Worst superhero casting decisions ever

Not everyone is cut out to be a superhero—just ask Professor Charles Xavier. He's basically a casting agent for superheroes: he uses his big mutant brain and Cerebro gadget to find those who have what it takes to become an X-Man. Too bad real casting agents aren't telepathic. If they were, we might not end up with so many horribly miscast superheroes on the big screen. Maybe one day, Hollywood will create a Cerebro for actors. Until then, though, we're left with mistakes like these: the worst superhero casting decisions ever.

Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern

Here's a classic case of right guy, wrong role. Ryan Reynolds is a charmingly snarky leading man who uses self-deprecation to deflate his own superstar ego. That worked perfectly for Deadpool's wisecracking Wade Wilson, but it made no sense at all for Green Lantern lead Hal Jordan, one of the most notoriously uptight straight men in comics. The result was one of the biggest superhero flops in recent box office memory. What were they even thinking?

Nic Cage as Ghost Rider

This is a bit of a tricky one, because Nic Cage essentially cast himself in the two Ghost Rider movies. A lifelong comic book nerd—born Nicolas Coppola, he actually took his screen name from Marvel hero Luke Cage—it was Cage's star power and passion for the project that basically got them to be made in the first place. Given how totally wrong he is for the role of the Spirit of Vengeance, though, the movies were little more than expensive cosplay. Here's hoping Marvel does a little better with the character now that they've regained the film rights to Ghost Rider.

Jessica Alba as the Invisible Woman

Look, everyone loves Jessica Alba. Well, except for snobs who value things like "good acting." Many of these folks panned Alba's turn as the Invisible Woman in her two ill-fated Fantastic Four features. The Fantastic Four are supposed to be all about wonder. Instead, we were left just wondering why they didn't cast someone more suited to the material.

Keanu Reeves as Constantine

The strange thing about this casting choice is that the movie actually wasn't that bad…but that's basically despite Reeves. Thanks to his typically understated performance—in other words, he seems to suffer from a severe form of facial paralysis—the folks making the movie had to build every aspect of it around the knowledge that Reeves would seem to be lifelessly spacing out in every scene regardless of how crazy the action was. The movie ultimately works. But Reeves as Constantine? Not so much.

Sylvester Stallone as Judge Dredd

This could have worked. Some might even argue that it should have worked. But Sylvester Stallone was his own worst enemy when it came to playing Judge Dredd. The big problem, ironically, is that Stallone was, at the time, one of the biggest stars in the world. Because of that, it was felt that his face had to be front and center, leading to the terrible decision to have Stallone remove his iconic Judge helmet so we could see his mug. It might seem like a small thing, but it ran completely counter to everything about the character—and when the casting of your star forces you to undermine your entire concept, it's a bad idea.

Ben Affleck as Daredevil

Like Ryan Reynolds and Green Lantern, Ben Affleck as Daredevil is a case of right guy, wrong character. After all, Affleck did a credible job as a PTSD-racked Batman in Batman v Superman. Part of that is due to timing, of course; Affleck is just a much better actor now than he was when he made Daredevil. Which is exactly why the folks behind Daredevil should have cast someone who was actually suited for the role at the time. On the plus side, the film did introduce him to Jennifer Garner, so at least TMZ ended up benefiting from the casting decision.

Jennifer Garner as Elektra

Speaking of Jennifer Garner and Daredevil, hey look! This one is a real head-scratcher. Elektra is a grim, morally conflicted ninja assassin, working in the literal and metaphorical shadows to achieve her often sinister aims. Garner, on the other hand, is a chipper all-American girl next door who practically radiates wholesome goodness. This casting choice made no sense creatively, but since Garner was starring in the hit TV show Alias at the time, producers apparently hoped her star power would outshine the flaws. They didn't, and the box office implosion of the Elektra spinoff film is proof.

Seth Rogen as the Green Hornet

We're big fans of Seth Rogen. Unfortunately, we're also fans of the Green Hornet, which led to quite a bit of cognitive dissonance when Rogen completely destroyed the character in 2011. We do appreciate his attempt to dust off and update a character that had been kind of relegated to the superhero dustbin. But if the choice is either no Green Hornet or a Seth Rogen Green Hornet, well, after seeing this mistake, we'll go with no Green Hornet at all, thanks.

January Jones as the White Queen

Can anyone explain January Jones to us? Please? She was so amazing as Betty Draper on Mad Men, yet she's been really terrible in plenty of other things, most notably as the White Queen in X-Men: First Class. The casting decision almost makes sense, assuming the producers just looked at headshots and never actually screen-tested anyone. Because if they had given Jones a tryout, they might have learned in advance that she plays the character more like a comatose Stepford Wife than the coyly manipulative powerhouse Emma Frost is in the comics. Mistakes, as they say, were made.

Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl

Finally, there's the egregious decision to cast Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl in the 1997 abomination Batman & Robin. Of course, nothing could have saved that stinker of a movie, but the decision to cast the Clueless star essentially as her Clueless character wearing a costume was beyond ill-advised. Not only did it add nothing to the film except a really unnecessary veneer of vapidity, it helped typecast Silverstone as a one-note one trick pony. Yvonne Craig's portrayal of Batgirl from the 1966 Batman TV show was much closer to the mark—and if what you're doing is worse than something from that intentionally cheesy schlockfest, you know you're doing something wrong.