16 Of The Worst Comic Book Castings

Hollywood has spoiled us with a glut of really good comic movies of late, with pitch perfect acting and stunning special effects. Both of the Batman movies, the Iron Mans (Iron Men?), and Thor have all been perfect. I have high hopes for Captain America, too. However sometimes, the casting goes completely wrong. They choose a totally wrong person for the role, and you’re stuck watching a movie where you can’t stomach, never mind root for, the main characters.

16. Michael Keaton in Batman (1989)

I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for this, but I honestly don’t think Keaton was the right choice for Batman. The 1989 Burton movie had a lot going for it — Burton’s vision of Gotham as brooding art deco madhouse heavily influenced the comics, and it proved that darker comic book fare could make it on the big screen. However, Keaton was an odd choice for the lead. He didn’t have the action chops to play Batman, and his physicality was all wrong for the action scenes — a fact not helped by the Batsuit being so bulky he couldn’t turn his head at all. On top of that he wasn’t debonair or good looking enough for playboy Bruce Wayne, nor brooding enough for recluse Bruce Wayne. Face it, he was just the wrong guy for the part.

15. Sean Connery as Allen Quatermain in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Word is that Sean Connery took up the role of Quatermain because he had previously passed on megablockbusters The Matrix and LotR, and didn’t want this to pass him by. Unfortunately, he didn’t bother to realise that the script was a steaming pile of crap, and he further worsened it by requiring that they totally sanitize his character. In the comics, he’s a heroin addict who struggles with his own fears and problems, while still facing the world ending destruction that the League is attempting to stop. In the movie he just has that tedious Scottish brogue, and is unstoppable and completely one-dimensional. Hell, Patrick Swayze made a better Quatermain, at least he tried.

14. Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane in Superman Returns

I think Superman Returns was unfairly slammed — it wasn’t that bad. Routh did a good job filling a very hard role, and Kevin Spacey was great as Luthor. However, the plot was retarded, the action lacking, and Bosworth as Lane? With baby Superman in tow? Some people complain that Margot Kidder “wasn’t hot enough to be Lois Lane”, but you know what? She was fierce! She was an independent woman who struck you as the Pulitzer winning journalist that Lane was. Bosworth, on the other hand, was hot but insipid, and completely boring. No dice.

13. Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in Green Lantern

I like Reynolds. He’s funny, is great in action roles, and is damn good at melding slapstick with action. Hal Jordan, on the other hand, is the most boring creation in all of comics. Until his resurrection a couple of years ago, he most defining characteristic was threatening to quit the GL Corp every other issue, and then going insane. Then he came back, and everyone loved his silver age wank. Which is a shame, because he’s a boring, boring character. Smart-mouthed jerk? That’s Guy Gardner. Inexperienced newbie who’s learning the ring? Kyle Rayner. Stoic everyman? John Stewart. Jordan…is just boring. Casting an incredibly comic douchebag in his role? Why? He’d make a much better Rayner or Gardner.

12. Nicholas Cage in Ghost Rider

Cage is a huge comic book nerd, and despite being actually a pretty good actor, will attach himself to anything that pays. Which is how we end up with Ghost Rider, which is him wearing hair plugs pretending to be a stoic stunt rider trapped into a deal with the devil. I’m not sure what weirdness of logic happened that Cage ended up being an action star when he’s clearly only really good in offbeat indie flicks, but somehow it happened — but he can’t do action. And here he is, with horrible hair plugs, pretending to be the manifestation of the spirit of vengeance. I’m sorry, but Cage can’t do the penance stare.

11. Jack Nicholson as the Joker in Batman (1989)

Oh, I can just smell the nerd rage with this one. Nicholson is a great actor, but not as the Joker. You know why? Because he just played himself, only with a little more laughing and that creepy smile. He was just a big lump of ham acting, without any real madness or genius to him. For me, he just wasn’t a very good joker, and smacked of a stunt casting, throwing a major actor into the role just to get their name on the posters. He didn’t give a damn about the character or the role, and just hams it up for shits and giggles. Frankly, I’d take Cesar Romero over him any day, painted over moustache and all.

10. Keanu Reeves in Constantine

Constantine was actually a pretty good film, and I enjoyed it a lot — but what it wasn’t was an adaptation of John Constantine/Hellblazer. Constantine is a blond, british, ex-punk, fucking son of a bitch, who keeps sticking his nose in infernal business because that’s his thing. He’s mean, smarter than hell, and sold his soul to multiple devils so that no one could claim it. He’s the definition of glorious bastard. None of which fit Reeves’ role in the film. The movie was a damn good supernatural detective thriller — and the actors chosen to play Gabrial and Satan were absolutely perfect. It was just completely wrong as a comic adaptation.

9. Jennifer Garner as Elektra in Daredevil and Elektra

Somehow, I saw Elektra in the movie theaters. I’m not sure why, and I remember almost nothing about it, I think I just went because I wanted to see how they did the Hand assassins — which were handled pretty well for minor comic villains. But Garner as Elektra? Gah…just no. Horrible. Garner’s not a bad actress, and has some pretty decent action street cred after her years on Alias, but she didn’t have the stonefaced badassery required for the deadly ninja assassin and merciless killer that was Elektra. And then they shoehorned in that whole thing with the girl and some maternal BS, and it was just unwatchable.

8. Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand

In this movie, I can overlook Halle Berry’s crapness as Storm. I can forgive the shitty offscreen death of Cyclops, but Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut? In that shitty outfit with painted on muscles, and weird bondage straps, just so they could use a line from an internet meme? If you’re going to do Juggernaut, at least do him right. You’re already making a movie filled with crazy freaks, so why is it so hard to make a character that’s absolutely terrifyingly big, literally unstoppable, and able to take on the entire X-Men? He’s a great villain and great character, and Vinnie Jones didn’t do him justice.

7. Topher Grace as Venom

Spider-Man 3 was a train wreck. Harry Osborn as X-Treme Mountain Dew Goblin! Emo Spider-Man! Shitty acting! That dance number! But I can’t help but feel that the ball was really dropped on using Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom. Brock’s meant to be an opposite number to Spider-Man, but with a similar power set. Where Spidey is fast and agile, Venom is huge, strong and uncontrolled. Grace is just as weedy as Maguire, and so instead of seeming like this impossible threat, he’s just annoying and slimy.

6. Shaq as Steel

Shaq’s a huge fucking Superman nerd, and really wanted to be involved in a Superman project — so he jumped on board the production of Steel, one of the Superman analogs who popped up when the original died. Steel was a genius level inventor who created a suit of armor to fight crime, generally going around beating the crap out of bad guys with a huge sledgehammer, while having Superman’s logo on his chest. However, the movie didn’t get to use the S Shield, Shaq can’t act, he could barely move in the armor, and the sledgehamer now shoots things out of its handle. It was horrible, and everyone involved should feel bad — especially for attempting to cast Shaq as a genius.

5. Halle Berry in Catwoman

There was so much blindingly wrong with Halle Berry’s Catwoman that I don’t even know where or how to begin. How about the fact that she’s just meant to be a burglar with a penchant for cat puns, rather than some sort of superpowered, resurrected by magic cats, anti-beauty industry hero type? How does any of that make sense for a movie plot? Why can’t you have her be a morally gray burglar who wears slinky outfits constantly, and is in a battle of wits with the dark knight? Instead you get Berry hamming it up for an entire movie, with that weird ripped outfit. At least she had the gumption to accept her Golden Raspberries.

4. Jessica Alba in Fantastic Four

Jessica Alba is mind blowingly hot, but other than that I can’t think of a single reason she was cast as Sue Storm in Fantastic Four. She looks daft with blond hair, she can’t act, and she’s certainly completely wrong to play Invisible Woman, who’s meant to be the strongest, most powerful, but most reserved of the quartet. She’s also meant to be very maternal, but with enough power under her belt to crack the earth in two if she wanted. Did you get any of that from Alba in the role? Me neither.

3. Sylvester Stallone in Judge Dredd

Judge Dredd is meant to be a faceless fascist, who never takes off his helmet because it doesn’t matter what he looks like — he’s the Platonic ideal of every overpowered lawman in all of fiction. So for the movie they cast him as a character with the most distinctive mouth in all of filmdom, and then took off the helmet 20 minutes into the movie, and never put it back on. Talk about completely missing the point. Again. I have hopes that the upcoming reboot Dredd will be better, but I haven’t been convinced by the look of the props.

2. Samuel L. Jackson as The Octopus in The Spirit

The Spirit is a holy book to most comic fans, it’s the purest distillation of the penciller’s art, and a shrine to Will Eisner’s creative genius. The guy redefined how comic panels were put together, and so when Frank Miller said he was adapting the Spirit, we all winced. And lo and behold, instead of the noir with a comedic edge that the book was, we got Sin City lite. The worst part was casting Jackson as The Octopus, and even worse, giving him free reign on how to play the character. The Octopus is meant to be a criminal mastermind, manipulating everyone from the shadows. And you never — NEVER — see his face. That’s his schtick. Now you get Sam Jackson in runny eye makeup for two hours. Thanks Frank!

1. Everyone in Batman and Robin

There was precisely one good casting choice in Batman and Robin: Michael Gough returning as Alfred. Everyone else sucked. Robin who acted like a 14 year old, despite being in his 20s. Alicia Silverstone and her complete inability to act. George Clooney as smirking gay Batman. Uma Thurman…just what was even going on there? And to top it all off, the pun filled adventures of Arnie as Mr. Freeze. I get that camp is a thing. I get that it can be funny. Hell, I even enjoyed Batman Forever. But this bullshit? Sorry man, Charlie don’t surf. Horrible, horrible, horrible casting, in a horrible, horrible, horrible movie.

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