Sony for the gaffe, but admitted that the problem with playing a character like Green Hornet was that the project itself was out of his wheelhouse:
If there is one thing I look back on like, "What was the problem there?" It was just the budget. We can't make a really edgy fun movie for our types of people for that amount of money.
- Age: 33
- Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada
- Photo: Warner Bros.
Halle Berry is one of the few actors on this list that audiences were happy to see in one superhero role, but balked when it came time for her to play another one. She totally rocks as Storm in the X-Men franchise, and while her casting as Catwoman may have had potential in theory, the result turned into a pop-culture punchline.
Maybe audiences weren't ready for another campy portrayal of Catwoman after Pfeiffer's iconic performance in Batman Returns, or as Berry herself puts it, the film just didn't do the character any favors:
The story didn't feel quite right. I remember having that argument: "Why can't Catwoman save the world like Batman and Superman do? Why is she just saving women from a face cream that cracks their face off?"
- Age: 54
- Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America
- Photo: Paramount Pictures
Billy Zane rocks. He makes a meal out of the scenery in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, and he's one of those guys who seems like he's down for anything. Unfortunately, being down for anything means agreeing to star in The Phantom, a film based on a superhero created in the 1930s.
The Phantom follows Kit Walker (Zane) as he fights off sky pirates and a wealthy businessman to control magical skulls found in the fictional jungle of Bengalia. The movie is a total misfire that's half off-the-wall/WTF is happening here, and half glacially paced tedium.
It's not that Zane or any of his co-stars are bad - everyone in the movie is really going for it - but they didn't have a chance in the modern action climate of 1996. Released the same weekend as Michael Bay's The Rock, The Phantom must have felt like a relic of the 19th century to theater-going audiences. The film, and Zane's performance as the Phantom, just didn't connect with the zeitgeist.
- Age: 54
- Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America