Superheroes have always been a prominent part of pop culture but in recent years there has been a never ending onslaught of our favorite heroes brought to the big screen. With almost every single one of them getting their screen time including Aquaman (who Jason Momoa will dominate as) and Ben Affleck being cast as Batman (much to the confusion and horror of pretty much everyone), now is as good a time as ever to look at superhero castings thus far and pick out the best. With so many comic book and graphic novel characters brought to the big screen, an honorable mention goes to Wesley Snipes as Blade, Ron Perlman as Hellboy and the Kick-Ass team, but we’re sticking to the majors from the DC and Marvel universes.
12. Ryan Reynolds As Deadpool
Sure Deadpool has not come out yet, but fans are already convinced that Ryan Reynolds was the perfect choice for Wade Wilson after he already made an appearance in the role in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Reynolds also has the unique chance of redeeming himself in the superhero world after being heavily criticised for 2011’s Green Lantern. Early shots of Deadpool seem to show that indeed the filmmakers knew what they were doing with this casting decision and Reynolds will have no problem carrying a stand-alone superhero film.
11. Guardians of the Galaxy
Given the success of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy it had to be on this list, and given the epic casting of every role, it fits in nicely. Former chubby funnyman Chris Pratt hit the weight room and transformed into Peter Quill/ StarLord the leader of the rag-tag team. Dave Bautista known as a WWE wrestler blew fans away as Drax and Zoe Saldana was the perfect fit for Gamora. The casting for this movie was SO good that Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper got some of the best praise and they only offered their voices. Well done Marvel, well done.
Aside from Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, none of these characters got their own film so it’s being rated like GOTG as a group casting. The thing about this franchise however is they keep hitting the mark, even when bringing in new blood with First Class in 2011. From Jackman, Berry, Janssen, and Marsden as the original group to McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence among others joining in later, this longrunning superhero group is continually one of the best portrayed on the big screen. Let’s not forget casting Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan in the same film is instantly going to elevate its greatness.
9. Andrew Garfield As Spider-Man
Tobey McGuire had a good run as the web-slinging superhero but by his third turn in Spider-Man 3, it was more of a joke and McGuire was annoying. In 2012 however Andrew Garfield gave Spidey fans exactly what they expected by bringing more personality into the role. Fans of the hero know he is a bit of a wise-a-s, something that was absent from McGuire’s portrayal but Garfield hit it right on. In McGuire’s defense he did have Kristen Dunst as a leading lady where Garfield had a significant improvement with Emma Stone, so it wasn’t ALL Tobey’s fault.
8. Chris Evans As Captain America
Chris Evans is one of the few actors to portray more than one superhero after first hitting the big screen as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch in 2005’s Fantastic Four. Evans was surprisingly good at dropping his usual cocky character swagger for the moral and polite, and in the beginning weak, Steve Rogers. Captain America is often regarded as boring but Chris Evans made him one of the most liked characters in recent years, cashing in on it with huge box office smashes with not only stand alone Captain America films but with The Avengers as well.
7. Henry Cavill As Superman
There was a little bit of pressure on Henry Cavill as the ultimate superhero after taking over the role that Brandon Routh had portrayed only 7 years earlier in Superman Returns. Routh was heavily criticised in the role so Cavill really didn’t have to be that good to get a better reception. While the script for Man of Steel rather than Cavill’s performance has been criticised, he was good enough that he will return as Superman in the highly anticipated Batman v Superman and Justice League films.
6. Michael Keaton As Batman
Tim Burton’s take on the Caped Crusader in 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns still reign as a pair of the best in superhero franchises. While Michael Keaton may have seemed like an odd choice for the role, his quiet arrogance made him the perfect Bruce Wayne/ Batman. Unfortunately the role then went to Val Kilmer and then George Clooney in a film that officially turned the franchise into a joke and shelving it for years before someone dared to resurrect Batman. However, Keaton’s big screen portrayal of one of the most recognizable and beloved superheroes is still credited as the highlight of his storied career in Hollywood.
5. Chris Hemsworth As Thor
Australian Chris Hemsworth had few acting credits to his name before sky-rocketing to fame as Thor in 2011. While there have been many versions of superheroes brought to life, Hemsworth may be the closest to perfectly resembling his superhero alter-ego. His height, muscles, blue eyes and flowing blond hair have no business belonging to anyone except for a Demi-God. Luckily his acting was up to par, making him one of the forefront and favorite actors in the massively successful Avengers franchise.
4. Mark Ruffalo As The Hulk
Mark Ruffalo is the only actor on this list picked out of a group superhero movie who does not have his own film and the reasoning for that is simple, it’s because he should. Although both Eric Bana and Edward Norton are respected actors, nothing has been more dead-on than Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner- the man you don’t want to make angry. Almost as soon as The Avengers was released everyone wanted to know when The Hulk was getting his own movie after Ruffalo’s outstanding performance.
3. Christian Bale As Batman
Bale’s Batman voice has raised some snickers, but if that is his biggest flaw as Batman it is safe to say he is the best Batman to have ever graced the big screen. Christopher Nolan’s dark and gritty trilogy starring Bale captivated fans, made more money than thought possible and may be the main reason behind the superhero film surge we are experiencing right now. Bale is known to have a temper in real life, creating an epically angry and determined Batman on screen. With Bale refusing to reprise the role for Batman v Superman, Ben Affleck may have the biggest mountain to climb in trying to fill Bale’s shoes in the role.
2. Christopher Reeve As Superman
Even after Superman has been portrayed by several actors both on the big and small screens, it all comes back to Chrisopher Reeve’s portrayal in 1978 in the first ever blockbuster superhero film. His portrayal of the awkward yet charming Clark Kent into the intimidating and heroic Superman made everyone believe he really was Superman pretending to be human. Although technology has drastically changed the film experience and costumes for superhero films, Reeves take as Superman has no doubt stood the test of time as a superhero icon.
1. Robert Downey Jr. As Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark who is Iron Man, that’s the only way to put this. It is basically impossible to imagine any other actor taking on this role because he does it so well, it’s like he isn’t even acting. Marvel chose to use Iron Man as the launching point for the incredibly successful cinematic universe and reactions to Robert Downey Jr.’s casting ranged from horrified to extremely mad and now there would be no other option.