Comic book movies are more popular now than they have ever been before. For more than two decades, the on-screen adventures of fan-favorite superheroes have captivated audiences and garnered massive viewership. As many superhero movies as there are, it is no surprise that many actors have played more than one character. Maybe an actor’s first outing isn’t all that popular, so they try their hand at another character.
Maybe one character’s journey has come to an end, and they are ready to begin another. Whatever the reason, fans love to point out when a familiar face appears in their favorite superhero movie. Some are well known like Ryan Reynold’s transition from the Emerald Knight to the Merc with a Mouth, but others aren’t as obvious to the masses.
10 Chris Evans – Human Torch/Captain America
Chris Evans is perhaps best known as the MCU’s Star Spangled Man, but Steve Rogers is not his first Marvel role. In the 2005 Fantastic Four movie and its sequel, Chris portrayed a much less mature Johnny Storm (aka The Human Torch). These movies weren’t the box office smashes Fox had come to expect with the X-Men series, but they still have their fans even to this day.
Chris was able to don the shield as Captain America, and it goes without saying this was a much more successful role for Evans. Fans will forever see Chris as Cap, but there are still a few who hear his name and want to shout, “Flame On!”
9 Josh Brolin – Thanos/Cable
While most actors have a few years in between their various hero roles, Josh Brolin’s was practically at the same time. While fans were anxiously awaiting to see the conclusion of the Infinity Saga, they only had to wait to see Josh again for about a month. Playing a much different character, Brolin portrayed Cable in Deadpool 2.
A far cry from the Titan, Cable was on a mission to prevent the death of his wife and daughter, and forms an uneasy alliance with Deadpool. Many fans are shocked to learn Thanos and Cable are one and the same, but seeing the angry grimace on either character’s face, it is clear they are the same guy.
8 Tom Hardy – Bane/Venom
Tom Hardy was unrecognizable as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Even though the movie is only about ten years old, fans still view him as one of the best versions of the character, and one of the most imitated.
This hasn’t stopped Tom from stepping into the Marvel universe, however, portraying classic Spider-Man baddie Venom in his first solo movie. Being played as more of an anti-hero, Tom’s version of Venom has been better received than the portrayal from Spider-Man 3 back in 2007. With an upcoming sequel gaining fan praise, it seems it will take no time at all for Tom Hardy’s name to be synonymous with Venom.
7 Michael Keaton – Batman/Vulture
Arguably the most iconic Batman is Michael Keaton’s take on the character in the 1989 film and its sequel. This film spawned the incredibly popular animated series and made mainstream audiences take the Caped Crusader seriously again. Decades later, Keaton portrayed another ariel creature when he played Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Fans and critics alike praised Keaton’s role as the villain, and are looking forward to seeing him return in Morbius and beyond. As many times as he plays Vulture, however, he will have a hard time escaping the role that so many people see him as. With his return in the upcoming Flash film, it doesn’t seem he is too keen on escaping it regardless.
6 Ben Affleck – Daredevil/Batman
With the immense success of Sam Rami’s Spider-Man in 2002, the modern comic book movie was in full swing. Fox wanted to match this success with the Marvel characters they owned, one of which was Daredevil. The 2003 film starred Ben Affleck in the titular role, and fans were less than pleased. While the movie has its fans, his role as Batman years later seemed to be much better received.
While both roles have their critics, Batman is undoubtedly the better role. The three times he has played the character will go down as an enjoyable version of the Dark Knight, which is more than many people can say about Daredevil.
5 Willem Defoe – Green Goblin/Vulko
One of the biggest advantages of Sam Rami’s Spider-Man was Willem Defoe as Norman Osborne/Green Goblin. Defoe’s goofy turn as the villain instantly struck a chord with fans and is still praised to this day. While not as major a role as Goblin, his performance as Vulko in Aquaman stood out among some of the others in the film.
Defoe was much more reserved this time around, which is a much different method than his over-the-top evilness of Green Goblin. As of yet, he hasn’t had much to do in the DCEU, but fans are hopeful to see Defoe’s return in some capacity on the land of Atlantis.
4 Michael B. Jordan – Human Torch/Killmonger
When Fox rebooted Fantastic Four in 2015, fans were less than receptive. The movie was heavily criticized for various reasons, but even the harshest critics praise Michael B. Jordan as Human Torch. In a parallel to Chris Evans before him, Jordan got a second chance at being a Marvel star when he portrayed Black Panther villain, Erik Killmonger.
The film received huge praise for the performances, with Jordan also standing in this role. This is a testament to not only a great character, but also a great actor who can leave an impact, even when surrounded by such talent.
3 Jared Leto – Joker/Morbius
Fans are split on Jared Leto’s interpretation as Joker. Love him or hate him, most agree he at least turned in a unique performance that makes the character his own. With the character’s inclusion in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, fans may not have seen the last of this version of the Joker.
Joining the long line of actors who have crossed between DC and Marvel, Jared Leto has nabbed the title role in Sony’s Morbius film that supposedly connects to Venom and the MCU Spider-Man films. The film has been delayed due to COVID, so fans have yet to see Leto’s performance as the Spider-Man villain, although reactions to the trailer show that it may be better than his turn as the Clown Prince Of Crime.
2 Brandon Routh – Superman/The Atom
After Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, Christopher Reeve left some big tights to fill as the Man Of Steel. The first actor to take this responsibility was Brandon Routh in 2006’s Superman Returns. While the movie itself had mixed reviews, Brandon Routh was mostly praised for his role as Superman. He paid tribute to Christopher Reeve while giving his own interpretation.
While only appearing in one movie, Routh was given another chance to shine as a lesser-known DC character, The Atom, in The CW’s Arrowverse. This role proved more successful, and he even had a chance to play Superman once more in the Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover event.
1 Ryan Reynolds – Green Lantern/Deadpool
Perhaps the best-known example of an actor playing more than one hero is Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds portrayed the titular character in the 2011 Green Lantern film, and it has had more than its fair share of criticisms. Ryan Reynolds was a famous fan of the Marvel character, Deadpool, and jumped at the opportunity to play him in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
This version of the character is infamous in the comic community, and Ryan was finally able to do the character justice in the 2016 solo film. Deadpool quickly became one of the most successful R-rated comedies in history and cemented Ryan Reynolds as a superhero legend.
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