The X-Men film series is responsible for some of the most successful films of the past decade. Praised by both the public and critics alike, films like X-Men, Logan, and the spin-off Deadpool have helped to solidify the superhero genre as a driving force in modern cinema.
Given the high standards held by films in the X-Men series, it’s not surprising that the teams behind the films are very deliberate in their casting choices. For many fans, roles like that of Wolverine or Storm are permanently attached to Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry, respectively, for their expert portrayals.
Despite the success of the films in the X-Men series, its actors and actresses are not always so lucky with the roles they are cast as. A young actor or actress may take on a questionable role early in their career. An experienced actor or actress may have a lapse in judgement and take on a role that is beneath them. Whatever the reason, the filmographies of X-Men cast members have their fair share of blemishes.
With that in mind, here are 15 roles that actors from the X-Men film series want you to forget about.
15 Olivia Munn in Mortdecai
X-Men fans know Olivia Munn as the woman behind the mysterious Psylocke. First appearing in X-Men: Apocalypse, Psylocke was one of the titular villain’s Four Horsemen. The character’s escape from the final battle in X-Men: Apocalypse and Olivia Munn’s billing in the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix means audiences will get at least one more chance to see the spandex-clad mutant on the big screen.
Outside the X-Men series, Munn has been seen in films like Iron Man 2, Magic Mike, and Mortdecai. Starring alongside Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jeff Goldblum, Olivia and the makers of Mortdecai were set up for a successful outing. Contrary to the team’s expectations, the film was a critical and commercial flop. Mortdecai’s attempts at humour fell flat and the 'weird for the sake of weird' tactic did its cast no favours.
14 Michael Fassbender in Jonah Hex
Michael Fassbender has shared the task of playing the complex character Magneto in the X-Men series. With the help of Sir Ian McKellen, Magneto has become a mainstay in the series, becoming one of the characters fans look most forward to seeing. The tragic backstory of Erik Magnus Lehnsherr, the man behind the mutant, is portrayed expertly by Fassbender, adding a shade of grey to a genre often dominated by black and white ideas on good evil.
The X-Men series are not the only comic-book films that Michael Fassbender has starred in. The 2011 Western Jonah Hex was based off the DC series of the same name. As the character Burke, Fassbender served as one of the antagonists in this muddled film. Criticized for its weak storyline, Jonah Hex did little to help Michael venture outside of the X-Men Series.
13 Famke Janssen in I Spy
Aside from her role as Jean Grey in a number of X-Men installments, Famke Janssen has found success with her work in films like the 2008 comedy-drama The Wackness and the recent 2016 drama Jack of the Red Hearts. As Jean Grey, Janssen helped to bring a very human element to a series focused on mutants.
One of Famke Janssen’s less fortunate outings was in the 2002 action-comedy I Spy. Starring alongside Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson, Janssen was cast as FBI-esque agent Rachel Wright. With its excessive action scenes, tired jokes, and underwhelming attempts at creating suspense, I Spy was a critical flop. Fortunately for Janssen, however, much of the focus stayed on Murphy and Wilson.
12 Liev Schreiber in Mixed Nuts
Liev Schreiber’s time in the X-Men film series was short lived, but he did portray an iconic character during that time. Appearing only in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the Victor Creed actor had the dark charisma necessary to pull off the character who would become Sabretooth. Much of Schreiber’s acting outside the X-Men series has been well-received, garnering critical acclaim for his roles in films like Spotlight and Chuck.
Liev’s acting career didn’t have the biggest jumpstart, however. His big screen debut came in 1994 with Mixed Nuts. Starring Steve Martin and Madeline Kahn, the Christmas comedy fell flat with audiences. With support from actors like Garry Shandling and Rita Wilson, Mixed Nuts was a surprisingly critical flop as well. Fortunately for Schreiber, he seems to have gotten his worst role out of the way early.
11 James Marsden in Sugar & Spice
James Marsden is perhaps best known for his role as Cyclops in the first three films of the X-Men series. His portrayal of Charles Xavier’s right-hand-man saw him deliver a solid performance, where he was charming as he usually is. Despite the impact that his portrayal of Scott Summers, the man behind Cyclops, had, James’ appearances outside the X-Men franchise has not been so consistent.
The 2001 teen comedy Sugar & Spice saw Marsden as a high school quarterback turned teenage parent, Jack Bartlett. When he and his girlfriend Dianne, played by Marley Shelton, are unable to afford their new-found responsibilities, Dianne and her friends start engaging in armed robberies, with their sights set on a large bank.
With Sugar & Spice’s poor reception by critics and the public alike, we’re sure that Marsden was eager to put the ruby sunglasses back on.
10 Kelly Hu in Surf Ninjas
X2 saw the first, and so far only, appearance of Lady Deathstrike in the X-Men movie series. Portrayed by Kelly Hu and referred to simply as Yuriko, this brainwashed mutant possesses similar powers to that of Wolverine. Yuriko proved to be a very powerful enemy to the mutants in X2, capturing Cyclops and Charles Xavier before eventually being defeated by Wolverine.
Kelly’s work in the superhero genre didn’t stop at X2, however, as she went on to provided voice work for Batman: Under the Red Hood and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. Hu’s work outside the genre includes roles in Cradle 2 the Grave, Americanese, and, unfortunately, Surf Ninjas. The 1993 comedy is exactly what it sounds like: a mish mash of the extreme sports and martial arts trends of the time.
9 Oscar Isaac in Sucker Punch
Oscar Isaac has been on a bit of a hot streak lately. His acting in films like Inside Llewyn Davis, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Ex-Machina have gotten the actor noticed by critics and the public alike. Isaac’s part in the X-Men series came with his portrayal of the titular villain in the series’ ninth film X-Men: Apocalypse. Although the movie was not received as warmly as others in the series, Isaac’s role in the film didn’t slow the actor’s rise to becoming a household name.
One film that did little to help Oscar, however, was 2011’s Sucker Punch. Zack Snyder’s dystopian action movie told the story of a young woman’s attempt to escape from a mental institution maintained by Isaac’s character Blue Jones. The film was criticized for its weak story line and even drew accusations of misogyny for its depiction of women throughout. Here’s hoping Poe Dameron keeps getting work.
8 Dania Ramirez in Fat Albert
Dania Ramirez brought the mutant Callisto to life in the third X-Men film X-Men: The Last Stand. In the movie, Callisto joins The Brotherhood of Mutants, a group convinced that the mutant race is in danger. Her tough appearance, superhuman speed, and heightened senses was one of the few highlights of X-Men: The Last Stand and helped to bring Ramirez into the spotlight.
One of Ramirez’s previous Hollywood roles was not received so well. Dania played Lauri Robertson in the 2004 live-action/animated adaptation of Fat Albert. This family comedy fell flat simply due to its bland, predictable storyline, doing little to help Ramirez’s growing career. And really, does anyone want to be associated with Bill Cosby anymore?
7 Evan Peters in The Lazarus Effect
First taking on the role of Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Evan Peters has become a mainstay in recent X-Men movies. His portrayal of the fast-moving, fast-talking Peter Maximoff brings comedic relief and helps to break up the intense storylines that characterize the X-Men films. Peters’ inclusion in the cast list of the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix is a sign that this fan-favourite character has made quite the impression on the film’s production team.
Despite his standout performances in the X-Men movies, some of Evan Peters’ work outside the film series has not been as well received. The 2015 sci-fi horror movie The Lazarus Effect saw Peters and his cast-mates experimenting with a formula meant to bring the dead back to life. The film’s use of tired horror gimmicks squandered the talents of Evan and his fellow cast members.
6 Boyd Holbrook in Very Good Girls
Boyd Holbrook is a new addition to the X-Men series, so far only having appeared as Donald Pierce in the recent hit Logan. As the leader of militant group Reavers, Donald Pierce is the driving force behind Laura’s attempted capture. Holbrook’s down to earth portrayal of Pierce made the character all the more menacing, proving himself as a capable villain to Wolverine.
While his work in critical successes like 2008’s Milk and 2014’s Gone Girl drew attention toward the actor, some of Boyd’s acting roles leading up to Logan have not been so well-received. In the 2014 coming-of-age film Very Good Girls, main characters Lilly and Gerri, the latter played by MCU regular Elizabeth Olson, both fall for a man named David, played by Holbrook. The clichéd storyline and forced drama did little to help the up-and-coming actor.
5 Rebecca Romijn in Rollerball
Rebecca Romijn is known by X-Men fans as the original actress behind Mystique. Before Jennifer Lawrence took over the role in X-Men: First Class, Romijn held down the role of the shapeshifting mutant for the first three films in the series. The OG Mystique’s acting choices outside the blue suit, however, have not always landed.
One of the worst missteps for Rebecca was 2002’s Rollerball. This remake of the 1975 sci-fi film ditched the social and political commentary in favour of a simple action movie. Romijn’s performance in Rollerball was so poorly received, in fact, that she was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award, only missing out on the dubious honour due to Madonna’s brief role in Die Another Day.
4 Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern
These days, Ryan Reynolds is best known for his big screen portrayal of Deadpool. As the Merc With A Mouth, Reynolds helped to jumpstart the recent trend of R-rated super hero and comic-book movies. His treatment of the crude, violent, and hilarious mutant Wade Wilson garnered critical and public praise. With a sequel to Deadpool on the way, it seems fans can’t get enough of the classic anti-hero.
Ryan Reynolds’ entry into the superhero film genre, however, was not met with much praise. His role as Hal Jordan in the 2011 film adaptation of Green Lantern was met with backlash from both casual and hardcore fans. Criticized for ignoring important elements from its source material, the action-heavy Green Lantern did Reynolds no favours in his superhero pursuit.
3 Sir Patrick Stewart in The Emoji Movie
Does Sir Patrick Stewart even need an introduction? I mean, he’s Sir Patrick Stewart. Alright, for those of you living under a rock, Stewart is the man behind Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lord Yupa from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and Professor Charles Xavier from the X-Men series, to name just a few. Despite his acclaimed acting resume, Stewart has made a few questionable choices throughout his career.
The most recent of these was his appearance as Poop in The Emoji Movie. There’s not much more to it; it’s a movie about emojis. The Emoji Movie was, unsurprisingly, panned by critics as unfunny and lacking any meaningful story.
2 Halle Berry in Catwoman
Halle Berry has been a mainstay in the X-Men series, so far appearing as Storm in many of the movies. Berry’s portrayal of the morally conscious mutant has been a highlight in the series, bringing a sense of complexity to the films. Berry’s portrayal of comic-book characters outside the X-Men series, however, has been largely criticized.
The 2004 movie Catwoman is just a mess. It’s choppy CGI and uninteresting storyline were the subject of criticism by many in the film industry. Halle Berry’s performance in the movie was equally panned, with Berry receiving the Golden Raspberry for Worst Actress, an award that she accepted in person with her previously won Oscar in hand. At least Halle’s got a sense of humour.
1 Hugh Jackman in Movie 43
For many fans, Hugh Jackman is the face of the X-Men movie series. His portrayal of Wolverine was a constant source of praise from his initial appearance in 2000’s X-Men to his latest, and final, portrayal in Logan. Hugh’s acting outside the X-Men series, in films like 2006’s The Prestige and 2012’s Les Misérables, has been highly praised as well. Out of place in Jackman’s impressive filmography is Movie 43.
Does anyone want to be remembered for being in Movie 43? Many of the actors and actresses featured in the film no longer even acknowledge their role in the film. The 2013 anthology comedy, somehow, gathered an ensemble cast of other big-name actors. Jackman appears in the segment “The Catch” as Davis, a man with testicles on his neck who is on a blind date with Kate Winslet’s Beth.
We’d better leave it at that.
Deadpool 2 is scheduled for release on June 1st, 2018 and X-Men: Dark Phoenix is scheduled for release on November 2nd, 2018. How do you think the movie series will fare without Wolverine? Let us know in the comments below.