Regarding one of the worst films of all time,
Alfred Pennyworth Michael Caine famously said, “I have never seen Jaws: The Revenge, but by all accounts, it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”
Not every movie is a pleasant experience for the talent involved. Sometimes, an actor is openly ashamed of a movie in which they starred, and is keen to let everyone know how much they loathed various aspects of a film’s production. Big-budget blockbusters are the most frequent objects of an actor’s derision. These days, practically every would-be summer blockbuster is a spectacle-laden superhero feature, for better or worse, so there’s a lot of animosity between certain actors and many of their most famous roles. The movie stars on this list had serious problems with the superpowered films in which they starred. Here are 15 Actors Who Hated Their Superhero Movies.
15. Ben Affleck in Daredevil
Ben Affleck, BFF to comic book junkie/author Kevin Smith, always wanted to play Batman, but, figuring the opportunity would never come around, accepted the next best thing: the role of Daredevil in the character’s eponymous 2003 film. Unfortunately, the film was thrashed by critics and only did middling business at the box office. There were rumblings of a sequel, but after the ill-advised spin-off, Elektra, tanked in spectacular fashion, those plans fell by the wayside and the rights ultimately reverted back to Marvel.
Affleck, a huge Daredevil comic fan, expressed severe disdain with his costume and the dissonant tone of the movie, swearing off superhero movies forever, cross-his-heart-and-hope-to-die. Of course, once Zack Snyder came calling regarding Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Affleck reconsidered his promise, and decided that it was worth returning to the world of vigilante crusaders. Interestingly, though Daredevil is not remembered fondly, the Director’s Cut of the film is said to fix many of the film’s problems and brings the character much more in line with his comic book portrayal.
14. Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Trilogy
Nobody hates Batman Begins or The Dark Knight, though The Dark Knight Rises has its fair share of detractors. However, one person who felt that the movies were not all they could have been is none other than Christian Bale, who played Batman/Bruce Wayne in the acclaimed trilogy.
Bale isn’t exactly fuming with hatred over the films, but rather, he simply feels like he could have done better. He had wanted to explore the deep inner psychology of a seriously messed-up mind, but had to stay within more heroic confines. Bale “blamed” Heath Ledger’s version of the Joker, whose overt mental dysfunction pushed Batman more towards the valiant end of the spectrum. Indeed, Christian Bale’s version of the Caped Crusader, while certainly disturbed, lacks the legitimate psychosis of Michael Keaton’s take on the character. As beloved as Nolan’s Batman trilogy may be, it would have been interesting to see where Bale could have taken the character had villains like Joker and Bane not completely stolen the show.
13. Christopher Reeve in Superman IV
Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie is one of the most legendary and revered superhero stories of all time, and the Director’s Cut of Superman II is right behind it. However, behind the scenes drama involving the producers (Alexander and Ilya Salkind) wanting a lighter tone led to replacement director Richard Lester adding a lot of silly jokes into the theatrical cut of Superman II and a Superman III that was an obnoxious comedy starring Richard Pryor for no good reason. After that film made a ton of money (though significantly less than its predecessors), the Salkinds dropped the series, and it landed in the hands of Cannon films. Superman IV: The Quest For Peace was put into development, and actor Christopher Reeve was excited at the prospect of telling a story about nuclear disarmament, and was even able to persuade Gene Hackman to return as Lex Luthor.
However, the film had its budget slashed numerous times and was edited down into a barely-watchable 90-minute travesty which was basically unfinished. Reeve saw the writing on the wall during shooting and just knew that the film would be awful. In his autobiography, Still Me, he wrote that the film was a far cry from the vision he had for the film, and that it was an embarrassment for everyone involved. It says a lot that even after 12 years of Two and a Half Men, Superman IV is still the worst thing that Jon Cryer has ever done.
12. Tommy Lee Jones Hated Jim Carrey in Batman Forever
Batman Forever is a polarizing film, with its fair share of detractors and supporters, but one thing most fans can agree on is that Jim Carrey delivers a wonderfully exuberant performance as Edward Nygma, aka The Riddler (even if it’s a bit out of character for the famed villain). One person who likely disagrees with this sentiment is Tommy Lee Jones, who played Harvey “Two-Face” Dent, although his character behaves more like The Joker than most versions of Two-Face with which comic fans are familiar.
According to Carrey, Jones took him aside during a lull in the production and told him, “I hate you, and I can’t sanction your buffoonery.” In December 1994, Jones’s biographical drama Cobb bombed, while Carrey’s Dumb and Dumber was a smash hit, which surely fueled the animosity. According to director Joel Schumacher, Tommy Lee Jones felt “threatened” by the young and charismatic star, calling Jones a “bully.” Jones has a bit of a reputation as being a curmudgeonly grouch, one that certainly stems from this on-set animosity.
11. Jessica Alba in Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
In addition to being a successful actor, Jessica Alba is well-known for running a billion dollar company, Honest, which peddles clean and organic products. Back in 2007, however, Alba was stuck working in the Fantastic 4 sequel, though it hilariously wasn’t half as bad as the 2015 reboot turned out to be.
Alba didn’t have a great time on the set, and reportedly considered quitting acting altogether. She didn’t have nice things to say about director Tim Story, who, according to Alba, offered her such helpful direction as “be prettier when you cry.” After he suggested that they could just use CGI to insert tears after-the-fact, Jessica knew that there was something seriously wrong with the way the film was being made.
Being a strikingly beautiful woman, Alba has always had to fight to be taken seriously as an actress and avoid being typecast as an exotic pinup, and movies like Fantastic 4 and its sequel certainly didn’t do her any favors in that regard.
10. George Clooney in Batman & Robin
What more needs to be said about 1997’s Batman & Robin that hasn’t been said a million times already on snarky internet websites like this one? You know your movie is a piece of garbage when its saving grace is the camp-tastic acting prowess of Arnold Schwarzenegger. This movie completely derailed the career of the talented Joel Schumacher (Falling Down, The Lost Boys), who was notably unhappy with the way the film was being handled by the executives at Warner Brothers and was powerless to salvage anything worth watching from what he referred to as a “toy commercial.”
Somehow, star George Clooney was able to become a certifiable A-list star, despite Batman & Robin dropping at such a crucial point during his rise to international stardom. Perhaps B&R was a crucible, a baptism by fire that solidified Clooney’s status as a serious movie star who could survive anything. Of the role that could have killed his career, the former ER actor said that the film was “a waste of money,” and that “I think we may have killed the franchise.” He’s even outright apologized for the film on numerous occasions. Indeed, it took 2005’s Batman Begins, one of the first and most well-remembered of the “dark and gritty reboots,” to bring Batman back to pop culture dominance.
9. Kirsten Dunst in Spider-Man 3
Kirsten Dunst wasn’t too keen to return for a third adventure as Mary Jane Watson in Sam Raimi’s groundbreaking Spider-Man series, at least not without more control over her character’s arc. Sick of being reduced to a damsel in distress by the end of the previous two films, it was decided that Bryce Dallas Howard’s Gwen Stacey would instead serve that role during the finale, while Mary Jane would be the one to confront Harry Osborne (James Franco) and convince him to provide aid during the final showdown.
Unfortunately, studio executives demanded that Mary Jane be the one in peril, and execs always get what they want, regardless of promises made or the effect it could have on the finished movie. Sam Raimi has said that telling Kirsten Dunst that everything he promised her would be undone was one of the most difficult things he had ever done on a movie. Dunst delivers a great performance in the hugely polarizing Spider-Man 3, but it’s a shame that one of her most dramatic scenes had to be completely removed from the film in favor of being forced to be a “woman in peril.”
8. Halle Berry in Catwoman
Catwoman is a bizarre movie. Seemingly directed and edited by schizophrenic children high on a combination of sugary breakfast cereal and cocaine, Catwoman’s only point of merit is that it makes Batman & Robin look like a decent film by comparison. This is easily Sharon Stone’s worst movie, and she starred in Basic Instinct 2.
Halle Berry plays the title character, a feline heroine with virtually nothing in common with Michelle Pfeiffer’s beloved version of the character, or literally any other version of Catwoman in any medium, ever. After the film received terrible reviews and bombed at the box office, it naturally swept the Golden Raspberry Awards, winning four Razzies, including Worst Actress. Halle Berry appeared in person to accept her award, holding it alongside her 2001 Oscar for Monster’s Ball. During her acceptance speech, Berry, never one to mince words, thanked Warner Brothers for casting her in “a piece of sh*t godawful movie.”
7. Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The Amazing Spider-Man was an ill-fated reboot of the Spider-Man series created so that Sony could hold on to the rights after plans for Sam Raimi to make a fourth chapter in his critically-acclaimed take on the web-slinger were nixed. The first ASM film did decent business in 2012, but its $260 million domestic take was a far cry from the $330 million that Spider-Man 3 had earned five years before.
For the sequel, Sony executives were overly hands-on in the film-making process, leading to loud rumblings of unrest among the talent. The composer for the first film, James Horner (Star Trek II, Avatar), reportedly dropped out of the follow-up feature to avoid the drama, and the film was overstuffed with half-baked plot threads which were to be explored in numerous sequels and spin-offs…Which ended up never being made, as the film wound up under-performing at the box office, leading to Sony allowing a re-rebooted version of the character to make his debut in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. For his part, star Andrew Garfield was outspoken about his discontent with the handling of ASM2, saying that Sony’s interference led to the film being less than it should have been. Now that Tom Holland is in the spandex, Garfield said he was “excited to just be a fan again.”
6. Jared Leto in Suicide Squad
The DC Extended Universe, despite starring fan-favorite characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and The Joker, has not been faring well with critics. Of the three films yet released, 2013’s Man of Steel has the highest critic rating, with a 55% approval over at Rotten Tomatoes, which is more than the other two movies scored — combined. It’s true, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad have a 27% and 26%, respectively.
One person who particularly disliked the latter was apparently star Jared Leto. The film was criticized for including him front-and-center in all of the marketing materials, though his role in the movie itself is secondary at best, and negligible at worst. Leto said that nearly all of the scenes he shot wound up on the cutting room floor, and that there was enough material to create a whole other Joker movie. Reports that he mentioned feeling like he had been “tricked” into being in Suicide Squad were overblown and unconfirmed, but that in no way takes away from the fact that he was clearly unhappy with the final product. Time will tell if Leto can be persuaded to return for additional sequels, as well as movies like Justice League or Ben Affleck’s solo Batman film.
5. Hugo Weaving in Captain America: The First Avenger
Marvel is on top of the world right now, though they face constant criticism over their perceived “villain problem,” in that many of the antagonists of the films are fairly boring compared to the heroes they face. Malekith the Dark Elf, Ronan the Accuser, and Whiplash (more on him in a bit) all forgettably fade into the background of their movies. One of the rare exceptions to this unfortunate trend is The Red Skull, as played by Hugo Weaving in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, who delighted audiences with his equally hammy and menacing stature, not to mention his namesake facial deformity.
While fans have been eagerly anticipating the return of Red Skull into the modern day after his ambiguous demise at the end of The First Avenger, Hugo Weaving has expressed an active interest in not returning to the part. Regarding his role as the evil Hydra commander, he reflected that, while he was willing to give it a shot, that type of movie was ultimately not really his cup of tea. We hope that, if Marvel decides to bring Red Skull back, they find a way to make it interesting enough for Weaving to sign back on, since he was such a malevolent joy in the first film.
4. Ryan Reynolds in The Green Lantern
Two years before Man of Steel, 2011’s Green Lantern was supposed to launch DC’s cinematic universe (Angela Bassett as Amanda Waller is a noticeable bit of world-building) but it didn’t quite work out that way. Despite the power of rising star Ryan Reynolds and respected director Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, Casino Royale, The Mask of Zorro), Green Lantern was a dud with critics and audiences alike, crashing and burning at the box office.
Ryan Reynolds reflected that the movie was not up to par, that it was overly reliant on visual effects, and that the film was edited beyond repair by studio execs after Martin Campbell submitted his first cut. Additionally, despite the firm establishing of the DC Extended Universe with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, Reynolds expressed no interest in returning to the role of Hal Jordan for future films. Tellingly, there are a handful of snipes taken towards the film in Reynolds’s later superhero parody/send-up, Deadpool. “Please don’t make the super suit green… Or animated!”
3. Ryan Reynolds in X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Two years before Green Lantern, Ryan Reynolds was stuck in another half-baked superhero flick, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a film which has gained newfound historical relevance following the runaway success of 2016’s Deadpool. In both films, Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, “the merc with a mouth,” — and a penchant for killing people while spouting off one-liners. However, fans balked at the character’s arc, which finds him reduced to a brainwashed lackey of Colonel Stryker (Danny Houston) with his mouth literally sewn shut.
It was a bold move, to be sure, but many fans were outraged at the perceived bastardization of their favorite character. In Deadpool, which reboots the character much closer to his wacky, R-rated comic book roots, there are no shortage of jokes at the expense of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and that film’s loose interpretation of the Deadpool character. Best of all, Ryan Reynolds plays him in both films, making them amusingly dissonant companion pieces.
2. Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2
Iron Man completely resurrected the career of Robert Downey Jr., and the sequel aimed to pit him against another actor who had fallen on hard times (and an inexplicable boxing career), Mickey Rourke. The plans for his character, Anton Vanko, were ambitious, presenting him as a fully-fleshed out human character with a genuine grievance against Tony Stark and his father, who stole the arc reactor technology from his own father before framing him for espionage.
Unfortunately, Marvel, at the time, was more interested in setting up The Avengers than creating a truly compelling villain, so they opted to cut all of his best scenes and turn the character into a crazed madman with a raging tendency towards revenge. After seeing his three-dimensional anti-villain reduced to little more than a one-note bad guy, Mickey Rourke pulled no punches, calling out Marvel for their reductive tastes and director Favreau for not having the “nuts” to stand up to them and make the kick-ass movie we all deserved.
1. Ben Affleck in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
More than a decade after swearing off superhero movies for good, Ben Affleck just couldn’t bring himself to turn down the role of a lifetime, Bruce Wayne/Batman. Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a hugely divisive film, and person who felt the film should have been better was Affleck himself.
Sad Affleck notwithstanding, there is some evidence that Ben was dissatisfied with the film. He admitted that he hated wearing the motion capture outfit which would eventually be turned into his CGI armored suit, but more than that, it’s telling that Affleck has been made Executive Producer on the upcoming Justice League films, which gives the actor more creative control than he had on BvS. Additionally, he is directing and co-writing (with Geoff Johns) his Batman solo film. Will this be enough to turn around the DC Extended Universe in the eyes of critics? Will Justice League earn a billion dollars at the box office like BvS was expected to, or will it fall short? Time will tell, but we’re optimistic that the future is looking bright for DC and their film canon.
What do you think? Did these movies deserve vitriol from the very actors who starred in them? Sound off in the comments!