Top 10 Best Superhero Casting…

Top 10 Best Superhero Casting…

There’s been a lot of talk about the casting of Batman (and a little Ant Man) in the past couple weeks so I decided to take a look back and share my thoughts on what I think are the 10 best casting decisions in superhero movies, and also 5 that were great choices but turned disastrous either through the script, direction, or whatever else it may be. Are there any great ones that I left off my list? Did I get the order wrong? Who would you have chosen? Make sure you share your opinion in the comments below.

Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl

10: Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl – While I have yet to see the sequel which comes out tomorrow so this may change things, but it’s gotta be pretty hard to cast an 11 year old girl who swears like a sailor and is trained in several different forms of armed and unarmed combat. She was the absolute highlight of the first Kick-Ass. It was great to see that she can also turn on the little kid charm in both the scenes where she’s freaking out her father when asking for a puppy for her birthday as well as in the final act when she is pretending to be a lost little girl. But the most fun is when she is kicking ass and taking names with stylish choreography.

The Mask

9: Jim Carrey as the Mask – When someone thinks of a cartoon character come to life, especially in the 90’s there is no other name than Jim Carrey. So when the Mask came out and was essentially that, it made perfect sense that Carrey was cast in the role. When he was doing stand-up, he was known for his rubber face, and he played plenty of prosthetic wearing characters during his time on In Living Color and he made that mask work during the entire runtime, whether it was enhanced with animation or when it was just his own facial movements, he made that character come to life in the best way possible, and to this day I can’t think of another working actor or stand up comedian who could make that character work today. Especially not Jamie Kennedy, but I’d rather not talk about that right now.

Brandon Lee as the Crow

8: Brandon Lee as the Crow – Like Heath Ledger, this actor’s life was cut too short. This was Lee’s real break out role as Eric Draven, the spirit brought back to seek revenge on those who killed him and his fiancee. He showcases equal parts glee, sorrow, and menace. He has some fantastic fight sequences in the movie and on top of that, there’s plenty of emotional flashbacks with his love Shelly and quieter moments with the young girl Sarah. Even though they’ve tried the Crow again several times, and another one is supposedly on the horizon, none of them have captured the right feel that Brandon Lee brought to the role.

Jackie Earl Haley as Rorschach

7: Jackie Earl Haley as Rorschach – This was one of the most difficult roles to bring to life, even though I had only read the comic book after seeing the movie a few times, Rorschach was always the fan favorite character from Watchmen. He’s a paranoid vigilante who sees the world in black and white, right and wrong, and he is the greatest source of justice. He rarely bathes, has an odd speech pattern (which they mostly removed for the movie), is very intelligent, a highly skilled fighter, yet very disturbed with a troubled past. He’s Batman gone over the edge. Haley uses that Batman overly raspy voice to great effect and brings a bubbling menace to those few moments when he’s not wearing his face.

Blade 2

6: Wesley Snipes as Blade – Even though it’s been a while since the last Blade movie, and that one wasn’t all that great, but at the time, there was no one else that could have played Blade better than the black action hero of the 90’s, Wesley Snipes. He had the attitude, the physique, the fighting skills, and he even went for the hairstyle. The first two Blade movies are still a great thing to watch even though they feel less like superhero movies and more like vampire hunter movies. But as far as I’m concerned, that’s what Blade generally is when he’s not with the Avengers. Am I right? (Honestly, am I right? I’ve never actually read a Blade comic, other than these movies I only saw him as a cameo on the 90’s Spider-Man cartoon series).


5: Christopher Reeve as Superman – most of this list is made up of characters that have really only been played by one, maybe two actors. But Superman has been played by several and in my opinion there is still no one who has been able to make the character their own more than Christopher Reeve who played Superman and Clark Kent in four different movies. The way he makes Clark Kent and Superman into two very different personalities with different body language, mannerisms, and speech patterns makes it at least a little bit more believable that he’s able to pass it off that he’s two different people. While Tom Welling, Brandon Routh, Dean Cain, and Henry Cavill have their moments, they have yet to reach the pinnacle that Christopher Reeve has set.

Dark Knight

4: Heath Ledger as the Joker – I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this, and this is one of the few instances where there was a casting choice that for a long time was thought of as the definitive Joker in Jack Nicholson’s portrayal for Tim Burton’s Batman. But Heath Ledger took that goofy smile and took it to a place that was cold, calculating, and purely psychotic, and yet he wanted nothing else but to just watch the chaos unfold around him. The Dark Knight is often hailed as the greatest superhero movie, and one of the biggest reasons why is right here in Heath Ledger’s Joker.


3: Ron Perlman as Hellboy – often times, one of the hardest things to do as an actor is to act through prosthetics and makeup, but Perlman totally pulls it off as the blue collar demon working for the BPRD. He’s gruff, down to business, straight to the point, and completely loveable. He gets everything right in this, from the action, to the attitude, and especially the humor. Not only that, but he creates this believable relationship between Hellboy and Liz Sherman and after a while you almost forget that he’s a giant red demon with filed down horns. He managed to nail the part through two movies and lent his voice to two animated movies. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also got great support from Doug Jones as Abe Sapien. And I still hold out hope that Guillermo del Toro can eventually pull off the third movie in this series.


2: Hugh Jackman as Wolverine – when the first X-Men was on the horizon, one of the biggest questions would be who was going to play Wolverine. He’s the most iconic X-Men and if they didn’t get that one right, there was no way it could be a successful franchise. Luckily they got it completely right with Hugh Jackman. Even though comic purists might complain about his 6’2” height, the filmmakers tend to do their best to mask it. Not only that, but I think there’s few people who could pull off that hairdo and make it actually look good. There’s a reason why Jackman has played Wolverine in every X-Men movie to date as well as two solo spin-off movies. I’m not sure how much longer he can pull off the ageless Wolverine, but at least for now, he’s doing damn good.

Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark

1: Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man – I think more than anyone else on this list, Robert Downey Jr. was perfect casting for Tony Stark. I think without him, it would have been more of a struggle for Marvel to become the powerhouse that they are today. While I’m not under the illusion that he single handedly created the Marvel box office bonanza, he was a major factor in it. He brings a massive amount of charm and likeability to a character who is for all intents and purposes a huge jerk. He’s a womanizer, he regularly insults people, but he does it with a smile on his face and a pleasantness that you just can’t get mad at him. Not only that, but he handles the serious moments just as well as the comedic ones. There really is no one better than RDJ when it comes to superheroes.

…and 5 That Could Have Been Great

Shaq as Steel

5: Shaq as Steel – This is definitely the weakest choice on this list when you consider acting talent, even though he’s starred in a few movies, he’s a far cry from an actor. But I think with the right story, the right direction, and for goodness sake not the lead role, he could pull off the role of John Henry Irons as a supporting character in a different movie. He’s got the look, the build, and if the role was written with him in mind, and I don’t mean jokes about missing free throws, I think he would actually be a good choice for the role.


4: Hally Berry as Catwoman – This was a bit of a tough choice, I strongly considered referring to her role as Storm in the X-Men series, but while she had a shaky start I think she did grow into the role by the third film. Too bad it was a little too late at that point, but she is coming back for Days of Future Past. But I decided to pick her being cast in the not-actually-a-Batman-spinoff, Catwoman. Whatever you may say about some of her more horrible movie choices in the past, she does have the ability to be a good actress. And I think she has the body and the attitude to play Catwoman. But when you take everything that makes Catwoman Catwoman away and add in a horrible script and a clueless director, then I can almost give her a pass for phoning in a horrible performance. There’s also often a bit of a blowback when a comic book character does a racial swap, but in most cases I’m all for it. But Patience Phillips is not worthy of being called Catwoman.

Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond

3: Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond – I actually just re-watched the Green Lantern last week for a Filmwhys episode that ended up falling through the scheduling cracks (while it’s not a great movie, I paired it with the animated GL which I thought would be interesting to compare & contrast) and Hector Hammond was one of the weakest points in the movie. They gave him too much of an angsty backstory, his source of power was silly, he looked awful, and he hammed it up too much towards the end. But in theory, Peter Sarsgaard was a great choice for the role. I haven’t personally seen him in many movies, but he should have brought a lot of weight to the role, he just didn’t have enough to work with.

Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor

2: Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor – When Superman Returns was coming out it was met with a lot of excitement. It had Bryan Singer giving up the X-Men franchise for this megabudgeted pet project that he was very passionate about, and it had a fantastic supporting cast around newcomer Brandon Routh who looked quite similar to Christopher Reeve. One of the biggest names that had people excited was Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. He’s an amazing actor and is great when playing the villain role. I even personally enjoy his performance here with all his dark humor. But a few years down the line, he’s often criticized as one of the biggest missteps. I think he’s viewed as too emotional, not calculating enough, and just doesn’t hit the right tone of supergenius archnemesis to Superman.

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool

1: Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool – It’s tough talking about Ryan Reynolds. There’s a lot of people out there that hate him for one reason or another, but I think he is a great actor. He’s just made a lot of bad choices, and they almost always end up in the comic book realm. There are several roles of his that I could choose from, Hannibal Kane from Blade Trinity, Hal Jordan in the Green Lantern, even whatever his name was in R.I.P.D. but for the top of this list I’m going with Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. If there is one comic book character that could work with Reynold’s typical fast talking, wisecracking characters, it’s Deadpool. Unfortunately, they got rid of him early in the movie and when he finally came back, they took away the defining characteristic of Deadpool: his mouth. I’ve seen a handful of Deadpool fan films that are very well done and I think Ryan Reynolds could fit into that role in a heartbeat, but it really didn’t work for this movie.

And there you have it. What do you think? Let me know. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.


About Bubbawheat

I'm a comic book movie enthusiast who has watched and reviewed over 500 superhero and comic book movies in the past seven years, my goal is to continue to find and watch and review every superhero movie ever made.

Posted on August 16, 2013, in Lists and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Patrick Stewart as Professor X is one I would have put on the first list, but I’m not familiar enough with some of your other choices to say who I’d replace.

    Could also mention Sam Jackson as Nick Fury, but he’s been more of a secondary character and I think it was part of the deal that led to basing the Ultimates version of Nick Fury on his appearance that he’d play the role if they did any movies.

    • Patrick Stewart was definitely an honorable mention, though I decided to only use one actor from the X-Men franchise (in the first list anyway). Ian McKellan as Magneto was also a great choice.

      As far as what I’ve heard about the Ultimates Nick Fury was something like the artist decided to base him on Sam Jackson, and when Jackson found out about it, he inquired about playing Nick Fury. Or something along those lines.

  2. Great, great, great article. I especially like your five near-misses at the end. As someone who enjoys Sarsgaard’s acting and is very familiar with him (I even work at his alma mater), you’re dead on about his talents being wasted there.

    • Thanks, I appreciate it. I had to look up Sargaard’s IMDB page when writing this, and I had to double check it again just now. I’ve actually seen a couple of his movies, but didn’t make the connection to him as an actor. Also, they should totally bring back Shaq as a cameo in the Justice League movie.

  3. Great list. I was kind of disappointed that it was over, and then all of a sudden another list!! Awesome! Hit Girl was by far my favourite character in Kick Ass, I think she completely stole the show from everyone else. I think Andrew Garfield could have been added to the list of stinkers, lol. I really couldn’t stand his version of Peter Parkr/Spider-Man.

    • Yes, love Hit Girl and really disappointed that I can’t make it out to Kick-Ass 2 any time soon. As far as Andrew Garfield goes, some people didn’t like him, but a lot of people did, myself included. He may have been a little too emo-cool as Peter Parker, but I thought he handled Spider-Man’s wisecracking quips really great.

  4. Great list, Bubba. There are some choices I would do differently — but then, maybe I’ll just do my own list one day — but I can’t argue with any of the ones you’ve picked. RDJ has to be #1, of course; while there are a lot of characters that look like they just walked right off the page, Tony Stark is one of the few that’s a main character… and even the personality is pretty much RDJ. What’s really funny is that the character was written and drawn to act and look like that before RDJ began his career in acting. It’s like RDJ simply grew up to be Iron Man.

    • Yeah, I doubt there’s anyone who would argue against RDJ, while the movies may vary in quality, he is always consistent. I’d love to see what choices you would pick for a list like this.

  5. Oh man, I LOVE seeing Carrey here. He really did make that character come to life, in the best, most Carrey way possible. And yeah, the less said about Jamie Kennedy in that role, the better.

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