Superhero films are the norm today, but that wasn’t always the case. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, there were only a handful of movies based on comic books. However, since the dawn of the 21st century, comic book movies have become extremely common. Thousands of characters have now been cast in these films. Some of the character castings have been good, while others have been awful. Let’s count down the top 5 comic book accurate castings in a superhero movie.
#5 Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent/Superman
Christopher Reeve’s role as the titular character in Superman still holds up to this day as one of the best superhero castings of all-time. This is especially impressive because the movie was made in 1978. Since then, several different actors have portrayed Superman in television and film. Still, none can match Reeve’s authenticity as both Superman and Clark Kent. In fact, Reeve is often praised for his unique portrayal of the Man of Steel and his alter ego as if they were two different roles.
#4 Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier
This was a fan casting dream come true. Patrick Stewart had been a favorite to star as Professor Charles Xavier in a potential X-Men film since the 1980s, during his days as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation. 2000’s X-Men made that dream casting a reality. Stewart was perfect in the role, bringing a level of sophistication that no other actor could have. His on-screen chemistry with Ian McKellan’s Magneto also laid the foundation for future success of the franchise. Stewart went on to star in seven total X-Men films.
#3 Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach
Watchmen (2009) was a dark and gritty film that dared to be different than many of the other superhero movies at the time. No character better personified the stylistic and dark undertones of the film better than Rorschach. Without the casting of Jackie Earle Haley in the role, the movie may not be considered the cult classic it is today. Haley’s gravelly voice when self-narrating Rorschach’s journal entries was nothing short of magnificent.
#2 JK Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson
Try reading a Spider-Man comic today without hearing JK Simmons’ voice when J. Jonah Jameson is speaking. It’s just not possible. Perhaps more than anyone else on this list, Simmons was born for the role he played, perfectly capturing Jameson’s egotistical ramblings and stubborn resistance to the possibility that he might be wrong about Spider-Man. By flawlessly encompassing Jameson’s loud and obnoxious demeanor, Simmons stole every single scene he was in. He was so convincing in the role that he was brought back in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which featured an entirely new cast otherwise.
#1 Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool
When Ryan Reynolds was cast as everyone’s favorite “Merc with a Mouth” Wade Wilson in the film X-Men Origins; Wolverine, fans were absolutely ecstatic. They thought, how could this not be the most perfect casting of a character ever? By the end of the film however, they were brought back down to Earth. While Reynolds himself did a fine job during the flashback sequences, the plotline took a kamikaze dive in the final moments of the movie, with many considering it to be the biggest disappointment in the entire franchise.
In spite of that failure, and in recognition of the fact that Reynolds was still perfect for the role, we were treated to 2016’s Deadpool. The hilariously delightful film received rave reviews, spawned a sequel, and now has a subsequent sequel on the way. Reynolds campaigned hard for the role, even after the failure of the previous X-Men film. The two Deadpool movies even took great delight in mocking Deadpool’s character assassination in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, as well as Reynold’s previous box office bomb, Green Lantern.