Most comic book/superhero movies are adaptations of preexisting source material, which means that it’s especially important to find the right actor to breathe life into these characters. Occasionally the studios find someone who plays a near-perfect version of the lead characters, like Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man or Christopher Reeve as Superman. Then there are those at the opposite end of the spectrum, actors who, although successful, gave the audience a terrible version of the hero, villain, or supporting player either due to a bad script or just going in the wrong direction with the character.

These bad performances can be found not just in the modern era of comic book movies, but in decades past. While all the actors on this list have enjoyed success with their film careers, their respective superhero movies are not indicative of their talents, resulting in mediocre, campy, or just straight up horrible performances. These are the movie stars who should have stayed away from superhero films.

Richard Pryor, Superman III
Richard Pryor, Superman III
Richard Pryor is one of the greatest comedians of all time, but his performance as Gus Gorman in Superman III was not one of his best moments. As the bumbling computer programmer (a skill that he learned in just days?!), his only purpose was to serve as unnecessary comic relief while Superman battled the film’s subpar villains. Just because an actor/performer is talented and has impressed people doesn’t mean that they’ll be a good fit for every project. Pryor’s shenanigans didn’t add anything substantial to the story, and while this doesn’t dent his impressive career, it did leave a blemish on the Superman film series.

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