The List: Top 10 Greatest Character Portrayals In Comic Book Movies

Well, you lot liked this one didn't you. Beating last weeks record number of votes and getting more user suggestions than any previous poll, you guys certainly had a lot to say about who you thought was the best at playing superhero on the big screen. And as it would turn out, most of what you had to say was about one particular person, but we'll get to that later.

Honourable Mentions: Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (X-Men franchise), Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach (Watchmen), Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange/ Stephan Strange and Tom Holland as Spider-Man/ Peter Parker (MCU), Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon and Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth (The Dark Knight Trilogy)

10. Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury (MCU)

You know, I'm starting to think there's something in this whole Infinity Formula thing that Nick Fury uses in the comics in order to stay forever youthful, because Mr L. Jackson here is in his 60's and you sure as hell couldn't tell it. Portraying what is basically the Ultimates Universe version of the character (which in turn was based on SLJ himself, natch), Jackson is never the main focus of any of the films he's in, but he's always there, providing that powerful authoritative figure that is needed to keep everyone in line, which is exactly how Nick Fury should be.

9. Tom Hiddleston as Loki (MCU)

So, how do you make a character like Loki believable and relatable but still someone you want to see get beat down. Well what you do is you imbue the character with possibly illegal levels of charm, add a dash of quick wit, a heavy dose of manipulativeness, a health amount of younger sibling syndrome and package it all up in the perfectly smug and smarmy form of Tom Hiddleston and watch the fangirls weep.

8. Ron Perlman as Hellboy (Hellboy Franchise)

So what makes this performance so good? Well, when you watch the film, you can tell that Ron Perlman is having fun playing the character. He's invested in what he's selling and that makes it so much easier to buy into it. And when the character in question is one that by rights shouldn't ever work outside the pages of the comics he comes from, that's quite something. Because, let's be honest, a huge red demon who smokes cigars, has what can only be described as "a lot" of cats and goes around fighting demons from another dimension by punching them with a giant stone right hand, it just sounds too ridiculous to work doesn't it. But Perlman made it work. Probably helps that he had Guillermo Del Toro to fall back on as well.

7. J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson (Spider-Man Trilogy)

It's kinda telling that someone did a decent job at portraying a character when the series has been rebooted twice since they last played the character and neither time has the role been recast. J.K. Simmons practically IS J. Jonah Jameson. The look was there (I challenge anyone to find a live-action version of a character that looks as close to their comics counterpart as this), the mannerisms were there, the attitude was the right mix of asshole and likeable (about 73%-27%). It was like they'd found the Impossible Man and used his powers to bring the comics Jameson into the real world.

6. Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool/ Wade Wilson (X-men Franchise)

Ok, if we ignore the rather stupid decision to sew up his mouth at the end of Origins: Wolverine, this one makes all of too much sense. Ryan Reynolds excels at playing irreverent characters who spend just as much time joking as they do breathing and only stop talking... um, never. Deadpool is a character whose favourite activities are, in order, Chimichangas, talking, breaking the fourth wall whilst killing people, talking, cracking jokes whilst killing people, Chimichangas, talking, killing people whilst cracking jokes or breaking the fourth wall, talking about Chimichangas, eating Chimichangas whilst talking or all of the above all at the same time with extra Chimichangas and a whole lot of talking. Perfect match.

5. Patrick Stewart as Professor X/ Charles Xavier (X-Men Franchise)

So who do you go to when you need a person to play Professor Charles Xavier, one of the most respected men in all of comics, a man of intelligence and power, a man who teaches others restraint, responsibility and compassion in the face of great fear and hatred, one of the best leader figures in fiction. Well, you ask Jean Luc Picard not to get out of that command chair and strap wheels on it and you're good to go. It also saves you having to ask the actor to shave his head. I mean, Patrick Stewart is a world class Shakespearian actor who excels when give roles of authority, of course he's going to be a fantastic.. no wrong word... uncanny Charles Xavier.

4. Christopher Reeve as Superman/ Clark Kent (Superman Franchise)

I said when we covered J.K. Simmons that you can tell when someone did a good job playing a role when they can't recast that role for any reboots. You can also tell when someone has done a good job in a role when the casting criteria for each subsequent reboot is "how much does he look like that guy". That's the case with Christopher Reeve. He casts a very large shadow over anyone Warner Bros. casts to play Superman, simply because he was just so damn iconic in the role. He wasn't the first and he certainly hasn't been the last, but he was the only one to truly get the character. He was the only one to understand the dichotomy between Superman and Clark Kent and actually be able to play both characters whilst simultaneously making it believable that these were both two different people and, at the same time, the same person. And whilst modern interpretations of the character get further and further away from the soul of DC's icon, Christopher Reeve will always be the man who made you believe that a man could fly.

3. Chris Evans as Captain America/ Steve Rogers (MCU)

Much like Superman, Captain America is a character that should be hard to pull of convincingly and to make relevant in this day and age. As with the man of steel, Cap is the product of a different time, an idealist in a non-ideal world. So how do you act that. Well, as we can see in Chris Evans portrayal of the character, you lean heavily on what has carried the character through so many years of comic book publication, the conviction. Evans carries us through an underdog story of a man who stands up to the evil of the world even when it is too much for him through to a man who will stand up for what he feels is right even if it hurts his friends and every step of the way you never once doubt that he doesn't have the conviction to make it through. Even though he is overshadowed by a certain other Avenger, it is he who provides the leadership and the soul of the team. Which isn't bad considering that by rights everyone should view Cap in the same way everyone views Superman aka he's boring (he's not, neither is Superman).

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

The only time a comic book film has ever won an Academy Award for an Acting category, Heath Ledgers is often considered to be one of the most iconic variations on Batman's arch-nemesis and one of the greatest screen villains of all time. What makes his performance so impressive is the lengths Ledger went to in order to make the character. Method acting a character like the Joker is never a good idea, but Ledger did it anyway. Basing his interpretation of the character heavily on The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On A Serious Earth, Ledger secluded himself in a hotel room for a month, coming up with the characters posture, way of speaking, personality, as well as filming his own portions of the film (the snuff-film footage of the Batman impersonator and the reporter) and keeping an incredibly creepy journal of The Joker's thoughts and feelings. On set he improvised many small parts of his scenes, including his clapping at Jim Gordon's promotion and, most famously, the exploding hospital scene. Whilst there may be a case to say that Ledger's Joker is held in such high regard due to the fact that the actor died whilst the film was in post-production, it is obvious that the performance would still be considered in the Top 5 at least even if the actor hadn't tragically lost his life. But that still doesn't get this portrayal to the top of our list, in fact it didn't even come close. The vote was a landslide and everyone got buried.

1. Tony Downey Stark Jr. (MCU)

"He was born to play Iron Man.... I wanted someone intelligent, a little bit off, you know, and glamorous and rich and Downey plays that so perfectly.... He's wonderful."- Stan Lee on Robert Downey Jr.

'Nuff said.

So, that's the list folks. Do you agree or disagree (judging by the voting I'm going to guess at mostly the former)? What is your favourite portrayal of a comic book character in film and why is it Robert Downey Jr.? Let us know in the comments below.

And with that

JR out.

JR19759

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