The Best and Worst Superhero Cameos of All Time

Sometimes, more is less
Courtesy of Photofest

Depending on how optimistic you are, the news that a key DC Comics character has been added to Suicide Squad either has you jumping for joy or worried the film is biting off more than it can chew. (We won't share which character it is here, but this is where you can find out.)  

Packing characters into a superhero film is something that can go very right (see: Captain America: Civil War) or very wrong (see: X-Men Origins: Wolverine). While the verdict on the Suicide Squad new addition won't be out until the film is released Aug. 5, Heat Vision thought it would be fun to look back at the best and the worst of superhero cameos ever.

First, the best…

Fifth Best: The Flash (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2016)

A key complaint fans had with Batman v Superman was that the marketing essentially spoiled every major plot point in the film. But Ezra Miller's The Flash showing up briefly in a dream (?) sequence to warn Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) was one of the few genuine surprises of the film, and has given fans plenty to speculate about. The Flash says "Lois Lane" is the key and seems to be warning him about Superman (Henry Cavill). "You've always been right about him. Fear him. Find us Bruce," he says, leading fans to speculate that when Superman returns in Justice League, he may not be all good.

Fourth Best: Jean Grey and Cyclops (X-Men: Days of Future Past, 2014)

The X-Men universe corrected sins of the past, with the final scene in Days of Future Past essentially eliminating the events X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, two films that were reviled by fans. Among the key corrections: Cyclops (James Marsden) and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) are alive and well. The scene packed one of the biggest emotional punches of the X-Men franchise, though on the other hand, fans have complained that it also further twisted the timeline.

Third Best: Spider-Man (Captain America: Civil War, 2016)

After a pair of lackluster films, Spider-Man (Tom Holland) made his way to the MCU, something fans thought would never happen. This new version of Peter Parker packed plenty of humor and heart into his short amount of screen time and assuaged any doubts that rebooting the character for the third time was a mistake.

Second Best: Quicksilver (X-Men: Days of Future Past, 2014)

With a competing Quicksilver announced for Avengers: Age of Ultron, the pressure was on for Fox's version of the speedy mutant. And it succeed, with Quicksilver (Evan Peters) delivering one of the most innovative superhero scenes in years. It became an instant classic, with director Bryan Singer attempting to re-create the magic for X-Men: Apocalypse. (Read what Peters told Heat Vision about shooting the scene back in 2014.)

BEST EVER: Nick Fury (Iron Man, 2008)

No post-credits scene has ever (or likely will ever) inspire more excitement than Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) appearing at the end of Iron Man to talk to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) about "the Avenger Initiative." The scene launched a cinematic universe and let fans know there would indeed be much more to come from Marvel. It also made post-credit scenes part of the Marvel moviegoing experience.

And now, on to the worst….

Fifth Worst: Jimmy Olsen (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2016)

Hey look, it's Jimmy Olsen! Oh…he's dead. Batman v Superman was so divisive that killing off key Superman character Jimmy Olsen in the opening moments of the film barely registered. Rather than being a plucky photographer, Olsen (Michael Cassidy) is portrayed as a seasoned CIA agent posing as a photographer working with Lois Lane (Amy Adams), and he's promptly shot in the head. Director Zack Snyder later said there was no room in the DC Extended Universe for Olsen and that adding him like this was a way to have fun with the character.


Fourth Worst: Professor X (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 2009)

Just three years after Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen were digitally de-aged to great acclaim in ­X-Men: The Last Stand, the X-Men: Origins tried to repeat the magic. What resulted was a creepy-looking Xavier showing up just in time to help out a group of young mutants after they'd already been brutalized and experimented on. The X-Men movies' timeline is inarguably the most convoluted of any of the modern superhero franchises — and it all started with Origins, and this scene in particular.

Third Worst: Every non-main character (X-Men: The Last Stand, 2006)

X-Men: The Last Stand was savaged by fans — so much so that X-Men: Days of Future Past basically obliterated it from the canon. Among the key problems was the ham-fisted way it introduced a number of fan favorite characters, from Angel (Ben Foster) to Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones). "I'm the Juggernaut Bitch" may have been a viral video while the film was in production…but the line has not aged well.  

Second Worst: Venom (Spider-Man 3, 2007)

No big-screen supervillain has been hyped up so much only to fall so flat. News that the Alien Costume Saga would close out Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy sent fans into a frenzy. Unfortunately, the overstuffed finale shoehorned Venom (Topher Grace) into the final minutes of the film, which with its two other villains — Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and Green Goblin (James Franco) — left no room to explore Venom at his best. He literally knows everything there is to know about Peter Parker and can exploit it in the worst way. He can conduct psychological warfare that makes Emo Peter look like child's play. But in Spider-Man 3's defense, over the years it has developed an "it's so bad it's good" reputation…and unlike our No. 1 worst cameo ever, it's totally watchable if you go into it with the right attitude.

THE WORST EVER: Deadpool (X-Men: Origins: Wolverine, 2009)

There has never been a superhero cameo that caused more uproar than this. While Ryan Reynolds played the character's alter ego Wade Wilson to fan acclaim early in the film, all of that good will was quickly erased. The movie, which was already a low for the X-Men franchise, sunk even lower in the eyes of fans with its depiction of Deadpool. The Merc with the Mouth had his mouth sewn shut — something fans still mock to this day and that was so divisive that jokes about it were included in Deadpool's 2016 solo movie. For those of you who have blocked it from your mind, it's even worse than you remember. There is a part where Stryker (Danny Huston) types ">./decapitate" into a 1980s computer in order to make Deadpool attempt to cut off Wolverine's head. Oh, and Deadpool apparently has every mutant power ever — including teleportation and Cyclop's optic blast. 

What did you think of the list? Anything we left out? Share your thoughts below or tweet to @Heatvisionblog

July 29, 2:17 p.m. Updated to include Spider-Man, which was overlooked initially but brought to our attention by a reader. (Sorry Hawkeye in Thor.)

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