Superhero movies that are based on comic books have started to gain a lot of popularity in the last decade or so and a huge number of people enjoy watching a good action movie where their favorite heroes use their powers for good. Not only that these movies are great visual experiences, but most of them also have a good and engaging story that we can immerse ourselves into.
Some of the most popular superhero characters wouldn’t be the same if different actors were played them. This list is dedicated to the best superhero actors and the best superhero actresses who have perfectly portrayed these powerful enhanced individuals. Of course, we shouldn’t forget about their counterparts either, but the list of the best villain actors is a topic for another list.
So, who do you think the best Marvel and DC actors and actresses are? Can you guess the entries on this top list right now? You do not have to guess, as you can simply continue reading and find information about each and every actor and actress who is considered to be the best when it comes to playing the role of a superhero.
Keep in mind that there are always personal favorites, so your top list might look different, but these are truly magnificent performances from some high caliber actors and actresses. Without any more blabbering, let’s start off the list of the best superhero actors and actresses!
10. Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique
At our number 10 spot, we have Jennifer Lawrence who has perfectly portrayed the younger version of the shapeshifting heroine, Mystique. This superhero has been considered a villain in the first few movies when she was played by Rebecca Alie Romijn, but Jennifer’s portrayal of the character shows her in a different light. Her main goal is showing humans that mutants are not monsters and she is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish this goal.
This Marvel superhero actress was born on August 15, 1990, and she started her acting career in 2006 with minor roles in TV shows and smaller budget movies. Most people know Jennifer Lawrence from X-Men: First Class or her perfect portrayal of Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games franchise. These roles made her a household name and also secured her leading roles in the upcoming years.
Some of the blockbuster movies that she has played major roles in are Silver Linings Playbook (for which she received an Academy Award for Best Actress is 2013), American Hustle and Passengers.
These movies have all received great reviews from critics and audience alike. She even had a few brief appearances on Saturday Night Live. Even though she is an amazing actress, many love Jennifer Lawrence because she has a fun and down to earth personality.
She likes to joke around in interviews and she is even loved by producers on set. She keeps closely in touch with her coworkers and other actors whom she has worked with, such as with Chris Pratt. These two have a great chemistry on and off screen.
They have even made a YouTube video where they try to insult each other with the worst things that they can think of. Not only is this amusing, but you can also see that both of them are relatable and have a great sense of humor.
If you want the latest movie featuring Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique, be sure to check out the newest X-Men movie, X-Men: Apocalypse via the link below.
9. Chris Evans as Captain America
In the Marvel comic books, Captain America, the first Avenger is a leader and a superhero who is willing to sacrifice everything in order to save innocent lives. Chris Evans was a perfect pick for this role, not only because of his looks but also because of his ability to act. Fans of the comic book were happy with how Chris Evans played this iconic role and this allowed him to continue playing the role in the upcoming movies from the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).
This 36-year-old Marvel superhero actor from Boston has been featured in many movies in the years that he has been active. He started his acting career in 2000 with minor roles and his first notable feature-length performance was in Not Another Teen Movie, a parody of popular teen movies. Since then, his acting skills have been improving and he played in famous movies, such as Fantastic Four, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The Nanny Diaries.
Even though he has played different roles, he is most recognized for playing Captain America. Since there are many movies in the MCU featuring the first Avenger, Chris Evans truly became popular because of this character. He had three different standalone movies and he has also appeared in a few Thor movies, as well as The Avengers franchise.
It does not seem likely that they are going to look for another actor to play the Captain’s role, so we can enjoy watching Chris’s performances for many years to come. He is and will always be the Captain America that we love and adore. For me personally, it would be very weird seeing another actor try this role and he would have to do an outstanding performance in order to even come close to what we came to expect from Chris in Captain America: The First Avenger and his other Captain America films as well.
8. Henry Cavill as Superman
Superman aka Clark Kent is the most recognizable DC character and there have been many DC superhero actor who portrayed him over the years, but the newest reincarnation of the character might be the best one. Henry Cavill not only looks the part, but he also has the charisma to pull off playing one of the most powerful beings from the DC universe.
There are only a few characters who can match his prowess and to play this superhero truly takes skill. It is not easy playing the role of Superman and many actors have tried it before. Some of the actors who also played Superman at one point are Dean Cain, Brandon Routh, Tyler Hoechlin and of course Christopher Reeve.
Henry Cavill started his acting career in 2001 and he has been featured in many movies. Even though he did play major roles in multiple films, he only became world famous once it was announced that he would be playing the son of Krypton in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.
Even though the movie wasn’t very good, Henry still did a great job. Since he was named the World’s Sexiest Man in 2013 by British Glamour magazine, it is pretty easy to imagine him playing the role of Superman, who is illustrated as a handsome man in the comics too.
Henry has already signed the contracts for playing the role of the Man of Steel for the upcoming DC movies, so we can surely enjoy his on-screen presence for at least a couple of years to come.
We can only hope that the Justice League movie will be better than the DC films that were released so far. One thing’s for sure, Henry Cavill will do everything that he can to make the DC Extended Universe more popular, especially since there is a lot of pressure on him. He is Superman and the first thing people’s minds go to when they think of DC is this character.
7. Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has been a part of the MCU since the second Iron Man movie and she is a huge part of the Avengers series too. Natasha Romanoff is an exceptional secret agent who has been working for Nick Fury for years. She is an expert martial artist and she is truly capable of some impressive acrobatic feats.
Scarlett Johansson has been acting since 1994 and she has been featured in numerous films and even a few TV series. She first appeared in the movie North when she was only 9 years old. This movie has a pretty stellar cast with Elijah Wood, Dan Aykroyd, Kathy Bates and Bruce Willis all making appearances in it. She was recognized and she starred in a couple of movies in the years to come.
Her portrayal of Amanda in Manny & Lo was the first real outstanding performance that she did, but there have been many since then. Some of her best films are Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Her, Lost in Translation and of course her presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Since the Black Widow character is essential to the Infinity Way storyline, we can continue watching this heroine grow and evolve; and of course kick some ass! There have been rumors about a standalone Black Widow movie too, but that’s not been confirmed yet. If you can’t wait for Avengers: Infinity War (2018) to be released, go ahead and watch some of her other new movies.
You can choose from Ghost in the Shell, Hail, Caesar! or if you prefer only listening to Scarlett’s voice, go for the 2016 remake of The Jungle Book. She voices Kaa, the python who tries to eat Mowgli. Go ahead and watch The Jungle Book if you want to see (in this case hear) this Marvel superhero actress in a completely different role.
6. Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool
Deadpool, the merc with a mouth is a huge addition to the Marvel movie roster, especially since it showed that not all superhero movies have to be the same. Ryan Reynolds played the part perfectly and his comedic timing is flawless. Most of the jokes that you hear in the movie have been written or improvised by this Marvel superhero actor and his friend T.J. Miller or were suggested by the director, Tim Miller.
As a matter of fact, the 2016 blockbuster movie wasn’t the first time Ryan Reynolds portrayed this character. He was also featured in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but they made the awful decision of literally sewing his mouth shut and making him an overpowered laser shooting puppet.
Thankfully, they corrected their mistake and allowed Ryan to make the movie that he wanted to make for more than a decade. After the production was done, Ryan took the Deadpool costume home and probably puts it on regularly, as he is a true fan of this trash-talking character.
Ryan Reynolds is a father of two and he is in a very good relationship with his wife Blake Lively. He stated in multiple interviews how much he loves his family and they really do seem to have a good relationship. He was also married to Scarlett Johansson before marrying his current wife and the mother of his children.
Other than Deadpool, Ryan has also starred in Blade: Trinity, Buried, The Proposal and he also played the prominent character Van Wilder in the 2000s. He has starred in a lot of movies but currently, he is focusing on the sequel of Deadpool which is set to be released in 2018.
This Marvel superhero actor can be still seen in two new releases; Life and The Hitman’s Bodyguard. Both of these movies are very promising and should not disappoint if you want to watch Ryan Reynolds at his finest. If you haven’t watched the first Deadpool movie, I don’t know what you’re waiting for. This is truly a one-of-a-kind superhero movie and you should watch it right now!
5. Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier
Professor Charles Xavier is the founder of X-Men and he created Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters where mutants can learn to contain and control their powers. He possesses the power of telepathy and he is also a very smart person. Using Cerebro, a machine that enhances his telepathic powers, he is able to track humans and mutants from all around the world. If he wants, he is able to control other people’s minds, but he uses his powers solely for the good of mutants and humans alike.
Patrick Stewart is one of the oldest actors on the list and he started acting way back in 1959. He started out his career in theatre and in TV shows. The role that many people recognize him from is his portrayal of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek: The New Generation TV series. He also lent his voice to a plethora of characters, such as Ted 2, Bambi II, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and many others.
In his personal life, Patrick is a human rights activist and he has donated a lot of money to charity. Additionally, he has spoken about women rights on multiple occasions and is generally a kind person. He is a huge fan of F1, Beavis and Butthead, Monty Python and he is also best friends with Sir Ian McKellen.
This Marvel superhero actor played the role of Charles Xavier in almost every X-Men movie. He did not appear in X-Men: First Class as the younger version of the character was played by James McAvoy, the star of movies such as Filth, Split and Wanted. In later movies, both characters can be seen playing the role, as they even meet inside Wolverine’s head in X-Men: Days of Future Past. It’s hard to explain, go watch it if you are interested. Telepathy is complicated and we shouldn’t overthink it.
4. Christian Bale as Batman
Christian Bale’s portrayal of the Dark Knight showed Batman in a way that was never before seen on the big screen. Rather than a comedic superhero movie, the director Christopher Nolan painted a dark and gritty Gotham City. Throughout the trilogy, we can see how Bruce Wayne transformed from a traumatized kid to the brilliant detective and hero that we all know and love.
His performance is considered by many to be the best incarnation of the Batman character in films. And there have been many people who tried portraying the greatest detective of the DC Universe. Some of the actors who took up the mantle are George Clooney, Adam West, Val Kilmer and most recently Ben Affleck.
Christian Bale is a devoted actor who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. This can be seen in his body transformations that he went through over the years. The roles that he was playing required him to drastically change his weight and he did not disappoint.
In the 2004 drama, The Machinist he was only 55 kg and you could literally see his ribs and bones. Only one year later, he started filming the first Dark Knight movie, Batman Begins. He had to bulk up for the part and he went up to 86 kg. This is already an impressive feat, but between the two Batman movies, he again lost a lot of weight for his role in Rescue Dawn where he was 61 kg.
Other than playing the Batman, this DC superhero actor can be seen in movies such as American Hustle, The Fighter, Terminator Salvation, The Prestige and American Psycho besides many other great films. He was also nominated for various awards and he even won many of them. He is a beloved actor all around the world and hopefully, we can continue watching him perform for many years to come.
3. Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr. was born to play the role of Tony Stark in the Iron Man movie and there are many similarities in the character’s and the actor’s life. The genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist Tony Stark is a staple of the MCU, especially since the first Iron Man movie is what started it all off. This Marvel superhero actor is perfect for the role and there is nobody else that we could imagine playing the role of Iron Man. Without him, the Marvel Cinematic Universe wouldn’t be the same.
Robert Downey Jr. has played in many movies since 1970 when he started his acting career. Some of his notable performances are in Chaplin, the Sherlock Holmes movies, Tropic Thunder, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Due Date, The Soloist and the list goes on. He is truly a great actor and he is able to play a large spectrum of characters. He is just as good in comedies as he is in action and thriller movies.
He was arrested multiple times in the late 90s and he was even imprisoned because of drug-related charges. Robert Downey Jr. was a huge drug addict, but he is sober since 2003. This was a huge turning point in his life and career and he was able to overcome his addiction thanks to his family’s support.
Currently, Robert Downey Jr. is only working on movies for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and he can be seen in upcoming releases, such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War and another Avengers movie that is still unnamed. This is exceptionally good as we can never have enough Tony Stark. He is and always will be Iron Man!
2. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
The number two spot on the best superhero actor and actress list goes to Gal Gadot for her portrayal of Princess Diana of Themyscira aka Wonder Woman. This character and her standalone movie were the push that the DC Extended Universe needed. As Man of Steel was mediocre and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was criticized by many, the 2017 Wonder Woman movie is a breath of fresh air, as it is actually great; mainly because of this DC superhero actress’s outstanding performance.
This isn’t the first time we can see Wonder Woman. Over the years there have been many incarnations of the Themysciran princess. Some of the actresses that played her are Cathy Lee Crosby and Adrianne Palicki in live-action, as well as many other actresses who voiced her in animated movies.
Gal Gadot was born in Israel and she was a model before she started her acting career. Many people were skeptical when they saw that a model is going to play the role of Wonder Woman, but Gal Gadot is not your typical model. She served two years in the Israel Defense Forces as a combat trainer. Before her enlistment in the army, she won the 2004 Miss Israel beauty pageant and did a Maxim photo shoot too.
Before her appearance as Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot played in the Fast & Furious franchise, as well as a few other films and TV shows. She might not have been in a lot of movies, but she is surely going to be featured in a lot more if she continues her acting career. Her newly acquired fame should be enough to land a few major roles in the upcoming years.
With the new Wonder Woman movie receiving such great reviews, there is still hope for DC movies. The Justice League movie that is set to be released in 2017 will decide the fate of the DC Extended Universe. Thankfully, the cast of the Justice League film looks pretty good; it will feature Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa). Of course, our beloved Wonder Woman is also making a return and she is surely going to show the team how a real Amazon gets the job done.
1. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine
And the best superhero actor spot on our list goes to Hugh Jackman and his legendary portrayal of the immortal mutant and X-Men, Wolverine. With his retractable claws, enhanced physical prowess and animal-like senses, this Canadian mutant is seemingly unstoppable. In addition to his already impressive arsenal of powers, his bones were infused with Adamantium, one of the most durable metal alloys in the MCU.
There have been many times when villains tried killing this character, but with his Adamantium infused body and powerful healing factor this mutant is very hard to kill. Professor Charles Xavier speculated that the only way Logan could be killed is if his body and head were separated and buried in different places.
This Australian Marvel superhero actor has been active since 1994 and he starred in many highly acclaimed movies throughout his career. Hugh Jackman showed that he is not only a good action star, but that he also shines in other roles too.
He played Jean Valjean in the musical Les Misérables, a role that landed him a Golden Globe award for Best Actor in 2013. He also played in The Prestige alongside Christian Bale, in Real Steel and many other great movies.
He also did some voice work, as he is the voice of the Easter Bunny in Rise of the Guardians. He also did some theater work as well and was featured in quite a few TV shows too. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine appears in almost every X-Men movie and he even had multiple standalone titles.
When many people think of the X-Men franchise, they think Hugh Jackman and his metal claws. We have said this before, but we really couldn’t imagine anybody else playing this character other than this Marvel superhero actor.
He has claimed the character and nobody can take it from him. Even the latest movie featuring this amazing hero is highly praised by critics and audiences.
Superhero movies are very popular right now and they are probably going to continue attracting audiences and comic book fans. In order for the story to be believable and relatable, a great performance is needed. We have listed the best superhero actors and best superhero actresses that play a major role in either the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the DC Extended Universe.
Come back next time when we take a closer look at the best DC and Marvel villains. Until then, go ahead and re-watch some of the movies that you have encountered on the list. Most of them are pretty cheap by now and can be obtained through the links that we included.