DC MOVIES: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016)
MARVEL MOVIES: Daredevil (2003)
Much has been made of how much Ben Affleck screwed the early years of his career up. Heck, he even brought it up in his Oscar acceptance speech for Argo! Daredevil is considered one of the lowest points of that dark time, and now that he's found a new groove in hits like Gone Girl, he wants a second stab at superhero stardom by taking up the mantle of The Batman in the DC Extended Universe. So far his seasoned, middle-aged Bruce Wayne and Frank Miller-inspired Batsuit are making fanboys squeal with delight, so lets hope his two outings next year as the Caped Crusader do him justice.
DC MOVIES: Superman Returns (2006)
MARVEL MOVIES: X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Marsden is one of those truly underrated performers who has nailed dramatic roles in The Notebook and The Box while also parodying his whole pretty boy image in comedies like Enchanted and Anchorman 2. Bryan Singer sure seems to like him, since he brought his Cyclops from the X-Men films over to DC when he jumped ship for Superman Returns. Fox must not have liked that, which might be why Scott Summers dies with little fanfare in X-Men: The Last Stand. Of course, when Singer came back to the mutant franchise in 2014 he fixed that mistake through the dramatic Wite-Out that is time travel.
DC MOVIES: Green Lantern (2011)
MARVEL MOVIES: Blade Trinity (2004), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), Deadpool (2016)
How many different superheroes can one man play? That seems to be the challenge Ryan Reynolds has put himself up to, starting with Hannibal King of the Nightstalkers in the reprehensible Blade Trinity. He proved his kiss of death was not limited to the Marvel Universe by starring in the ill-fated Green Lantern film, although the blame can hardly fall entirely on his shoulders. Ditto for the butchering of Wade Wilson/Deadpool in the Wolverine spin-off, although it looks like he's finally done the character proud in next year's Deadpool. Fourth time's the charm, right?
DC MOVIES: The Losers (2010)
MARVEL MOVIES: Fantastic Four (2005), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Here's a case of two well-regarded actors appearing in a failed adaptation of a Vertigo title (The Losers) only to BOTH wind up playing two different characters within the Marvel Universe. Tim Story's bland-but-harmless Fantastic Four films were something of a commercial breakthrough for Evans, who parlayed that fame into landing the part of Steve Rogers/Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a.k.a. the role of a lifetime. Elba also took part in the MCU as the ever-watchful Asgardian Heimdall while moonlighting in a non-Marvel Studios sequel to Ghost Rider. Evans also featured prominently in the adaptation of the Oni Press comic book Scott Pilgrim vs the World, making him an all-around comic book guy.
Oh, and did we mention that Zoe Saldana, star of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, is also in this The Losers? Let's face it, The Losers is the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" for comic book movies.
DC MOVIES: Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
MARVEL MOVIES: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Fishburne got his start as a child actor in movies like Apocalypse Now, then as Cowboy Curtis on "Pee-wee's Playhouse" before earning his sci-fi stripes in Event Horizon and The Matrix. Both the characters of Silver Surfer in the Fantastic Four movies and editor Perry White in the Superman movies exist in a pseudo sci-fi context and lend a great deal of gravitas and credibility to those worlds.
DC MOVIES: V For Vendetta (2006)
MARVEL MOVIES: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Thor (2011), Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Although it has grown a bit overblown in the ensuing years, The Wachowskis' adaptation of Alan Moore's "V For Vendetta" comics was very much a reaction to the time it was made, in which the George W. Bush presidency was pushing a pro-torture/pro-war/heavy-surveillance agenda to fight the increasingly amorphous war on terror. Weaving's mythic anarchist threw a monkey wrench into the neo-fascist government's plans (and became a hero to the likes of the Occupy movement), recruiting (some might say brainwashing) Portman's Evey along the way. It's almost sad to see these two actors go from the interesting moral grey area of this movie to the two-dimensional heroes and villains they play in the Marvel universe, but a paycheck is a paycheck!
DC MOVIES: Suicide Squad (2016)
MARVEL MOVIES: Thor: The Dark World (2013)
After gaining notice on TV series like "Oz" and "Lost," Akinnuoye-Agbaje has become something of a go-to-guy for franchise movies like the G.I. Joe and Bourne series. His role as the Dark Elf Algrim/Kurse in the second Thor outing proved to be not much more than a cardboard henchman, so we're hoping his role as Killer Croc in Suicide Squad will at least give him room to play under the pounds of make-up. Also, at least one scene of Batman apprehending him would be cool.
DC MOVIES: Jonah Hex (2010)
MARVEL MOVIES: X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
There truly is life after death. Few comic book movies faceplant as hard as Jonah Hex did at the box office ($11 million on a $47 million budget), but that did not dissuade Hollywood from giving plum supervillain roles to two of its leading men. Fassbender has portrayed a youthful Magneto in two X-Men prequels, with a third on the way next summer, while Brolin has taken on a few minor cameos teasing his role as the big bad of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe –the mad titan Thanos- that will eventually take shape in the two-part Avengers: Infinity War.
DC MOVIES: Constantine (2005)
MARVEL MOVIES: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Model-turned-actor Hounsou first came on everyone's radar in historical epics like Amistad and Gladiator, which is why it's cool to see him getting to appear in more contemporary roles. In Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, he plays the intergalactic bounty hunter Korath, who is essentially similar to the character he played in Michael Bay's The Island. In the 2005 adaptation of the DC/Vertigo title "Hellblazer," he portrayed Papa Midnight, the witch doctor whose club serves as a neutral meeting ground for the forces of heaven and hell. Tilda Swinton, also in the cast of Constantine, is slated to appear in Marvel's Doctor Strange as The Ancient One, though that has not yet begun filming.
DC MOVIES: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
MARVEL MOVIES: The Wolverine (2013)
An international model who made her strong acting debut opposite Hugh Jackman in 20th Century Fox’s The Wolverine as the title character's love interest/girl-to-save Mariko Yashida. The gorgeous screen presence is switching gears by playing the personal assistant to villain Lex Luthor (Jessie Eisenberg) in next year's Batman v Superman, a character who made her first appearance in 1996 on "Superman: The Animated Series."
DC MOVIES: Superman (1978), Superman II (1981)
MARVEL MOVIES: Captain America (1990)
Here's a noted character actor (Nashville, Network, Deliverence) who got to play a part in both the apex (Superman) and nadir (Captain America) of the early superhero movies. His part as Lex Luthor's bumbling henchman Otis in the first two Superman films provided just the right amount of comic relief to the convincing world Richard Donner was trying to create. While those movies were classy, big budget efforts, Albert Pyun's 90's version of Captain America maintains a scuzzy, exploitation movie feel throughout, with the acting so uniformly terrible that having someone as solid as Beatty only shines further light on how dreadful everybody else is.
DC MOVIES: Green Lantern (2011)
MARVEL MOVIES: Howard the Duck (1986)
Tim Robbins (Mystic River, The Shawshank Redemption) holds the distinction of being an Academy Award-winning actor who has nonetheless co-starred in both DC and Marvel's most embarrassing megabombs. While George Lucas's Howard the Duck can claim it was filmed before technology made the lead character possible, we're not sure what Green Lantern's excuse was for looking so abysmally cartoony in the post-Avatar era.
DC MOVIES: Batman Forever (1995)
MARVEL MOVIES: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones famously did not enjoy the process of playing Harvey Dent/Two-Face in Batman Forever, even telling co-star Jim Carrey, "I hate you... I cannot sanction your buffoonery." Apparently 15 years was enough time to allow him to sanction some more buffoonery when he signed on to play Colonel Chester Phillips in Marvel's inaugural Captain America mission. He also deigned to appear in three Men in Black movies, based on the ultra-obscure Malibu Comics title, not that anyone really remembers that book.