Top 20 Worst Superhero Castings Ever

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Top 20 Worst Superhero Castings Ever

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
What were the casting directors thinking?! For this list, we'll be looking at the worst decisions when it came to casting some of our favorite superheroes. Our countdown includes Eric Bana as Bruce Banner / Hulk, Taylor Kitsch as Remy LeBeau / Gambit, Sylvester Stallone as Judge Joseph Dredd, David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury, Alicia Silverstone as Barbara Wilson / Batgirl, and more!
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Top 20 Worst Superhero Castings


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Worst Superhero Castings.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the worst decisions when it came to casting some of our favorite superheroes. As such, we won’t be including any villains on this list.

Which superhero casting scorned you the most? Share your pain with us in the comments below.

#20: Eric Bana as Bruce Banner / Hulk

“Hulk” (2003)
Ang Lee’s 2003 take on Marvel’s Green Goliath is mostly seen as a tedious slog mixed with some very questionable comic book aesthetics. And at the heart of it all is the miscast, though usually good, Eric Bana. Bana’s Bruce Banner doesn’t really tap into the nerdy side of the character most readers and viewers know and love. Yes, Banner is tragic, but it’s important to see how much he loves the world of science and the wonder it fills him with. It’s an important aspect viewers wouldn’t get until much later with Mark Ruffalo’s version of the character in the MCU.


#19: Jessica Biel as Abigail Whistler

“Blade: Trinity” (2004)
Even as a wholly original character, Jessica Biel was still miscast. Here, Biel plays Abigail Whistler, leader of the Nightstalkers, a group of vampire hunters. But we never exactly bought her in the role as a fierce, badass warrior. Everything was just a bit too stiff from the line delivery to the fight sequences. The entire film is campy to the max, with co-stars like Ryan Reynolds and Parker Posey having fun hamming it up. But Biel always seems to be trying too hard to be cool in what is largely a ridiculous movie. It just doesn’t fit…


#18: Malin Åkerman as Laurie Jupiter / Silk Spectre II

“Watchmen” (2009)
There’s a lot that Zack Snyder’s adaptation gets right about “Watchmen.” But one of the weaker aspects of the movie is unfortunately Malin Åkerman in the role of Laurie Jupiter. Laurie is an incredibly conflicted character, jumping off the page of the graphic novel and entrancing readers. But on-screen, she comes off rather flat and uncharismatic. We ultimately not only don’t care about the character, but also the romance between Laurie and Daniel. Considering that takes up a big portion of the runtime, it’s a shame the character wasn’t brought to life as well as all the others. Carla Gugino as the first Silk Spectre on the other hand? A completely different story.


#17: Taylor Kitsch as Remy LeBeau / Gambit

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009)
Gambit is a fan-favorite member of the X-Men. Unfortunately, the only version we’ve gotten on the big screen as of this publication was a big disappointment. Although he’s only in the film briefly, the casting director should’ve gone with someone who can do an actual Cajun accent. Kitsch tries, but it comes out blended with a generic Southern drawl that doesn’t sound quite right on the ears. He also plays the fun-loving mutant a bit too seriously. But to be fair, there are much bigger problems in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” than just him. Fans who follow movie news know we continually came close to getting a version starring born-southerner Channing Tatum, but it never came to pass. Pity.


#16: Isabelle Cornish as Crystal

“Inhumans” (2017)
“Inhumans” was a trainwreck of a show, no doubt about it. While none of the cast really turned in their A game, it was relative newcomer Isabelle Cornish who stood out the most. Cornish played Crystal, the youngest member of the Inhuman Royal Family. Her time on Earth is spent coming of age and falling for a human, already the least exciting part of the show. Her chemistry with co-star Chad Buchanan was essentially non-existent. While that could be chalked up to poor dialogue, Cornish’s other scenes were also pretty weak. The comic character is extremely strong-willed, but none of that’s displayed in this portrayal.

#15: Iain Glen as Bruce Wayne / Batman

“Titans” (2018-)
This one is all kinds of weird. “Titans” is a fairly strong recreation of the team, but Dick Grayson’s former mentor sticks out like a sore thumb. There’s nothing about Iain Glen’s performance that’s particularly bad, but he’s just not a good fit for Bruce Wayne. His appearance - from his age to his hair color to his build - is completely different from what viewers and stalwart comic book readers expect. Though we’ve had non-American actors play Batman before, Glen’s thick Scottish accent also frequently peaks through. So whenever he appears on-screen, all we can see is Jorah Mormont in a suit.


#14: Alicia Silverstone as Barbara Wilson / Batgirl

“Batman & Robin” (1997)
No, we didn’t mix up Batgirl’s last name. In this movie, Barbara isn’t related to Commissioner Gordon. And that’s just one of the many elements they got wrong when they brought this character to the big screen. Apart from that important character detail, this Batgirl is a far cry from her highly skilled and vastly intelligent comic counterpart. While the character was written completely wrong from the get-go, Silverstone’s performance unfortunately makes it worse. Silverstone may have seemed like a sure bet at the time coming off of “Clueless,” but her Razzie Award for Worst Actress speaks for itself.


#13: Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze / Ghost Rider

“Ghost Rider” (2007)
Ghost Rider is fascinating as one of Marvel’s darkest characters. But his first film adaptation did anything but make us want to learn more about him. While we love Nicolas Cage as much as the next person, his performance as the Devil’s bounty hunter leaves a lot to be desired. In some scenes his Johnny is dull and uninteresting, while in others, he’s completely over-the-top. With no good middle ground, it’s a bit too hard to take the character seriously. As one of the deadliest, most badass superheroes in Marvel’s roster, this should’ve been a lot more thrilling than it was.

#12: Ciara Renée as Kendra Saunders / Hawkgirl

“Legends of Tomorrow” (2016-)
“Legends of Tomorrow” has a lot of rotating characters. While the show’s later seasons have gotten better at managing its large roster, it suffered at the onset. One character that suffered the most was Hawkgirl, and Ciara Renée’s largely stiff performance didn’t do the character any favors. The comic version is a fierce, take-charge hero, yet we never really got to see that in the show. Even in more intense scenes, Renée never made us feel the appropriate emotions. Coupled with the show’s poor writing, the portrayal makes us grateful that Hawkgirl’s story didn’t continue past Season 1.


#11: Sylvester Stallone as Judge Joseph Dredd

“Judge Dredd” (1995)
Thank the film gods this isn’t the only big-screen adaptation of “Judge Dredd.” While the set design was terrific, that’s pretty much the only praise we can give it. At the core of its infidelity to the source material is Sylvester Stallone as the central character. Instead of coming off as gruff and intimidating - the way a dystopian judge, jury, and executioner should be - Stallone mostly plays Dredd as wooden and robotic. Whereas in other scenes, he simply yells his way through the dialogue with little emotional conviction. No wonder the movie is considered one of Stallone’s worst.

#10: Jessica Alba as Sue Storm / Invisible Woman

“Fantastic Four” (2005)
Sue Storm is a fearless explorer, an iron-willed ally, and an extremely clever hero… on the page, that is. But when it comes to her big-screen debut - not counting the no-show adaptation from 1994 - we essentially got none of that. Sure, Jessica Alba provided the obligatory eye candy of poor comic adaptations of the time, but very little beyond that. It was impossible for audiences to take her seriously as a scientist, partially because of how terribly written and presented the character was. Though behind-the-scenes clashing with director Tim Story probably had something to do with it, it doesn’t change that the Sue Storm we got is flat and surface-level.


#9: Finn Jones as Danny Rand / Iron Fist

“Iron Fist” (2017-18)
Netflix nailed the casting for its street-level heroes with one glaring exception. When Finn Jones’s Danny Rand wasn’t perpetually whining and getting fooled by almost everyone around him, he was utterly failing at being a noteworthy warrior. None of the action did justice to the Immortal Iron Fist, one of Marvel’s most talented fighters. While Jones has stated a tight schedule led to him learning fight sequences a mere fifteen minutes before shooting, stunt coordinator Brett Chan has since insinuated Jones simply didn’t want to train. Regardless, it all compiles to an annoying, visually unimpressive depiction.


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

“Batman Forever” (1995)
Speaking of annoying performances, it’s no wonder we’ve gotten zero live-action big-screen adaptations of Batman’s right hand boy since the ‘90s. In both “Batman Forever” and its horrendous follow-up, Robin spends the majority of the screen time complaining and acting out. Which would make sense for an adolescent, but not for a guy in his mid-20s, which O’Donnell was when he appeared in “Forever.” Instead of garnering any sympathy, O’Donnell’s performance made us yearn for Batman to go back to working solo. Maybe one day we’ll get the layered representation Dick Grayson deserves, but you won’t find anything like it here.

#7: Jennifer Garner as Elektra Natchios

“Daredevil” (2003)
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck may have had real-life chemistry on the set of “Daredevil,” but on-screen? Not so much. Garner earns the spot over her former husband (Xref) with a double whammy of lackluster showings as Elektra Natchios. Whereas the comic version - and her later live-action depiction in Netflix’s “Daredevil” series - is a definitively terrifying femme fatale, Garner’s incarnation holds none of the edge or intensity. Additionally, she doesn’t offer any of the allure that we know pulls Matt Murdock in so deeply. And not to be sticklers or anything, but the casting probably should’ve skewed a little more Greek. Just saying.


#6: Seth Rogen as Britt Reid / Green Hornet

“The Green Hornet” (2011)
We’re all for comedic actors trying to branch out, but not when it turns out like this. Normally hilarious Seth Rogen plays the titular vigilante as a watered-down, unlikable, much less interesting version of the risque characters that made him a star. Modern audiences likely weren’t familiar with the Green Hornet before seeing this revival. But Rogen doesn’t do much to leave a lasting impression, causing us to immediately forget everything about him. This could’ve been a great opportunity to kickstart a franchise with almost no strings attached and create a new fanbase. Instead, Rogen’s Britt Reid is only remembered as a horrible miscast.

#5: will.i.am as John Wraith / Kestrel

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009)
Taylor Kitsch wasn’t the only terrible miscast in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am appeared as John Wraith - known as Kestrel in the comics - a mutant with teleporting abilities. Thankfully, Fox didn’t besmirch Nightcrawler’s good name. It’s not like the singer turns in a horrible performance. In fact, he barely turns in one at all because he’s so briefly in the movie. The problem is that it genuinely feels like they simply casted a musician because he was famous at the time. Will.i.am therefore sticks out like a sore thumb and brings little to the table.


#4: David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury

“Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (1998)
It’s a shame that the Hoff looks so much like the classic version of the comics character because the performance he turned in for this TV movie was, for all intents and purposes, laughably bad. Fury is a fairly serious character, yet every time Hasselhoff opens his mouth, it’s some pretty cheesy acting, even for a late-90s superhero movie. Sure, the dialogue isn’t anything remarkable, but a solid performance could’ve salvaged it. There were plans for this to lead to a TV show, but with a hero this poorly represented, we aren’t surprised in the slightest that it didn’t happen. We much prefer the Samuel L. Jackson interpretation.

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

“Steel” (1997)
At the height of Shaquille O’Neal’s attempt to break into acting, he starred as Superman’s frequent comic book ally Steel. And we deeply wish that someone had the foresight to steer him in the opposite direction. Shaq’s size is indeed superheroic, but he simply doesn’t have the acting chops to carry a movie, let alone a superhero blockbuster. Every line he delivers either makes us cringe or laugh, making it impossible to take him seriously. He may be a dunking legend on the basketball court, but his line delivery makes even his free throw game look good.

#2: Halle Berry as Patience Phillips / Catwoman

“Catwoman” (2004)
Moving past the baffling decision to not develop a straightforward Selina Kyle movie, Halle Berry’s performance as the feline-themed character is astonishingly bad. Most of the movie’s horrendous reputation isn’t her fault, as both the script and action sequences are truly awful. But as the role calls for her to literally act like a cat, we have to wonder why Berry signed on at all. As bad as it is, it’s honestly a fascinating study in overacting. Nearly every scene makes us groan with dissatisfaction. The exact opposite of the comic character, nothing is mysterious or captivating about Patience Phillips.


#1: George Clooney as Bruce Wayne / Batman

“Batman & Robin” (1997)
How George Clooney, one of Hollywood’s most charming actors, managed to turn Batman into such a lifeless character has been confusing Batfans for years. On paper, he seems a great fit to play the socialite and secret vigilante. In execution, he’s far from it. To be fair, the “Batman & Robin” script is so horrible that it would be difficult for anyone to turn in something worthwhile. On the other hand, it doesn’t appear Clooney is trying at all. Every line is phoned in and deadpan, leaving us with something incredibly shallow. There are a multitude of reasons this movie stopped the franchise in its tracks, and Clooney’s Bruce Wayne is one of the most prominent.
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