Putting together a list of the best comic book movie casting decisions is fairly easy, especially if we stick to just ten actors/characters. Picking the ten worst casting choices is much more difficult, because the characters are being adapted to the big screen, meaning that in quite a few cases, they won't resemble their comic book counterparts at all.
We’re not just talking about how an actor looks in comparison to the comic book character (Hugh Jackman looked nothing like Wolverine, but Logan is still one of the best movie superheroes), but also how the actor portrays the character.
So what are the worst superhero movie casting decisions ever? Read on to find out!
Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider
The days when Nicolas Cage was considered a respectable actor (he did win an Oscar) with the ability to do action movies (silly ones, but Con Air is still awesome). And his movie appearances as Ghost Rider also stand as a testament to that, as do his other movies.
The first Ghost Rider movie was released in 2007, when Spider-Man, X-Men, and Christopher Nolan's first Batman revitalized the comic book movie genre. And this could have been one of the best movies during a decade in which superhero movies began to flower. After all, it was about a demonic biker with a flaming skull and a flaming bike.
Given the character's backstory, Ghost Rider should have hit the right spot with the audience.
Cage is a comic book fan himself, but he was never meant for the role of Johnny Blaze, a young, blonde stuntman. But he did get the role. The movie added nothing new to the genre, but there was a sequel in 2012 that was even more atrocious.
Don Cheadle as Colonel Rhodes
This might seem surprising, but it really isn't. Don Cheadle isn't the tough, imposing military guy the comics’ Colonel Rhodes is. In addition, Cheadle's role ended up being more comedic than anything else, as the character played third fiddle, so to speak, in the movies.
We believe that Terrence Howard would have been a better choice for the role. Rumor had it that he would play Iron Man rather than War Machine in the sequel, in case the audience failed to connect with Robert Downey, Jr.'s portrayal of Tony Stark.
But people loved Downey as Stark. Howard was deemed too expensive, so Cheadle took his place. We could argue that Cheadle is the more highly skilled actor, but that’s not the point. For someone named War Machine, he really didn't seem to be cut out to be a soldier. Of course, the way the character was written didn't help much, either.
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
And here we are - Jesse Eisenberg was almost unanimously viewed as the worst thing about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. We should have seen this coming when we saw the first pics, in which he sported long locks in place of the comic book character’s iconic baldness.
We believed in this casting choice until we saw the movie. We then realized that this version of Lex Luthor completely lacked the comic book character’s brilliance and menacing aura. It was odd that the studio decided to have Lex be a power hungry magnate when the movie also featured Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill).
Even in Lex Luthor’s battle suit from the comics, the character would have been dwarfed by his cast mates. And we haven’t even mentioned his on-screen presence.
Of course, with a better script in hand, he’d have made quite an impression if he’d succeeded in tricking both Batman and Superman, given his stature and lack of physicality. But, again, that wasn't the case. As a result, we have no idea if we'll see Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor again.
Topher Grace as Venom
That "˜70s Guy wound up playing one of Spider-Man’s most famous and menacing enemies, and we aren't even talking about Ashton Kutcher. Hell, in hindsight, even Kurtwood Smith (Red) would have been a better choice!
But Sam Raimi decided to cast Topher Grace as Eddie Brock, even though the actor bore no resemblance to the comic book character. And the way he was written, his grudge against Peter Parker appeared to be paper-thin.
But we get it. Raimi didn't want Venom in the movie in the first placed, so he sabotaged it (we’re kidding, of course). This Eddie Brock was nothing but a jerk who cheated his way to the top. When he became Venom, the transition wasn't just rushed; it was utter nonsense.
We feel that Tom Hardy will make a better impression. His portrayal certainly can't be worse than Grace's.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze
Really, this list item doesn't just belong to Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze. Actually, every actor in Joel Schumacher’s Batman movies can be included here, as well (what he did to poor Bane"¦).
But we’re singling out Arnie's character because of the huge discrepancy between the comic book and movie characters. He had a tragic backstory in the comics, but he was just a big pun-machine in the movie. And with Schwarzenegger playing the part, it’s odd that there’s nothing menacing about the character. And who believed Arnie as a brilliant scientist?
The plot made no sense, since it pairs Mr. Freeze with Poison Ivy in yet another misstep.
If you want to cringe, watch Arnold play Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin. But if you want to see the character played properly, watch the animated Batman and Mr. Freeze: SubZero.
Sylvester Stallone as Judge Dredd
When the first Judge Dredd movie was released in 1995, comic book movies were at their campiest (Joel Schumacher gave Batman nipples that year). But that didn’t really explain the direction Judge Dredd took. The character nuked an entire country, killing millions, and became a caricature.
Casting Sylvester Stallone as Judge Dredd didn't work, either, especially since Stallone decided to leave the helmet aside and show his pretty face throughout the film. You really can't do that in a Dredd film. Karl Urban proved that the character was more effective with the helmet on.
The entire movie is over the top, starting with Stallone's acting. Considering that his star had begun to fade around that time, maybe he believed that he'd win back the fans with such a character. He was wrong.
I am the Law!? We did need subtitles.
Halle Berry as Storm (or Catwoman)
Take your pick. Catwoman was considered one of the worst comic book movies ever, with one of the worst portrayals of a female comic book character. On the other hand, there’s Storm, always the weakest link in the X-Men movies as portrayed by Halle Berry.
What didn't work for these characters? The writing. Storm, who was basically a mutant goddess, was sidelined. She had the most atrocious lines in the film (Berry couldn't decide on an accent). The best example: What happens to a frog when hit by lightning?
And Catwoman wasn't even Selina Kyle. She was Patience Phillips, a character created for the film. An Egyptian cat god provided her powers, which sounds even more ludicrous than the origin story provided for Michelle Pfeiffer's version of the character.
Maybe it wasn't entirely Berry's fault, but she sure contributed to the disaster. And, like Nicolas Cage, she’s an Oscar winner.
Jennifer Garner as Elektra
In the comics, Elektra was an iconic character who could be a villain or a hero with unparalleled ease. Her origin story, and her connections to the Hand and the Chaste, indicated that she had a hot temper, and that made her even more unpredictable.
But someone believed that it was a great decision to cast girl next door Jennifer Garner in Ben Affleck's Daredevil and the Elektra spin-offs. It wasn't. Garner had proved that she could pull off a role in the Alias series, but she was too mellow and too nice to play Elektra.
Of course, both movies’ writing and direction left much to be desired. But it seemed as though Jennifer Garner should have known that she couldn't rely on her looks alone to successfully portray a feared and skilled assassin.
Although she was a weaker link, Elodie Yung's portrayal of the character in Daredevil Season 2 was light years better.
Jessica Alba as Invisible Woman
Chris Evans was the star of the first Fantastic Four movies, but it wasn't just because his character was the coolest, so to speak. According to Jessica Alba, director Tim Story sidelined her character, transforming Sue Storm into the films’ dim-witted blond eye-candy.
In the comics, Sue played the role of damsel in distress plenty of times, but she was more than just a cardboard cut-out. She had a tragic backstory, and proved that comic books could explore some hefty themes, including the loss of a child.
Jessica Alba may have had it in her, and it’s possible that she could have expressed some powerful emotions. However, the movies forgot that Sue was actually a complex character, and 20th Century Fox rebooted the franchise and succeeded in making an even bigger mess.
Seth Rogen as Green Hornet
Lastly, we have Seth Rogen as Green Hornet. The character wasn't actually a superhero, but, as with Dredd, we couldn't hold that against him. Also like the Sylvester Stallone flick, Green Hornet was a caricature of a movie.
We get it. Maybe Seth Rogen wanted to put a smile on our faces when he decided on this film. After all, plenty of supervillains threatened to destroy the world in 2011. However, Rogen wasn't exactly the superhero type. The fact that he relied on what he knew best (comedy) didn't help matters, either.
Even today, people mock Seth Rogen for starring in this movie.
But his Preacher show is really awesome!
What do you think? Are there other atrocious casting choices that should have been on this list?