Superheroes have long been a staple of entertainment, with many actors seeking out opportunities to take on one of the world’s most well-known heroes, since some movies can make well over $1 billion worldwide during their theatrical run.
Over the last few years especially, superheroes have also made their way to television, with superhero shows like Arrow and The Flash finding huge audiences. Naturally, given their strong track record and the lucrative contracts that often accompany them, it isn’t surprising to see many actors line up in hopes of landing such roles.
That said, history has shown that many things can easily go wrong and turn a high-potential superhero flick into a box-office bomb. While there can be multiple factors that lead to a film failing, the most common problems often come from poor writing, embarrassing CGI, bad actor selection, and cramming too much material into one movie.
However, one of the more noticeable issues is when an actor struggles to build chemistry with his or her fellow cast members. When that happens, it could forever leave a mark on that actor’s resume and halt the progression of a franchise in its tracks.
Here are the 15 Superhero Actors Who Had No Chemistry With Their Cast Members.
15 George Clooney in Batman and Robin
After Tim Burton’s successful run with 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns, Joel Schumacher took the helm. The results were disastrous. While Batman Forever was palpable, Batman & Robin quickly became known as one of the worst superhero films of all time.
Sadly, much of the negativity surrounding Batman & Robin was focused on George Clooney’s portrayal of the Dark Knight. While highly respected in other roles, Clooney failed to capture the essence of Batman’s mystique and struggled to connect with fellow cast members Chris O’Donnell, Alicia Silverstone, and Uma Thurman.
The result was a film that would cause Batman to hide away from the big screen for nearly a decade, until Christopher Nolan revitalized the character in 2005.
14 Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk
Edward Norton has a strong track record of impressive roles. American History X and Primal Fear were critical darlings, due largely to Norton’s skillful acting, as both performances earned him an Oscar nomination. Norton, however, was not impervious to failure, as evidenced in this first superhero role.
Norton’s role as Bruce Banner in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk was devoid of any real emotion or meaningful connection with co-star Liv Tyler. Both Norton and Tyler missed the mark and seemed to just be putting in the time, ruining the immersion for movie-goers worldwide. The poor showing led to Norton being replaced by Mark Ruffalo in Hulk's next on-screen appearance.
The Fight Club actor has mostly recovered from his fledgling moment as the ground-smashing Hulk, but it will likely be a while before the decorated actor takes on another superhero role.
13 Finn Jones in Iron Fist
After the success of Daredevil and Luke Cage, Marvel fans were excited for another lesser-known superhero to take the stage when Netflix announced Iron Fist. However, those hopes and dreams were dashed when the show launched on the streaming service. Iron Fist limped through its first season, receiving mediocre reviews from both critics and viewers.
While there were a handful of issues with the show, it was Finn Jones’ acting as Danny Rand that reaped the most criticism. Jones struggled to develop any real chemistry with the rest of the Iron Fist cast, leading to an uninspired experience that failed to live up to expectations.
While Jones upped his game in The Defenders, he still has much to learn when it comes to developing on-screen connections with his co-stars.
12 Jennifer Lawrence in X-Men: First Class
Thanks to the global success of the Hunger Games franchise, Jennifer Lawrence quickly became a household name. However, she had already found success with a previous franchise. Lawrence was first cast as Mystique, the blue skinned shape-shifter in 2011's X-Men:First Class.
Where James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender captured the hearts and minds of viewers, Lawrence’s efforts fell flat. She was unable to really connect with her co-stars, and it hampered her efforts as Mystique. While the character is meant to be a little isolated, Lawrence failed to fulfill on the character’s name and struggled with any attempt to add intrigue and charisma.
Hopefully, her recent roles in other films have provided a bit of additional training that Lawrence can bring to Mystique, in X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
11 Jesse Eisenberg in Batman v Superman
On occasion, an actor will take a well-known role and add some new flare to it. While some changes are necessary in order to provide a fresh take on a well-known superhero or villain personality, it doesn't always work.
Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of Lex Luther in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, was unfortunately an example of changes going wrong. While eccentric, his performance came off as brash and annoying. This was compounded by the fact that Eisenberg was unable to really click with his cast mates.
Whether you love or hate Eisenberg's performance, you can't deny that the actor was fully committed to the role. Unfortunately, it just didn't mesh with what his co-stars were doing, and is one of the reasons for film's constantly shifting tone.
10 Nicholas Cage in Ghost Rider
Nicholas Cage isn’t well known for being the most versatile of actors, so there were already very low expectations when he was cast as Ghost Rider in 2007. On paper, the casting of Cage as Johnny Blaze could have worked, as he was well known for his action roles of the '90s, appearing in such movies as Con Air and Face/Off.
While the overall character wasn’t very strong, it was Cage’s lack of chemistry with co-star Eva Mendes that brought about the most disappointment.
With Cage involved in a number of projects right now, and the poor reviews of Ghost Rider and its sequel, it’s likely superhero fans won’t see Cage join the MCU, DCEU, or any other hero universe on the horizon. This is probably for the best for everyone involved.
9 Ben Affleck in Daredevil
When Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, many DC fans were cautious due to Affleck’s lackluster portrayal of Daredevil. For those who remember, Affleck’s portrayal was devoid of any ability to connect with the movie’s other characters.
A supporting cast that included Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, and Michael Clarke Duncan seemingly wasn't enough to make this movie a hit. Ironically, Affleck has said that it was on this set that he fell in love with his now ex-wife Garner, but you'd never know it from watching this movie.
Sadly, Affleck’s struggles have spilled over into his efforts as Batman, with some criticizing his role for being too stiff and lacking any kind of emotional connection with both his co-stars.
8 Topher Grace in Spider-Man 3
For many, Spiderman 3 was a horrible train-wreck of a film that couldn’t decide what it wanted to be. Much of the criticism that the movie has received revolves around the questionable acting from the main characters, including Topher Grace, who joined the cast as the infamous Venom.
Grace’s efforts to stand out were easily dismissed, as he was unable to connect on screen with his cast-mates. Nearly every scene that Grace shared with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst was a letdown, with no visible chemistry.
It was a bit of a surprise, considering how well Grace had connected with co-star Laura Prepon in That '70s Show. Perhaps, as most fans voiced at the time, Grace was just completely miscast for the role of Eddie Brock.
7 Jessica Alba in Fantastic Four
One of the most important aspects of Sue Storm is her ability to connect with each member of the Fantastic Four in different, but meaningful ways. There’s seemingly no relationship between Sue and her brother, Johnny Storm, played by Chris Evans.
This lack of chemistry extends to her main love interest, Reed Richards, who was played by Ioan Gruffudd. Their relationship is unnecessarily forced. Why did they need to get married? Everyone knew that a sequel was coming and they still just had to add in a cringeworthy proposal at the end of the movie.
This actually comes down to a writing issue. Alba is never allowed to flourish as her own character, as she is forced to take the back seat to the two male leads.
6 Eric Bana in Hulk
Before Mark Ruffalo took over, the Hulk was a bit of a cursed role. Eric Bana appeared as the on-screen green machine before Norton had taken the role.
While the overall production of Hulk could have used a handful of revisions, this doesn’t excuse the lack of chemistry between the Australian actor and his co-stars.
To be fair, neither Jennifer Connelly nor Sam Elliott put up much of an effort to meet viewer expectations, but since Bana played the main role, it really was up to him to carry the cast.
Fortunately, the MCU found a better fit for the role of Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk by the time the franchise took off and developed into the multi-billion dollar powerhouse it is today.
5 Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange
After his impressive portrayal as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series Sherlock, it wasn’t difficult to see Benedict Cumberbatch playing a self-centered jerk in Doctor Strange.
However, Cumberbatch does so well at being internally focused, that he is unable to fully connect romantically with co-star Rachel McAdams. While this seems like an appropriate character choice, it’s obvious that Cumberbatch and McAdams were supposed to hit it off.
Fortunately for Cumberbatch, the rest of his efforts as Doctor Stranger were praised by fans and critics, so there’s little doubt that the British actor will maintain his position as the mystical Marvel physician. Hopefully, he’ll be able to better connect with McAdams and other co-stars in the future.
4 Will Smith in Suicide Squad
As the DCEU experienced a mediocre start, many fans were hoping that 2016’s Suicide Squad would turn things around and give the franchise the lift it needed. While Suicide Squad was financially successful, it was critically panned despite an all-star cast and plenty of hype.
One of the most notable shortcomings was Will Smith’s part as Deadshot. The actor was already trying to improve his credibility after getting mixed reviews for Focus and After Earth. Sadly, Suicide Squad didn’t do much to help in that department.
To be fair, almost none of the cast was able to develop meaningful connections on screen, with Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn being the one exception. It felt like Smith couldn’t ever fully invest in Deadshot, which kept him from developing any chemistry with both his co-stars or the audience.
3 Henry Cavill in Man of Steel
In the minds of many Superman fans, Clark Kent simply isn’t whole without Lois Lane by his side. When Amy Adams was cast alongside Henry Cavill as the iconic couple in Man of Steel, many fans were excited with the casting. Unfortunately, the result was lacking any romantic connection between the two, leaving a hole in the story.
Unlike the memorable show Lois & Clark, which made the relationship between the two characters a focal-point of the story, Man of Steel instead focused on Superman’s roots. This unfortunately moved any romantic storyline to the back burner.
Based on the direction that the DCEU is going, it doesn’t seem likely that the two will ever get the screen-time or attention they deserve. For now, it seems Cavill and Adams won’t be able to make up for their lack of chemistry in Man of Steel.
2 Famke Janssen in X-Men
Like many other ensemble superhero films, the X-Men movies cast well-known and respected actors. One role that was crucial to the story was the love triangle that developed between Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Wolverine, played respectively by Famke Janssen, James Marsden, and Hugh Jackman.
Unfortunately, Janssen couldn’t deliver on the promise of a romantic connection with either of her co-stars. In fact, had the writers not made the relationship between Jean Grey and Wolverine such a focal-point in the resulting trilogy, it would have gone virtually unnoticed.
It’ll be fascinating to see if Sophie Turner can provide a better portrayal of Jean Grey in the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix. However, as for the time being, Jean has no love interests in the movie.
1 Halle Berry in Catwoman
Catwoman is widely considered to be one of the worst superhero films in recent memory. However, unlike Batman & Robin, Halle Berry had no other co-stars to blame for the terrible reviews. In fact, it was largely up to Berry to live up to the high standard set by Michelle Pfeiffer. The resulting film ended up being a huge disappointment.
Berry essentially wasn't given much to work with and failed to whip up any real chemistry with the rest of the cast.
In hindsight, this outcome shouldn’t have been too surprising, considering the fact that Berry was unable to really connect with her co-stars in the X-Men movies. That said, Catwoman was on another level of bad. It's unlikely that Berry will ever have a chance of re-entering the DCEU as a superhero.
Who else do you think was unable to successfully build chemistry with their co-stars? Let us know in the comments!