For most performers, appearing as a character from a Marvel superhero comic would be a dream come true, offering a fast track to the Hollywood A-list.
Marvel's impact on cinema has been the subject of much scrutiny, though, with Quentin Tarantino criticising the franchise and saying that the actors are "not movie stars. Captain America is the star" and Chris Evans has agreed with that sentiment.
In an interview with GQ, Evans explained: "The character is the star. You’re there, but you don’t feel the burden of it. That was the beauty of working on Marvel films. You never really had to be front and centre. Even in your own films sometimes."
Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Holland, Simu Liu, Tom Hiddleston and Anthony Mackie are just some of the actors whose careers enjoyed a major boost thanks to appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but there are some stars who weren't happy with their experiences with it.
Anthony Hopkins – the Thor franchise
Anthony Hopkins appeared in the Thor franchise several times as Norse god Odin, the patriarch of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), in Thor, Thor: The Dark World, and Thor: Ragnarok, respectively.
But now the actor has claimed the Marvel films were "pointless" to act in because of the way the superhero movies were made, which he seemed to feel didn't require much effort.
In an interview with the New Yorker, the academy award winner recalled of his experience in the films: "They put me in armour; they shoved a beard on me. Sit on the throne, shout a bit. If you’re sitting in front of a green screen, it’s pointless acting it."
Terrence Howard – Iron Man
Howard was really disappointed with Robert Downey Jr — as well as the studio — after the former was let go from the Iron Man franchise for apparently refusing to take a lower salary for the superhero sequel.
Discussing how he had helped convince studio execs to hire Downey in the first place and hoping for similar aid in return, he told Rolling Stone, “I called Robby… leaving messages with his assistants, called him at least 17 times that day and 21 the next and finally left a message saying, ‘look, man, I need the help that I gave you’.
"Never heard from him…And guess who got the millions I was supposed to get?”
Ben Affleck – Daredevil
Not many people liked Affleck’s 2003 attempt at the blind lawyer-cum-vigilante and the star is one of them.
“The only movie I actually regret is Daredevil,” he told Playboy. “It just kills me. I love that story, that character and the fact that it got f***ed up the way it did stays with me.”
He added: “That was before people realised you could make these movies and make them well. There was a cynical sense of ‘put a red leather outfit on a guy, have him run around, hunt some bad guys and cash the cheque.’”
Natalie Portman – Thor: The Dark World
Portman didn't appear in Thor: Ragnarok, but while the explanation for that is the majority of the film takes place off-Earth, the star’s disillusion with the franchise has been brewing for some time.
Reports suggested the actress was disappointed that female director Patty Jenkins was let go from making Thor: The Dark World but was contractually tied to the movie.
This hasn't stopped her from returning to the franchise after a long break, with her character returning in a major way in Thor Blood and Thunder.
Idris Elba – Thor: The Dark World
Elba had spent eight months playing Nelson Mandela when he had to return to the supporting role of Heimdall in Thor: The Dark World and it stung.
He told the Daily Telegraph, “In between takes I was stuck there, fake hair stuck on to my head with glue, this f***ing helmet, while they reset. And I’m thinking: ‘24 hours ago, I was Mandela’…Then there I was, in this stupid harness, with this wig and this sword and these contact lenses. It ripped my heart out.”
He did reprise his role in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War where his fan favourite character is killed off by Thanos.
Wesley Snipes – Blade: Trinity
Comedian Patton Oswalt has had some hilariously derogatory things to say about Snipes’ behaviour on the set of the vampire threequel, but Wesley has a strong bone to pick about the production too.
A lawsuit was settled out of court after the actor argued the screenplay and supporting cast were foisted on him without his consent, that he was racially harassed on-set and that he was also owed a portion of his fee.
Marvel is reviving the character to be part of the MCU, but with Mahershala Ali playing the titular character.
Mickey Rourke – Iron Man 2
Playing baddie Whiplash in Iron Man 2 was part of the now-somewhat-deflated Rourke comeback and the man himself has some strong words about how he feels the filmmakers let him down.
Promoting an entirely different film some time afterwards, he told US presenter Seth Meyers, “I’m not a Marvel fan… Once I did a movie for Marvel and they cut the whole goddamn thing out.”
Iron Man 2 is definitely a lesser superhero effort and Rourke’s part does feel undefined, which somewhat backs up his story.
Edward Norton – The Incredible Hulk
Norton is renowned for liking control over the material he appears in and the 2008 Hulk film was no exception, with the star helping to write the script and having an input into editing.
However, when it came time for Bruce Banner to return in The Avengers, Marvel publicly dissed Norton, saying they were looking for a different actor who “embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.”
Unsurprisingly, the star was annoyed. “Marvel’s going to have to deal with their own karma,” he told the Independent. “They’ve got bigger problems than me.”
“I found it a cheap and unnecessary representation that it was about things other than money,” he continued, referring to the company’s statement. “They came to me avidly to talk about it and then, at the end of the day, it was just flat out a business decision.”
Hugo Weaving – Captain America: The First Avenger
The Matrix actor played villain Red Skull in the first Captain America and is unfailingly polite while clearly not interested in repeating the experience.
“It’s not something I would want to do again,” he told Collider. “It’s not the sort of film I seek out and really am excited by.”
Weaving was replaced in the role for Avengers: Infinity War, with Ross Marquand stepping in as the villain for a scene on Vormir. He also returned in Endgame and later in the animated series What If...?
Kirsten Dunst – Spider-Man 3
Gwen Stacy was introduced in the much-maligned threequel in a bid to help Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson be a more three-dimensional character, as the actor was apparently frustrated by how MJ had been portrayed as little more than a generic love interest in the first two films.
Unfortunately, studio interference and a confused script meant she didn’t really get her wish.
Ryan Reynolds – X-Men Origins: Wolverine
If you’ve already forgotten that Deadpool was in the Logan origin movie, don’t worry – Ryan Reynolds hopes you have.
The Merc with a Mouth in that film was a world away from how he was portrayed by the star in 2016’s R-rated standalone megasmash (indeed his mouth was mostly sewn up) and Reynolds told the Entertainment Weekly radio show that he realised fans didn’t like it.
“If you watch the movie, you’ll see it’s partly me playing it and then I said, ‘I can’t do this,’” he said. “Then they have another actor playing it. So you see in the movie that it’s me with my shirt off and my mouth sewn shut and I look a little bit more like Dick Van Dyke next to the new guy, who is like 20 pounds more muscle than me and just this huge martial arts guy.”
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