10 Actors In Bad Superhero Movies Who Turned Their Careers Around Playing Different Marvel & DC Characters

Long before Chris Evans was the MCU's Captain America, he played the Human Torch in two terrible Fantastic Four movies! Here, we look at 10 actors who saved their superhero movie careers by being recast...

There are a lot of comic book characters who have been brought to the big screen over the years, but only so many actors to fill those roles. That's why a lot of Hollywood stars have ended up playing multiple parts across the Marvel and DC Universes, and many of them have had to use the second characters they've starred as to rescue their careers after those disastrous first turns. 

For example, Ryan Reynolds almost killed his career by playing Green Lantern in the 2011 flop, but he more than made up for that by starring in Deadpool, the highest-grossing R-Rated movie of all time. Since then, he's had a career resurgence, and is now one of Hollywood's most bankable stars. 

With that in mind, we're looking at ten actors who have played comic book characters in poorly received superhero movies, only to then go on to redeem themselves with far more successful performances in releases that didn't ultimately bomb with fans, critics, and at the box office.

So, to see who made the cut, all you guys need to do is click on the "Next" button down below!

10. Scarlett Johansson

Before taking on the role of Black Widow in 2010's Iron Man 2, Scarlett Johansson played femme fatale scientist, Silken Floss, in the critically panned adaptation of Frank Miller's The Spirit.

The movie was terrible, and was most definitely not the right direction for the actress as she looked to break into the world of Hollywood blockbusters. Thankfully, her leap into the Marvel Cinematic Universe paid off in a big way, and while she's struggled with big-budget fare outside of that (Lucy), her time as this member of The Avengers more than made up for any past mistakes. 

On the plus side, however, Johansson did look phenomenal in the aforementioned 2008 flop...

9. Idris Elba

Idris Elba had only a very minor role in Thor, so the British actor who shined in BBC's Luther clearly fancied his chances taking on a bigger comic book movie role when he played Moreau in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. That movie bombed, and led to the rights to the franchise returning to Marvel Studios.

Of course, like most cast members, Elba didn't shy away from sharing his dissatisfaction with Heimdall's lack of screen-time in The Dark World, but he was given more to do in Thor: Ragnarok, something which redeemed him in the eyes of many fans (it's just a shame he didn't stick around in Avengers: Infinity War).

That Ghost Rider movie was so bad, it's definitely fortunate Elba could fall back on the MCU!

8. Josh Brolin

Josh Brolin has had mixed success over the years in the comic book movie realm after forgettable roles in the likes of Jonah Hex and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, two critically panned releases.

However, 2018 was most definitely his year, as the actor played an incredible motion-capture baddie with Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, and then suited up as fan-favourite mutant Cable in Deadpool 2. He excelled in both, and his work in Avengers: Endgame was every bit as impressive.

Those films were also massively successful, and cemented Brolin as one of Hollywood's top stars.

7. Chris Evans

Chris Evans delivered a memorable turn as Johnny Storm in Fox's terrible Fantastic Four movies, and was equally as watchable in The Losers (we're betting that you've forgotten all about that one).

However, while he delivered a scene-stealing performance in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, it was Captain America who proved to be a game-changing role for the actor. That role has seen him become not only an icon, but an A-List actor who is no longer having to slum it in second-rate blockbusters and romcoms (just look how great he was in Rian Johson's Knives Out). 

Had Captain America: The First Avenger not come along, who knows what would have happened.

6. Michael B. Jordan

There was a lot of controversy surrounding Michael B. Jordan's casting as Johnny Storm in Josh Trank's Fantastic Four reboot, but that was quickly forgotten when fans got wrapped up in all those juicy reports about what had been going on behind the scenes at Twentieth Century Fox.

With the blame lifted from them, the cast mostly escaped unscathed, and Jordan, in particular, managed to redeem himself by taking on the role of Erik Killmonger in Black Panther

That was an incredible performance which, after his work in Creed, proved that he's one of the best actors working today. Now, there are rumours he could eventually suit up as the Calvin Ellis version of Superman.

5. Ryan Reynolds

Before finding some well-deserved success with Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds tried again and again to break into the superhero movie genre with little success. He was enjoyable to watch in Blade: Trinity, but that movie was such a disappointment after the first two films, no one really cared.

Then, there was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Logan's first solo movie massively dropped the ball with the Deadpool character, of course, and while Reynolds was a highlight in Green Lantern, that was another critical and commercial disaster. For a time, it even looked like Reynolds' career had been ruined! 

As a result, it wasn't until he suited up as the Merc with the Mouth that he returned to the A-List, and his star has been on the rise ever since. Now, fans remain anxious to see him join the MCU in the upcoming Deadpool 3.

4. Brandon Routh

Superman Returns should have made Brandon Routh a household name, but Bryan Singer's insistence that the actor channel Christopher Reeve hurt his career in a significant way.

Thankfully, Edgar Wright gave him the opportunity to show a very different side in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and he's since found success as Ray Palmer in Arrow and with a lead role in spinoff Legends of Tomorrow. Unfortunately, his time in the latter recently came to a premature end, something Routh and fans have expressed their disappointment with.

Before that happened, though, he had one more chance to play Superman in Crisis on Infinite Earths, and got to bid farewell to the Man of Steel in an amazing and satisfying manner. 

3. Dominic Purcell

Talking of the Arrowverse, Dominic Purcell has also used that series to turn things around for him.

He initially came to everyone's attention when he starred opposite Wentworth Miller in Prison Break, and attempted to break into Hollywood with a lead role as Dracula in Blade: Trinity. Unfortunately, his cheesy turn didn't do him any favours, and Purcell quickly faded into obscurity.

Things turned around when he landed the role of Heatwave in The Flash, and he's now a lead star in Legends of Tomorrow. Fans of The CW series would riot if he was ever written out. 

2. Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson changed the MCU forever when he popped up as Nick Fury at the end of Iron Man, but the actor has made a lot of very strange decisions over the years, and The Spirit was probably his most questionable. Playing the main villain, The Octopus, he was, well, terrible. 

In fact, had fans known he had been cast as Nick Fury while watching this mess, something tells us that they might not have been keen to see the legendary actor as part of Marvel's shared world.

Luckily, it took no time at all for Jackson to make a lasting impact by playing Fury, a role he has made his own. All these years later, he's still playing the former S.H.I.E.L.D. Director, and we love him for it. 

1. Mark Strong

Mark Strong has actually found a great deal of success in the likes of Kick-Ass and the two Kingsman movies, but his role in Green Lantern haunted the British actor for quite a few years. 

While he was a great choice to play Sinestro, he looked every bit as silly as Ryan Reynolds thanks to his bright pink skin and CGI costume, while what was meant to be an exciting post-credits scene proved to be an underwhelming, confusing addition to an already pretty terrible movie.

It took a while, but Strong got the chance to return to the big screen DC Universe where he played Shazam! villain Dr. Sivana, a bad guy vastly more memorable than the Sinestro we got in 2011!

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