Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot Got Nothing on Spider-Man Star’s Unnoticed 2000s Performance

Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot Got Nothing on Spider-Man Star’s Unnoticed 2000s Performance
Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing, 20th Century Fox

Though his performance is nothing compared to Kenneth Branagh’s one.


  • Kenneth Branagh’s films about detective Hercule Poirot haven’t left the world screens ever since 2017’s Murder on the Oriented Express, but there’s one more adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famous crime novel that stars another famous actor.
  • The Spider-Man’s actor got to play another modernized version of Hercule Poirot, but with a different attitude towards his profession.
  • The 2001’s underrated TV film proves once again the actor’s brilliance in a wide range of cinematic roles.

Agatha Christie’s mysterious plots have never quite left the cinematic world, however hard it seems to imagine after the modern and flamboyant image of Hercule Poirot has reappeared with Kenneth Branagh’s performances.

And even though now it’s difficult to see anyone else behind this role after Murder on the Oriented Express hit cinemas in 2017 and then was followed by two more films, Hercule Poirot had one more brilliant interpretation years ago — and with the MCU ’s actor in the leading role.

Alfred Molina may have got most of its fame from portraying Dr Octopus, the superhero’s rival in Sam Raimi ’s Spider-Man, but back in 2001 he turned to a very different role. In fact, the modernized look of Hercule Poirot is not Kenneth Branagh’s merit, but rather is what Molina has transformed the character into.

Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot Got Nothing on Spider-Man Star’s Unnoticed 2000s Performance - image 1

The 2001’s Murder on the Oriented Express, just like the one with Branagh in the leading role, also starts with the investigation’s ending where Poirot makes all the suspects sit together to later deliver the whole story of his research and the final verdict.

The first — and the last — scene is where the difference between two different performances comes clear: Branagh’s Poirot is very versatile in terms of showing hit genuine emotions given that he can become angry or facetious. Meanwhile Molina’s detective invariably sticks to his professional serious tone and doesn’t let emotions sweep him away.

While the former wants to seem more human in his role of a cold and shrewd detective, the latter would rather stay quiet and let his observations do the thing.

Even in his return to the superhero franchise in 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home the actor managed to deliver yet another dramatical performance while also proving his brilliance in a small, yet significant role in Promising Young Woman.

The unjustly forgotten adaptation clearly showcases Alfred Molina’s ability to turn to very diverse dramatical roles and thus proves that he’s not just about Spider-Man's villain.