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The Five Best And Worst Superhero Casting Decisions

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Ben Affleck Batman

The news that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman was met with an extremely negative response from fans and regular moviegoers alike. With “#BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck” trending worldwide on Twitter and petitions being started up, the amount of negativity is shocking considering that we’re talking about the same man who many were horrified not to see receive either a “Best Director” or “Best Actor” nod for Argo at this year’s Oscars just a few short months ago.

Regardless of how you feel about that piece of news, this controversy made it seem like a good time to think about some of the other great and ghastly superhero casting decisions!



Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern

Despite the fact that Ryan Reynolds was easily the best thing about the awful Green Lantern movie, the fact that he was lumbered with a terrible script and an unsuitable director ended up being more than enough for most fans to hope that the next Green Lantern is not only portrayed by a different actor, but that they also use a totally different character (John Stewart is easily the most popular choice).

While I would personally like to see Reynolds given another chance to play Hal Jordan, this movie was so bad and the character was so poorly written, it really is hard to not view take on the space faring superhero as bad enough to not want to see him return and to implore the studio to make a fresh start.

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  • Kyle

    Hugh Jackman Wolverine? No?

  • billy

    “Financial success aside, Downey inhabits the character so well that he’s even affected how the comic book version of Stark is portrayed and it’s hard to imagine any other actor finding the same level of success and popularity in a superhero role. Robert Downey Jr. IS Iron Man.”

    Oh, you mean kind of like how Nick Fury is now black, and looks exactly like Samuel L Jackson in most of the Marvel Universe?

  • MrPokeyLope

    Too tall I guess :P

  • Wrong

    That happened before he appeared in the films. The Ultimates did it.

  • Tiggo

    I was not shocked that Affleck did not receive an Oscar Nom for best Actor. Who was I ask you?!?! Argo was hyped way too much, decent Movie but not as great as many say it is IMO.
    And this list is not very good. Were is Hugh Jackman?

  • Adrian

    So, you list Ryan Reynolds as one of the worst casting decisions, then say that he was the best thing about Green Lantern?

  • Miguel Vilhena

    I may be jaded but I didn’t think Andrew Garfield was a great Spiderman.

  • Andrew Arnold

    The fact that Christopher Reeve was not included in the ‘best’ portion of the list automatically nullifies the whole list and puts the author, Josh Wilding at the top of the ‘worst’ list of authors of articles about superhero movie casting.

  • Blackbelt_Jones

    your not. Garfield came off as an annoying asswipe that you wanna punch in the face.And that is not spidey,spidey is funny not annoying. But if you have never seen garfield in interviews he is a douche.

  • Tane

    Can’t forget Vincent Chase as Aquaman.

  • Nick Fury is Samuel L Jackson

    Yeah, the Ultimate universe made Nick Fury like Sam Jackson, cause he’s such a badass. And then because Fury was based off of Jackson, they thought it would be cool to get the guy to play him in the movies.

  • Indianamcclain

    Michael Keaton as Batman for me.

  • frank the tank

    Ryan is a good actor for the role, the problem was the movie not the cast, and Hugh deserves to be on the best list too

  • Knurcus

    Wow, I cant believe Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach didn’t make this list. Even people who were against the whole watchmen movie thought that he was a perfect fit for the role!

  • Matt

    Just another typical idiot who knows nothing about the character.

    Please do some research before you start typing, it’ll do you some good in the long run.

    Spider-Man’s wise-cracks aren’t always meant to be ‘funny’, they’re meant to annoy the baddie he’s faced with to hide his fear.

    And you say Garfield’s a douche? Wow. He’s one of the most respectful and humble young actors that Hollywood has, you’re just blind man.

  • Mark_Black

    I don’t think Robert Downey should be a movie either. Being IN a movie is a different story.

  • Blackbelt_Jones

    Spidey’s wise cracks are meant to annoy the bad guy,not the audience member. Not surprising that you can’t tell the difference…….idiot.

  • Blackbelt_Jones

    Hal Jordan isn’t funny or smarmy. He’s basically with powers,a stoic military man that is a square jawed no nonsense patriot and protector of earth.Now if they were doing a GUY GARDNER Green Lantern Ryan would be perfect,cuz Guy Gardner is basically a more dickish version of Van Wilder,but Hal?NO he is no Hal Jordan. I think both the casting ,direction and script all failed in their own way.

  • http://www.jimmylove.com/ Jimmy Love

    Andrew Garfeild in the best category? Did you actually watch this new spider-man it and he was horrible! Pete was never a douchey skate rat punk!

  • http://www.jimmylove.com/ Jimmy Love

    Yeah um YOU may wanna do the research on that one, ewww wow he told like one joke! “Oh they finally got it right!” yeah like in the fact that there wasn’t much right about this turd.

  • emilmg

    i think andrew ggarfield is not suitable for spiderman,Tobey Maguire is much more suitable for the role,but i think this list forgot Hugh JAckman as the best as wolverine

  • Matt Bible

    Wow. No love for Christopher Reeve? Damn.

  • Tom

    Glad someone else thought Andrew Garfield was a cracking Spidey.

  • Rob Grizzly

    I thought Chris Evans’ Captain America was good, but I think he nailed the Human Torch even better. I agree with the Hit-Girl pick, but I’m surprised you would forget Ron Pearlman as Hellboy or Jackie Earl Haley in Watchmen as Rorshach, both of whom were more perfect for their roles than Christian Bale or Andrew Garfield.

    Not just looking at superheroes, but villains too, and comic book movies overall, mine looks like this:

    5. Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane
    4. Topher Grace as Venom.
    3. Halle Berry as Catwoman.
    2. Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl.
    1. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze. Muscle man who can barely speak English? No. You as much a “scientist” 007′s Christmas Jones.

    5. Mickey Rourke as Marv (Sin City)
    4. Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man
    3. J.K. Simmons as J Jonah Jameson
    2. Wesley Snipes as Blade
    1. Patrick Stewart as Professor X. Literally the most perfect casting in a superhero movie ever.

  • KLH

    Just because he was the best thing about the movie doesn’t mean he was good.

  • macaro1

    christian bale was a good batman i will give him that but michael keaton is still the best batman. speaking of which, to all the haters on ben affleck being batman this same thing happen to michael keaton nobody thought he was a good choice and try to petition for him not to be batman but what happen, he proved everyone wrong. give ben affleck a chance.

  • lightningbarer

    What about Chris Reeves supes?

  • OrlandoMovieGuy

    Hit Girl? Seriously Hit Girl and you don’t have Christopher Reeve on this list? Apparently this person hasn’t watched a superhero movie outside of the past 5 years. Christopher Reeve is hands down one of the best casting choices of all-time. He embodied Superman and Clark Kent like no one before him or since. This list lost any credibility excluding this obvious choice.

  • Guest1282

    I was pissed when reading Jessica Alba’s name on the “bad” list, since she was the only thing remotely pleasing about the whole fantastic four franchise. Luckily for me, by leaving out Christpher Reeve you showed that you have no idea what you are talking about, which lets me happily ignore this article.

  • obloodyhell

    Hit Girl is more impressive than Reeve. Reeve is an adult, and you can expect adults to have a minimum of acting ability. Moretz was stealing scenes from Nicolas Cage, who certainly picks AWFUL roles on a regular basis but CAN act quite well. And she was freaking 11. She acts that well in a dramatic movie and she gets nominated for an Oscar.

    I concur with your argument for Reeve being on the list, but you need to be bumping someone else off — Chris Evans, perhaps (not to deny he did a very good job)… but he didn’t have people going “WHOA!” as Captain A.

  • obloodyhell

    Yeah, but Keaton could always act, he’d just never shown chops outside of a comedy. It suggested they were going to take a comic angle, which irritated real Batman fans — they did not take a comic angle, which is part of what made it so good.

    Affleck’s already BEEN in dramatic roles, and, while competent, that’s all he is. He’s NOT the kind of rock solid anchor his cohort Matt Damon has been across the board. He’s been a pretty boy and not a lot more. I don’t hate him, I just think he’s not good for Batman. Clooney was a better choice. And you’ll note which half of the list Clooney is on.

    So Affleck is certainly a highly questionable choice — someone decided it was more important to put a big-name actor in there than someone with the kind of chops to pull off the role. I ack that he may surprise, but it’ll be a BIG surprise. I’d MUCH rather they fired whatever idiot chose Affleck and restarted from scratch.

  • obloodyhell

    Marv is a comic book character but not a superhero. Why add an apple in the middle of oranges? You could have added Christopher Reeve to your list easily. And, while I agree Simmons did a great Jameson, we can take him off and add Moretz as Hit Girl. Then take off Bosworth and put on Green Lantern. I don’t think he was that bad but the choice of him showed that they really didn’t Get the character, and that’s why the movie did poorly.

    Now your list becomes a barrel of super characters instead of comic characters.

  • obloodyhell

    Agreed. I was really sold on him when he’s in Lois’ apartment and he straightens up into Superman while she’s getting dressed, then shrinks back down into Clark Kent as she comes out. GREAT scene, and it showed so perfectly the difference between the two.

  • obloodyhell

    I will give Garfield another movie. I think that the list does make one distinction that Raimi missed, and that was that MacGuire’s Spidey is just too earnest, too serious. Yeah, Spidey is a tragic hero, in that crap keeps screwing him over, but he deals with it by deflecting it as a wiseass. He’s the kind of guy that would get back at J. Jonah Jameson by rigging some elaborate web-trap in his office that would trigger, catch one person, trigger, catch another person, again and again as Jameson ordered his staff to get something he wanted, until Jameson stomped in there in frustration yelling at them all for being incompetent and trapped himself, too. Then he’d be stuck on the wall for two hours until the webbing dissolved, looking like the arrogant jackass he is.

    I will note that one thing that the latest movie also did better was the fight choreography — no doubt because of advances in effects, Spidey’s fighting style was much more fluid and dynamic and befitting the character — noted example in one fight, he shoots a web through the Lizard’s legs and pulls himself through too fast to be stopped, then crawls around on his back, very spiderish. It made me realize how that was missing or much weaker from the Raimi films.

  • obloodyhell

    It’s called a reboot. Spidey was also never an insecure, overly intense nebbish. He was a highly intelligent wise-ass, and that never came through in Raimi’s films. Yes, Parker was different somewhat, he definitely changed when he put on the costume, but that was something Raimi did not capture.

    Garfield is a DIFFERENT Spiderman, just as Bale was a DIFFERENT Batman. And just as Henry Cavill is a different Superman. Praise for one need not denigrate the other.

  • obloodyhell

    The movie sucked too much for him to shine, though.

    It was actually not a bad adaptation, but too late — the times have passed it by, most people today don’t feel — or remember — the generalized dread of nuclear war that hung over everyone’s head in the early 80s. As such, the entire motivation for so many characters is lost or not readily understood.

  • obloodyhell

    Hal never came off as a “military” man. He came off as a rather jocular, easy going test pilot who didn’t fear death.

    But yeah, Ryan possibly would have made a better Guy Gardner.

    The real problem with the movie is that they took the best, coolest damned weapons system ever imagined and made it look boring.

    The success of Ironman was that, leaving that movie, I WANTED THAT SUIT! And I wasn’t even a big fan of Ironman.

    How many people left GL thinking “I WANT THAT RING!”?

    Right. No one. And I’m saying that as someone who’s been a big fan of doing a GL movie for a long time, knowing that the FX weren’t up to it. They were, finally, but the director(s) and FX people weren’t. They made the ring look humdrum.

    The script failed as so many do — WhyTF is it that so many directors and screen writers seem to think that the only way to do a superhero movie is to fill it with multiple villains? I grasp this makes it easier to fill with action, but that’s just lazy and it makes the movie’s COHERENCE suck. It’s the kind of thing that turns drama to melodrama, to soap operatic schlock.

    Does James Bond need to fight three villains? Does Jack McClain have to fight three SEPARATE villains, each with their own goal? Or is there just ONE villain with ONE plot to defeat?

    So I ask again — WHY does Batman have to fight The Joker, Scarecrow, AND Two Face in the same @#$@#%@% movie?

    The Joker is a freaking big enough character in himself to take on The Batman without adding in extra villains. It’s just LAZY WRITING to make it more complex and less coherent by adding in other villains with other goals.

  • obloodyhell

    }}} spidey is funny not annoying.

    Until you cross him and that wise-ass kicks in.

    THEN you punch him in the face and get your fist stuck to him like Tar Baby.

  • obloodyhell

    As is noted above, though, the comics were riffing off Jackson’s movie characterizations himself, so it’s a matter of life imitating art imitating life.

  • obloodyhell

    Christopher Reeve is taller. And @6’4″ he was the tallest of all the guys who have played Superman in the films and TV. :-D

  • http://www.jimmylove.com/ Jimmy Love

    Yeah well garfield didn’t do it either! At least Ramis films were entertaining and not just some boring pile of rubbish, and judging by what these morons are doing in the next one, it’s only gonna get worse. Sony needs to let the rights revert back to marvel.
    By the way he was only ever a smart ass when he was spider-man not peter parker and he was insecure as hell!

  • Sean

    Why is Andrew Garfield in the best section? He’s the exact opposite of Spider-Man and Peter Parker and did a terrible job at reviving the character.

  • Bob Parr

    Totally disagree. Garfield played Peter Parker as a believable high school kid. McGuire was faithful to the comic book but that Peter Parker was a stereotypical nerd without any depth.

  • Bob Parr

    What made Christopher Reeve’s performance so brilliant was his Clark Kent. His Superman/Clark Kent characters were so vastly different it was believable that people couldn’t figure out the secret identity.

  • Bob Parr

    So you wanted another nerd with glasses tripping over his own feet? Garfield’s take on Peter Parker as a high school loner was so much more realistic.than a hopeless nerd.

  • Bob Parr

    I think Brandon Routh was the same height.

  • http://www.jimmylove.com/ Jimmy Love

    realistic for skaterats maybe! A hopeless nerd is who Peter Parker is.

  • zgbreen

    Superman isn’t listed as 5’6″ in the comics though

  • Music for Kids

    Read the original lee/ditko run, peter parker started as a jerk, the kind of guy more likely to become a super-villain, that he had to learn how to act like a hero was part of what made the run so ground-breaking

  • Music for Kids

    Read the original lee/ditko run, peter parker started as a jerk, the kind of guy more likely to become a super-villain, that he had to learn how to act like a hero was part of what made the run so ground-breaking

  • ohminus

    With Keaton, the studio did the right thing and as soon as possible released a scene showing that he CAN pull off Batman.

    And I agree that he was much better than Bale. Bale was always Bruce Wayne in a suit. The SUIT was imposing, Bale – not so. He did not manage the balance between the two sides well, in my eyes. While of course he was born as Bruce Wayne, the Bruce Wayne identity – and he says so himself, and Rachel calls him on it – is a cover for whom he really is. He IS Batman, and it’s Bruce Wayne that’s the disguise.

    One of the worst offenses of DKR was their efforts to prove Rachel wrong on this… “Hey, see, he CAN take off the suit and retire”… The suit isn’t Batman. HE is Batman.

  • Gene Peterson

    Co-sign!! How did they manage to mess up a character who has hardly EVER had a bad version? I’m not supposed to wish that the car thief pops spidey upside his head but that’s what ended up happening. And Spidey was only annoying in the comics for the split second that he let the burglar that killed uncle ben slip past him.

  • Gene Peterson

    Co-sign!! How did they manage to mess up a character who has hardly EVER had a bad version? I’m not supposed to wish that the car thief pops spidey upside his head but that’s what ended up happening. And Spidey was only annoying in the comics for the split second that he let the burglar that killed uncle ben slip past him.

  • Gene Peterson

    Good point. If you want a loner skate punk super hero who looks nothing like the kid anyone would bully then make up your own NEW superhero. Spidey was a SHY nerd. Write THAT better and updated or don’t write at all

  • Connor

    Alba worst casting in Fantastic 4. You keep mixing up bad casting with bad writing (something you almost acknowledged with Reynolds in Lantern)
    Alba acted out the role she was given brilliantly and yes she was capable of becoming stronger and more maternal but perhaps that was intended as a character arc over further films that never emerged. If you want bad *casting* in those films look at Gruffod, McMahon, or Chikilis none of whom fully commit to the characters they are playing and come across more as Pantomime performers than Hollywood actors in a blockbuster. You do fortunately get it right on Evans who is the only actor better cast than Alba.

  • Wrong

    Dude, Jessica Alba wasn’t that bad as Invisible Woman.

  • lere

    No Chris Reeve as Superman? Really?! #fail

  • areyoureallyserious

    I think the only “bad” choices on the list are Jessica Alba (who I think it TERRIBLE) and Nick Cage. The rest were either saddled with bad scripts, awful directors or (in the case of the Green Lantern flick) just movies the public hated. The actors themselves were good, but the material let them down. And yeah, Hugh Jackman is perfect for Wolverine. I’d actually argue that Edward Norton should be on the list for his Hulk movie and Michael Chiklis should be on the best side for his Thing portrayal.

  • areyoureallyserious

    I don’t see why people have such a problem with Watchmen. I mean, it’s in a lot of cases almost a frame by frame reconstruction of the comic. EVERY performance captured the feeling that Alan Moore put on paper. Maybe because I read the story as an adult and didn’t have a lot of baggage going into the film from a 20 year old story I don’t have the level of hate for the film, but I thought it was fantastic.

  • areyoureallyserious

    The change in Fury’s appearance happened before production of the film if I’m not mistaken. But you could have just asked them to recast David Hasselhoff. Jackson KILLS it as Nick Fury. That’s all that SHOULD matter!

  • areyoureallyserious

    Do you mean because she’s pretty or her performance. The Thing is the only PERFORMANCE in those movies of any actual acclaim. Watch them again with someone who knows nothing about the Fantastic Four. The other three are at best average.

  • Mike

    Patrick Stuart as Professor X? Come the frig on!?

  • anon

    Wow you got, maybe, one of these right.

  • Rachel

    Brandon Routh is 6′ 2½” so not much shorter than Christopher Reeve.

  • supersqueak .

    I cannot believe there are people who like Andrew Garfield as Spider-man.

  • nycgirl

    “Not just looking at superheroes, but villains too, and comic book movies overall…”

    He established that this was a list of comic book movie characters.

  • MutinyofSense

    My favorite casting choices for super heroes, Chris Reeves – Superman, Micheal Keaton – Batman, Patrick Stewart – Professor X, Hugh Jackman – Wolverine, All of the Avengers, and Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman

  • MutinyofSense

    With honorable mention to Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno in The Incredible Hulk

  • wwsd

    I concur

  • Smart Ninja

    Andrew Garfield over Christopher Reeve as Superman or Keaton as Batman? What age are you? 12? Garfield was average at best. Let’s hope he improves. No Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach? No Hugh Jackman love? NO BRANDON LEE AS THE CROW???!!! This list is CRAP!

  • Charlie

    How do you have a list of the supposed worst superhero castings and NOT include Seth Rogan as the Green Hornet. If they don’t reboot that and do it right, I’m going to be SO pissed.

  • LAB

    They could have thrown Hit Girl off the list (that second film was HORRIBLE) and added Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. That guy was the best thing about the Thor franchise. I also remember Jackie Earle Haley’s Rorschach in Watchmen.

  • http://karwin.blogspot.com Bill Karwin

    Kevin Conroy will always be the best Batman. When I watch Christian Bale, I think, “wow, Christian Bale is a really great actor.” When I listen to Kevin Conroy, I think, “wow, Batman.”

  • Mike

    I think Ryan would have made a better flash then green lantern. I afhink they should have left Chris Evans as the human torch and searched more because to me it just makes marvel look unorganized. They should make a list of who should be in the roles of the superheros to get the voices heard there

  • Joe

    Crappy highly subjective evaluations as usual.

  • kal

    It was a superb adaptation and the ending was far better than the one in the comic. One of the best comic book films ever.

  • Howard

    Disagree. Clooney was a good choice, but he had such a bad script and direction that it’s tough to tell. I’d have put Jennifer Garner as Elektra. I like her, but she was a horrible choice.

  • Steve-O

    What does CR that have to do with Wolverine? In the comics Wolverine is well under 6 feet tall.

  • Steve-O

    You must not know comics…or read the Ultimates. Fury was black before the Ultimates Series came out. They already had a “personality” for the character and later got permission from SLJ to use his likeness. Which makes it funny during a conversation between the team when they discuss who should play them in a movie and Fury says SLJ.

  • Steve-O

    You should watch the Honest Trailer for Amazing Spider-Man…lol

  • Daniel

    Christopher Reeves as Superman. So far all the reboots they have tried on that franchise have failed because no-one can fill his shoes in the role. The latest one was not bad, good acting and impressive action and visuals but the charisma simply is not there. My top pick would definatelly have been Christopher. I do agree with the picks in that list though, especially Robert Downey Jr.

  • JimMcKee

    Clooney still wasn’t nearly as wrong as Kilmer.

  • JimMcKee

    Agree for the most part, but all the blame is not on Rogen’s acting. The writing choice to make Britt Reid/Green Hornet a goof ball was HORRIBLE. That movie was a parody, not a serious attempt at portraying the Green Hornet.

  • http://thesmokingcuban.com/2013/07/25/waffling-my-take-on-dwight-howard-just-in-case-he-changed-his-mind-again/ MFFLJBM51D

    lol @ Andrew Garfield. I am loyal to all things Spider-Man but he’s been in just 1 of a potential 3+ so far. i loved Tobey Maguire’s version to no end, thought it was perfect and supported by excellent writing and directing even with SONY pretty much taking control from Sam Raimi in Spidy 3

  • theWIZ

    Spot on!!!

  • CDS

    He should definitely have been on the list. I mean who else can you imagine as Wolverine? Nobody. That’s why he got to play wolverine in a major role 6 times now. Isn’t that something of a record in the super hero genre of movies?

  • JDH

    I didn’t mind Halle Berry as Catwoman had the movie not been so blasphemous. I do, however, mind Halle Berry as Storm in a world where Angela Bassett exists.

  • Simon Is

    Green Lantern was a victim of a bunch of producers who overthought things and a hamfisted script, that delivered ‘payoff’ before ‘setup’ the entire way through. It had good actors, a good director, but they were all corralled by a paranoid machine behind them.

  • DaveGinOly

    When RDJr was named as “Iron Man,” I thought “Perfect.” He has not disappointed (although IM 3 was awful).

  • Michael Salt Thompkins

    Being cast in 6 bad to mediocre movies isn’t a good thing

  • Curtis Lusk

    He missed the worst 5 for sure the movie isn’t even made yet, the FF and the Dr. Doom for the same movie. Plus Garfield was a horrible spiderman and Keaton was a better batman in a movie that had a better Joker.

  • Curtis Lusk

    I hated that movie and every thing about it .

  • Curtis Lusk

    I mean really he was in the Best 2 superman movies and of course the worst two as well but he was good as superman in all of them

  • Curtis Lusk

    The only thing Garfield is believable as is a idiot that doesn’t really know the character he is playing

  • Curtis Lusk

    Me either sadly smoking meth is just to common.

  • Curtis Lusk

    she was a better choice than any in the next FF movie

  • Curtis Lusk

    the ultimate universe Fury is black but non of the FF and Jackson is a good actor unlike any the have chosen for the new FF movie.

  • user

    hey, yall are wrong, alba was the only saving grace for those fantastic 4 movies