Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Nothing to disagree with here, just a definitive list of the best actors to play each superhero

Photo: Marvel Studios

Many a night at the local watering hole has been spent debating which actor best embodies our favorite superheroes. Luckily, Cracked’s Daniel Dockery is here with a definitive answer, at least when it comes to Batman, Superman, Spiderman, the Joker, the Incredible Hulk, and the Punisher. While most superhero fans would consider how the actor best embodies the character’s physical attributes, or perhaps how effectively they interwove their origin story into the character, Dockery instead conducts a “Superhero Actor Battle Royale, wherein actual acting talent comes in a far second behind the ability to beat a costumed person unconscious in under 10 seconds.”

Some of the results will please longtime fans: Even with such threadbare judging criteria, Christopher Reeve emerges as the best Superman. Elsewhere, devotees may find their sacred cows left to the slaughter. Why would anyone want Michael Keaton’s Batman in a fight when all he does is get his ass handed to him? Who needs all the emotional depth of Eric Bana’s Hulk when Lou Ferrigno’s operated on pure tenacity? And Heath Ledger’s Joker? Maybe ease up on the monologues and you can stand toe to toe with Jack Nicholson.


If there’s one conclusion we can all agree on, however, it’s that Ray Stevenson is the best Punisher by virtue of being in the best Punisher movie: Punisher: War Zone. As Dockery writes:

Above all things, the Punisher is effective. And Punisher: War Zone could be his resume. At one point, Ray impales a man on a spiked fence, and then elbow-drops his head just to make sure that he’s super dead and not just only slightly dead. You can’t combat that kind of mission statement, no matter how tough or Dolph you are.

Remember, this list is definitive. No amount of arguing can change these results, but feel free to argue anyway.

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