The Ten Most Perfectly Cast Superhero Roles

There are currently 87 million more superhero movies in the works right now, and we’ll be treated to a new batch of them this spring. But before we see Thor, Captain America and a batch of new X-Men, I wanted to take a look back to see the genre’s greatest successes.

These ten actors I believe are the best examples of perfect casting in superhero movies. It’s got a lot to do with looks, but demeanor and personality as well, as it can be hard to take a character from the pages of a comic book to a movie screen. I think these ten actors were the best fit for their parts, though sometimes the movies they were in didn’t live up to their abilities.

Check them out below:

10. Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool (X-Men Origins: Wolverine)

Yeah, Origins might have been terrible, but you can’t tell me there’s a better actor to play Deadpool. His character got ravaged by this idiotic plot, but hopefully someday he’ll get his own movie with Reynolds. I never understood him being cast as Green Lantern, which I think is a role he’s far less suited for.

9. Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach (Watchmen)

Yes, you might not see his face for more than a few seconds, but Earle’s menacing Rorschach managed to perfectly translate the character from the book to the screen. His gravelly voice brought the distressed font and speech bubbles from the comic to life, and I think they couldn’t have found a better man for the part that this Oscar nominee.

8. Ron Perlman as Hellboy (Hellboy 1-2)

Again, another role with a hidden face, but no one else could pull off Hellboy the way Perlman did. He has the giant head yes, but his attitude and demeanor really brought the character to life onscreen.

7. Christopher Reeves as Superman (Superman 1-4)

There’s a reason we’re having trouble finding a convincing new Superman today, it’s because no one can do it better than Reeves. His costume looks like pajamas sure, but in terms of attitude and looks, he can’t be beat. RIP.

6. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (X-Men 1-3, Origins)

I maintain that while his character has been treated like shit through most of the X-Men movies, especially in his own installment, Jackman is in fact the perfect face and body for the role. I look forward to seeing the character finally get the movie he deserves when Darren Aronofsky directs his new film.

5. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark (Iron Man 1-2)

UPDATE: OK, I had to sub RDJ in for Danny Devito here because I just plain forgot about him when I first wrote this post, and this was too good of casting not to have in the list. Downey Jr. MADE the movie, and without his portrayal of cocky billionaire Stark, Iron Man would have never been the surprise hit that it was.

4. Heath Ledger as The Joker (The Dark Knight)

Yeah, yeah, I probably should put him higher as no one else here has even come close to winning an OSCAR for their portrayal of a comic book hero or villain. We all know Ledger’s Joker is outstanding, and he defied all of our expectations to become one of the most memorable onscreen villains in movie history.

2. & 3. Patrick Stewart as Professor X and Ian McKellen as Magneto (X-Men 1-3)

I was tempted to put the entire cast of X-Men in this spot. There are so many other roles perfectly cast in these movies, it’s like the fans themselves did the choosing. Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm, Iceman, Mystique, Beast all have actors that suit them perfectly. The script on the other hand is what needed the work.

But yes, I think the two best casting calls by far were the two leads of each mutant group, Professor X and Magneto, played expertly by a pair of thespians whose talent far outshined the movies they were in.

1. J.K Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson (Spider-Man 1-3)

You’re goddamn right. Out of everyone on this list, there is no better page-to-screen translation than J.K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson. Their first names are both “J.” for crying out loud! But besides that, the character was a perfect representation of Peter Parker’s boss, and the best casting decision in the history of superhero movies. I don’t want to hear it, not up for debate.