Summary

  • Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man was the MCU’s riskiest but most perfect casting choice.
  • Chris Pratt, Ryan Reynolds, and Chris Evans were actors simply perfectly cast for their roles.
  • Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad shined through as a standout success.

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC‘s movies — both part of the shared DC Extended Universe and not — and other superhero franchises have had some amazing casting decisions save movies. The MCU’s casting has been constantly praised over the years. Marvel has had the good fortune of very rarely missing with its actor choices, and even when the studio had to recast certain roles, the new actors perfectly suited their characters and contributed to some of the MCU’s best films.

Differently from Marvel, DC movies have had a rougher decade. However, that does not mean that the major problem with them was specifically with the casting department. For instance, perfectly cast Batman and Superman actors Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill were barely used by the DCEU, only appearing in a couple of movies each. Like Marvel, DC, the Fox X-Men franchise, and more have made incredible casting decisions that elevated the movies they were part of.

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10 Robert Downey Jr. As Tony Stark/Iron Man In Iron Man

The Actor Was Responsible For Making The MCU What It Is

Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man was the riskiest casting decision the MCU ever made. The actor was coming from some tumultuous years in his personal life, and as the MCU was just starting, banking the studio’s hopes of a shared universe on a controversial actor was not ideal. However, Downey was the perfect choice for Tony Stark, the eccentric genius turned superhero after crafting a suit of armor and becoming Iron Man.

Why Robert Downey Jr. Saved Iron Man

Iron Man was the MCU’s first movie, and as such, there was a lot riding on it. While the film had plenty of exciting actors, Downey’s charisma was a perfect fit for Tony Stark. The actor’s personality is as close as one can get to the MCU hero, which allowed RDJ to imbue the role with his natural charm. While Tom Cruise’s name was thrown around for Iron Man, no actor could have played the role like Downey did, as it seemed to have been made specifically for him.

9 Christopher Reeve As Clark Kent/Superman In Superman: The Movie

The Star Made The World Believe A Man Could Fly

While there have been many live-action Superman actors over the years, no version of the character has been as iconic as Christopher Reeve’s. The star was the face of the Man of Steel in four theatrical movies. As the most recognizable superhero ever, Superman’s values of truth, justice, and a better tomorrow are iconic and far-reaching.

Why Christopher Reeve Saved Superman: The Movie

Given how the movie was released in 1978, the film and its version of Clark Kent could have been incredibly cheesy as a product of its time. However, Reeve completely turned that into one of the film’s strengths. The actor is the best to ever show how different Superman and Clark Kent are, with Reeve being able to completely change not only the way he acted — with Superman being more confident and Clark Kent having a bubbly personality — but also his entire demeanor, with slight changes in posture making clear when he was switching between the two.

8 Ron Perlman As Hellboy In Hellboy

The Actor Was Perfectly Suited For The Character’s Style

Hellboy

Director
Guillermo del Toro

Release Date
April 2, 2004

Cast
Ron Perlman , John Hurt , Selma Blair , Rupert Evans , Karel Roden , Jeffrey Tambor

Ron Perlman gave life to Hellboy in two live-action movies. The actor became synonymous with the role in such a way that the 2019 reboot of the character starring Stranger Things‘ David Harbour never had a chance of succeeding as soon as it was announced that Perlman was not returning, which led to backlash. Hellboy is a Dark Horse Comics creation, with the character working for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense to protect the world from supernatural threats.

Why Ron Perlman Saved Hellboy

Perlman was uniquely suited for the role of Hellboy. The actor was able to bring a nuance within the heavy makeup for the character that made the gruff demon someone worth rooting for throughout the movie’s chaotic events. Director Guillermo del Toro knew this, as Perlman revealed during an interview with PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing (via MovieWeb) that “For seven years, he’d go to these meetings at these studios, and he’d say, ‘Ron Perlman.’

Perlman also voiced Hellboy in two animated movies: 2006’s Hellboy: Sword of Storms and 2007’s Hellboy: Blood and Iron.

7 Wesley Snipes As Eric Brooks/Blade In Blade

The Actor Helped Make Marvel Movies Successful

Blade (1998)

Director
Stephen Norrington

Release Date
August 21, 1998

Cast
Wesley Snipes , Stephen Dorff , Kris Kristofferson , N’Bushe Wright , Donal Logue

While Wesley Snipes’ casting would become controversial by the time of Blade: Trinity due to behind-the-scenes events, there is no denying the impact the actor had on 1998’s Blade. Erick Brooks, aka Blade, is also known as the Daywalker. Half-human, half-vampire, Blade made it his life’s mission to be a vampire hunter and end the supernatural creatures’ nefarious plans.

Why Wesley Snipes Saved Blade

Snipes’ Blade came before the MCU or the early 2000s Marvel movies — the X-Men and Tobey Maguire Spider-Man franchises — which would pave the way for the superhero projects seen nowadays. It was due to the gravitas Snipes brought to the role, along with his impressive physicality, that Blade succeeded. The actor made the vampire hunter a force of nature, and the audience responded to that. Snipes’ intensity in the role and passion for the character are details Mahershala Ali should note for the MCU’s announced Blade movie.

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6 Chris Pratt As Peter Quill/Star-Lord In Guardians Of The Galaxy

The MCU Actor Helped Build The Universe’s Cosmic Corner

Guardians of the Galaxy

Release Date
July 30, 2014

Cast
Zoe Saldana , Karen Gillan , Vin Diesel , Michael Rooker , Djimon Hounsou , Lee Pace , Benicio Del Toro , Glenn Close , Dave Bautista , ​Chris Pratt2 , Bradley Cooper , John C. Reilly

Chris Pratt’s casting as Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the best decisions the MCU has ever made. Up until the movie, Pratt was mostly known for his comedic role in Parks and Recreation, becoming a bona fide action movie star after the film. Star-Lord is the hilarious leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the MCU.

Why Chris Pratt Saved Guardians Of The Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the MCU’s riskiest projects. Focusing on an obscure team from Marvel Comics and having a completely different tone from the rest of the universe, James Gunn’s first MCU entry could have backfired. However, Pratt was the perfect fit for the director’s brand of comedy, with it being hard to imagine another actor pulling off key Star-Lord moments such as the movie’s final dance battle scene like Pratt did. The movie could have really gone off the rails if Pratt and Star-Lord were not a match made in heaven.

5 Ryan Reynolds As Wade Wilson/Deadpool In Deadpool

The Actor Has Become Synonymous With The Marvel Anti-Hero

Deadpool

Director
Tim Miller

Release Date
February 9, 2016

Cast
Ryan Reynolds , Morena Baccarin , T.J. Miller , Brianna Hildebrand , Karan Soni , Ed Skrein , Michael Benyaer , Stefan Kapicic

Ryan Reynolds will soon return as Marvel’s Merc With a Mouth for Deadpool & Wolverine‘s multiversal plot. The actor has played Deadpool in a Wolverine film, two solo movies as part of Fox’s X-Men franchise, and will now enter the MCU. Deadpool is the fourth-wall-breaking anti-hero who excels in violent and comedic stories, with Reynolds’ portrayal making him a fan-favorite.

Why Ryan Reynolds Saved Deadpool

Reynolds actually saved Deadpool in more ways than one. After a debut as Wade Wilson in the bad X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Reynolds would campaign for years before delivering a comic book-accurate version of the character in 2016’s Deadpool. Reynolds’ love for the role imbued the movie with an authenticity that would not have been able to come forward had any other actor played the role instead. Reynolds’ casting as Deadpool is one of the best casting choices in superhero movie history.

4 Chris Evans As Steve Rogers/Captain America In Captain America: The First Avenger

The Actor Became One Of The Faces Of The MCU

Getting the cast for the Avengers right was one of the biggest casting decisions Marvel had during the start of the MCU. Thankfully, Chris Evans’ casting as Captain America was the best possible for the role. The star had already been part of Marvel films in the past, playing the charming Human Torch in two Fantastic Four movies; however, it was as Captain America, the leader of the Avengers and moral compass of the MCU, that he really shined.

Why Chris Evans Saved Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America was held by many as an old-fashioned hero when his first MCU movie debuted. While the character could have been cheesy, Evans played the role with an earnestness that made Steve Rogers someone to look up to. The character was true to Captain America’s comic book ideals while also being a compelling lead for modern times. Evans’ performance in his first time in the role was pitch-perfect, launching Captain America to be one of the faces of the MCU.

3 Hugh Jackman As Logan/Wolverine In Logan

The Actor Returned For A Genre-Defining Story

Logan

Release Date
March 3, 2017

Hugh Jackman first played Wolverine in 2000’s X-Men. The actor has become the most popular live-action X-Men hero, with Jackman set to once again return as Logan as part of Deadpool & Wolverine‘s star-studded cast. Years before he joined the MCU, Jackman had seemingly ended his time as the character in Fox’s Logan. The movie was a major departure from the usual fare of the superhero genre.

Why Hugh Jackman Saved Logan

Jackman’s performance as Wolverine in Logan stands as one of the most striking acting turns in any superhero movie ever. Logan was a slow-burn movie that had a deeper focus on its characters than larger-than-life battles — though there were some impressive fights throughout. Jackman’s dramatic skills really got put on display in the film, helping make it a character study that resonated with superhero movie fans and those who are more inclined to look at awards-season movies all the same.

2 Keanu Reeves As John Constantine In Constantine

The Actor Will Return To The Role In The Future

Constantine

Director
Francis Lawrence

Release Date
February 8, 2005

Keanu Reeves’ version of John Constantine was very different from how the character is in the comics. That said, the actor delivered an exciting turn in the role that continues to be beloved to this day. Almost twenty years after 2005’s Constantine, Reeves is set to return as DC’s Hellblazer once more for the announced Constantine 2, which will serve as an Elseworlds movie — meaning it takes place outside the canon of the new DC Universe.

Why Keanu Reeves Saved Constantine

Coming off The Matrix franchise, Reeves was a major name when he signed on for Constantine. The actor’s talent and charisma helped make the film as interesting as it was, when it could have backfired badly. That is because Constantine made changes to the character’s appearance, origins, and even his overall story was changed from magic to more religion-linked dealings. Thankfully, Reeves delivered a compelling performance that made fans overlook the movie’s changes to John Constantine.

1 Margot Robbie As Harley Quinn In Suicide Squad

The Actress Gave Life To The Fan-Favorite Character Of The DCEU

The DCEU was never really as popular as it could have been. However, amid some controversial releases, a few characters managed to shine through. That is the case of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, with the actress making the character the standout of 2016’s Suicide Squad and helping make the movie a box office success — Box Office Mojo puts Suicide Squad‘s total box office at $749.2 million.

Why Margot Robbie Saved Suicide Squad

While the trailers for the movie promised a thrilling adventure with DC villains, Suicide Squad ended up being a lackluster affair. Despite the movie receiving bad reviews, Robbie’s turn as Harley Quinn was a diamond in the rough, contributing to Suicide Squad‘s impressive box office. The actress made the character a superstar, with Harley Quinn’s unpredictability, comedic timing, and dynamic fight scenes in the movie contributing to her becoming the DCEU’s fan-favorite character and one of the most popular ones from either the MCU or DC.

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