Top 10 Best Superhero Actors. EVER.

With so many actors donning the suits or um…the skins of comic book characters we’ve often wondered who would be the best. With our (non) scientific means of deduction we’ll try and find out which incarnation of each classic character would come out on top!


Ever heard of the saying “start as you mean to go on”? Well that’s what we’re doing and we’re starting with a heavyweight. I’m talking about the Man of Steel, Supes, the Guy Who Wears Pants Inside-Out…Superman! The character who fought Nazis, Communists and probably saved a few cats in trees. Straight away George Reeves is out (didn’t ‘fill’ the suit and we can’t have that). Tom Welling is disqualified on the basis that we only saw him wearing the suit for 0.4 seconds. We’ve not yet seen anything of Henry Cavill in the forthcoming Man of Steel, so he’s excluded. Routh and Reeves go through on the basis that they embody the character better than Dean Cain did (as much as we like Lois & Clark: The Adventures of Superman).

Who wins? Reeves, mainly because those who followed him have not managed to top or surpass him yet. He imbued Superman with grace, charm and humanity, something that is really hard to do when you’re wearing a silly costume. As much as we liked Routh in Superman Returns, he did come across as a (slight) imitation of Reeves. Damn good performance though.

Victor: Christopher Reeves



First, lets rid ourselves of Clooney and Kilmer. The latter we can’t remember and the former has nipples on his suit for Christ’s sake! That leaves us with Bale, Keaton and West and each one managed to put their stamp on the character. West was campy but we’ll knock him out (KAPOW!) on the basis that we cannot remember his Bruce Wayne even if we try really, really hard.

Keaton’s Batman/Bruce Wayne was (necessarily) boring; the rich, unassuming oddball that went a little ‘nuts’. Bale’s version is more of a three-dimensional character, displaying fragility and a touch more empathy. We’ll go with Bale on the basis that his Batman his front and centre whereas Keaton always felt overshadowed by the villains – we can’t have the hero playing second fiddle to his adversaries. Keaton’s eyes were fantastic though (not that we stared at them for hours or anything).

Victor: Christian Bale… just


The Joker

A devilishly tricky group; well, apart from Cesar Romero (but at the very least he looked the part). We prefer our Jokers to be menacing, threatening and generally less like our uncles with make-up on. Jack Nicholson was heralded as the best comic book villain when Burton’s Batman came out but we can’t help but think that was down to it being Jack-freaking-Nicholson and not much else. He’s not as campy as Romero but it does seem like Romero was playing a character and not himself as Nicholson seemed to be.

So that leaves us with Ledger and Hamill. Hamill is helped by animation that made The Joker’s face into some sort of pointy nightmare replete with a cackling, maniacal laugh. Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, however, is a tour de force. Whether it was down to his body language, his vocal intonations or laugh; you won’t find a more vividly realised villain here.

Victor: Heath Ledger


The Incredible Hulk

Did you just shout “Hulk smash!”, thump your chest and launch into the air?  Have no fear, only gamma-irradiated nerdy scientists have this affliction – if you fit this description then you may need help. However we’re stuck with comparing the Bruce Banners and Hulks. We’ll forget comparing the Banners as they’re wimpy, puny humans. Hulk, however, we’ll watch fight himself to the death.

Ang Lee’s Hulk is definitely greener but Leterrier’s Incredible Hulk does have a better hair cut. Also while Lee’s Hulk spends a lot of time jumping and sniffing flowers (who’s puny now?) Leterrier’s spends his time ripping cop cars in two and kicking people half his size across a field. For pure dumb inanity, the victory goes to The Incredible Hulk.
Victor: Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk



Despite looking like one of those toy figures with karate chop action in the picture above, Magneto is one of the most powerful comic book characters. Sir Ian imbues Lensherr with a dignity that belies his rather stark views on humanity. Fassbender obviously shares the same views but the reverence is replaced with an urgent need for retribution. Fassbender comes across as bit like Bond in X-Men: First Class whereas McKellen is an elder statesman in the X-Men trilogy.

Who wins? Well, although Fassebender made an immediate impression, McKellen has had three films to assert himself in. For us it’s McKellen – although we do wish he designed a better costume, didn’t he watch The Incredibles and learn that capes aren’t practical?
Victor: Sir Ian McKellen


The Punisher

Who’s the best of a bad bunch? We’re not taking Dolph Lundgren’s Punisher into consideration, in fact we hereby ban any mention of it, from…now. Thomas Jane in 2004’s The Punisher and Ray Stevenson in the 2008 reboot/faux sequel Punisher: War Zone is what we’re left with. Such is our antipathy towards these adaptations we’re inclined to go with Stevenson. If this was rock, paper, scissors then Stevenson’s weapon of choice, a bazooka, would surely beat Jane’s longbow; that, and he looks like he could step on you and wipe your remains off with his massive knife. Intimidating.
Victor: Ray Stevenson



Verily, Mjolnir, rainbow bridges, Norse Gods! And other such nonsense. Many wondered whether Thor would be accepted by audiences this year but nobody remember that he’d already been in a film – the made for TV movie The Incredible Hulk Returns starring Bill Bixby! No one (apart from us geeks) will remember that TV movie because a) it was crap and b) it was very crap. Just look at the picture, all plastic armour, long hair and sheepskin covers. Hemsworth’s Thor is more regal and doesn’t look like he’s been herding sheep. Good God, was this even a contest?
Victor: Chris Hemsworth


Professor X

Hard one this is (our Yoda speak there) as despite Stewart having three films to build a character, McAvoy has the benefit of not being in a wheelchair and being able to jump and do exciting stuff. We’d like to point out that he has hair, not that we’re against any form of baldness. Stewart brings with him all his Royal Shakespeare acting experience, channelling the erudite and knowledgeable Charles Xavier, whilst McAvoy is more up front and in your face, a cocky word-smith who’s on his way to becoming the venerable Professor. We’re stuck here, we like both portrayals but we’d have to go for the gravitas of Stewart simply because he demands your respect.
Victor: Patrick Stewart



Unfortunately this isn’t even a contest more a runaway victory. Rebecca Romijn Stamos is given way more to do with X2 alone, whereas Jennifer Lawrence sort of whines and complains for the duration of First Class. When everybody is using their powers Lawrence can be seen in the background not doing much. We want a little bit more action from our heroines and we certainly want them involved in more scenes where they use their powers. Remember when Mystique went in Logan’s tent in X2 and pretended to be all the women he’s met in his short life as an X-Man? Can you remember a scenes as good in First Class featuring Mystique?
Victor: Rebecca Romijn Stamos



Our first response to Nicholas Hoult’s Beast was to roll around our offices and laugh like idiots. Over time we’ve come to laugh less (slightly) and embrace it. Both Hoult’s and Kelsey Grammar’s Beasts look ferocious enough and Hoult definitely looks like an animal whereas Grammar looks like Frasier…but with fangs (a terrifying proposition). We’re not quite sure who we like best here but we’ll go for Grammar, although his Beast isn’t as well designed as the X-Men: First Class version which went down a Jekyll/Hyde route with Beast’s origin story. However there are shots where we just kinda laughed at Hoult and that’s not something you want to be doing when you’re invested in a dramatic storyline or action scene.
Victor: Kelsey Grammar


Did we get it wrong? Tell us who should win in the comments below!

About The Author