Superhero movies are oftentimes renowned for their action, usage of colorful characters, bad ass weapons and installed abilities, and more times than not, deceased parental units. The thing is though, sometimes it's difficult to look past those common factors due to their predominance, but superhero movies can often helm outstanding performances. For example, the late Heath Ledger obtained an Academy Award for his performance as the iconic character, The Joker, in The Dark Knight. While perhaps that is the greatest performance to date from an actor in a comic book adapted role, today I am focusing on performances exclusively in Marvel based adaptations. Furthermore, the actors behind these roles have provided such justice to the characters, that it's pretty much impossible at this point to see anyone else replacing them.
5. J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson
"Parker!" I bet you read that in his voice. As far as angry, short-tempered bosses go, J.J. Jameson is ultimately the epitome of them in the comic book realm. Well, excluding the incredibly violent and disturbed King Pin. Besides the point, one of the biggest gripes from The Amazing Spider-Man franchise was that it was lacking the presence of The Daily Bugle. One of the most iconic things about Spider-Man is his position at The Bugle, and eliciting that from a cinematic story line is bound to ensue complaints. Now, the thing is, I'm sure these complaints would not have been as prevalent if we hadn't just walked out of three movies where J. Jonah Jameson was one of the greatest elements to the narrative. Why J. Jonah Jameson was so great really comes down tot his personality and execution by J.K. Simmons. It was so on point that it is in fact incredibly difficult to ever want to accept a different J.J.J.
4. Tom Hiddleston as Loki
The one thing the MCU tends to struggle with is establishing formidable, three-dimensional adversaries. Their one prized achievement, hoisted above on a pedestal, is Loki. Flashback five years ago, walking into Thor, most people weren't too familiar with Thor, let alone Loki. That all changed though when audiences left the theater a Loki was highly praised as a layered character with understandable motives. One could say he stole the show from the titular character. That wasn't his only show stopper either. One year later, he was the antagonist in The Avengers and further established his fan base and reasoning for "evil." If one year ago you were a barely-known character amidst even the comic book community, and you go on to be held to the same degree of double thumbs up as "Earth's Mightiest Heroes," that's a bit of an accomplishment. The thing with Loki though is that he'd be nothing without Tom Hiddleston's deliverance. Since most of us didn't know about Loki until Tom Hiddleston's performance, when we close our eyes and someone says "Loki," his face is the only one that pops up in our minds.
3. Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool
Don't even think for a second he wasn't going to make this list. What makes Ryan Reynolds's performance stand out among the others here is that he's the only one that has only had one outing as his respected character thus far. Quite frankly, that's all it took. I mean, you can't avoid giving credit to someone who ruined the character in a film adaptation in 2008 (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), went on to have another comic book persona spoiled in 2011 (Green Lantern) and then be everything the fans wanted five years late in a role of redemption, and ultimately, a role of perfection. All it took was some fourth wall breaks, the greatest opening credits in the history of film, and serving up death by Zamboni. Well, there were a few other things too. In closing though, after that 2014 test footage, the fans wanted to make sure Reynolds got another shot. It turns out he did, and this time, it was a dream come true.
2. Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark
Back before 2008, Iron Man was regarded as kind of a "B or C grade" Marvel hero. What ended up happening, I'm sure you all remember. Well, now Iron Man is just as well known as Spider-Man and The Hulk. The reason for this, besides the great direction of Jon Favreau and the initiating of a cinematic universe be Kevin Feige was hands down how Robert Downey Jr. handled Tony Stark/Iron Man. All the smarts, the charm, and strutting persona were perfectly encapsulated in the manner that 'Iron Man' being portrayed by any other actor is unimaginable at this point; especially after five performances, soon to be six this May.
1. Hugh Jackman as The Wolverine
Ya, I may have given this away with the title image, but come on, you knew it was inevitable in the first place. Wolverine was already such an iconic character in the first place through the golden age of X-Men comics in the '90s and the animated TV series, but the arrival of Hugh Jackman as the character in 2000 set him up to an exceptional example of homage to a comic book character. It is now 2016 and he still helms the title of 'Wolverine,' and looking back at his five, soon to be six, appearances as the character, he will pretty much forever hold on to that title; even if the character goes on to be re cast in the future. Summing it up briefly, the way Hugh Jackman mastered the role of Wolverine, in the well and even the not-so-well received X-Men installments, are unparalleled amidst comic book cinema. The other four on this list are pretty darn close though.