Just because a film is bad does not mean there is nothing good about it. Quite often actors and actresses will put a good turn in something that is average at best (see my retrospective for I Am Legend for example). Here we look at some of the better performances in far from great films.
Tom Cruise (Rock of Ages)
Rock of Ages is awful. Musicals on the big screen are generally terrible anyway, and I include La La Land in that, but this was just garbage. Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin were as funny as a smack in the mouth and the lead’s roles were played so blandly. Plus the singing, there was just so much singing. (You may be asking why I watched this. I was made to. I was not happy about it.)
However, Crusie, as rocker Stacee Jaxx (because of course it would be spelt this way, not Stacey Jacks) is clearly having fun with an over-the-top performance and it is a shame he is essentially an extended cameo as he is far and away the best thing about the movie.
Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man 1 & 2)
Tom Holland nailed the role of Spider-Man in Homecoming, and Captain America: Civil War before that. Genuinely out of the three modern portrayals of the web slinger, he has been the best.
But if you have to pick the best of Garfield or Toby Maguire? The former wins hands down. Despite lacklustre villains, he still is a pretty decent Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Maguire had the better movies (save for the third maybe) but Garfield the better person in the role.
Ewan McGregor (Star Wars Prequel Trilogy)
Those Star Wars Prequels were a mess, and I could talk about why they are a mess for forever and a day. But I won’t.
There were some positives though, and one was Ewan McGregor’s Obi Wan Kenobi. He moves through the three films from padawan to master and is a shining light in three poor films. So much so that many a fan would be happy to see the Scot return to the role.
And he was not the only one trying their best in a trilogy of disappointment. Christopher Lee tried his hardest to make Count Dooku work and Ian McDiarmid is always great as Palpatine/Sidious.
Tim Roth (Planet of the Apes (2001))
Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, sandwiched between the originals and the new Apes films, is a steaming pile of monkey excrement. In fact Tim Roth has probably only made one worse film, FIFA backed United Passions where he played Sepp Blatter.
However, Roth tried his best to do something with the movie’s bad guy general Thade, who at least came across as intimidating and a good foe for Marky Mark. And to think, he turned down the role of Professor Snape for this.
Ben Affleck (Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice)
How hard can it be to make Batman vs Superman a good film? Well, really difficult apparently; and I do not profess to be able to make a better fist of it from people who have made careers in that industry.
But yeah, it was pretty bad. Although one shining glimmer of hope was Affleck as both Batman and Bruce Wayne. He really did seem right for an older version of the most famous comic book hero.