Actors Who Played Comic Book Characters And Completely Dominated
In the last several years, the superhero genre has been the biggest and most popular in the film industry. The genre has been a pretty big deal for the better part of two decades now. On-screen adventures of fan-favorite superheroes have captivated audiences and garnered massive viewership. There are many superhero movies, and many prominent named actors have played a superhero, and some have played more than one.
Benedict Cumberbatch As Doctor Strange
Benedict Cumberbatch’s first appearance was in 2016 in the first Doctor Strange film. Since that movie, he has starred in Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and was recently in the sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
He also had some brief appearances in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: End Game. It is safe to say that we haven’t seen the last of Cumberbatch in the MCU.
Don Cheadle As War Machine
Don Cheadle hasn’t headlined his own movie in the MCU, but he has appeared in several of the films. He portrayed James Rhodes/War Machine, the solid supporting sidekick to Tony Stark or Iron Man. It was recently announced that Armor Wars would give Cheadle a chance to be a leading man finally.
When asked about his upcoming role, he stated, “I don’t know; I mean, I think that Rhodey is his own dude. I don’t think that anyone can really step into Tony Stark or Iron Man’s shoes; I think he did that as well as anyone could ever do it. But I think we’re going to learn a lot about what Rhodey does want and who he is and what his place in the firmament of MCU will ultimately be.”
Sebastian Stan As The Winter Soldier
Sebastian Stan starred in all three Captain America movies and two Avenger films and made cameos for Ant-Man and Black Panther. He starred as one of the title characters, Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier, in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier miniseries on Disney+.
He starred as Captain America’s sidekick for phases one to three. In total, he has starred in seven film appearances as a supporting character that isn’t too shabby.
Scarlett Johannson As Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson is best known for her role as Black Widow and even got her own solo film in 2021. She was a staple of the first three phases of the MCU, having had prominent roles in all four Avengers movies, Iron Man 2, and two of the Captain America movies.
Unfortunately, there was some trouble between Johannsson and Disney, and it is safe to assume that her role in the MCU has come to an end.
Chris Hemsworth As Thor
Chris Hemsworth is best known for his role as Thor and is one of the six original Avengers. His first appearance as Thor was in 2011, and his last appearance as Thor was in 2022’s Thor: Love and Thunder. He is the lead character in all four Thor movies and has had a lot of screen time in all four Avengers movies.
In addition, he appeared in one of Doctor Strange’s end credits scenes. There is a very good chance that we will see more of Chris Hemsworth as Thor.
Hugh Jackman As Wolverine
Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine in nine X-Men films between 2000 and 2017. Wolverine, or Logan, is based on the Marvel Comics character Wolverine. Wolverine and Jackman’s performance has been considered the face of the X-Men.
Jackman once held the Guinness World Record for the “longest career as a live-action Marvel character.” Jackman has also starred in several non-MCU films throughout his career.
Chris Evans As Captain America
Chris Evans is best known for his role as Captain America. He has an impressive nine appearances in the series, with prominent roles in the four Avengers movies and all three Captain America movies. He also had two brief cameos in Thor: The Dark World and Spider-Man: Far From Home.
His character, Captain America, is up-front, loyal, honest, and extremely dependable. He is the one who steps in and leads all the complex personalities, strengths, skill sets, and weaknesses of the diverse team.
Robert Downey Jr. As Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr. is probably best known for his role as Iron Man in nine separate appearances and one cameo. He has been a lead character in the Iron Man trilogy and the four Avengers films.
He was also featured as a co-lead in Captain America: Civil War and in a supporting role in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Sadly, his character, Iron Man, died in the film Avengers: Endgame.
Kevin Conroy As Batman
Kevin Conroy was known for portraying Batman in ten different animated movies. It made him among the most prolific superhero actors in film history.
He earned worldwide fame for his voice portrayal of the DC Comics superhero Batman, which began with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992. He also voiced the character in several animated T.V. series, video games, and feature films.
Samuel L. Jackson As Nick Fury
Samuel L. Jackson is a huge movie star and has starred in many Hollywood hits. He is the most prolific actor in the films of the MCU so far, with eleven appearances. Jackson starred as Nick Fury, the head of the meta-human regulation organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D.
Fury is often a go-between for the Avengers. He first appeared as Fury in Iron Man in 2008, and he will reprise the role in the upcoming Disney+ series, Secret Invasion.
Ryan Reynolds As Green Lantern
Ryan Reynolds is a very well-known actor, and in 2011, he portrayed Hal Jordan in the movie Green Lantern. The Green Lantern was inspired by the DC comic book of the same name.
The film wasn't received very well, but five years later, his redemption came along with the opportunity to star in the Marvel film, Deadpool. His first appearance as Deadpool was in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It was announced in 2021 that he would also be starring in a third Deadpool film.
Jon Favreau As Happy Hogan
Jon Favreau is a director, actor, and writer and has been an essential part of the MCU for years. He directed Iron Man in 2009 and other MCU films. In addition, he starred as Happy Hogan, Tony Stark's assistant, in the Iron Man franchise.
He has also appeared in other MCU films, such as a significant role in Tom Holland's Super-Man films. However, back in 1995, he had a small role as one of Bruce Wayne's assistants in the film Batman Forever.
Jim Carrey As The Riddler
Jim Carrey is known for his comedic roles in films such as Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber. He is also known for portraying the Riddler in Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever.
Carrey had to lean into what we know and expect, conform to the boundaries of such an exaggerated character, and also bring in his own personality to help make the role his own. He was perfect for the role.
Jessica Alba As Sue Storm
Jessica Alba portrayed Sue Storm in the 2005 films Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Her character Sue Storm is a brilliant scientist who leads Victor Von Doom's Department of Genetic Research. In addition, she voiced the character in the video game "Fantastic Four."
Alba stated, "Even if you look at the Marvel movies, that's the biggest driver of fantasy and what's happening right now in entertainment because it's sort of the family thing; it's still quite Caucasian. I would say I was one of the few back in the day, and it was before Marvel was sold to Disney, but it's still quite more of the same."
Michelle Pfeiffer As Catwoman
Michelle Pfeiffer has portrayed many beloved roles, but her most talked about role is Selina Kyle, or Catwoman. She and Michael Keaton had dated at one time, and it prevented Pfeiffer from playing Vicki Vale in 1989's Batman.
However, after Annette Bening dropped out, she nabbed the role. She also portrayed Janet Van Dyne in the hit Ant-Man and the Wasp and later reprised her role in Avengers: Endgame.
Ben Affleck As Batman
Ben Affleck once stated that his favorite comic book character is Batman. He was lucky enough to portray the character Daredevil in 2003's Daredevil. While filming Daredevil, he wore contact lenses to make him "blind."
He wasn't happy with the final result and said, "By playing a superhero in Daredevil, I have inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero." Affleck has appeared as Batman in four movies, with the first one being 2016's Batman v Superman:Dawn of Justice
Halle Berry As Storm
Halle Berry is a very popular actress and has starred in several Hollywood hits. She also starred as Storm in the X-Men films. She was great as the character and turned in a mostly comic-accurate portrayal. She was part of a great start to the world of comic book movies.
She later took on the role of Catwoman in her solo movie, but it ended up as one of the worst-rated comic book movies of all time. She managed to bounce back when she returned to the X-Men franchise in Days of Future Past.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson As Quicksilver
Aaron Taylor-Johnson started his career by starring in the film Superbad in 2007. He later had the chance to play the character Quicksilver in the film Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Aaron said of his role, "The thing is with the Marvel universe, in general, is that everything's not taken seriously. There are points when there's real drama, but I love that there's a lot of sarcasm and humor to it, and people have that moment of humor. So it's fun."
Vin Diesel As Groot
Vin Diesel is best known for his role in the Fast & Furious franchise, but he has also been a part of the comic character world. He is the voice of Groot, a sentient tree-like creature.
He only has three lines, with his most well-known being "I am Groot." However, in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, Thor and Rocket Raccoon are able to understand him. He also plays Ray Garrison in the film Bloodshot.
Nicolas Cage As Ghost Rider
Nicolas Cage is another popular actor who has starred in several Hollywood hits. He turned up the heat when he starred as Ghost Rider in 2007's Ghost Rider and 2012's Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Both films were very successful at the box office, but he declined to do the third film.
Cage was also cast as Superman in Kevin Smith's film, but it was canceled. However, he was still able to lend his voice to Superman in 2018's Teen Titans Go! and Spider-Man Noir in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Michael B. Jordan As The Human Torch
Michael B. Jordan played the Human Torch in the 2015 reboot of the film Fantastic Four. Jordan said that he spoke to former Human Torch actor Chris Evans about the character.
He stated, "I did get a chance to talk to Chris Evans about it. I met him at this event, and he was basically like, 'Man, I can't give you anything. You're great.'" Later, in 2018, Jordan played the ruthless villain Killmonger in Black Panther.
Tobey Maguire As Spiderman
Tobey Maguire has starred as the wall-crawling and web-throwing Spider-Man in four films, with his latest appearance being in 2021's Spider-Man: No Way Home. He first starred as Spider-Man in the 2002 hit, Spider-Man.
In the original film, Peter Parker is an academically gifted high school student who is also socially inept. Throughout the films, Spider-Man battles many foes, such as the Green Goblin, The Sandman, and Doctor Octopus.
Willem Dafoe As Green Goblin
Willem Dafoe starred as the Green Goblin, also known as Norman Osborne. Dafoe's goofy take on the villain is still talked about and praised today. Dafoe's Green Goblin is one of Spider-Man's greatest villains, and he played the character in Sam Rami's 2002 Spider-Man and 2021's Spider-Man: No Way Home.
He brings to the character a unique energy and sends chills up our spines with his simple maniacal laugh. He also starred as Vulko in Aquaman.
Patrick Stewart As Professor X
Patrick Stewart portrayed Professor X and made his first performance as Charles Xavier in the 2000s hit X-Men. It was that movie that helped begin the era of comic book films.
Stewart has had six appearances as Professor X, with the most recent being 2022's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. His character is the father figure of the mutants and is the most important character in the X-Men franchise. Stewart nails the role perfectly.
Tom Hardy As Bane
Tom Hardy co-starred with Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises. He played the villain named Bane, one of Batman's most evil rivals and one of the best villains of all time.
In order to be fully in character, Hardy underwent a significant body transformation, gaining thirty pounds of muscle. In 2018, he played Eddie Brock in Venom and appeared in the post-credits scene of Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Doug Jones As Silver Surfer
Doug Jones is one of Hollywood's best actors, but you've probably never seen him. However, in 2004, he took on the role of Abe Sapien in Hellboy and then in 2008's Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
He was also a part of two direct-to-video animated films, earning him a Fangoria Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 2007, Jones took on the Marvel superhero role of Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. His performance gained him a Teen Choice Award nomination.
David Harbour As Hellboy
David Harbour became very famous for his role as Jim Hopper in Stranger Things. Still, he entered the MCU in 2021 when he portrayed super soldier Alexei Shostakov, or Red Guardian, in the film Black Widow.
Previously, he was part of the DC universe as Dexter Tolliver in Suicide Squad, the 2016 DC film. Dexter is a national security advisor to the President. In addition, he had the starring role in the 2019 Hellboy reboot.
Josh Brolin As Thanos
Josh Brolin played Thanos, the most feared villain in the MCU. He even won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Avengers: Infinity War. Brolin also portrayed Cable in the film Deadpool 2, and the title character in 2010's Jonah Hex.
While on the set of Jonah Hex, he accidentally broke John Malkovich's thumb. When asked if he would reprise his role as Thanos, he said, "I don't know what their plan is. We've kind of bookended this thing after ten years. I was so happy, and I loved being involved in that so much because that wasn't the intention when I first got involved."
Michael Keaton As Batman
Michael Keaton is certainly not a stranger to superhero movies, as he played Batman in the 1989 film Batman and Batman Returns in 1992. Tim Burton stated that he knew he wanted Keaton to play Batman.
He stayed away from superhero movies for many years but returned in 2017 as Adrian Toomes, the Vulture, in Spider-Man: Homecoming. He also reprised his role as Batman in the movie The Flash and as Vulture in the movie Morbius.
Jared Leto As The Joker
Jared Leto had mixed responses and reactions to his portrayal of the Joker in Suicide Squad. Most thought he at least turned in a unique performance that made the character his own. Leto did not return in the sequel, The Suicide Squad.
Reportedly, Leto was upset that he wasn't asked back for the sequel. He has crossed between DC and Marvel, as he also played the title role in the film Morbius.
Brandon Routh As Superman
Brandon Routh took over the role of Superman after Christopher Reeve in 2006's Superman Returns. He stated that he paid tribute to Christopher Reeve while still giving his own interpretation. He received mostly good reviews but only appeared in one movie.
He was given another chance as The Atom on the CW's Arrowverse, which he experienced more success with. Later, he had another chance to play Superman in the Crisis On Infinite Earth's crossover event.
Christian Bale As Batman
Christian Bale is known all over the world for his leading roles in many Hollywood hits. One of those roles was Batman, the DC superhero in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy.
Seventeen years after the trilogy launched, Bale joined the MCU as Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder. Bale was one of the most successful actors to portray Batman.
J.K. Simmons As John Jonah Jameson
J.K. Simmons is most known for his amazing supporting roles, which included his performances in both universes. With Marvel, he appeared in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy. He also appeared in the MCU films Spider-Man: Far From Home and Spider-Man: No Way Home as John Jonah Jameson.
Jameson is the boss of the Daily Bugle newspaper, and he has a particular style and a prominent mustache. In 2017, DC hired him to take over the role of Commissioner James Gordon in the Justice League.
Evangeline Lilly As The Wasp
Evangeline Lilly first gained acclaim for her role as Kate Austen in the series Lost and has starred in several films since then. She first portrayed the superhero Wasp in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Ant-Man in 2015.
She then appeared in Ant-Man and the Wasp in 2018, Avengers: Endgame in 2019, and will star as Wasp in the upcoming film Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in 2023. She received several nominations for her role as Wasp.
Wesley Snipes As Blade
Wesley Snipes was already starring as the vampire-hunting superhero known as Blade before comic-book film adaptations were a huge thing. He had an intimidating look and martial arts, helping him convincingly play the Marvel Comics superhero.
His first film was hailed as great work and received acclaim, but the sequel and third film were not as successful. The third film was a disaster and killed his acting career.
Margot Robbie As Harley Quinn
Margot Robbie's first-ever live-action appearance was as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad. She has incorporated the sweet, yet psychotic nature of the female adversary of Batman.
She was the perfect choice to play the Joker's girlfriend. She has portrayed Harley Quinn in the DC superhero films Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey, and The Suicide Squad. In 2019, Forbes listed Robbie as one of the world's highest-paid actresses.
Ron Perlman As Hellboy
Ron Perlman plays the character of Anungun Rama, also known as Hellboy, and he was basically born to play this character. The role was a turning point in Perlman's career, as it showed that he not only plays a good supporting character but can also take a strong tone when playing the lead role.
He starred as the supernatural creature in Hellboy and the sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army. He has also stated that he would take part in a third movie.
Jack Nicholson As The Joker
Jack Nicholson is a very popular actor in Hollywood and has starred in many hits, including films such as The Shining and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Nicholson also played the Joker, and his character was a criminal who fell into a vat of chemicals and emerged with bleached white skin, green hair, and a permanent smile with red lips. He played the deranged character perfectly in the 1989 film, Batman.
Danny DeVito As The Penguin
Danny DeVito played the intimidating character, the Penguin, in the 1992 film Batman Returns. It was long before Robin Lord Taylor took the spotlight from all the other co-stars in Gotham by playing Oswald Copplepot.
He was terrifying with his pointy beak-like nose, his fat physique, and DeVito's performance. Writer Daniel Waters simply said, "I ended up writing the character for Danny DeVito."
Brandon Lee As The Crow
The late Brandon Lee gave an unforgettable dark performance as The Crow in the 1994 film, The Crow. James O'Barr created the character, but Lee brought it to life, and his performance was met with much applause.
Sadly, he died during production when he was accidentally shot by a real bullet during one of the scenes. Three sequels followed, and one television show as well. Each had a different actor for the title character, but none of them were able to match Lee's brilliant performance.
Peter Dinklage As Bolivar Trask
Peter Dinklage is probably best known for his role in the popular series Game of Thrones, but he also starred as Bolivar Trask in X-Men: Days of Future Past. His role on GOT led to his role in X-Men.
He also played Thor's ally, Eitri, in the film Avengers: Infinity War in 2018, and in the comics, his character was king of the Dwarves of Nidavellir. Fans loved Dinklage in Avengers, but there is no word if he will reprise his role.
Idris Elba As Heimdall
Idris Elba played Roque in The Losers, which also teamed up with MCU star Chris Evans. In 2011, he portrayed Asgardian sentry Heimdall in Thor, and his last performance as Heimdall was in the film Avengers: Infinity War.
Heimdall is all-seeing and all-hearing and is the protector of the Bifrost in Asgard. Idris also starred in another comic book role in The Suicide Squad in 2021.
Sam Elliott As Carter Slade
Sam Elliott portrayed General Thaddeus Ross in 2003's Hulk, and he accepted the part before reading the script. In 2007, he played Carter Slade in Ghost Rider, which was the original Ghost Rider in its 1967 debut.
Marvel brought in Ghost Rider in 1972 but changed the name to Phantom Rider. Sam Elliott's version is a mixture of Slade and Caretaker, a member of "The Blood" in the comics.
Tommy Lee Jones As Two-Face
Tommy Lee Jones is probably best known for his role in the Men In Black films. However, in 1995, he starred as the Batman villain, Two-Face, in the film Batman Forever.
It was supposed to be played by Billy Dee Williams, but the studio bought out his contract so that Jones could take over the role. In 2011, Jones played Colonel Chester Phillips in Captain America: The First Avenger.
Taika Waititi As Korg
Taika Waititi directed and starred in Thor: Ragnarok in 2017. He played Korg, Thor's ally, as they escaped Asgard. He also directed and starred in 2021's Thor: Love and Thunder.
In addition, Waititi starred in The Suicide Squad and 2011's Green Lantern. He portrayed Thomas Kalmaku, Hal Jordan's best friend. He got the part after casting directors saw his performance in 2010's Boy, which he also directed and wrote.
Rebecca Romijn As Mystique
Rebecca Romijn turned heads and made a splash when she starred as Mystique in the original X-Men films. She had to wear one hundred and ten individual silicone prosthetics all of the time in order to get the perfect shots. Getting her ready for filming every day took nine hours.
Her performance won her a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress, and her last performance was in X-Men: First Class. Later, in 2018, she lent her voice to reporter Lois Lane in DC's animated films.
James Marsden As Cyclops
James Marsden gained worldwide fame in 2000 when he portrayed Cyclops in X-Men. He left the films in 2006 to join DC Comics for the film Superman Returns.
He plays Daily Planet reporter Richard White, but because of him jumping to DC, Cyclops was killed off early in X-Men: The Last Stand. However, he reprised the role briefly in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Tim Black Nelson As Dr. Samuel Sterns
Tim Blake Nelson portrayed Dr. Samuel Sterns in 2008's film, The Incredible Hulk. In comic books, Dr. Sterns eventually becomes Leader and becomes an intelligent supervillain after gamma radiation exposure.
In 2015, Nelson starred as Dr. Harvey Allen in the Fantastic Four reboot. It was supposed to be Harvey Elder, but Fox changed the last name before filming began. His version of the character helps train others to use their powers.
Mark Ruffalo As The Hulk
Mark Ruffalo joined the Avengers as Bruce Banner, better known as The Incredible Hulk, in 2012. He went on to appear in 2013's Iron Man 3, 2016's Thor: Ragnarok, and 2021's Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings. In addition, he appeared in the Disney+ TV series, She-Hulk.
Ruffalo explained the Bruce Banner/Hulk story, "I think this is a good entry into that time period, that five years between Infinity War and what happened in Endgame, there's a gap where we don't know what happened to him and all of a sudden he's a professor, and he is no longer Banner after he couldn't turn into the Hulk. I love how we start to open up that world, but I think there's almost a standalone story to be told for just those two years. How did we go from a Banner who couldn't turn into the Hulk anymore to all of a sudden this fully integrated version? This is a really nice way to introduce that story, but I also feel like it doesn't satisfy exactly what happened in that time period. I think there's a lot more to say about it."