Comic Book Movie casting - Part 1 - The Ten Worst


...earlier this week, Warner Bros. announced that Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman in the new Batman/Superman movie. Of course, this sent the internet into a frenzy and a lot of the talk was about how terrible this choice was. Now, I should clarify, I'm a fan of Affleck. I think he's a talented director, he's intelligent and he's not as bad an actor as some people contend. Sure, he had his problems with gambling, drinking and JLo, and it's entirely possible one or all of those things lead to him choosing some very bad movies to appear in. The name "Gigli" was tossed around as if that was all the evidence, one could ever need, that Affleck was the worst possible choice. I'm not going to sit and argue that Gigli is a good movie, but people tend to forget that Christopher Walken and Al Pacino opted to appear in it too. Yes, that's Oscar Winner Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter) and Oscar Winner Al Pacino (Scent of a Woman). The truth is, sometimes actors make terrible choices.

When comic book movies took off, it became clear that casting was a huge part in what sold a movie to the fans. Tim Burton's Batman came in for some flack when they hired Michael Keaton to play the Bat. Known as a comedic actor, he seemed too far away from what the fans were looking for. Conversely, Jack Nicholson as The Joker was embraced wholeheartedly. It was marketed more with Nicholson as the star. It worked. Box Office gold, but the interaction never seemed quite right. It wasn't until Bale and Ledger came together in The Dark Knight that everyone saw the potential of the dynamic between the two characters. And, just for a change, when Heath Ledger was hired as the Joker, he was lambasted by the internet. That is, until he appeared on screen.

While the internet melted down about Affleck, I wondered what I would consider the best and worst casting decisions in comic book movies. (Being a comic book nerdling). SO here is what I came up with. :) Please note, I'm only going to talk about movies made after Tim Burton's Batman and no TV movies. So, you won't see David Hasselhoff on the list, despite his Nick Fury being so bad it makes my head explode.
Here are the casting decisions I couldn't get my head around:

Ten Worst

I come in peace bleep blorp

1 - Jessica Alba (Sue Storm - Fantastic Four) - I don't mind if the movie makers want to change some physical aspects of the characters, but to hire a brunette with brown eyes (and darker skin) and proceed to make her a blonde with blue eyes was just weird. Alba ended up looking like an alien. And since she's not the most rangy of actresses, her performance came across as alien. Her chemistry with Reed Richards was non-existent.

2 - Topher Grace (Eddie Brock - Spiderman 3) - Just, UGH! I'm not a fan in the first place, but his smug and not-very-intimidating performance was completely overshadowed by the CGI Venom. I wasn't a huge Venom fan before the movie and I'm still not convinced after this showing. Grace added nothing to the picture at all.

I have the power to hold up walls sexily...

3 - January Jones (Emma Frost - X-Men: First Class) - Woefully miscast. Miss Jones' reading of the character was flat and uninspired. Emma Frost (in the comics) has bite and when she's strutting about in her undies she's the empowered one. Jones wore the underwear well, but her acting was so wooden it gave me splinters. None of the snark was there. I would've loved to see someone like Kate Winslet play Emma.

Awww, now I've pooped myself

4 - Tommy Lee Jones (Two-Face - Batman Forever) - Better known for playing the grumpy, straight man, this was a huge departure for Jones and it just didn't work. It wasn't all his fault, the movie itself was tragic. The director was aiming for the more camp TV show, so we ended up with Tommy Lee Jones mugging and bringing the ham harder than Babe the Pig. At times it was like he was competing with Jim Carrey mugging at the camera, but where Carrey mostly pulled off his Riddler schtick, Tommy Lee seemed unable to pin down his character at all.

This shampoo feels funny

Hahaha, no srsly, where's the rest of my costume?

5 - Halle Berry (Storm - X-Men/Catwoman - Catwoman) - Here's a two-for-one deal. Let me state for the record that I like Halle Berry as an actress. Her Oscar for Monster's Ball was richly deserved. Having said that, I was against her casting in X-Men from the start. I wasn't sure about Hugh Jackman as Wolverine either and was happy he proved me wrong, sadly Halle didn't. I thought Angela Bassett would make the perfect Storm: imperious, strong-willed, kick-ass and authoritative, she could inhabit the character from the comic book easily. Sadly, they were going for something different, but they weren't sure what. Through the movies they modified the look and the accent and none of it worked. Halle just wasn't a very impressive Storm.

Catwoman is more about how bad the movie was. Halle makes for a slinky and sensual Catwoman, but her backstory, costumes and, ultimately, the storyline made this movie laughable. It had a B-movie mentality with a big budget. It's hard to argue that Halle was miscast, since without her it wouldn't have been made. The movie was widely panned, but big credit to Halle for accepting her Razzie Award, beating out Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson for the win.

Is this deadly kryptonite? I wish I wasn't colorblind.

6 - Kevin Spacey (Lex Luthor - Superman Returns) - Kevin Spacey is a hugely talented actor and he's more than capable of playing the bad guy. This time though, it seemed they wanted to skew too close to Gene Hackman's Luther from the original Superman without letting Spacey work with more. I didn't expect a highly nuanced portrayal, but I SAW the acting. There was no immersion in the role and I think they should've cast someone else for the role.

Grrrr Blllrrr Arrrgh

7 - Vinnie Jones (Juggernaut - X3: X-Men United) - AAARRGH! This movie was lousy and casting Vinnie Jones sort of summed it up. Intent on painting a dumb, pointless caricature to earn a few points with the fanboys, Juggernaut was added to the cast. Rather than hire a bigger actor, or even an ex-wrestler for the role, they hired Jones (hmmm, the third Jones on the list. Coincidence?) and put him in a muscle suit. Sadly it looked like a skinnier guy in a muscle suit. then they armed him with irritating and idiotic dialogue and Jones delivered it with all the skill of an ex-footballer. Terrible all round.

Does my bum look big in this? *stab*

8 - Jennifer Garner (Elektra Natchios - Elektra) - Jennifer Garner can do no wrong in my eyes (I mean, come on, look at her!), but she wasn't right for the part of the assassin Elektra. She doesn't possess the edginess or the duality needed to give the character her anti-hero stance. She's a killer for hire but as soon as you see Garner in the role you accept her as a good person. She performs valiantly with cruddy dialogue and a dull as dishwater script, but she should've given this one a miss.

Mother of pearl, this codpiece is uncomfortable...

9 - Sylvester Stallone (Judge Dredd - Judge Dredd) - You can argue about the fact Stallone took off the helmet or the terrible idea of a comedic sidekick played by Rob Schneider, but the fact of the matter was, Stallone was just wrong for the role. The recent movie Dredd cast Karl Urban in the role and he nailed it I thought. I don't know if Stallone was too big a personality or wanted to play it too big, either way it didn't work and Urban's Dredd did.

Keanu Reeves playing Snowy in Tintin.

10 - Keanu Reeves (John Constantine - Constantine) - Hey look! It's Keanu Reeves smoking a cigarette! I didn't care they made Constantine an American or that the movie was only loosely based on things from the comic. I didn't think Keanu was right for the role though. However, having said that, I actually enjoy the movie and once you get past Keanu being Keanu, it's not too bad. Let's just say this one was borderline. It's on the list because he's not really anything like the Constantine character from the comics. They could've called this movie something else and no one would've noticed.

There you go. My top ten picks for worst casting decisions in comic book movies and somehow I managed to not pick Nicholas Cage from Ghost Rider lol.

What do you think of my choices? Are there any you disagree with? Leave a comment or come and argue with me on Twitter @Spartagus.



  1. I'd have made room for Clooney as Batman and Jackman as Wolverine... Still, you're pretty much dead on.

  2. Good lord is Jessica Alba a terrible actress or what?

    She could've been the next Charlize Theron with her looks but too bad her acting sucks big time.

    I still can't get over Ben Affleck as Batman. The tragic thing that's been swept under the rug was that Ben Affleck now won't be directing Stephen King's The Stand because he's playing Batman, which is a might shame.

    The guy's a damned good director. Gone, Baby Gone, The Town and Argo. What a trifecta!

    While I'm here, I might as well rag on Zack Snyder and screenwriter David Goyer = 2 of the biggest hacks in Hollywood behind Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof.

  3. I would say I'm surprised they often use actresses that can't act for Superheroines, but I'm not...they look good, and that's all they want them for, which is sad.
    January Jones, I haven't seen her in a movie yet, where her acting isn't wooden.
    Hubby forgave Jenifer Garner for Elektra...fairly fast!
    ...and you know I saw Catwoman, only last weekend...sad state of affairs there!
    Must watch the new 'Dredd'.
    When I watch a Superhero movie I want to be wrenched right into their world...and believe it, casting is so important!

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog Tuan Ho!

    I like Affleck and think he'll do a good job. I'm not too cut up about him dropping out of The Stand remake, although he is proving to be an exceptional director. As for Snyder, I love his visual style but not sold on him completely as a storyteller.

    Goyer, Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof are all enjoying their spot in the sun. I don't think everything they do is awesome, but Goyer was involved in Dark Knight and the others were involved in Fringe (which I love).

  5. Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping by!

    Catwoman is terrible. I agree that you should feel pulled into the world of a comic book movie and Catwoman just felt awkward.

    Dredd isn't a perfect movie but its more like a Judge Dredd movie should be in my opinion. Urban was solid. He's good in everything he's in.

    And Jennifer Garner.....aaaaah! That is all. :)

  6. I can guarantee you a small portion of The Dark Knight's success was because Goyer didn't touch the script. It was written by the Nolan brother.

    And when he does get a chance to write his thing, he gives us the steaming pile of shit known as Man of Steel.

    Ahh man, I've gotta really get a grip. lol I always get angry when I talk about talentless hacks like Goyer.


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