The 10 Best Castings In Comic Book Movies

As I was reading through some of my favorite movie sites this morning, I came across a great little article over at Cinematical where they listed what they thought were some of the best Superhero casting decisions in film (you can check their article out over here. I didn’t agree with much of it, so I thought instead of critiquing their list, I’d just give my own.

DON’T FORGET… THIS LIST IS NOT ABOUT THE BEST MOVIES… nor is it about who ended up doing the best job. That’s all 20/20 hindsight. The list for for who was the best casting choices going INTO the movies in question.

Feel free to add your own picks in the comments section below:

Castings-Xavier1) PATRICK STEWART (Professor X)

This is hands down, without question and without any doubt the single most “perfect” casting decisions in comic book movie history. Patrick Stewart was genetically bread to play professor Charles Xavier. Long before they even thought about doing an X-Men movie, for over 10 years whenever any discussion came up about “dream casting for an X-Men movie”, Patrick Stewart was ALWAYS at the top of the lists. No question, Patrick Stewart as X is the best casting in a Comic Book movie of all time.

Castings-Stark2) ROBERT DOWNEY JR (Tony Stark/Iron Man)

There was a lot of speculation floating around regarding who would play Iron Man once they announced they were moving ahead with the movie (as there always is with these Comic Book films), but one name that no one really thought about was Robert Downey Jr. until they announced that he would indeed play Tony Stark. It caught everyone by surprise… but once his name was announced everyone stood up and said “Holy crap that’s PERFECT!” And indeed it was perfect. The key to pulling off Iron Man was pulling off Tony Stark… and if Tony Stark really was alive in the real world… his name would be Robert Downey Jr.

Castings-Hellboy3) RON PERLMAN (Hellboy)

Not a lot of people in the mainstream movie going audience were familiar with who or what Hellboy was before the movie version came out. But for those who DID know who and what Hellboy was, the announcement of Ron Perlman as big Red seemed as obvious as the answer to the question “excuse me sir, would you like a blow job?” YES! The voice, the mannerisms and to some degree even the physical stature all screamed Hellboy. Brilliant casting.

Castings-Hackman4) GENE HACKMAN (Lex Luthor)

Really, what can be said about Gene Hackman that hasn’t been said a thousand times before? Already a world renowned actor having won the Oscar for best actor in 1972, Hackman brought credibility to a very risky film in 1978… Superman. he made being the bad guy in a comic book movie a cool thing. Well… let’s be honest… anything that Gene Hackman does automatically becomes “the cool thing”. The guy could masturbate in a children’s playground and it would suddenly become socially acceptable.

Castings-Batman5) CHRISTIAN BALE (Bruce Wayne/Batman)

There is no more coveted role in the comic book genre than that of the Batman. However, the role also became one of the biggest risks ever since it had been practically ruined by the George Clooney effort and to some degree the Val Kilmer one too (Don’t get me wrong, I thought they were both good castings too… but the last movie was SOOOO bad it almost single andedly killed the comic book genre of movies all together until X-Men resurrected it). Again, like Downey, Bale’s name was not one of the top one’s being thrown around at all… but when they announced him, people who knew Bale’s work stood and cheered. It was a bit of a gamble, but we knew it was a great choice.

Castings-Hulk6) EDWARD NORTON (Bruce Banner/The Hulk)

Ok, so we’ve got this character… he’s an almost middle aged, skinny but cerebral and intense character… any ideas? Yeah… how about Edward god damn Norton! in casting the lead character for The Incredible Hulk, you don’t cast for the Hulk… you cast for Dr. David Banner, and if you can make it one of the best actors in the business today, then that’s a bonus. Getting Edward Norton on board brought some instant and much needed credibility to the new Hulk film that so many people thought was a bad idea. An excellent choice and a bold risk for Norton to take.

Castings-Spacey7) KEVIN SPACEY (Lex Luthor)

Lex makes a second appearance on this list. No one, and I mean no one wasn’t excited and pumped when the word came out that Kevin Spacey was going to play Lex Luthor. But unlike Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man… Spacey’s casting came as no surprise. People had been calling out for Spacey to play the iconic villain for years ever since they saw him as the fake Dr. Evil in Austin Powers 2 (how weird is that?). Getting him on board to play the antagonist was a no brainer.

Castings-Punisher8) THOMAS JANE (Frank Castle/The Punisher)

This was one of those situations where I really couldn’t properly see anyone playing the main character… until they said it was going to be Thomas Jane. The dude (in my opinion) was the perfect guy to bring The Punisher to flash and bone life. No offense intended to Dolph Lungren fans (hehe). Great decision for a not so familiar comic book character to main stream audiences.

Castings-Spider9) TOBEY MAGUIRE (Peter Parker/Spider-Man)

This one falls much into the same category as the Hulk casting. When getting your guy, you don’t think about Spider-Man per se. You focus on getting your Peter Parker. Someone who could still pull off a screen presence and could act… but he has to be Peter Parker. Getting Tobey Maguire in the role fulfilled that mission VERY well. Maguire brought name recognition with him as well to the part which is always something studios want with their multi-million dollar investments in a comic franchise if they can get it.

Castings-Elektra10) JENNIFER GARNER (Elektra)

What’s that you say? You need an absolutely beautiful and stunning woman who will look great in tight leather, but can also kick insane amounts of ass? Hmmmm… sounds like a job for Sydney Bristow from Alias, Jennifer Garner became famous for traveling around the world as Bristow, beating the living hell out of evil agents and super spies… and holy crap he’s in INSANE shape too. She also was a big name at the time which helped. You may not like how Daredevil turned out (personally I liked it) but you’ve got to admit she was THE choice to play that role.

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99 thoughts on “The 10 Best Castings In Comic Book Movies

  1. Ron Pearlman was the perfect Hellboy. No one can argue with that! Anyone could play Spiderman, its just a suit, but Toby was the best possible Peter Parker. All these are great except the Lex Luther’s, I probably only disagree because the Superman movie sucked, and I haven’t seen the old one in a while, but thats one mans opinion. You did great congrats

  2. Pretty good list but a lot left out…for at least an honorable mention…

    HEATH F**KING LEDGER as the Joker!!!!!!!!!!

    Christopher Reeve as Superman

    Danny Devito as the Penguin (More so honorable mention)

    Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon

    Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth

    Jack Nicholson as The Joker

    Michelle Pfiefer as Catwoman (Honorable Mention)

    Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin

    But I would take any of the above and easily swap them for

    Thomas Jane as The Punisher
    Ed Norton as Bruce Banner (Even though I loved him)
    Jennifer Garner as Elektra

  3. I can say with all honesty that I agree with the list. I woul’ve added a few, such as:
    Wesley Snipes-Blade
    Michael Clark Duncan-Wilson Fisk a.k.a. the Kingpin
    RDJ was absolutely fantastic as Tony, despite being 20yrs older. Another great pic was Ron Perlman(Hellboy 2 was great, can’t wait for #3). Jen Garner was one I did pretty much agree with. By the way I also enjoyed Daredevil(Director’s Cut is the only way to go with it, though). And I’m always a fan of Tom Jane.

  4. John, I gotta a lot of respect for you man, but I gotta say Christopher Reeves brought dignity to the Superman character. You yourself called it a risky film at the time and I agree it was. Hackman could not have done it alone. Til this day, I still get chills when Superman yells, “AAAGGGHH!”, after Lois died. I went bonkers for that scene.

    So again John, please big-up (meaning shout-out) Christopher Reeves. He was way better than….Jennifer Garner? I literally cringed on that one.

  5. im a huge comics fan. been reading them since i learned how to read. some of the comic book movies i loved, some i’ve hated. in the end however, hollywood never delivers on what the true essence of the hero(or villian for that matter) should be. feel free to disagree with me. its a beautiful thing when we can discuss such things and throw our personal ideas around. so here is my list of the top ten casting choices of comic book movies
    1- Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xaxier: Absolutely perfect choice. he captured the spirit of the man marvelously. no one else can do it.
    2-Robert Downey Jr as Anthony Stark: Another perfect choice and he performed beautifully. I happen to enjoy watching Downey on the screen and i was thoroughly pleased when he was tapped to play Marvel’s favorite playboy. Great choice.
    3-Hugh Jackman as Wolverine: Now at first i raised hell about someone so tall(he’s 6’3) playing the runt(Wolverine is 5’3) but after seeing him in the movies(really after X2) i was satisfied with the choice. Not satiated…but satisfied. I can’t see anyone else playing the character and in truth there is no one i know of who can capture Logan for me. (any ideas people?)
    4-Michael Keaton as Batman: Just the right choice. I liked Christian Bale’s take on the character but i grew up with Michael Keaton’s version. Keaton nailed the Bruce Wayne part, dark, brooding and conflicted. Good Batman.
    5-Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man: I wish Tobey could be at the top of my list considering that the Wall Crawler is my favorite all time hero but his debacle in Spider-Man 3 got him knocked down a couple of notches. Spider-Man 2 was his best showing. Peter is another conflicted hero, driven by the deaths of his uncle, and Gwen Stacy(why was she in SM3 i’ll never know) and Harry. And where was the sarcasm? Petey is right up there with Torch and Deadpool when it comes to the smartass comments. There were a lot of aspects missing from Peter’s character and it diminished Tobey’s performance.
    6- Alfred Molina as Doctor Otto Octavius: Well Al is the first villain to make my list and the one actor who got his villain pretty close to the comic. I know most of you will disagree but this how I feel. I was skeptical at first, but became pleasantly surprised at how much he convinced me he was Ock. They played with his backstory a little but some changes had to be made i guess. Still, nice Doc Ock.
    7- Edward Norton as Dr. David(Bruce) Banner: I disliked Eric Bana playing Banner so i was glad when they tapped Ed Norton. Eric is a good actor but they didn’t develop his character and he wasn’t believeable to me as Dr. Banner. Norton captured my attention. He played the genius scientist, the conflicted lover and the lone wanderer well i think. Let’s see what happens in the sequel.(spoiler alert-villain is definitely the Leader)
    8- Danny DeVito as Penguin: Good choice. I liked his Penguin except for the whole horny perv thing with Catwoman and the lady on his election team. Penguin is annoyingly philosophical and they didn’t get that much. He did make me laugh though. Reading the Penguin in the comics, i always found him funny and DeVito got that for me.
    9- Wesley Snipes as Blade: Good choice to play Blade. No one else can do it but him. Incidentally, Trinity sucked. The movies are far better when its just Snipes as the main character. Waiting to see Morbius make a appearance.
    10- Heath Ledger as the Joker: This entry is pending seeing as i love the previews already. If he floors me as the Joker(and i hope he does God rest his soul) he is going to shoot straight to the top. I think Ledger finally got the FULL character of the Joker, insane maniac and hysterical villain. I love Jack but he played the ‘clown’ more than the ‘insane’ part. We’ll see.
    O.K. that covers it. Undoubtedly many of you will disagree with my choices and thats cool but truthfully i know I missed many more people
    Honorable Mention: Ron Perlman as Hellboy, Ian Mckellan as Magneto, Brandon Lee as the Crow, James Marsden as Cyclops, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and i can go on but i won’t.
    Understand please that i’m aware of the fact that is a response to “the 10 Best Castings in Comic Book movies” but i added my love of the original comic book character to what i saw on the screen so thats it. Enjoy or insult! Pick your poison.

  6. Kevin Spacey and Patrick Stewart were perfect the moment they were announced.

    I personally thought Ian McKellen would make a great Magneto.

    I nailed Jim Carrey as the Riddler when I was 12, so that was perfect.

    Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool.

    Heath Ledger as joker seemed crazy at first, but looking at the trailer now…wow.

    J.K. Simmons is J. Jonah Jameson.

    I loved Ray Park as the Toad.

    Worst for me by far is Michael Clarke Duncan. He is so not the Kingpin by any stretch of the imagination.

  7. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so)jjonah jameson was pitch perfect.
    kevin spacey brought nothing to lex luthor. no strength. no menace. i didnt feel at all he was a genius.
    thomas haden was perfect as sandman. you could feel him far more than spacey as luthor. i was glad that spacey didnt go for the maniacal, laughing lunatic, but he exuded no danger or the ability to command anything.

  8. I can’t believe this list! Superman Returns was a real mess. Also, Christian Bale is a good Batman but pales in comparison to what Michael Keaton did in that role (as, until Robert Downey Jr., the best Super-hero actor IMO). Nobody thought Burton or Keaton would pull it off, but they did it masterfully….

    Also, it seems you did not consider many of the more independent comic stars;

    Keanu Reeves as Neo in the Matrix was brilliant… originally they had cast Will Smith to play Neo!
    Gerard Butler as Maximus in 300
    Vitually anybody from Sin City, though Clive Owen immediately jumps to mind.

    And many others have called you crazy, but Hugh Jackman is the PERFECT Wolverine. Wesley Snipes was amazing as Blade (those movies should have tanked, but thanks to him and Guillermo Del Toro, it launched the comics craze we have now!).

  9. My favorites and couldn’t stand list:

    Snipes as Blade – Couldn’t have cared less for Blade UNTIL Wesley took the role. Now Blade ROCKS! (*Well, 1 & 2 anyway)

    Hugh Jackman – Wolverine. I agree BEFORE the first X-men, who even knew who Hugh was. He nailed it!

    Brandon Lee – The Crow. Same as Snipes as Blade. I didn’t know ANYTHING about the Crow but man Brandon rocked that role!

    Stewart as Professor X – If anyone trashes that they don’t know comics. Easily the best choice.

    Michael Chiklis as the Thing. It’s clobbering time! Dude rocked the role AND the banter between Ben and Johnny? The best!

    Ray Park as the Toad. Come on. Dude made the freakin TOAD COOL! No small feet! Park GREATLY IMPROVED the character!

    J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. JJ come to life. PERIOD!

    Thomas Haden Church as the Sandman. NAILED IT!

    Alfred Molina as Doc Ock – NAILED IT!

    Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. I honestly questioned this move UNTIL I saw the previews then said… NAILED IT!

    HONORABLE MENTION – Michael Clarke Duncan as The Kingpin. I asked myself over and over, “Who are they going to get to play the Kingpin!?” With ONE OBVIOUS difference I don’t think they could have found ANYONE better for the role.

    WORST List:

    Julian McMahon – Dude (*IMO) just didn’t research the role. Doom is the freakin man! Seriously. There is a reason Wizard Magazine made DOOM! their #1 villian of all time. The scene in the boardroom? Some banker shuts him up? PLEASE! Doom would have FRIED the dude there for daring to speak to him in such a fassion NOT tuck tail and get him in the dark later.

    Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor. – Sorry to disagree BUT again there was a reason that Luthor was the #2 guy on the list. He rocks as well! Surrounded by idiots? I don’t think so. This guy is TOTALLY HUMAN and he can take THE MOST POWERFUL superhero to the limit time and time again? Why? Because HE ROCKS! Again, research the role.

    (*I’m going to get fried for this one but…)
    Jack Nicholson as The Joker. Jack in the Shining? Heck yeah! That’s the Joker! Totally insane AND VIOLENT! Again, I’m thinking Jack saw the TV Show because I personally just thought he made the Joker too comical and not insane enough.

    Honorable Mention – The Green Goblin SUIT in Spiderman one. Over all the movie was REALLY GOOD but I have to hard of a time getting past that stupid suit and mask! Aghhh! Did anyone see the ‘concept’ art? They had SO MUCH POTENTIAL then decided to go with that? HELP ME! AGHHHH!

  10. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so)Robert Downey jr is the worse election for IRON MAN, He´s SUCKS, FUCK MIDGET.
    The others shit selection is Ian Mackellen FUCK FAGGET.
    Gene hackman STUPID ASSHOLE.
    Patrick Stewart NO, is better YUL BRYNER for PROFESOR X.

  11. Mock of 99% of the comments on here:

    “Hi. I don’t know the difference between CASTING and ACTING. I can’t put myself in the mindframe of the time BEFORE a movie comes out, like before all the decisions and acting choices are put into the final product. So-and-so did an AWESOME job/performance (but somehow not ACTING) in blah-bibbidy-blah! How could you not include him!?”

    Somehow, all the idiots who don’t read the YouTube detail info all wound up here. In comparison, it actually makes the majority of YouTube comments read like friggin Hamlet. I’m gonna go throw up now in between my tears for the fate of humanity. Maybe I’ll get lucky and choke to death so I won’t actually bump into any of these people in real life.

  12. The Top 3 are the best.

    I liked Keaton better as Batman (Bale makes a great Bruce Wayne, but doesn’t pull off “Bats” very well), and Jake Gyllenhaal should have been cast as Peter Parker. I don’t think there is an actor who can really pull off Bruce Banner (Bana was too physically imposing, and Norton too sensitive).

    Putting aside the fact that she’s Italian, Asia Argento would have made a decent Elektra.

  13. Hey guys, im a huge X-Men fan and a really huge Gambit fan (A lot of people aren’t to thrilled with him though) and I would like to see him in a movie but who do you think could possibly play Gambit?

  14. Ha Ed Norton up there as Banner at number 3 is nuts. Eric Bana for me did a better job and I do not know why they rewrote the film. People need to realise that Hulk/banner look is perceivced on the artists who draw them and make them iconic. Bana’s Banner was akin to Dale Keown’s idea of Banner Hulk and Norton as the old 70’s Banner/Hulk.
    Also the first had some silliness to it and the un cannon like story of Banners dad being the reason he was the Hulk through experimentation and the like. But they should have continued. Just my opinion.

  15. If you haven’t seen Hugh Jackman’s screen test for the first X-Men, you should see it. He NAILED it. Even Bryan Singer was getting excited about it. Great casting decision in my book.

  16. (if anybody ever reads this) mayb this comment belongs under the podcast in which John and Doug discuss this editorial

    another addition for the worst casting in a comic book superhero movie: Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider :/ HORRIBLE!

  17. Micheal roseanbaun is the best lutor by far..Why is it in the movies that lutor is nothing like his comic counterpart. In the films hes a fucking idiot and a clown. Micheal plays him really well cold claculating and a true rival to superman

  18. I have to agree that the Elektra casting is horrible. I actually don’t think the movie is quite as bad as its reputation (it’s certainly more watchable than Daredevil) but casting Garner completely changed the character from her comic book origins. Garner plays sensitive high school sweetheart types. There is nothing about her personality or her look that resembles the cold-blooded, Greek ninja in anyway. I’m not a big Marvel Comics guy but I loved Elektra: Assassin when I was in college, and I was surprised at the time that people didn’t seem too bothered by this casting. I guess the character is not as popular as she used to be.

    And I have to say I share Shadopup’s confusion over the peculiar guidelines to this topic. I’m not sure what exactly the point is of only looking at whether or not the casting sounded good at the time. Is the job of a casting agent to cast the right actor or the one who will seem like a good idea at the time? The sports analogy doesn’t convince me because yes, the baseball guy is supposed to look for the player who will fit the team best and do the best job. They can’t foresee everything that will happen but they have to try to, because that’s their job and it’s how they build a good team.

    Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellan were great casting whether or not they seemed like it from the outside before the fact. It wasn’t an accident that they were great. When we heard about it we didn’t know what Singer and company had planned, but when we saw the whole picture it became apparent what brilliant casting it was.That seems like a more relevant topic to discuss.

  19. All of these casting choices seemed perfect at the time. Some worked, some didn’t and one I haven’t even seen. My list in no order.

    Jack Nicholson as Joker (Batman 1989)
    Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Ironman (Ironman)
    Thomas Haden Church as Sandman (Spider-man 3)
    Danny DeVito as Penguin (Batman Returns)
    Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman (Batman Returns)
    Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-man (Spider-man)
    Thomas Jane as Punisher (The Punisher)
    Patrick Stewart as Professor X (X-Men)
    Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman (Batman Begins)
    Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two-Face (The Dark Knight)

  20. I thought Jen Garner was a terrible casting choice when she was initially signed to play the part!!! UUUUUUGGGGHHHHH!!! And when I saw Daredevil my feelings were confirmed!!! That was a horrible casting choice…as fas as I was concerned she never fit the part!

    That’s the only mistake, in my opinion of this list. Everyone was pretty much perfectly cast. I cheered when the rest were initially announced.

  21. Oh for the love of God people! 90% of you are missing the point! It’s not whether or not they were good in the role or the movie was good. It’s whether they seemed suited for the role when it was announced when they were cast. Holy Crap some of you guys are dumb.

  22. What about Heath Ledger as joker. I know it hasn’t come out yet but by what I have seen in the trailer. I think he beats Gene Hackman as Lex Luther

  23. I can’t say I was happy when I heard of Mcguire being cast for spiderman. I think he was too short, and allways seemed more of a geek than a nerd. It’s a subtle difference, but he just doesn’t seem smart in any fashion. My main draw to spiderman was that he was a very very bright young man before he was a superhero and Toby just doesn’t pull that off for me.

    As for one that I would like to see on the list, Kelsey Grammer for beast. When casting such a CG heavy role you don’t really need the looks so much as the voice and attitude, and Kelsey had it from the get go. Maybe it was because Cheers was popular when I was getting into comic books, but Beast allways had his voice for me, so the casting was like mana from heaven for me.

  24. Hey Shadopup,

    I see what you’re saying, but let me put this in terms of a sports analogy (as I annoyingly often do).

    A general manager of a baseball team signs a free agent for $10 million dollars to add to his team. The guy has a GREAT batting average, almost lead the league in home runs last year and has won 2 gold gloves in the last 4 years. Many in the media thought the player would get even more money from other teams, but the GM managed to get him for just $10 million.

    Also, a big problem on this team has been lack of power (home runs) and the GM thinks he addressed this in getting this player.

    The player cleared the physical with flying colors.

    SO THE QUESTION IS… Did that GM do a good job by signing this player?

    The answer here is clearly YES. He got a great player that addresses the needs of the team and managed to get him for a good deal. It was a GREAT signing.

    Now let’s say that player gets injured half way through the season. Or ends up having a bad year. Or that his wife cheats on him later and he’s depressed and goes into a slump.

    Some people may feel tempted in retrospect to go back in time and judge the signing and the performance of the GM by what happened afterwards (things that were outside of his control) and say it was a bad deal. But the fact of the matter is, it was still a great signing. The GM did a great job. Sometimes things don’t work out afterwards or things outside of your control happen… but that doesn’t change the facts.

    In casting it’s the same thing. Find a person that is a great fit, meets the needs of your particular project with a person who hopefully brings talent and some name recognition at the same time (if possible). A casting decision that does all of that (and stays within budget) is a GREAT casting.

    Just my two cents worth

  25. If an actor who was thought to be the “perfect” fit for a role gives a terrible performance in the film, is that still considered good casting? Sure, casting happens before the movie but isn’t good casting judged ultimately on the actor’s performance in the movie? Does a less than ideal choice (ie Jackman as Wolvie) who turns out a good performance still qualify as bad casting?

    Anyway I’d like to chime in J.K. Simmons as JJJ in the Spidey movies. That guy was great.

  26. Hey Shadopup

    Because that would be a totally different post called “Best PERFORMANCES by actors in a comic book movie” (which is a discussion we’ve had on The Movie Blog several times)

    Casting happens BEFORE the movie gets made (obviously). This post is about the job of casting.

  27. Ok so this is only a list of actors who were thought to be good casting choices before the movies were made…may I ask what is the point of such a post?

    Since we do have 20/20 hindsight on most of these ppl, why not comment on whether these actors rose to expectations with strong performances, portraying the look, mannerisms and personality of their comic book characters authentically.

  28. Not sure if you’ll read this after so many posts…but I’d thought I’d bring to light. Kevin Spacey’s Cameo as ‘Dr. Evil’ wasn’t in Ausin Powers 2, it was in Austin Powers 3.

  29. John
    “Hey Ob-Wan

    No one liked the Hugh Jackman casting at first… no one. That’s why I didn’t include it on the list.:

    What does that have to do with anything?

    No one liked Daniel Craig at first but then after Casino Royale came out people loved him.

  30. I want to throw some the list:
    Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman
    Sam Elliot as Thunderbolt Ross

    I think Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face was perfect casting (just casting) but the movie and direction was total shit. I think that was the biggest waste in comic book movie history bar none.

    Also I am going to use a technicality to get away with this one. Mark Hamill = best Joker ever. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was a film and did get theatrical release. Even more so in the Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. The final confrontation between Batman and Joker in that movie is the best.

  31. How come half these people cant read? Its about casting BEFORE THE MOVIE! As for hell boy

    @KRAZIE835 “Ron Perlman is awesome as Hellboy, and I can’t imagine anyone else as the character.”

    The only other person i could see is Mickey Rourke

  32. JK Simmons as JJ Jameson.

    a word on Gene Hackman. How do you cast a guy who refuses to shave his head as L. Luthor? Did only one guy show up for auditions?

    In fact, how does a guy who won’t shave his head end up auditioning for Lex Luthor?

  33. JK Simmons as JJ Jameson.

    About Gene Hackman. How do you cast a guy who refuses to shave his head as L. Luthor? Did only one guy show up for auditions?

    In fact, how does a guy who won’t shave his head end up auditioning for Lex Luthor?

  34. i totally disagree with gene hackman. i felt he was way off.
    as for number one…
    personally of all comic book movies (i collect them), i thought Gary Oldman’s Jim Gordon was the single best role – even if it wasn’t a lead hero or villain.

  35. Hey John

    I just wrote a comment to Rodney as to the “future” candidates of superheros. Well, I thought you should know about this also. So,what do you think about “Josh Holloway” aka “Sawyer” from the LOST series. He does have the personality and looks to be Captain America or Thor. He just have to change his accent to suit more of a new yorker or a godly figure respectively.

    Does any one thing its a bad idea?

  36. Christopher Reeve auditioned and the film makers made the decision to cast him. So therefore it is a casting decision.

    and a great one because his superman.kent is the best super hero performance of all comic book films.

  37. Bale is not even the best Batman! Michael Keaton was much better. Part of the mystique of Batman is that Bruce Wayne should be nothing like him, and therefore people cannot figure that he is one and the same.

  38. I can’t imagine Dougary Scott as Wolverine. I remember how big a deal it was back in 2000 that he couldn’t be in X-Men due to MI2. We all know that Scott’s career has been lame after MI2.

  39. i agree with darren seeley, brandon lee as the crow. although this list is for a movie, but casting lynda carter as wonder woman was a good move.

  40. Jennifer Garner was absolutely horrible as Elektra. Maguire was an ok Peter Parker but they could have found someone better. Gene Hackman is a great actor but the Lex Luthor he played was way too different from the comics to be considered good casting.

    The rest of list is good.

  41. Deinitely Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, i also likes Kelsey Grammar as Beast. i thought it fit PERFECT. Edward Norton should have been the original Bruce Banner too!

  42. 1: Patrick Stewart – Professor X
    2: Robert Downey Jr. – Tony Stark – perfectly fits the playboy lifestyle down to the alcohol problems.
    3: Samuel L. Jackson – Nick Fury – They based the Ultimates version of the character on Samuel L. Jackson, it doesn’t get any more perfect than that.
    4: Ron Perlman – Hellboy
    5: Edward Norton – Bruce Banner – Perfectly fits the mild mannered science geek.
    6: Christian Bale – Batman – I tried to make a case in my mind, but he is just perfect, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Heath Ledger will be the Joker we have all wanted to see.
    7: Mickey Rourke – Marv – Sin City – He seemed the perfect fit from point where a Sin City movie was even mentioned.
    8: J.K. Simmons – J. Jonah Jameson – Everyone always picks MacGuire, who is ok, but Simmons IS J. Jonah Jameson!!!
    9: Liam Neeson – Ra’s Al Ghul – Even watching the original trailer I thought Liam Neeson should have been Ra’s not Ken Watanabe, imagine my surprise when he turned out to be…
    10: Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool – Who else could be the Merc with a mouth, other than Van Wilder himself?

    For the people I left off of the list, that were on John’s list:
    The 2 Lex Luthors, Spacey and Hackman, are amazing actors, but when the kid from Smallville (Michael Rosenblum) plays Lex better than the Academy Award winning actors, maybe they weren’t that perfectly cast…

    Electra was Greek like another poster said, so she is out.

    I loved Thomas Jane as the Punisher, but Vinnie Jones should be the Punisher…

    Tobey MacGuire is a solid Spider-man, but he really isn’t who I picture as Peter Parker, too many of the replacements that have been floated around fit just as well for me to call him a perfect casting.

  43. Yeah, i have to agree that Kelsey Grammar as Beast and Alfred Molina as Doc Ock both just clicked for me as soon as i heard them; you could fine nobody better for those parts.

    I also think Alec Baldwin turned out pretty awesome as The Shadow. It’s not a very well thought of film but he’s a hoot in it.

    “You’re Proffesor Roy Tam from the science institute at NYU. I’ve saved your life Roy Tam, and now it belongs to me”

  44. No Christopher Reeves or Christian Bale? I’m sorry but this list sucks.

    Kevin Spacey was not very good as Luthor and neither was Thomas Jane as the Punisher.
    Also Jennifer Garner, I love that woman, but she was not a good choice for Elektra. Elektra is Greek and should look Mediterranean, Garner is an All-American Girl. She just hasn’t an exotic enough look. ELEKTRA was one of the worst films ever made by the way.

  45. Hey John, what about great casting choices for comic book characters that never happened?

    I think one of Doug’s choices may be Danzig as Wolverine and Hauer as Magneto, am I right?

  46. “No one liked the Hugh Jackman casting at first… no one”
    Well, I I did. I actually liked the idea of a relative unknown (at the time). But…I’ll give you a reason why Hugh’s not on my list either. The fact of the matter is, “going into” the film, Dougray Scott had to pull out due to MI:2 going over production schedule. Jackman was a no.#2 choice, but was brought in shortly after filming had already started.

    Now here’s my choices.

    1) Patrick Stewart as Professor X.
    The first and only choice, if I recall.

    2) Thomas Hayden Church as Sandman.
    So what if they use a great character for Spidey 3, but don’t really use him? All I know is when Church was signed on for 3, even before his part was official or announced, all I heard was “He’s Sandman”.

    3) Christian Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne.
    Your points are spot on.

    4) Kelsey Grammar as Beast, X:Men The Last Stand.

    5) Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man

    6) Sam Elliot as The Caretaker in Ghost Rider.

    7,8 and 9) Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Rosario Dawson,
    I don’t need to say the movie or the characters they played. Guess.

    9) Brandon Lee in The Crow.

    10) Ron Pearlman as Hellboy


    ” you’ve got to admit she (Jennifer Garner) was THE choice to play that role.”
    I never will.

  47. You know? folks could go all night arguing over this. I thinik the casting choices you put, John were excellent, all except for Garner. I’ve never seen Elektra so I can’t judge that.

    But I have to agree with a poster further up who didn’t like Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor. He’s a great actor but he was terrible as Luthor. Spacey was a good Luthor. I didn’t care for Nicholson’s Joker either.

    But Hugh Jackman was great Wolverine.

  48. I agree with the list…particularly Robert Downey…hmm, we need someone to pay a womanizing, booze swilling playboy…who would be on the short list?

    Patrick Steward is a great Xavier.

    I liked J. Garner in the role, but one of the top 10, I dont think so…I go with the commentor who nominated M. Pfeiffer as Catwoman.

  49. Its funny, most people I know who arent into comic book movies say they dont care to see Spider-man because they dont like “they guy they got to play Spider-man” aka Tobey Maguire.

    I dont know,he was okay and I get why they cast him, but I would have liked Jake Gyllenhaal or an unknown better.

  50. I’m on board with the list aside from Jennifer Garner. I think she did a good job and I definitely believe she can kick some ass, but I don’t think she was brillantly cast.

  51. I think Toby Mcguire and Jen Garner were horrible. I will say Toby was ok as Parker persona but as Spider-man he seem so dull on his delivery of catchy one liners. But I think the guy who played JJ Jamison was perfect. He definitly was that character in the films and his acting is all i remeber when im reading a spider-man comic. Im sure for Elektra they could have got any beautiful women and it still would have played out the same. However not mentioning Brandon Routh ot Christopher Reeve is somewhat of a farce i think thou. Even if it was a big risk those guys really made Super-man a 3 dimensional character in having Kent be a loving bummbling boyscout then just some guy reporter.

  52. Does Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury count? I know he doesn’t have a movie yet but he was there in Iron Man. And didn’t Marvel based the new Nick Fury on Jackson with his permission.

    As far as your list goes, I mostly agree with them although not necessary in that order.

    See you later guys, Italy vs Romania in 9 minutes.

  53. Did you ever even read the Daredevil comics? You really think she was the best choise? I agreed with your other picks but I just can’t believe people thought JG was a good chosie for Elektra.

  54. I liked Kevin Spacey at the start of Superman Returns, but I didn’t like him or the movie as it progressed.

    At the start of the movie though, Spacey plays Lex very well, and he does make some solid points about Superman.

    If he really wanted to help the world then he should share his technology instead of just preventing crime which is also good, but having the ability to create land would be very beneficial….and I’m going off into something else.

    Patrick Stewart was also another solid pick, but I wish he had more screen time, Stewart is such a talented actor who deserved more screen time.

    Ron Perlman is awesome as Hellboy, and I can’t imagine anyone else as the character.

  55. If we’re judging by only the initial casting of the character, then you would have to put Jack Nicholson’s Joker on the top of the list. There has never been a casting decision that garnered more enthusiasm by the general public. My personal favorite is when Tobey Maguire was cast as Spider-man.

  56. I have to smear a big poo poo over Gene Hackman. That guy ruined the Superman franchise for me, almost as much as Ned Betty. But then again for some reason filmmakers never seem to want to make Lex Luthor as he’s in the comic so it’s not totally their fault. Kevin Spacey came closer to the comic book Lex but he was still surrounded by idiots for some reason.
    Thomas Jane was also pretty terrible as Punisher. He didn’t convey a tortured soul with that manufactured scowl of his, he conveyed a five year old in the “Time out” corner.

    Hugh Jackman surprised many that he could pull of one of the most vicious looking bad asses in comic book history. Who would have thought that an Australian semi midget from the musical theater could do that?

  57. Michael Keaton as Batman
    Danny DeVito as Penguin
    Jack Nicholson as Joker

    Lets not forget those first 2 batmans were the bomb…

    I agree with Wesley Snipes…and that Tobey Mcguire is metally handicapped.

  58. I read the whole post and I still don’t think Thomas Jane or Tobey McQuire were well cast before I even saw the films.

    Jack Nicholson as the Joker was a great casting idea as was Jim Carrey as the Riddler.

    Edward Norton is one of my favorite actors but his casting as the Hulk does nothing for me. I was happy with Eric Bana. I am glad Norton is in it but it seems like an odd choice for him.

    Patrick Stewart was born to play Professor X.

  59. Hey Ob-Wan

    No one liked the Hugh Jackman casting at first… no one. That’s why I didn’t include it on the list.

    Also, I didn’t put Ian McKellen on there, because I don’t think he was the best guy for the role of Magneto. He’s a GREAT actor… and GREAT actors will make any role work (hell, I bet he would have found a way to make Wolverine work), but he’s not the vision of Magneto from the comics at all. i actually think Rutger Hauer would have been a great choice.

  60. Wesley Snipes as Blade
    Ian McKellen as Magneto
    Hugh Jackman as Wolverine

    8,9 & 10 on this list are over rated. All 3 Spider-Man films sucked and Tobey McQuire is mentally handicapped.

  61. Hey Ric,

    As far as Christopher reeves goes, he was a total roll of the dice at the time. It worked out thankfully…

    With Norton and Garner, I think you need to re-read the WHOLE post. I clearly said:

    “DON’T FORGET… THIS LIST IS NOT ABOUT THE BEST MOVIES… nor is it about who ended up doing the best job. That’s all 20/20 hindsight. The list for for who was the best casting choices going INTO the movies in question.”


  62. Where’s Christopher Reeves? He set the standard for this genre of films. I agree with alot of the list(not the order), but do you really think Jennifer Garner or Edward Norton(Have you even seen the film?) is a better casting choice?

  63. Absolutely agree with all of these John. My favs were Christian Bale, Thomas Jane and Tobey Mcguire. Those were all based on the characters and not necessarily the heroes. Or maybe it was that they filled in the character’s side of the roles really well.

    I’d also say that Hugh Jackman fit his role perfectly and on the ‘bad guys’ side Ian McKellan (Magneto) and Alfred Molina (Doc Ock) pretty much nailed their parts.

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