It’s been more than a decade since Mickey Rourke battled Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2, but it’s safe to say that he doesn’t have fond memories of working with Marvel Studios. Rourke, who played Ivan Vanko (a.k.a. Whiplash) in the first Iron Man sequel, took a dig at the acting in Marvel movies in a long Instagram post praising Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
“Respect to all of you,the work that you all do is real acting,not like that crap that all on Marvel s***,” Rourke wrote at the end of a lengthy caption.
In the post, Rourke — who says he just discovered Law & Order: SVU six months ago — sang the praises of Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, and other members of the cast for their performances on the show.
Mickey Rourke Has Trashed ‘Mindless’ Marvel in the Past Too
It didn’t take long for Rourke to sour on his time working with Marvel Studios. Just a year after the release of Iron Man 2, he ripped into the still young company for editing his character, Vanko, into a much more one-dimensional villain that he intended in his performance.
“When I did Ivan Vanko in Iron Man, I fought,” Rourke told CraveOnline in 2011, via ScreenRant. “You know, I explained to Justin Theroux, to the writer, and to [Jon] Favreau, that I wanted to bring some other layers and colors [to the character], not just make this Russian a complete murderous revenging bad guy. And they allowed me to do that. Unfortunately, the [people] at Marvel just wanted a one-dimensional bad guy, so most of the performance ended up the floor.”
Later in the interview, he said they only wanted to make “mindless” comic book movies without any depth.
In a separate interview with MTV, Rourke implied Favreau deserved blame for not having the “balls” to say no to Marvel executives.
“You have to fight for that though, to bring layers to the character,” Rourke told MTV, via Comicbook.com. “Otherwise, if you’re working for the wrong studio or let’s say a director that doesn’t have any balls, then they’re just gonna want it to be the evil bad guy.”
The Incredible Hulk (2008) and Thor: The Dark World (2013) are the only two Marvel Cinematic Universe films with lower scores on the film review site, Rotten Tomatoes.
Mickey Rourke Is Far From the First to Criticize Marvel
There’s a lengthy list of actors who have aired their grievances with Marvel, including Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster. Rourke isn’t even the first former MCU villain to take umbrage with the studio after working with them.
Christopher Eccelston, who played Malekith in Thor: The Dark World, said his experience working on the film was a nightmare.
“Working on something like G.I. Joe was horrendous,” Eccleston told The Guardian in 2018. “I just wanted to cut my throat every day. And Thor? Just a gun in your mouth.”
In an interview on BBC Radio 2, Eccelston said Marvel was “dishonest” with him about the amount of make-up that was required to play the evil leader of the Dark Elves.
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