New 'Spider-Man' Tom Holland Isn't The Only Marvel Actor To Take Heat For His Casting

With great pieces of casting news come great swells of online backlash. The press release on the selection of Tom Holland to play the role of Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War and a subsequent standalone Spider-Man film had barely cleared the airwaves before the Internet struck back with its take on the matter. By and large, people were displeased. Some took issue with Holland’s age, and others with his lack of screen experience, while those who have begged for Miles Morales as Spidey continued to voice frustration with Hollywood’s reluctance to bring such a notion to life. But rest assured, Tom Holland, that you are not the first actor to take such heat.

Upon every member’s entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the collective star force behind the franchise has been met with a wide breadth of fan and critic reactions. Today we might laud Chris Evan’s half-grin and Robert Downey Jr.’s assembly line of sarcasm as the great bounties of the Avengers movies, but we weren’t always so sure. Here’s a quick look back at some of the world’s earliest responses to hearing that Evans, Downey Jr., and the rest of the comic book heroes had been cast to fill out the MCU.

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man

Even before the MCU became as ubiquitous an entity as we know it to be today, people rallied with passionate opinions on all sides of this argument…

The positive: Some called the match “a quirky, yet strangely perfect piece of casting.” (Games Radar)

The middling: Others were simply baffled, eliciting little more than a “Huh?” (LA Times)

The negative: And, of course, many were convinced that the casting was a “bad choice,” claiming to be “not comfortable with it in the least” under the mentality that Downey “sucks big time.” (Killer Movies)

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America

When it came to Cap, fans and writers seemed to have fleshed out their points of view just a bit more clearly…

The positive: “Chris Evans… already got his shot at superhero stardom as the Human Torch, but [has] grown on us through his performances in Push and Sunshine… Evans as Cap? Yeah, that could work.” (io9)

The middling: “Evans is a very likable guy and he certainly keeps in shape. My only concern is how he plays the character; I don’t want the fast-talking witty comedy relief that we’ve seen from most of his career so far — We need the classy charming more serious character from Captain America and save the comedy for Robert Downey Jr. when they meet up.” (Screenrant)

The negative: “This has got to be the worst casting since Chris Evans was cast as Johnny Storm in the FF abominations. This guy is going to F up Marvel Films worse than Ben Affleck and Nic Cage put together. Please someone who knows Cap and wants this movie to be believable and watchable post your replies here. I am so bummed out by this! I need moral support. This jokester doofus is not a believable super soldier, or the leader of the Avengers! Stop the insanity now! Marvel, please don't waste your money making this movie if this guy is the lead. It cannot work. We need a new Cap now!” (Comic Vine)

Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Thanks to a comparatively small affinity for the Thor character, and little previous screen work on which to base an opinion for Hemsworth’s talents, most of the reception to the news of him taking on the Norse god was pretty middle-of-the road…

The middling: “You might be wondering, 'Who the hell is Chris Hemsworth?' While you might not recognize his name, you saw him on the big screen last weekend in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek as George Kirk. Some of my critic friends had a big problem with Hemsworth’s performance in the opening sequence, but I did not.” (Slashfilm)

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Natalia Romanova/Black Widow

ScarJo, on the other hand, faced one of the greatest servings of adversity of the bunch…

The negative: “Aside from being sexy and a big name you can slap on the poster, Johansson doesn’t seem right for the part at all. She’s cute but not dangerous. Plus, let's not forget, the last superhero film she was in, The Spirit, was just bad and was considered a bomb on every level (not that it was at all her fault… we know who to blame).” (Slashfilm)

The even more negative: “Oh no, please say it's not true! According to Entertainment Weekly, Marvel has been talking with Scarlett Johansson about replacing Emily Blunt as Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow in the upcoming Iron Man 2…So if Blunt couldn't make her schedule work, who would they get instead? Presumably someone else just as talented, right? Nope, they're looking at Scarlett Johansson! …Here's the thing about Johansson — when she first starred in Lost in Translation, I thought she was fantastic. But then came In Good Company, the first of her flops. She wasn't bad in The Prestige, but she wasn't good either. And with The Spirit and now He's Just Not That Into You, I've come to hate her. She's only about the sex appeal, not about the performance… So, with that said, I really do not want to see Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2 at all.” (FirstShowing)

Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk

Ruffalo may have topped even Johansson in his undertaking of negative fan reaction. But the Edward Norton replacement used the chides to his benefit…

“I remember the fanboys — there was a lot of negative response to me playing that part early on, and I kind of liked that challenge,” he said. “This one really scared me. It was something that I had never done, that I don’t think anyone expected me to do.” (LA Times)

All of the above actors have since been embraced by fans and critics alike for their take on the beloved characters in the MCU, and things are likely to be no different for Holland when he steps into the role of Spider-Man. Some fans might have started out not being sure who Tom Holland is, but, by the time Civil War is over, he's sure to be a household name like the rest of the actors behind the Avengers team.

Images: Disney