Top 10 Great Superhero Recasting Choices

Written by Jack O'Regan Some actors are born to play superheroes, but sometimes, it takes a little while to find them. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Great Superhero Recasting Choices. For this list, we’re looking at actors in superhero movies and TV shows that outshone their predecessor in one way or another. Portrayals of anti-heroes will also be permitted, but great supervillain recasting choices will have to be saved for another time. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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Some actors are born to play superheroes, but sometimes, it takes a little while to find them. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Great Superhero Recasting Choices.

For this list, we’re looking at actors in superhero movies and TV shows that outshone their predecessor in one way or another. Portrayals of anti-heroes will also be permitted, but great supervillain recasting choices will have to be saved for another time.

#10: Karl Urban as Judge Dredd
Replacing: Sylvester Stallone

Fans of the “Judge Dredd” comic book series would have been in for quite a surprise the first time they sat down to watch Sly Stallone’s interpretation of the character. Fortunately for them, nearly two decades after the original movie, Karl Urban presented a dark, gritty interpretation that was far closer to the source material than anyone could have expected. While Sly delivered an incredibly quotable, over-the-top, high-intensity, and campy performance, Urban’s “Dredd” was direct, understated, and unbelievably intimidating. This is the definitive on-screen adaptation of the characters fans were waiting for.

#9: Nicholas Hoult as Beast
Replacing: Kelsey Grammer

Kelsey Grammer portrayed Hank McCoy in only one film of the original X-Men trilogy, but his performance was one of the highlights of “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Still, Nicholas Hoult’s version of Beast added depth and emotion to a character that might have been nothing more than the big blue guy in another actor’s hands. Hoult settles further into the role as the series develops, doing justice to the character’s dual personalities, but his romantic scenes with Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique are where he really shines. His gentle yet intense performance humanizes the character, to the point that we can’t imagine anyone else filling Beast’s overly large boots.

#8: Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
Replacing: Lynda Carter

Although others have played the part, Lynda Carter remains the definitive Wonder Woman for many, and the one Gal Gadot was inevitably going to draw comparisons to as the DC Extended Universe’s version of the Amazon. ‘70s special effects and Carter’s superhero twirls aside, Gadot was ready to redefine Wonder Woman. She draws from Carter’s legendary sass, but otherwise takes the character in a different direction. Gadot’s Wonder Woman is sarcastically charming and always up for a challenge, but she also has an arsenal of weapons and an extra layer of strength that makes her an equal to Superman on the battlefield.

#7: Tom Holland as Spider-Man
Replacing: Andrew Garfield

Many Spider-Man fans wanted to see Andrew Garfield return to the role of everyone’s favorite web-slinger in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Others worried that Tom Holland was too inexperienced to hold his own against the big names on Marvel’s roster. But in his brief appearance in “Captain America: Civil War,” Holland showed true cinematic flair, more than standing up to the rest of the cast and leaving everyone excited for more. While Garfield’s Peter Parker isn’t really much of a geek, and Tobey Maguire wasn’t quippy enough when fighting villains, Holland finds the perfect balance between Peter and Spider-Man. Not bad for a supposed neophyte.

#6: Mark Ruffalo as Hulk
Replacing: Edward Norton

“The Incredible Hulk” was the second entry in Marvel’s shared movie universe, and getting the character right was crucial. Though Edward Norton received a lot of praise for his ferocious take on the character, rumor has it he also managed to upset just about everyone over at Marvel… which could be why the part was recast for “The Avengers.” The news that Mark Ruffalo was joining the ensemble for the all-star team-up was met with a mixed response, but Ruffalo’s acting chops won audiences over. His gentle portrayal of Bruce Banner and frighteningly powerful version of the Hulk are practically perfect. And we’re not just saying that to keep him from getting angry.

#5: Matt Ryan as John Constantine
Replacing: Keanu Reeves

Whether or not you like Keanu Reeves’ portrayal of Constantine, there’s no denying that the silver screen adaptation as a whole took the demon hunter protagonist into a completely different Americanized direction. Traditionally, Constantine is a British character, completely disinterested, certainly talented, and dripping with sarcasm. Matt Ryan’s take on the mystical character in the NBC series “Constantine” is lifted right out of the comics, and the Welshman carried on quipping until NBC cancelled the series in its first season. The character re-appeared in season 4 of “Arrow”, where his mystical origins made for an interesting concept with “Arrow’s” grim realism.

#4: Chris Evans as Captain America
Replacing: Matt Salinger

Chris Evans was a surprise pick to play Captain America after his “Fantastic Four” movies received a critical pounding. Fortunately, Evans more than redeemed himself and has been a standout of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever since his “First Avenger” days. However, long before the MCU, Matt Salinger starred as the shield-throwing Captain in a straight-to-video movie. The film itself isn’t widely known, and Salinger struggles as Cap, but Evans did at least have some competition. It goes without saying that he knocked it out of the park, portraying the character with more heart than Salinger or indeed anyone else ever has - and as a result, he remains one of cinema’s most recognizable faces.

#3: Jon Bernthal as The Punisher
Replacing: Ray Stevenson

“Punisher: War Zone” was an ultra-violent attempt at bringing Frank Castle to the screen, and while Ray Stevenson proved to be suitably brutal, he ultimately could not keep hold of the Punisher mantle for another movie. Eight years later, Jon Bernthal donned the skull logo in season 2 of the surprise Netflix hit “Daredevil.” Bernthal was the standout inclusion for the second season, even including Elodie Yung’s ruthless introduction as Elektra, as he beautifully tows the line between sympathetic and completely insane. Ultimately, Bernthal did what Stevenson never could by guaranteeing his return, in this case by way of a Punisher spin-off.

#2: Ben Affleck as Batman
Replacing: Christian Bale

Coming off the critical failure that was the “Daredevil” movie, it seemed like Ben Affleck’s introduction to the DC Extended Universe was doomed to fail. However, ‘Batfleck’ surprised the world by standing head and shoulders above his co-stars in “Batman v Superman.” He also brought a ruthlessness to the character that wasn’t present in Bale’s performance, ensuring that the Bale v Affleck debate is sure to continue for many years. Just the fact that it’s an argument in the first place is credit to DC’s ability to recast. After all, Affleck followed one of the genre’s greatest lead actors in Bale, while Bale only had to replace “Batman and Robin’s” George Clooney.

#1: Charlie Cox as Daredevil
Replacing: Ben Affleck

He would later make up for it in the DC universe, but Ben Affleck’s portrayal of the Man Without Fear kept Marvel from bringing the character back to live-action for over a decade. Fortunately for us, they did bring him back via a new format, and Netflix proved to be the perfect home for “Daredevil.” Lead actor Charlie Cox brings a reserved modesty to Matt Murdock, which he uses to contrast with his conviction and brutality while in the suit. “Daredevil” has opened up Marvel’s Netflix universe to spin-offs and team-ups, and that is largely thanks to Cox’s subtle and engaging performance.
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