After doing some thinking, I decided to compile a list of what I consider to be the top 10 superhero portrayals on-screen. These are specifically for heroes, and in some cases anti-heroes, not villains. Please understand, this list is only about how well the actor managed to portray the comic book character as written. This is not about how good these movies were overall.
#10: Ray Stevenson as 'The Punisher'
Say what you will, I thought Stevenson made a fantastic Punisher. He captured the tough outer shell, the determination, and, of course, the anger. He looked the part, and, of course, he was badass.
#9: Chris Hemsworth as Thor
While his movies aren't the most popular, Chris Hemsworth really nailed the character of Thor. He was relatively unknown, as was the god he portrayed, but he filled the armor with ease, matching the loud, anger-prone, yet good-hearted Thor in a great way, and his performance has only gotten better through The Avengers and The Dark World
#8: Ron Pearlman as Hellboy
Certainly a less-known hero, Pearlman portrayed Hellboy with ease, despite the heavy makeup and prosthetics. He brought Del Toro's ideas to life in a way very few could in that getup. And I'm still waiting for Hellboy 3.
#7: Toby Maguire as Spiderman
I know, a lot of you will hate this choice. But I prefer Toby to Garfield. While I would agree Garfield plays a great Spiderman, he doesn't do so well at Peter Parker. There's nothing wrong with his acting, but the Parker he portrays swings away from the original comics, while the wimpy, nerdy Parker that Maguire played, as I see it, is much closer to the comic. I'm sure many of you disagree, but I still prefer him.
#6: Hugh Jackman as Wolverine
There's some mixed feelings on this choice. I think much of the time, Jackman nails it. While he is a good deal taller than in the comic, he manages to look the part. I feel it suffers from the PG-13 ratings, meaning Wolverine can never really let go, but when we have scenes where he does, Jackman hits them home. If we could get an R-rated Wolverine feature, I think Jackman could really shine, even if the movies do focus too heavily on him.
#5: Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach
Say what you will about Snyder and his movies, his casting is consistently spot on, from Leonidas to Superman to Rorschach. Haley's casting is part of the reason I trust Snyder with his BvS casting. He WAS Rorschach, straight off the page. The looks were right, the attitude, the way he held himself was right, the voice was exactly as I'd always imagined it, everything about him screamed "Rorschach".
#4: Christoper Reeve as Superman
Christopher Reeve defined Superman. Reeve's performance captured both the grace and fortitude of superman, and his opposite Clark Kent, enough so that future portrayals of Superman, even future comics, have all had elements of his characterization in them. I do like Cavill, but we haven't seen enough of him for a spot on this list yet.
#3: Michael Keaton as Batman
Again, some of you will say Bale, but to me, Keaton hit closer to the mark. While I do like Nolan's movies better overall, Nolan didn't write them to be the comics. Keaton, in the end, was much closer. This is through no fault of Bale's, his acting was great, but Keaton's part was superb, and his Bruce was written to be very similar to the comics. Not only is his own portrayal successful, but he paved the way for all of the movies that came after him.
#2: Patrick Stewart as Professor X
Just look at the two of them. Patrick Stewart took on the role of the X-men leader, and he did it amazingly well. Professor X's leadership, his wisdom, and his bald head all perfectly translated to Patrick Stewart. His look is perfect, his attitude is perfect, and the talent and gravitas he brings to the screen are matched by Magneto opposite him.
#1: Robert Downey Junior as Iron Man
You all knew it was coming. This one was obvious. Despite his risky status, Marvel went ahead and cast Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man, and the risk paid off, big time. Iron Man was good enough to start building the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe from, and that is due in no small part to Robert Downey Jr.'s brilliant performance. Even Stan Lee himself says that Robert Downey Junior portrays Iron Man exactly as he envisioned the original character, and you don't get higher praise than that. I'm sure some of you disagree with my choices. I'm by no means saying this is fact, merely how I feel about it, so feel free to let me know your own ideas in the comments