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15 Best Cast Cinematic Superheroes

Sometimes when we go to the movie theater to watch the latest comic book romp there's an inescapable magic that washes over us when the cape-clad, iron-wearing or clawed hero appears on screen in heroic fashion. You feel like you're watching the comic book come to life in the most inexplicably wondrous and perfect way possible, and often times that's thanks to the perfect casting of the leading roles. Characters like Iron Man, Deadpool, Thor or Batman have found the perfect actor to bring those characters to life to the point where you can't even picture them doing anything else. At this point, I can only imagine Robert Downey Jr. spends his time flying around the world in a metal suit. 

So many actors have graced the roles of famous superheroes and left that very mark on the viewer. Whether they did it years ago or began recently, certain actors have left such a firm stamp on their characters that you can't imagine anyone else playing the role ever again. Their work seems so effortless and perfect that their likeness may as well be drawn into the comics for the rest of time. We here at JoBlo are celebrating some of those brilliant casting choices with this new list, and though it may be ranked, it's best to look at them all as inspired casting choices! *initiate tears* They're all winners in my book!

Honorable mentions: Scarlett Johannson, Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff; Chadwick Boseman, T’Challa/Black Panther; Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange

15. Mark Ruffalo, Bruce Banner/The Hulk

Casting the role of Bruce Banner and The Hulk had been a tricky nut to crack until they cast Mark Ruffalo in the role. Eric Bana first played the role and did an okay job, and Edward Norton was great in THE INCREDIBLE HULK. But with THE AVENGERS Ruffalo introduced us to a more stimulating Banner, one who keeps up an emotional wall in order to keep people away but is personable enough to become a valued member of the team. Across the two AVENGERS movies, he’s been able to explore the nature of this very tortured man with pathos and dash of humor.

14. Paul Rudd, Scott Lang/Ant-Man

When trying to think of leading men to take on superhero roles, Paul Rudd, a man known for comedies and his everyman appeal, probably didn’t rank high on the list. But that’s what made him perfect to play Scott Lang, the thief who, when we met him in ANT-MAN, was just trying to start a new leaf. He’s got a masterful sense of comedic timing and is incredibly emotive as an actor. When he’s covered in his shrinking suit he still manages to give enough personality to the role to remind you that Scott Lang is in there, and has all the same anxieties, fears and mannerisms he does without the suit.

13. Michael Keaton, Bruce Wayne/Batman

Like some of the other casting choices on this list, people scoffed at the idea of Keaton playing Batman. Fans even petitioned to Warner Bros. and DC to get him removed from the film. Primitive beings, they were! Keaton expertly blended an everyman’s Bruce Wayne with the dark, tortured Batman. He had a coolness behind the cowl that added a needed sense of mystery to the masked vigilante, and over the course of two movies proved all the naysayers wrong.

12. Chris Pratt, Peter Quill/Star-Lord

A Han Solo for the modern age, Star-Lord needed to be brought to life by a suave, charismatic lead who could play a bit of an asshole but still come off a loveable. Chris Pratt from PARKS AND RECREATION was not everyone’s first choice, but, as is a running theme of this article, Pratt proved the haters wrong. He is effortlessly infectious as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, moving between hilarious banter with the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy to heartbreaking emotion. Quill is just a guy who was taken from Earth years ago and now travels around the galaxy. We needed someone with both a good ol’ boy American relatability and bravo movie star energy. Pratt has both of those qualities in spades and makes this version of the character as pitch perfect as he can be.

11. Christian Bale, Bruce Wayne/Batman

While Keaton set the groundwork for a gritty, haunted Batman, Bale was able to explore the character even further from the ground up. Bale brought a method actor approach to the iconic character, diving into the complexity of Bruce Wayne, a man who decides to dress like a Bat to fight crime. The actor brought out layers to Wayne we hadn’t seen in the movies before but knew where there in the comics. He’s obsessive, unrelenting, intelligent, and constantly trying to mask his inner pain. Across three movies he was able to explore and unveil more and more of these layers, delivering a Batman for the modern age. That, and he owns the trademark on gravelly, clearly fake voices.

10. Chris Hemsworth, Thor

If you listen to the THOR DVD/Blu-ray commentary with Kenneth Branagh, there’s the very memorable scene when Chris Hemsworth emerges for the first time without his shirt on where even Branagh himself awes at his muscle-bound figure. This elicited what is currently the Guinness record-holder for the largest collected swoon, with nearly six billion people fainting all at once. From a cinematic standpoint, Branagh explained the reason for the moment: “We needed Thor to look like a god; Chris Hemsworth does.” In terms of that physicality, Hemsworth is as close to the actual god of thunder we will ever get. But what makes his casting so perfect is how much he owns the room by exuding Thor’s confidence, charm and, occasionally, brazen arrogance. THOR: RAGNAROK let him loose like never before, and to see him leave the role now (should he decide to) would be a tragedy.

9. Gal Gadot, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman

An actual Wonder Woman if there ever was one. Gal Gadot herself stands for all the things Diana does and also has the ass-kicking skills to back it up. She was able to steal the show away from Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) in BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN, and then become a true modern icon in her solo movie, WONDER WOMAN. She's fierce, noble, wise and charming as all hell, and much like the No Man’s Land scene in WW, Gadot walks triumphantly onto a field populated mostly by men and stands tall as a force to be reckoned with.

8. Tom Holland, Peter Parker/Spider-Man

The SPIDER-MAN movies are the biggest superhero flicks ever to hit theaters (after Batman, of course), making billions of dollars at the box office. It’s a mystery, though, that it took about 15 years for Sony to finally cast a young actor who could bring the teenage Parker to life. Tobey Macguire was good, Andrew Garfield was great, but Tom Holland? Dear god, if there was ever an actual, living Parker out there, it’s him. He has the physicality of a true Wall-Crawler and the delightful innocence and humor that has made Parker so endearing for all these decades. The moment he came on screen in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR everyone knew the right actor had been cast, to the point where it seems silly to even mention the other two dudes.

7. Samuel L. Jackson, Nick Fury

Can you imagine anyone else being able to step into a room with Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, and talking to them like a father scolding his children and telling them what’s what? No, you can’t, because Samuel L. Jackson is the only one who can do it with the absorbing sense of directness, command and utter cool. This is the man who had to wrangle together the Avengers and be the leader who can cut through their superpowered egos to speak the truth, and look like a badass doing it.

6. Ron Perlman, Hellboy

If there was ever a man born to be drenched in red makeup and have chopped horns fixated to his head, and a massive rock hand to match, it's Ron Perlman. Hellboy doesn’t have the superhero charm or flair these other characters do. He’s a gritty, rugged, tough, abrasive, no-nonsense character who is able to work in some of the sarcastic humor. He’s into some dark business, so he’s not likely to be cheery. For Perlman, conveying all of this seemed as easy as getting up in the morning; He is Hellboy. He doesn’t have to sell you on anything. You just believe with all your heart and body that he is this demon hero sent to fight other paranormal entities. It’s a damn shame he only got to lead two movies and has since been replaced with David Harbour. Oh, I would hate to be Harbour right about now.

5. Ryan Reynolds, Wade Wilson/Deadpool

Much like Perlman, Ryan Reynolds playing Wade Wilson/Deadpool looks as easy as stepping in front of the camera and being himself. Though the character is more openly vulgar and perverted than Reynolds is (I assume), the actor throws out crude, depraved one-liners with a joyful buoyancy that makes such horrible words sound whimsical. Beyond the expert delivery of Wilson’s sense of humor, Reynolds captures the character's humanity and vulnerability. We see this best when he’s with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and his snarky defenses are completely shattered. Putting all this together, very few on this list have taken such command of a role, and on the strength of that performance, sold the character and the movie, turning both into undeniable phenomenon.

4. Patrick Stewart, Charles Xavier/Professor X

When I think of the telepathic, bald, wheel-chair bound Professor X I think of a wise college professor who has the perfect answer for everything…and who could explode your mind at a moment’s notice. With his deep, transfixing voice and diction, capable of soothing you or intimidating the hell out of you, Patrick Stewart is the perfect Xavier that ever was and ever will be. He exuded the warmth needed in the father figure character and was tough when needed to be, with Stewart having a firm grasp of the character since X-MEN in 2000. James McAvoy has done an excellent job as the character, but Stewart’s version is the guiding light I always want to come back to, and he received a worthy farewell in LOGAN, delivering his most complex take on the character yet.

3. Robert Downey Jr., Tony Stark/Iron Man

I will wait here patiently for you to come up with a better comeback story than that of Robert Downey Jr. Turns out I won’t wait too long, because I know you don’t have an answer! Downey was both the most left-field and ingenious choice to play Stark, a billionaire, genius, playboy, philanthropist who has a change of heart. He possesses the most carefree, enrapturing charm of any actor on this list, while also managing to tap into Tony’s deep insecurity and regrets that have been weighing on him his whole life. Downey has brought such a powerful energy to Stark, and makes for a natural born leader, moving through scenes with massive ensembles with confidence, swagger and a total command of the room. Should he ever hang up the armor, it would be best to just never recast the role. There’s no topping this man.

2. Christopher Reeve, Superman/Clark Kent

Any attempt at a superhero movie before Richard Donner’s SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE was nothing more than a cheaply-made, TV-movie quality romp aimed squarely at children. SUPERMAN changed everything and gave the world a rousing blockbuster starring one of the world’s most recognizable icons. You need a helluva leading man for that, and then unknown Christopher Reeve delivered what remains as the most iconic iteration of the hero. He’s tall, strong and sports the kind of jet-black hair that screams “AMERICA!” As Clark Kent, he’s sweet, naïve, clumsy and precisely the kind nerd the character needs to be in order to sell the disguise. You completely buy it when Margot Kidder ignores his existence because who on Earth would want to associate with that dork Kent? But as a hero, he is the embodiment of heroism. Righteous, brave and unflappable, he can soar through the sky and give the audience a smile with utter believability. Any child of any age can look up to Reeve as Superman and see a true hero – which is a testament to both Reeve as an actor and a man.

1. Hugh Jackman, Logan/Wolverine

17 years; 17 years this man owned a role people initially fought against him having. A total unknown, Jackman came out of obscurity and made Wolverine all his own. Using his theater training he gave the clawed curmudgeon a mean, animalistic physicality that doubles as an emotional defense, which he uses to keep people at a distance. With that rugged demeanor is also a bit of regality: Jackman’s Logan is poised, steadfast and comes off as a leader despite not wanting to lead anything or anyone. But what’s more impressive than the performance is Jackman’s unwavering commitment to the character. Despite two middling movies in a row (X-MEN: THE LAST STAND and X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE), Jackman still gave it his all and always tried to explore this complex character on a deeper and deeper level. This all culminated in a whopper of a final performance in LOGAN, delivering the greatest performance any actor has given as a comic book superhero.

Catch an absurd amount of well-cast heroes in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR on April 27. 

Source: JoBlo.com

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