Long gone are the days where gifted individuals donning tights and capes in order to fight criminals and supervillains could only be found in the pages of comic books and thought only appropriate for diehard fans.
For the last decade or so, following the wider success of Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy and the launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe beginning with the first instalment of the Iron Man film series, superhero movies have established themselves as worthy of attention from a wider audience.
That being said, in this golden era of superhero movies, we experienced some really bad ones that – at the time – tarnished the reputation of their stars. Luckily, some of them decided to redeem themselves by taking a second shot at portraying a superhero – with excellent results! Here are our top three actors to have played more than one superhero.
- Ryan Reynolds: Green Lantern and Deadpool
The winner in his category is undoubtedly Ryan Reynolds, who portrayed the cynical and lovable mercenary Deadpool in 2016 to astounding success. Before playing Deadpool, Reynolds was cast back in 2011 to play the Green Lantern in the character’s first theatrical appearance.
The film did little justice to the iconic superhero, who has long been a fan favorite. Apart from his own very popular comic books franchise, he has been the hero of the Sleepers novel series, has starred in numerous animated films, including the Lego Movie, and video games, including the much awaited Injustice 2, which is set to be released later this month.
Ryan Reynold’s portrayal has even been featured on online games like Sun Bingo’s Green Lantern slot games, which includes music, symbols based on iconography from the franchise and themed features such as the Fear Flight Mission, the Training Center Mission and the Secret Sector Mission. All of these pop culture appearances ultimately prove that the Green Lantern’s name continues to draw a crowd.
According to Reynolds himself, Green Lantern fell victim to a rushed production schedule and an unclear idea of what the film was about.
Enter Deadpool. This time around, Reynolds was in charge and everybody on board knew exactly where they wanted to go with the character, which gave the actor the perfect opportunity to portray Deadpool in a groundbreaking way, poking fun at superhero movie clichés, constantly breaking the fourth wall and capturing audiences worldwide with his nihilism and sarcasm.
Considered an underdog and shot on the relatively low budget of $58 million, Deadpool came in at $782 million and became the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time and the second highest-grossing solo superhero debut ever (outranked only by Spiderman in 2002). It was an instant hit with fans and critics alike, leading to a follow-up film already in the works and set to release in 2018.
- Ben Affleck: Daredevil and Batman
Ben Affleck was cast in the 2003 Daredevil film to play the lead character, blind lawyer Matt Murdock, who fights for justice both in the courtroom and out of it as the red leather-donning vigilante Daredevil. He appeared alongside Jennifer Garner (his future wife), who played love interest and fellow superhero Elektra and Colin Farrell as the villain Bullseye.
Despite the promising cast, the film didn’t rise up to expectations. Clumsily written, it was received poorly by both critics and audience, and even led Ben Affleck to declare that he ‘hates Daredevil so much’.
This disapproval was part of why the actor was so eager to return as Batman and agreed to play the Caped Crusader in the recent Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – a controversial casting choice that was met with instant fan backlash (fun fact: there was even a petition aimed at President Obama ‘denounce the selection of Ben Affleck’ and recast the role).
However, Affleck redeemed himself as probably the best part of an overall underwhelming movie: he portrayed the Dark Knight in a world-weary and collected manner that won over the hearts of many fans and earned him a leading role in the Justice League spinoff.
3.Halle Berry: Catwoman and Storm
Nobody was happy about the 2004 Catwoman movie that cast Halle Berry as the titular character, along with Benjamin Bratt and Sharon Stone.
It was originally announced in 1993, after Michelle Pfeiffer’s acclaimed portrayal of the beloved character in Batman Returns, but somewhere along production Pfeiffer dropped out and the script was rewritten by almost 30 screenwriters, which led to the confused critical and financial flop released in the end. Berry herself accepted a Golden Raspberry for Worst Actress, joining in criticism for the movie.
Fortunately, Berry was also very fittingly cast as the iconic Storm in the 2000 film X-Men, which introduced her to a wider audience.
Yet it was not until the sequels X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand that Berry’s Storm was given more screen time (the script was actually re-written just for her) and allowed the actress to properly shine, giving critically acclaimed performances.
Thanks to this trilogy, the X-Men franchise went on to become one of the biggest superhero hits of the time, significantly contributing to the reboot of the genre.
Fortunately, the wide success that similar franchises enjoy these days means that studios are (at last!) taking superhero films seriously, actually invest money and time into properly developing them – which also makes for much better options for actors eager to portray our favorite characters.