5. Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom (Spider-Man 3)
It's hard to know how much to blame the actor for this one, since he was both horribly miscast and the victim of a director throwing a hissy fit. But considering how generally faithful in tone Sam Raimi's first two wall-crawling features were, and how good he was at translating villains like the silly looking Dr. Octopus into real threats, Venom sticks out like a sore organic webshooter.
Avi Arad asked Raimi to include Venom because the fans wanted to see him; Raimi responded by neglecting the more classic interpretation of Eddie Brock as the physical opposite of Spidey as well as the moral one, and casting Grace as a creepy little worm of a guy. Then he had Venom frequently show his Topher face for no reason, and after teasing us with a defeat that would allow the character to return, flipped us off by having him commit suicide. While it was a nice change to have a Spidey villain who was genuinely evil, rather than a kind mentor figure accidentally corrupted, which was becoming a tedious cliche, it would have been nicer if both director and star could have given him to us the way we actually were demanding. Instead we got fangs for nothing.
4. D. B. Sweeney as Terry Fitzgerald (Spawn)
I know, I know...singling out any one thing about Spawn seems unfair to the numerous other things it got wrong, from giving Spawn a kid and a dog as sidekicks to the needless way the script felt the need to explain how Jason Wynn's doomsday device works at least four times. And yet given how good many of the principals were despite their surroundings - I cannot fault Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo, Nicol Williamson or Theresa Randle in this - we can be aware of just how flat Sweeney is.
Yes, he was miscast from the start. According to Todd McFarlane, New Line basically told him he needed another white guy in a lead role, or the film would be stigmatized as a black movie and lose a potential audience share. So rather than sacrificing the male or female lead to whitewashing, he chose the best-friend character - which, funnily enough, adds a miscegenation element that arguably would offend racially prejudiced audiences even more than not having a white guy would.
All that aside, though, I understand that there are white male actors out there who don't act stoned for an entire movie. McFarlane just didn't happen to find any.
3. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze (Batman and Robin)
Mr. Freeze, when properly portrayed, can be a tragic and complex figure. A brilliant scientist whose wife suffered an incurable disease, he keeps her body frozen even as he must remain in sub-zero temperatures himself, having a mutated body that would melt at room temperature. It all drives him mad...and to crime.
Indeed, it's a meaty role for the right actor who could portray pathos, brilliance and gradual derangement in equal measure. So of course they cast this guy:
The one thing I will say is that this should have clued people in to Joel Schumacher's intent, because the only precedent for a Freeze who talks like that is the one from the 1966 series, where he is campily portrayed by the brilliant Austro-Hungarian-American director Otto Preminger.
Reared on the Burton movies, a generation of fanboys felt stabbed in the back when it became clear that Schumacher wanted to bring the Adam West tone back...but they should have seen it coming.
"They should haff had...ICE in da back off deir headss!" [That's already a better pun than some in the movie.]
2. David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury (Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD)
The reason many of today's fans are totally okay with colorblind casting.
1. Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face (Batman Forever)
Part of what makes this one top the list is the wasted potential it represents, on all counts. Firstly, there's the Billy Dee Williams factor - he was established as Harvey Dent in the first Tim Burton film with the idea that he'd be Two-Face in a sequel. Rarely a villain but always a fun actor, Williams may or may not have been right for the conflicted role, but we all wanted to see it nonetheless.
Joel Schumacher said at the time that he felt Williams couldn't play evil as well as Jones could, and since they were recasting Batman anyway, audiences couldn't complain too much. He was right about this...in theory.
Jones is a good actor, and he probably could have played a conflicted character. He is also an ornery fuck who does what he wants, especially if he senses weakness in a director. What he wanted - based on all the available evidence - was to do his take on Jack Nicholson's Joker, even though it made no sense for his particular part. Duality? Nahh; this Harvey was a ham with a machine gun. Belief in random chance? Gone too - this Two-Face kept flipping his coin until he got the desired result, rather than accepting fate's ruling.
Aaron Eckhart finally did Harvey Dent justice years later, but Jones remains a bad one forever in my memory.
Nice suit, though.