Wednesday, February 17, 2016

"A Good Actor Is A Terrible Thing To Waste": 6 Perfectly Cast Actors Wasted In Subpar Superhero Movies

Ryan Reynolds may not have been all that memorable in the 2009 movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but this past weekend's box office juggernaut Deadpool proves that was no fault of his. Nope, sometimes really talented actors get stuck in garbage movies, and today, I'll be examining six actors perfectly cast for notable comic book characters in movies that ended up being....well, let's just say less than perfect.

First up, an actor from another failed Ryan Reynolds superhero movie...

Michael Clarke Duncan as Kilowog in Green Lantern
There are a ton of good actors lost in the sea of flaws that is Green Lantern, from Mark Strong as Sinestro to Geoffrey Rush as Tomar-Re to Angela Bassett as an early live-action form of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis will take over that role in this summers Suicide Squad). For my money, no one was a bigger waste than Michael Clarke Duncan as the alien Kilowog, who gets maybe four minutes of screentime within the film. With his distinctive booming voice, it's not shocker that Duncan thrived as a voice actor, and he could have brought both commanding authority and pathos to this role if given even half the chance. But who needs to spend time developing the sci-fi elements of this sci-fi movie when we spend time with Ryan Reynolds sulking in his apartment?
Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch in Fantastic Four
Thanks to the excellent Creed, the whole world is now well aware that Michael B. Jordan is one of the most talented young actors out there right now. Which makes his tepid work in Fantastic Four (which opened three months prior to the released of Creed) all the more befuddling. Jordan is perfect to play Johnny Storm, he could do the whole cocky but charming schtick in his sleep. Alas, he's stuck in a movie as dreary as a rainstorm, only allowing for brief glimpses into the actors endearing personality to shine through. In the fascinating disaster that is last years Fantastic Four movie, wasting someone so talented like Michael B. Jordan has got to be one of the most egregious flaws.
Thomas Haden Church as The Sandman in Spider-Man 3
Out of all of the films in this editorial, Spider-Man 3 is easily the best in terms of overall quality. What we have here isn't a failure of a motion picture, but it is one with tons and tons of problems, one of which is how the character The Sandman feels overall extraneous to the plot. What a shame, because Thomas Haden Church actually turns in a great performance as the character, playing the morally conflicted character with equal parts uncertainty (an emotion stemming from his newfound powers) and determination (both to cure his daughter and take down Spider-Man). Here was a bad guy who deserved a far more focused movie (like the first two excellent Spider-Man movies) to inhabit.
Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider
Nicolas Cage has become a go-to punching bag for many corners of the internet, which saddens me greatly. Cage is an excellent actor in films like Adaptation, and even in certain pieces of B-movie dreck like The Wicker Man, he's still giving more effort into his own performance than anyone else on-screen. His commitment to going gonzo in depicting on-screen insanity would seemingly make Cage (a self-professed comic book geek) the perfect choice to play the anti-hero Ghost Rider. Nope, turns out he's just another wasted element of the two terrible Ghost Rider movies he headlined, the first one being a generic mess while the second became a feature that's almost bamboozling in its level of complete failure.
Emma Stone in The Amazing Spider-Man 
Somehow even more embarrassingly than the time she played a half-Asian woman in Aloha, Emma Stones turn as Gwen Stacy in both Amazing Spider-Man films is an aggravating waste of an extremely talented performer. While the script, to its minuscule credit, at least gave Stacy a personality and interests apart from Peter Parker, there wasn't really much purpose to her character in these two failures besides biting the dust in the second movie so they could recreate a well known comic book storyline. Many times in superhero movies, love interests don't have much to do beyond being arm and eye candy, but man, this one particularly stings thanks to the amount of talent Stone has displayed in numerous other movies. For wasting her time here, it feels like Sony owes her a Spider-Gwen movie to star in.

And speaking of underutilized romantic interests....
Amy Adams as Lois Lane in Man of Steel
There are countless elements in the anemic 2013 motion picture Man of Steel that simply do not work, ranging from the story structure (which has endless amounts of flashback that don't further the character of Superman in any shape or form), the nauseating use of shaky-cam and oh my Lord, that destruction heavy climax that would leave Michael Bay overwhelmed.  Oh yeah, and one of the great actors of our time, Amy Adams, is given nothing to do. A woman who can do both cheery comedy (The Muppets and Enchanted) and nuanced drama (American Hustle, Doubt, Her) with equal measures of phenomenal success is given the reins to play iconic Superman character Lois Lane here, and good Lord does it end up being waste of both audience and Amy Adams time.

Adams has zero chemistry with Cavill (their first kiss set amidst the rubble of Superman's destructive action is mind-boggling in its inept execution) and she has distractedly very little to do in the grand scheme of the story. Couldn't Adams at least play scenery-chewing bad guy? Not the part of damsel-in-distress that's waaaaaaaay beneath the talents of this actor. God willing, Adams will get something of note to do in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, they certainly owe her after utterly wasting her in the atortcious Man of Steel.

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