Ever since Christopher Reeve soared as Superman on the silver screen, I thought playing a super hero in the movies was about the best job anyone could have (next to actually being a super hero, of course). Halloween is an excellent measure of our desire to play comic book hero or villain. I dare you find a party where no one is dressed as a comic book character.
Some actors, however, are doubly lucky; they managed play two, and in some cases, three characters, that originated from a comic franchise. I've ranked this list in order of character/franchise importance and screen time...actors playing a lead role are weighted heavier.
13) Laurence Fishburne
Perry White, Dr. Bill Foster (Black Goliath), Silver Surfer's voice in FF Rise of the Silver Surfer
I'm tempted to throw in Fishburne's appearances on the Pee Wee Herman Show since that was basically a comic book in TV format, but Larry's done all right for himself, legitimately playing Perry White in the recent Superman reboot, and then Dr. Bill Foster (AKA Black Goliath) in Ant-man and The Wasp.
12) Jon Bernthal
The Punisher, Shane Walsh
Lest you forget, The Walking Dead started as a comic, elevating Jon Bernthal to this exclusive club with his portrayal of officer Shane Walsh. Shane to Frank Castle was not too much of a stretch, and kudos to Jon for the best and most realistic depiction of the Punisher in the character's film history.
11) Mark Hamill
Yes, Joker was animated with Hamill providing only voice, but he's become indelibly linked to the character, having voiced him for nearly 25 years. He has played the Flash villain Trickster in not one, but two separate series. There's a certain irony in the galaxy's greatest hero becoming the greatest villain in two other franchises.
10) Peter Dinklage
Bolivar Trask was not a small person in the X-Men comic. It's a testament to Dinklage's talent as an actor that he can bring the weapons-builder's bigger-than-life persona to the silver screen. Leave it to Marvel, though, to typecast Dinklage and cast him again as another weapons builder (and a dwarf) in Avengers Infinity War Part One. For those of you who have not seen the film, don't get your panties in a snit...this Dwarf was 20 feet tall
9) Jim Carrey
Riddler (Edward Nygma), The Mask (Stanley Ipkiss)
8) Michelle Pfeiffer
Cat Woman; Original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne
Seven and eight on this list should actually be tied for each playing the same DC Comics villain plus one Marvel female hero. Michelle's casting as Janet Van Dyne opposite Michael Douglas was superb casting. But her eye-turning depiction of Cat Woman in Batman Returns is the only one that comes close to Julie Newmar's sexy feline from 20 years earlier.
7) Halle Berry
Cat Woman, Storm
Halle edges Michelle out by virtue of Storm's screen time and importance to the property. I want to give her demerits for Cat Woman, but that was a mess from script to direction, and Halle is a tremendous talent as we've seen from her other work. So, not her fault. Still, her Marvel property X-Men is much bigger than Ant-Man, and she was actually in most of the movie.
6) Brandon Routh
First of the legitimate Three Characters club is Routh, who has played the greatest of all super heroes on screen (and definitely deserved a sequel). He also appears regularly as DC's The Atom (Ray Palmer) on the CW show Legends of Tomorrow, and had a brief appearance as one of the seven deadly exes in the Scott Pilgrim Vs The World graphic novel adaptation.
5) Chris Evans
Human Torch, Captain America
Like everyone else, I said "Not him" when I heard The Human Torch had been cast as Captain America. I could not have been more wrong. Evans has endeared all fans to him with his portrayal of America's most patriotic hero. The movies have been great. I only wished the Fantastic Four films had been half as good.
4) Jason Momoa
You can argue that Conan started out as a novel series, but I would say it was the comic book's popularity that was the reason the films were eventually made. And like you, I would never have guessed he'd be cast for Aquaman. My only question is, if you're going to cast a Polynesian as Aquaman, why was he living in a North Atlantic costal town in the Justice League movie? Shouldn't he be in the South Pacific? These ponderings keep me up at night.
3) Ryan Reynolds
Green Lantern, Deadpool
Admit it--Reynolds is so much better at playing Deadpool than Green Lantern. Nevertheless, both are major franchise characters and he got to star in three films playing these two icons. He's also got points for having been married to Scarlett Johansson (aka Black Widow from Avengers) so he has Black Widow cootie points by association. AND he's currently married to Blake Lively and breeding with her, so I think there's a leprechaun in a dungeon somewhere fixing Reynolds a charmed life.
Thanos, Cable, Jonah Hex
Next in the Three club, and making it by the skin of his teeth this year, is Mr. Brolin. He plays the greatest villain in the universe in Avengers, one of the most kick-ass characters in the Mutant universe as Cable in Deadpool, and throw in gunslinger Jonah Hex (DC) for good measure. This is what Charlie Sheen meant by "WINNING."