10 Top Actors Who Were Wasted In Comic Book Movies

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Over the years, there have been some truly fantastic actors in comic book movies. It’s far more the case these days, as people are starting to take the genre seriously, due to its undeniable popularity.

Of course, it’s made some actors into superstars, including Hugh Jackman, Chris Hemsworth and, imminently, Tom Holland. It has also enhanced the profiles of existing superstars, including Ian McKellen, Robert Downey, Jr., and Samuel L. Jackson.

But the big actors haven’t all gotten the best deals when it comes to appearing in superhero flicks. Some of them signed on – undoubtedly with the promise of big money and higher profile – only to find that they were underutilized and/or appearing in an abomination of a movie.

This article will list ten top actors who were totally wasted in their roles in certain comic book movies.

Peter O’Toole (Supergirl)

Zaltar. Source: Warner Brothers

Zaltar. Source: Warner Brothers

The late, legendary British actor Peter O’Toole was an incredibly talented performer with countless awards to his name and several Academy Award nominations (he actually holds the record for the number of nominations without actually winning, however, which is eight).

A hugely acclaimed and popular star of both stage and screen, O’Toole gained recognition and esteem as a Shakespearean actor and went on to star in films like Lawrence of Arabia, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, My Favorite Year, and Gladiator.

However, in 1984, he found himself appearing in the Supergirl movie – a spin-off from the Christopher Reeve Superman franchise. He was Zaltar, a Kryptonian who had survived Krypton’s destruction, and he was as awful in the role as the film itself was terrible (probably because it didn’t actually interest him). He was nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor, a terrible waste of a performance from such a legendary, talented man.

Idris Elba (Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance and The MCU)

Heimdall. Source: Marvel Studios

Heimdall. Source: Marvel Studios

British actor Idris Elba is an extremely prominent and very current star of both the big and small screen. His roles in movies like American Gangster, Prometheus, Pacific Rim, and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, as well as television shows like The Wire, The Office, The Big C, and Luther have earned him global renown.

He’s an extremely talented man, who also has musical accomplishment on his résumé, but he has thus far been wasted in his major comic book movie appearances.

He had a relatively prominent role in the little-known 2010 comic book movie The Losers, but his roles in two Marvel franchises have seen him totally underutilized. Most prominently, he has had a supporting role as Heimdall in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Thor, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age of Ultron), but he was also the priest Moreau in the terrible Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

Michael Fassbender (Jonah Hex)

Burke. Source: Warner Brothers

Burke. Source: Warner Brothers

Michael Fassbender is a top German-Irish actor who has appeared in a number of highly-acclaimed independent movies and blockbusters. These include the likes of Inglourious Basterds, A Dangerous Method12 Years a Slave, and Frank. He has also appeared in television shows like Band of Brothers and Hex.

However, in 2010, he was totally wasted as a supporting character in the awful Jonah Hex movie. He played a bowler hat-wearing, tattooed, psychopathic Irishman named Burke – and he did about as well as could be expected with such an inane role.

He has since been far better utilized in a comic book franchise, as Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto, in two movies in the X-Men franchise – a role he will reprise in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. He has been fantastic as the younger replacement for the undeniably brilliant Ian McKellen, who had previously played the older version of the character.

Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex)

Jonah Hex. Source: Warner Brothers

Jonah Hex. Source: Warner Brothers

Josh Brolin is currently playing the mighty Mad Titan Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While he hasn’t appeared very prominently in the MCU to date, that’s kind of the point – he’s being teased until he makes his real impact in future movies like the Avengers: Infinity War two-parter (and, potentially, Thor: Ragnarok).

However, prior to that, he played the titular role in 2010’s Jonah Hex, opposite the aforementioned Michael Fassbender.

Now, Brolin’s role was obviously very prominent in that movie – he was the main star, after all – but his talent was wasted because of the fact that the movie was so awful. Brolin did as well as could be expected in the role, but the fact that he was its star must have been embarrassing for him, given the critical response. A man of his talents should never have taken a role in such a terrible movie.

Jamie Foxx (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)

Electro. Source: Sony Pictures

Electro. Source: Sony Pictures

Jamie Foxx is an incredibly talented man who can genuinely call himself an actor, a singer/musician, and a comedian. He has an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Ray and has received all kinds of nominations for his work. He has also appeared in the likes of Collateral and Django Unchained.

With regards to comic book characters, there are all manner of them he could play – he’d make a freakin’ awesome Luke Cage, for example (though that role has been taken, of course) – but choosing him to play Max Dillon, aka Electro, in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a big mistake. He was totally wasted in the role.

So many other, more suitable actors could have done the role of the timid, geeky, and socially awkward character justice, but the incredibly cool Foxx was chosen instead. The movie wasn’t great to begin with, and wasting his talent in the role of the lead villain certainly didn’t help its cause or his own reputation as an actor.

Djimon Hounsou (Constantine and Guardians Of The Galaxy)

Korath. Source: Marvel Studios

Korath. Source: Marvel Studios

Djimon Hounsou is an incredibly talented Beninese expatriate model and actor. He’s been nominated for two Academy Awards, and has appeared in fantastic movies like Amistad, Gladiator, In AmericaBlood Diamond, and Furious 7.

In 2014, he was cast in Guardians of the Galaxy as the secondary villain, Korath the Pursuer. It was a relatively minor role in which the star was wasted – especially given that he died and won’t be reprising it – and it was made all the more disappointing by the fact that he announced that he wanted to prove that black actors could play worthwhile superhero characters with his performance.

His screen time was minimal; he worked under Ronan, who worked under Thanos, so he was essentially an underling. And he was killed when Dave Bautista’s Drax tore his cybernetic parts from his head. In 2005, he was also the minor character Papa Midnite, who was a witch doctor, in the less prominent Constantine.

Jamie Bell (Fantastic Four)

Ben Grimm. Source: Fox

Ben Grimm. Source: Fox

Jamie Bell is an incredibly talented young British actor who is, of course, most famous for his breakthrough role as Billy Elliot in the 2000 movie of the same name. He won the BAFTA for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance and has gone on to appear in movies like King Kong, Jumper, and Snowpiercer.

In 2015, he appeared as Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, in the Fantastic Four reboot movie, which was a waste for two reasons: first, he was hidden behind CGI for the majority of the movie, and was pretty much unrecognizable; and, second, because he was totally unsuitable for the role (he really is no Ben Grimm).

Bell just isn’t right for a mighty superhero role. He’s a certain type of actor – shy, reserved, and subtle being the main characteristics of most of his characters – and he was wasted as the giant, rock-like character. This was reflected in the movie’s reception as a whole.

Tim Robbins (Howard The Duck and Green Lantern)

Robert Hammond. Source: Warner Brothers

Robert Hammond. Source: Warner Brothers

Tim Robbins is a multi-talented man. The American is an actor, screenwriter, director, producer, activist, and musician, and has starred in some truly fantastic and diverse films, including Bull Durham, Jacob’s Ladder, The Player, The Shawshank Redemption, and War of the Worlds.

However, before those success stories, he appeared in the terrible Howard the Duck in 1986. A man of his obvious talent – even at that early stage of his career – should not have been wasted in such an awful movie. He played Phil Blumburtt, a man who tried to help Howard return to his home planet.

Even more inexplicably, he appeared in a minor supporting role as Senator Robert Hammond – father of the villainous Hector Hammond – in 2011’s dismal Green Lantern movie. It’s surprising that the star accepted the role, given how terrible the movie’s script was, and he was totally wasted in the small role, anyway.

Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk)

Bruce Banner. Source: Marvel Studios

Bruce Banner. Source: Marvel Studios

Edward Norton is a three-time Academy Award-nominated actor who has appeared in some truly brilliant movies, including Primal Fear, The People vs. Larry Flynt, American History X, Red Dragon, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Birdman.

When he was cast as Bruce Banner, aka the Incredible Hulk, in the 2008 movie about the superhero, it was an exciting prospect. Unfortunately, the movie was pretty terrible – especially when compared to the Iron Man movie that had been released in the same year – and Norton was so unhappy with the whole thing that he stepped down from the role, to be replaced by Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers and beyond.

Norton was wasted. He’s every bit as capable of going as deep in his performances as Robert Downey, Jr., but the movie was just weak, as the main character’s story and Banner’s inner conflict just weren’t presented very well at all.

Anthony Hopkins (Thor and Thor: The Dark World)

Odin. Source: Marvel Studios

Odin. Source: Marvel Studios

The wonderful Anthony Hopkins is a veteran British actor who has won Emmys, BAFTAs, and an Academy Award. His film career includes classic movies like The Elephant Man, The Silence of the Lambs, Chaplin, and Hitchcock, but he has so far been sadly wasted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

He has played the Allfather Odin in Thor and Thor: The Dark World, which is a fairly prominent role, but he hasn’t been depicted as being anywhere near as powerful as the version in the comics (that version can destroy galaxies as a side effect of the battles in which he takes part).

Hopkins could make a mighty Odin, but he has been restricted to giving long speeches, having his power downplayed, and even being too weak to stand up, thanks to his need for the Odinsleep. In fact, he’s currently been usurped by Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, and his whereabouts are unknown. He might not even ever reappear.

What do you think? Were these great actors wasted in the movies specified? Which other top performers have been underutilized in comic book offerings? Have your say below!

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