RDJ as Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark. Like, it’s not a question of whether RDJ did a good job playing Tony Stark in the Iron Man and Avengers movies. Even though the character of Iron Man and Tony Stark predates the beginning of RDJ career, at a certain point RDJ’s real-life behavior began having the bravado, confidence, and snakiness of his fictional counterpart.
Heath Ledger as The Joker
Sometimes perfect casting isn’t about finding someone who is a perfect fit for a role. Sometimes what a great casting agent has to do is find an actor that absolutely redefines the character they are portraying. When Heath Ledger played The Joker in Nolan’s Dark Knight, he redefined how the Joker should be portrayed in movies. He added the absolute unhinged insanity from the comic books, while Nolan added the grittiness that all previous movie depictions of the Joker were missing.
Tom Holland as Spider-Man
Over the years there have been many versions of Peter Parker. In the movies — sure (Maguire, Garfield, and now Holland), but also in the comic books. This topic itself was covered well in the amazing Spiderverse cartoon. But one thing Peter Parker always had was that he was a witty, young student. The movies with Maguire leaned far too much on his personal struggles. The movies with Garfield leaned too much into Parker being cool.
But with Tom Holland, the movie-version of Spider-Man finally has the perfect balance of awkward and unconfident, but also witty and cool.
George Clooney as Bruce Wayne
I’m being very deliberate with how I’m calling this section. I’m not saying George Clooney was a great Batman. I still think it’s hilarious that someone in the costume design of that movie decided to put nipples on the Batman costume. However, everyone’s favorite silver fox did play the heck out of Bruce Wayne. There’s something about George Clooney’s attitude that just makes him fit well in a lonely manor, with a butler, having a secret crime-fighting persona.
George Clooney was a perfect Bruce Wayne.
Ron Perlman as Hellboy
There is a lot to be said about nostalgia and Ron Perlman being the first person to portray Hellboy in a movie, sure. But Guillermo del Toro’s team chose the perfect person to play Hellboy. Ron Perlman just has that face that is difficult to picture without a cigar. He’s stern. He’s big. He’s a force to be reckoned with. It makes him the perfect actor to portray Hellboy, and I’m saddened by the fact that he’s been replaced for the franchise reboot.
Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool
Ryan Reynolds, as a person, is very sarcastic. So, that just makes him a great choice to play Deadpool in the movie. However, there’s more! Deadpool is actually Ryan Reynolds passion project. When he first read the screenplay, he immediately said he wanted to play him, and he participated in the process of pitching this movie to studios. Reynolds and the films directors spent five (!!!) years trying to convince executives to give them a chance with this movie. Once they finally did, Reynolds was over the moon about finally playing a character he loved, and it showed in the final product.
Sir Patrick Stewart as Professor X
Sir Patrick Stewart is a brilliant actor. If you ever have the chance to see him do Hamlet — you should! And he brought a lot of gravitas to the role of Professor X in the X-Men movies. James McAvoy has a big pair of shoes to fill now that Sir Patrick Stewart has retired from playing Professor X.
Sir Ian McKellen as Magneto
When Professor X is being played by a person everyone knows from Star Trek, and who has the undeniable talent of playing one heck of a Hamlet – who do you get to play his old friend and nemesis Magneto? That’s right! Another actor who played Hamlet just as well (if not better, in this author’s humble opinion). That makes Sir Ian McKellen the perfect choice to play Magneto!
Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone
This is a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation. What came first, the character of Frozone being perfect for Samuel L. Jackson or Samuel L. Jackson being perfect for doing the voice-over for Frozone? Whichever case it is, whenever I’m looking for clothes I try to imitate Samuel L. Jackson asking where his suit is.
Christian Bale as Batman
There have been many depictions of Batman in movies over the years. Some of them even had nipples (I’ll never know why). But nobody’s played him as well as Christian Bale. Even though he only had one half of his face to work with for the acting, the growl in his voice was a perfect addition to the character.
Jim Carrey as Enigma
A lot of Batman characters in this list, but that’s just because there have been more Batman movies than any other superhero movie out there. And although Enigma is not a superhero (he’s a villain in the DC universe), Jim Carey’s portrayal of him was perfect.
Carrey managed to combine Enigma’s over-the-top charm, cleverness, and over-the-top display of emotions. Perfect casting.