Avengers, Spider-Man, X-men, Superman – it seems like every month there is a new superhero movie in theatres. With new versions of many of the characters appear again and again, we decided to take a look at the actors and actresses that portrayed the same super heroes in different years.
Let’s see how our favorite superheroes evolved through the years, how they differ from their comic counterparts, and who are the actors and actresses who played them.
So, who wore the cape better? Continue reading and let us know what you think.
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman (1975-1979)
Lynda Carter became an icon of female power in the 1970s thanks to her portrayal of the most prominent female superhero in ABC’s TV show Wonder Woman. Carter’s dark hair and athletic figure made this version of Diana Prince, better known as Wonder Woman, the most compatible with the comic-book artwork.
When you combine all that with her earnest performance, it’s no wonder that most comic book fans have Carter in mind when they picture this superheroine.
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman (2016-Present)
Israeli actress and model, Gal Gadot first appeared in the role of Wonder Women in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016. This was the character’s first appearance in film and Gadot’s performance was acclaimed as one of the best parts of the movie.
DC’s Amazonian warrior got a solo film, directed by Patty Jenkins, in 2017, and this time she also got a completely new look which was both criticized and praised by many. Later that same year, Gadot reprised her role in Justice League.
Rebecca Romijn as Raven Darkhölme – Mystique (2000-2006)
Rebecca Romijn played Mystique, the blue-colored mutant in the original X-Men trilogy and also had a cameo in X-Men: First Class. Mystique is a ruthless killer with no sympathy for normal people and she has the ability to transform into any person.
Mystique doesn’t say much in the movie as her character is more physical and focused on body language.
Romijn’s tall and imposing figure along with her elegant and expressive body movement are the reasons why she is considered to be the better Mystique among fans.
Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkhölme – Mystique (2011-Present)
Lawrence is a critically acclaimed actress, but most fans and critics agree that Romijn’s portrayal of the emotionless mutant is better.
We must take into account though that Lawrence plays a young version of Mystique, a naive girl who is still trying to accept her super abilities. She was in love with Xavier but later became a relentless assassin as Magneto’s protégé and this development required a wide range of emotions.
We’ll see Lawrence reprising the role of this shapeshifting mutant once again in 2019’s Dark Phoenix.
Jack Nicholson as The Joker (1989)
The Joker is unquestionably one of the most iconic villains in the history of comic books and he’s been brought to life by many different actors.
Tim Burton’s Batman from 1989 gave us one of the most memorable portrayals of The Joker when he was played by Jack Nicholson. The famous actor said that he was proud of his performance: “I considered it a piece of pop art,” he said.
He should be proud as the movie was an international hit and the role of psychotic murderer earned him a lot of money and fame.
Heath Ledger as The Joker (2008)
In Christopher Nolan’s 2008 movie The Dark Knight the role of Joker was played by Heath Ledger and to this day, most of the critics and fans agree that it’s one of the best portrayals of this legendary villain. Unfortunately, the actors’ early death cast a shadow on the movie’s promotion and its huge success.
In an interview for New York Times, Ledger described The Joker as a “psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy.” The numerous awards Ledger received posthumously prove that he had done a great job bringing such a complex role to the big screen.
Jared Leto as The Joker (2016-present)
One of the last portrayals of The Joker was by Academy Award-winning actor Jared Leto in 2016’s Suicide Squad. Leto is a well-known method actor, so his preparation for the role of the famous vicious villain included isolating himself from the rest of the cast and sending some of his co-stars bizarre gifts such as rats, bullets, and dead hogs.
The fans were disappointed they only got to see The Joker for a few minutes in Suicide Squad but it was announced that Leto’s version of the Joker will possibly get his own movie in the near future.
Famke Janssen as Jean Grey – Phoenix / Dark Phoenix (2000-2014)
Dutch actress Famke Janssen played Dr. Jean Grey in Marvel Studios’ original X-Men trilogy. Jean is a kind and intelligent member of the X-Men who has powerful telepathic and telekinetic abilities.
In X2 we found out that she has a dark alter-ego known as The Phoenix which was created after her mentor, Professor X, tried to keep her powers under control. In The Last Stand she killed Cyclops and Professor X without realizing what she had done. The role of Jean Grey won Janssen a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Sophie Turner as Jean Grey – Phoenix / Dark Phoenix (2016–Present)
X-Men: Dark Phoenix is scheduled to premiere in 2019 and it’s going to bring Jean Grey’s dark side to life. Sophie Turner, who already played Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse, will reprise the role in Dark Phoenix.
Turner revealed that the movie crew did a serious and thorough research to bring Jean’s emotional state and her transformation into The Phoenix to the big screen. The actress said she did a lot of research on mental health issues like schizophrenia in order to understand Jean’s complex nature.
Michelle Pfeiffer as Cat Woman (1992)
Ever since the world of Batman and Gotham city were created in the 1940s, Catwoman has been an inseparable part and one of the most important characters in that world. Not to mention she is Bruce Wayne’s love interest as well as his enemy.
Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman didn’t get her own solo movie, although there was some talk about it, but her portrayal of this super villainess is still one of the most memorable ones. Pfeiffer appeared as Catwoman in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns and she pretty much stole the show.
Halle Berry as Catwoman (2004)
It is hard to say this, as we love Halle Berry, but none of you will be surprised to hear that 2004’s Catwoman was not a good movie. Both critics and fans agree.
From the directing and editing to acting and writing – everything in this movie was sloppy. Even the loved actress Halle Berry called it a “god-awful movie” in her acceptance speech of the Razzie award for worst actress, which she earned thank to this role.
Anne Hathaway as Cat Woman (2012)
Anne Hathaway is one of the most famous actresses of the younger generation and she already has a Golden Globe, an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, and a Primetime Emmy Award under her belt.
Hathaway made her debut in Disney’s The Princess Diaries in 2001 and continued working mostly in romantic comedies.
That’s why it was refreshing to see her wearing the Catwoman suit in The Dark Knight Rises. The actress received only positive responses for her performance, along with the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Jessica Alba as Sue Storm (2005)
The character of Susan “Sue” Storm-Richards – or Sue Storm, for short, also known as the Invisible Woman – was first intorducled in 1961, in the first issue of The Fantastic Four, and is the first female superhero Marvel introduced in the period known today as the Silver Age of Comic Books.
In 2005, 20th Century Fox released Fantastic Four, and while the movie failed to make the same impact as other Marvel cinematic properties, Jessica Alba’s portrayal of Sue remains a well loved version of the iconic character.
Kate Mara as Sue Storm (2015)
In 2015, Fox studios rebooted the Fantastic Four franchise, and released Fantastic Four – styled FANT4STIC.
In the film, Sue Storm was played by Kate Mara.
A scientist, Sue, along with her fellow friends and researchers Reed Richards, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm, travels to an alternate dimension, where, following an accident, their genetic structures are changed, granting them special abilities and powers – at a price.
Prior to filming, Mara has said that she intended to focus on making her character “as real as possible” – and her acting in the film has received praise.
Christopher Reeve as Superman (1978-1987)
When you’re thinking about Superman, one the most classic DC comic book superheroes, Christopher Reeve’s face must be the first one that comes to mind. He was the first Superman and the first man to fly on the big screen back in 1978.
Unlike today, when we’re surrounded by superhero movies, the ability to fly on camera was something special in the 70s and it was very hard to accomplish. That’s probably why Richard Donner’s Superman movie is still one of the most loved ones among fans.
Henry Cavill as Superman (2013-Present)
In 2013, the most recognized and revered superhero of all time made its big return to the big screen in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.
This time, British actor Henry Cavill was cast to play the lead role. It was a bit of a disappointing return for some, as the movie was described as dull and not optimistic as it should be.
Although he looked right for the part, Henry Cavill’s version of Superman was good but not really a memorable. It was announced recently that there’s a possibility we’ll see a sequel of the movie in the future.
Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe – Storm (2000-2006)
Ororo Munroe, also known as Storm, is a powerful mutant with the abilities to control the weather and a member of the X-men. In the original series, she was portrayed by Halle Berry. Although we didn’t have good things to say about her performance of Catwoman, she did a great job in the X-men franchise.
Many fans are unsatisfied with the casting of Halle Berry as Storm, most of them being huge fans of the comic books and they can’t get over the fact that Berry was cast instead of Angela Bassett, which was the initial plan.
Alexandra Shipp as Ororo Munroe – Storm (2016-Present)
In 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, a younger version of Halle Berry’s Storm is played by Alexandra Shipp. Shipp is a young actress and we’ve seen that she’s a very talented actress in movies like Straight Outta Compton and Love, Simon, but it was the role of young Storm that brought her worldwide fame.
Unfortunately, her talent was left in the shade by online criticism saying her skin color is allegedly too light for the role. Nevertheless, the actress did a great job and sure has a lot more to offer.
Mia Sara as Harley Quinn (2002-2003)
American TV drama Birds of Prey premiered in 2002 and the plot takes place in New Gotham City which was abandoned by Batman for several years. New superheroines, Oracle and the Huntress, take Batman’s place in fighting evil criminals.
The most dangerous of them all is Dr. Harleen Quinzel, played by actress Mia Sara, who is using her day job as a therapist to achieve her evil plans and take over New Gotham. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled after the first season due to low ratings.
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn (2016-Present)
In 2016, supervillain and former psychiatrist Harley Quinn finally made it to the big screen as part of the Suicide Squad. The character and actress who embodied her, Margot Robbie, were pretty much the highlight of the superhero movie.
Today, Margot Robbie is best known for playing figure skater Tonya Harding in the biographical film she produced I, Tonya. This role brought her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Before that, she appeared in leading roles in the romantic drama Focus, and action movie The Legend of Tarzan.
Robbie was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2017.
Tobey Maguire as Spider-man (2002-2007)
Tobey Maguire started his career in major movies such as Pleasantville, The Cider House Rules and Wonder Boys but he gained worldwide recognition in 2002 for his role of Peter Parker, better known as Spider-Man.
Sam Raimi’s movie about a high school student who develops spider-like super powers was a major success and it was followed by two sequels, Spider-Man 2and Spider-Man 3. All three movies reached the top of the list of highest-grossing movies the year they were released and they made Tobey Maguire a star.
Andrew Garfield as Spider Man (2012-2014)
Andrew Garfield caught public attention by playing in 2010’s Never Let Me Goand in The Social Network, for which he received Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations.
Still, he is most recognizable for playing the lead in The Amazing Spider-Manand its 2014 sequel opposite Emma Stone. Garfield said that playing Spider-Man was a “massive challenge in many ways” because he had to make the character “live and breathe in a new way”. Spider-Man was later integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the role was taken on by Tom Holland.
Tom Holland as Spider-man (2016-Present)
Tom Holland is known as the current Spider-Man in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and so far, he has appeared in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War.
In 2019 we’ll see him wearing the Spider-Man suit again in Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far from Home.
Holland is a young actor and dancer who debuted in critically acclaimed movie The Impossible alongside Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. The actor received several awards and was even shortlisted for an Academy Award for his performance.
Laura Vandervoort as Supergirl (2007 – 2011)
We first met Kara Zor-El – that is Supergirl – back in 2007, in the seventh season of Smallville.
Kara boasts all of the abilities and powers of her cousin, Kal-El, better known as Clark Kent – as well as of her evil father, Zor-El. A major part of her story is her need to overcome her preconceptions about her father, and to fight for good.
Played by the young Laura Vandervoort, Kara becamea a series regular in season seven of the show – and continued to make guest appearances all the way until the series’ end.
Melissa Benoist as Supergirl (2015 – Present)
In 2015, CBS launched Supergirl. The show is set in the Arrowverse, which means it shares the same fictional universe with the CW’s Arrow and Flash – and often crosses over with characters from those shows.
Supergirl‘s Supergirl stars Melissa Benoist, who, prior to her role as the awesome, flying Kryptonian superheo, played Marley Rose on Glee between 2012 and 2014.
An accomplished singer and dancer in addition to her acting work, Benoist recently started performing on Broadway as the lead role in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
Mei Melançon as Elizabeth Braddock – Psylocke (2006)
Mei Melançon had a successful modeling career when she decided to take up acting in 2003. After appearing in Legends of Tomorrow and the final season of The L Word, she dyed her hair purple to play the telekinetic mutant Psylocke in X-Men: Last Stand.
The purple hair was pretty much the only clue we had that Melançon is supposed to be playing Psylocke. Unlike the comic books, her role in this movie is not so significant. In The Last Stand Psylocke was a member of the Omegas and was killed by the Dark Phoenix.
Olivia Munn as Elizabeth Braddock – Psylocke (2016)
Melançon’s mutant didn’t have a big role in the original X-men series, but the writers corrected this mistake in X-Men: Apocalypse. The devoted fans of Marvel Comics could be happy now since she had a major role in the film, as one of Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen.
It is interesting that Munn turned down the role of Vanessa in Deadpool for the chance to play Psylocke. It is open to discussion if that was a good choice or not since Deadpool was one of the highest grossing movies the year it was released, and a major success – and we cannot say the same for X-Men: Apocalypse. It’s unquestionable though, that she did a great job portraying this powerful ninja warrior.
Michael Keaton as Batman (1989)
Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine that someone could question Michael Keaton’s talent or the fact he was cast to play Batman, but believe it or not that did happen. When it was announced that Keaton would be playing the lead role in Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989, thousands of fans sent letters of complaint to Warner Bros. believing that Keaton was the wrong choice for the part.
Not only did he prove all of them wrong, the movie was among the most successful ones that year and he wore the superhero suit again for Batman Returns in 1992.
Christian Bale as Batman (2005-2012)
Christian Bale is one of the best actors of his generation and he has won an Academy Award for The Fighter and got two more nominations. He is known for his method acting style and drastic transformations of his body for roles. One of those happened for the role of the iconic superhero when Bale gained 100 pounds so he could fit into the Batman suit.
Bale played the famous superhero in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises – all three movies were huge international hits. Thanks to Christopher Nolan’s directing and Bale’s acting skills, Batman trilogy is considered by many to be the most successful one.
Ben Affleck as Batman (2016-Present)
Fans were disappointed and had many doubts when it was announced that Ben Affleck was going to be the new Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
When the movie premiered in 2016, it was obvious that Affleck was the least of the problem in it – he was actually better than expected and received positive critics for his performance. The movie, on the other hand, was a box office disappointment and got bad reviews from critics for its screenplay and “dark tone”. Affleck later reprised the role in Justice League, but he’s rumored to be replaced in the next movie.
Chris Evans as Human Torch (2005)
We all know who Chris Evans plays in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Captain America… right?
Well, not wrong – but not the only correct answer.
While it’s true that Evans took on the role of Steve Rogers in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, this wasn’t his first appearance in a Marvel film.
Back in 2005, six years before Evans donned the shield and mask, he played a different Marvel superhero altogether: Johnny Storm, the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch.
Michael B. Jordan as Human Torch (2015)
It seems like the role of the Human Torch inevitably leads to playing other characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well.
In 2015, Fantastic Four starred a different actor in the role of the Human Torch. This time, instead of Chris Evans, Michael B. Jordan took on the role of Johnny Storm, teaming up with Miles Teller, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell.
A mere three years later, and Michael B. Jordan would find himself playing in one of the lead roles in the Academy Award nominated marvel superhero movie, Black Panther.
Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy (2007)
Bryce Dallas Howard is known for playing vampire Victoria in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Claire Dearing in adventure films Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Spider-Man fans, on the other hand, know her as Gwen Stacy from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3.
Gwen Stacy is a classmate and lab partner of Peter Parker, but unlike her comic counterpart, she is not Spider-Man’s first love. Gwen is actually “the other woman” in this story, or a rival to Mary Jane Watson, Peter’s girlfriend played by Kirsten Dunst.
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy (2012)
Emma Stone is an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe winning actress and also the highest-paid actress in the world in 2017. She played Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man, and its 2014 sequel and gained wider recognition thanks to this role.
Stone admitted she was never a comic book fan and the only knowledge she had was from Sam Raimi’s Spiderman. “I always assumed that Mary Jane was his first love,” said Stone. The Amazing Spider-Man was a huge success and the seventh highest-grossing film of the year.
Eric Bana as Hulk (2003)
One of the most famous Marvel superheroes Bruce Banner, better known by his alter ego, The Hulk, was portrayed by three different actors on the big screen in the last 15 years. The first one who brought the big green mutant to life in his own solo movie was Australian actor Eric Bana in Hulk from 2003.
The actor agreed to consider taking the lead role after he learned that the director is Ang Lee (known at the time for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon that won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and who later won academy awards for Life of Pi and Brokeback Mountain). Bana admired his work and agreed to work on the movie before the final script was finished.
Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk (2012-Present)
After Eric Bana, Edward Norton was the one who played the green mutant in The Incredible Hulk from 2008.
Still, most fans would agree that Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of The Hulk was one of the best and most successful ones.
Ruffalo first changed his shape to the enraged and dangerous mutant in The Avengers and he later reprised the role in Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War. Ruffalo will reprise this role in 2019 in Avengers: Endgame.