Top 10 WORST Superhero Casting

Written by Mihir Majumdar These actors were picked to play superheroes in Comic Book movie adaptations, but we think the filmmakers should have reconsidered their choices. WatchMojo presents the top 10 worst casting decisions of all time! But what will take the top spot on our list? Halle Berry as Catwoman, Ben Affleck as Daredevil, or Shaquille O’ Neal as Steel! Watch to find out!

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Some heroes just don’t look (or feel) the part. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 worst Superhero castings.

For this list, we’ll be focusing on actors who just didn’t fit the part of the superhero they were cast to play and/or gave such terrible performances that they ruined the adaptation of the character.

#10: Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle / The Punisher

"Punisher: War Zone" (2008)

Frank Castle is one of the most aggressive, belligerent “heroes” that comics have to offer. Unfortunately, someone in the casting department clearly didn’t get the memo when they decided to cast Stevenson as a crazy bad-ass. And this is following Dolph Lundgren's shallow ‘80s interpretation. The Punisher Stevenson plays is in direct contrast to what audiences expected of the character; instead of a raging warrior we got a more subtle portrayal. It’s important to remember that bad casting isn’t always the same as bad acting. This is a unique case where the performance isn’t inherently bad, but it just completely missed what the character is actually about.

#9: Jessica Alba as Sue Storm / Invisible Woman

"Fantastic 4" (2005)

As a scientist turned superheroine, The Invisible Woman is supposed to be a combination of brains, beauty, and bravery. But with Jessica Alba’s portrayal, you’d think she only existed to provide some eye candy. While she does not completely ruin the movie herself, the problem people have is that she is completely forgettable and comes across as little more than a pretty face. Her performance as one of Marvel’s most famous leading women falls completely flat, and audiences found it hard to even believe her as a scientist, let alone a superhero.

#8: Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson / Robin

"Batman & Robin" (1997)

Adolescent angst is turned up to eleven in this performance, resulting in what’s often considered one of the most annoying superhero portrayals of all time. One of the primary conflicts of the film is that the Dynamic Duo is falling apart, which might even have made for a dramatic storyline if we had felt any sympathy for the famous sidekick. Instead, the Boy Wonder repeatedly comes across as nothing more than a whiny child. It doesn’t help that O’Donnell himself was nearly thirty at the time the movie was made, making him seem all the more immature when his character acted like a spoiled brat.

#7: George Clooney as Bruce Wayne / Batman

"Batman & Robin" (1997)

If you thought the sidekick was bad, wait’ll you get a load of the real hero… who many comic book fans believed was even worse. Now in all fairness to Mr. Clooney, the awful script gave him nothing to work with. However, this is an actor who seemed born to play a billionaire playboy, so watching him completely squander the role of a lifetime is disappointing. Displaying none of the charm of Bruce Wayne, or the grittiness of Batman, this portrayal completely lacks any of the characteristics we expect of the Caped Crusader. Instead, we watch Mr. Clooney completely phone it in, as he delivers one deadpan one-liner after another.

#6: Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze / Ghost Rider

"Ghost Rider" (2007)

When casting a cool, badass superhero that is literally the agent of the Devil, Nic Cage is pretty much the exact opposite of what you need. Yet, here he is, delivering a weirdly-out-of-place performance in what critics consider an already poorly written film. At times his portrayal of Johnny Blaze is bland and uncharismatic, and at other moments it is simply too intense and over the top. At the end of the day, even the most “dramatic” moments of the film are ruined, as it is difficult to take Cage seriously.

#5: Seth Rogen as Britt Reid / The Green Hornet

"The Green Hornet" (2011)

As one of the more obscure superheroes, viewers may not have had much of an idea of who “The Green Hornet” was when initially going into the movie. And after watching it, they’re probably just as clueless. The problem isn’t that Rogen puts in a terrible performance as the titular superhero, it’s that he hardly puts in a performance at all. Perhaps banking on the assumption that very few viewers actually know whom the “Green Hornet” is, Rogen plays him off as a goofy everyman rather than a serious vigilante. Many thought the entire time felt as though he was just being himself, rather than actually portraying the character. Ultimately, this feels more like a copy-and-paste job from “Knocked Up” or “Pineapple Express” than a unique take on a superhero.

#4: David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury

"Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." (1998)

Before the iconic portrayal that audiences know and love today, there was a much hammier version of Nick Fury that is best forgotten. On paper, this seemed like the perfect casting. Hasselhoff looks exactly like the tough, macho Nick Fury that comic readers have known. It’s when he tries to act that things really fall apart; everything he says comes across as fake and cartoonish, completely ruining any sense of realism the film had going for it. Ultimately this goes to show that there is a lot more to superhero casting than just looks.

#3: Shaquille O’ Neal as John Henry Irons / Steel

"Steel" (1997)

As Michael Jordan’s “Space Jam” showed, giving a basketball superstar his own movie isn’t necessarily a bad idea. But, just because an athlete has charisma doesn’t mean he or she is cut out to be an action hero. While Shaq definitely has the size and build to play the Superman-inspired superhero “Steel,” what people perceived as his inability to act really made the whole movie seem like a joke. His limited range of emotions and cringe-worthy delivery have made it impossible for movie-goers to view this as a legitimate acting performance, as practically every line comes across as more laughable than serious.

#2: Halle Berry as Patience Phillips / Catwoman

"Catwoman" (2004)

Audiences were already lukewarm towards Berry’s portrayal of the X-Men’s Storm, so maybe giving her a second shot at playing superhero wasn’t the best idea. When Patience Phillips comes in contact with an ancient Egyptian cat, she begins to become more and more like the animal herself. However, according to critics, Halle Berry takes things a little too far in her attempts to seem feline. It’s one thing to show some subtle, cat-like tendencies, and another to overact at every possible opportunity. She turns one of the most mysterious and seductive femme fatales in fiction into a complete caricature, resulting in one of the silliest superhero performances ever put on screen.

Before we reveal our #1 pick, here are some honorable, or in this case, dishonorable mentions:

Terrence Howard as James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes

“Iron Man” (2008)

Jennifer Garner as Elektra Natchios

“Elektra” (2005)

#1: Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock / Daredevil

"Daredevil" (2003)

Playing a blind man with heightened sensitivity is one of the most difficult acting jobs a superhero movie could demand. That’s why this miscasting is particularly unfortunate; while this role could have been complex and nuanced, instead we got what people have called one of the most wooden portrayals imaginable. Affleck’s performance is stiff, and he lacks any of the toughness or grit that makes this character tick. It feels like we’re just watching an empty shell going through the motions, making every dramatic moment and character interaction seem hollow. Some casting mistakes just make bad movies worse, but this is one miscasting that turned a potentially decent movie into an awful one – according to many critics, anyway.

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