Disclaimer: This top ten list is not based on fact or statistical data. It's based purely on personal taste and opinion.
10) Andrew Garfield: Peter Parker/Spider-Man: Garfield's performance in Amazing Spider-Man was much better in costume than out of costume. While his masked web slinger alter ego seemed to swing right off the original Stan Lee/Steve Ditko Marvel comics pages. His teen angst science nerd persona left something to be desired. Delivering a somewhat uneven performance. However, Garfield seems to have fully embraced the duel identities of his comic book counterpart in the recently released Amazing Spider-Man 2. Giving a more balanced performance than his previous effort, Garfield masterfully embodies the rolls of both Peter Parker & Spider-Man. The quick quips, banter, enthusiasm for science and his struggle to protect his loved ones from his enemies. All the character traits associated with Spider-Man have been brought to life on the big screen through Garfield. Though there may be many reasons for fans to complain about this rebooted franchise and compare it in a negative light to the original Sam Raimi/ Toby Maguire trilogy, Mark Webb and Andrew Garfield have left very little for fans to gripe over when it comes to the portrayal of Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
9) Jackie Earl Haley: Rorschach: Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons Watchmen is undeniably one of/if not the greatest graphic novels of all time. However, Zack Snyder's film adaptation of the revered DC comic is polarizing subject-mater among fans when compared to the revered source material. Some view it as one of the best translations from page to screen ever to be fully realized. While others believe it to be redundant. Though we may quibble over the hierarchy of the films status in the genre, I'd be hard-pressed to find someone that would complain about Haley's stand-out portrayal of the vigilante Rorschach. Just as relentless and uncompromising in his performance as Rorschach is on crime/criminals. Among a stellar ensemble cast Haley still manages to excel.
8) Ron Pearlman: Hellboy: The make-up and visual effects used to bring Hellboy to life on the big screen are spectacular. However, Pearlman's pitch-perfect performance transcends the visuals. His delivery of sarcasm, comedic timing and his ability to bring the characters humanity out from beneath the make-up is what truly breaths live into the character. Pearlman's excellent portrayal of Hellboy is an essential ingredient to the films underlining theme of nurture vs nature throughout the series.
7) Karl Urban: Judge Dredd: Urban exudes Dredd's tough as nails, no none sense attitude effortlessly, knocking the ball out of the park as the battle hardened Maga City One Street Judge. His calm gruff, Clint Eastwood-esque delivery of Dredd's signature phrase ¨I AM THE LAW.¨ is flawless. A dedicated, die-hard Dredd fan himself, Urban fully understands the material as well as the mystic of his comic book counterpart. Which is fully utilized in his performance. Not only does he pay homage to the source material by keeping his helmet on, sacrificing face-time for the films entire ninety minute run-time. He also caters to fans who were disappointed by Sylvester Stallone's helmet-less interpretation of Judge Dredd. Though critically acclaimed, It's unfortunate Dredd found more financial success on home video than at the box office. Those that choose to skip Dredd, missed out on a terrific action film with a most memorable performance by Karl Urban in the title role.
6) Wesley Snips: Blade: Robert Downey Jr. is often praised for catapulting a secondary character into the mainstream with his portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man , but Snips is deserving of just as much praise for catapulting an even lesser known character into the mainstream with his portrayal of the vampire hunting, hybrid. The film series retains the essence of the character from the source material while also improving upon it by makng Blade a more relatable character than previously depicted in Marvel comics. The first in the franchise is also responsible for finally getting the ball rolling for Marvel in the realm of cinema. As essential a part of comic book movie history as it may be, it may never have been as successful without Snips in the title roll. As seasoned a martial artist as he is an actor, Snips blend of physicality with humanity is what effectively sells the character.
5) Brandon Lee: Eric Draven: A rising star at the time, already establishing himself as a martial arts, action star, Lee also proves his ability as a dramatic actor in The Crow. His emotionally charged performance as Eric Draven is as poetic as James O'Barr's graphic novel on which the film is based. The revenge fantasy theme never felt more justified due to Lee's impressive portrayal of Draven. In previous film endeavors of Lee's, the acting took a back-seat to the martial arts action but in The Crow, character motivation and drama are delivered as masterfully as the martial arts. A most unfortunate and fatal accident on the set of the film took Lee from his loved ones and his fans, leaving us to wonder what rolls Lee may have portrayed had he not passed. Can you imagine Lee as Neo in the Matrix trilogy?
4) Chris Evans: Steve Rogers/Captain America: When announced that Chris Evans would play the star spangled avenger most fans were skeptics. Having previously played a superhero (Human Torch in the Fantastic Four franchise) even Chris Evans was initially skeptical. However, Evans proved to be a perfect fit for the wholesome, patriotic, Steve Rogers of 1930's America. Fully embracing the qualities associated with the character in the Captain America comics. Evans' performance stands out from previous characters portrayed in a number of unrelated films, which are somewhat interchangeable. Usually playing the wise-cracking pretty-boy, as in Fantastic Four or The Losers. While The First Avenger is a period-piece and more of an origin story which suffered a bit from being a set-up for Avengers. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is set in the present and a more multi-layered film, as politically grounded as it is cemented to the Marvel cinematic universe, allowing Evans' optimistic idealist, man out of time portrayal of Steve Rogers/Captain America to shine threw the more negative world view of the modern era.
3) Robert Downey Jr: Tony Stark/Iron Man: Downey exudes all the charisma and charm of the self indulgent, narcissistic playboy Tony Stark/Iron Man masterfully. It's as if Downey is living the roll, having the most fun he can with the character, but still manages to add depth to his portrayal of the iron clad Avenger. Not only is the first Iron Man film the catalyst for the Marvel cinematic universe but Robert Downey Jr's energetic, charismatic performance is essential to providing Iron Man with icon status among Marvel powerhouses, such as Spider-Man, Hulk and Wolverine.
2) Christopher Reeve: Clark Kent/Superman: The roll of the Man of Steel has been passed from actor to actor since the 1940's into the modern era, from film serials to television to full length feature films. However, no actor has portrayed the last son of Krypton as definitively as Christopher Reeve. Brilliantly balancing physical comedy as Clark Kent with physical prowess as Superman, Reeve's delivers a legendary and influential performance that's is absolutely unforgettable. Superman the movie (the first in it's genre) is a piece of cinematic history and should always be remembered as such. Without it and Reeve's indelible performance, comic book movies might not be what they are today.
1) Huge Jackman: Logan/Wolverine: Among big names such as Mel Gibson and Russel Crow, dozens of actors were courted at one time or another to play Wolverine on the silver screen. Either luck or fate (which ever belief you subscribe to) a little know Australian actor (Jackman) auditioned and was cast in a star making roll. Low and behold, Jackman's enthusiasm to play Wolverine has endured seven films. The original X-Men trilogy, two solo films, a cameo in the rebooted/prequel X-Men: First Class and a more prominent roll in it's sequel Days of Future Past. However, dedication alone would not earn the top spot on this list. It's the genuine respect and love for Wolverine that emerges in Jackman's performance that earns him the right to be number one. Though the definitive Wolverine film has yet to be seen, the essence of the character remains intact. Feelings of alienation, anger, rage, as well as Wolverine's sense of duty, honor and loyalty are all apparent in Jackman's portrayal of the character. Aside from the fact that Jackman is much taller than his comic book counterpart, his resemblance to the adamantium clawed mutant is uncanny to say the least.
Feel free to share your thought below as well as your own personal top ten portrayal of comic book heroes in film. Thanks for reading.