With multiple narratives over a mammoth 6-phase period, Marvel Studios and the MCU have proved that lofty ambitions and dreams can become a reality. While the franchise’s growth over the years has been nothing short of inspiring with many successful blockbusters ruling the box office, the law of averages has also expectedly caught up in recent times.

The MCU have been hugely successful over the years

2023 has been a mixed bag, with some MCU ventures and stars receiving lukewarm responses from audiences and critics. On the other end of the spectrum, a few Marvel actors have proved that they can lift a film single-handedly on their shoulders by delivering memorable performances.

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5 Marvel Stars Who Had A Disappointing 2023

1. Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson is one of the mainstays of the MCU, having made the most appearances by a Marvel actor in the franchise. 2023 though, was one of the veteran’s least successful years. Jackson, who headlined the Disney+ series Secret Invasion, reprised his role as S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury in which he was front and center in a story that highlighted the character’s history.

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Samuel L. Jackson in Secret Invasion

Unfortunately, Secret Invasion came and went without creating a stir. Many Marvel fans were critical of the poor writing and the rushed plot, along with the superficial character arcs that did not have emotional heft. While Jackson has been synonymous with his role, Nick Fury left without creating much impact.

2. Brie Larson

Even before the release of The Marvels, Brie Larson has been in the limelight for the wrong reasons in 2023. The star was not only scrutinized closely for her supposedly anti-male opinions in interviews, but also received flak for appearing stoic and unsmiling in the trailers of the film.

Brie Larson in The Marvels

This negative publicity could have been forgotten if the film had succeeded. Unfortunately, the opposite happened, with the film gaining the dubious distinction of having the worst opening at the box office for any Marvel movie. All these factors have made 2023 a forgettable year for Brie Larson.


3. Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd’s witty interpretation of Marvel’s Ant-Man has been universally praised over the years. But the star realized what it meant to be on the other side of the fence in 2023, when his film Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania flopped at the box office.

Paul Rudd in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Apart from the tedious screenplay that did not appeal to Marvel fans and other audiences, Rudd’s performance was seen as below-par, and a surprising anomaly from his usual solid portrayal of the superhero.

4. Emilia Clarke

In early 2023, Emilia Clarke went on record to express her excitement on becoming a Marvel star, and making her MCU debut with Secret Invasion. Playing a secret agent for the Skrull Empire, the Game of Thrones actor was viewed by fans as a welcome addition to the franchise.

Emilia Clarke in Secret Invasion

Unfortunately, reality hit hard for Clarke with Secret Invasion’s unfavorable response at the box office. While the British star’s performance wasn’t ripped apart, the fact remained that her 2023 Marvel debut did not go as planned.

5. Iman Vellani

Iman Vellani’s bubbly Ms Marvel in the television series received a lot of praise with fans across the world. The young star’s collaboration with Brie Larson in The Marvels was highly anticipated, with Vellani’s fan base having augmented considerably after her stint with Ms Marvel.

Ms Marvel actor Iman Vellani

While the actor’s performance in the film was universally praised, the box office wasn’t so kind to The Marvels. With a terrible opening weekend marred even further by criticisms for the film from all corners, Vellani’s hopes to end 2023 on a high note has been unfortunately squashed.

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3 Actors Who Saved Marvel And The MCU In 2023

1. Jonathan Majors

Jonathan Majors is currently facing the biggest personal challenge of his life in 2023, after being accused of domestic abuse. But on the professional front, the actor has been instrumental in giving the MCU a much needed facelift, after the franchise had gone through a lean period.

Jonathan Majors as Kang

Despite the failure of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Majors’ portrayal of the chilling antagonist Kang, is still being talked about today. Through an intense and power-packed performance, the Creed 3 star ensured that he was the saving grace of the film and the Marvel franchise.


2. Bradley Cooper

The heart and soul of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy 3 was the emotional and gut-wrenching backstory of Rocket Raccoon. With a performance that melted the hearts of Marvel fans across the world, Bradley Cooper proved why he is considered one of the most talented and versatile stars today.

Bradley Cooper is the voice of Rocket Raccoon

Having voiced the iconic raccoon in mutiple Marvel films, Cooper’s Rocket was front and center in this third installment, and the actor’s complete commitment to the character’s story ensured that there was not a dry eye in the theaters.

3. Tom Hiddleston

Some actors just fit their characters in seamless fashion, and Tom Hiddleston is the perfect example of that. The British star has become synonymous with the Marvel anti-hero Loki over multiple MCU films, while also shining as the God of Mischief in his standalone television series, Loki.

Marvel star Tom Hiddleston as Loki

After the success of Loki season 1, Hiddleston returned to reprise the character for a second season in 2023. Loki season 2 also went on to become a hit. The Night Manager actor closed 2023 with a bang through a solid performance that expectedly received high praise.

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 As 2023 comes to a close, a few Marvel stars enjoyed a memorable year while others faced unprecedented failures.  Read More