The 5 Best Superhero Castings That Lived Up to Fan Expectations

Most superhero movie castings are pretty good, but only a handful were so good that they truly blew us away and exceeded expectations.

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Sometimes, Hollywood studios make mistakes when it comes to who they think should play their on-screen comic book characters. Fans will vehemently let studios know across social media platforms whenever a superhero casting is totally wack.

But on the rare occasion, Hollywood studios actually hire an actor or actress whom fans have lobbied for. When that happens, fans put great expectations on that casting’s shoulders.

It’s a blessing and curse for performers. To finally land a dream role in a big-budget superhero blockbuster? Amazing. But the pressures of living up to a manic fandom’s demands can be suffocating; if they don’t do a good job, they’ll be hated by everyone.

Here are several superhero blockbuster movie castings that were pushed by fans, accepted by Hollywood studios, and actually lived up to fan expectations.

5. John Krasinski (Mr. Fantastic)

John Krasinski’s appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may have only been minutes long, but he vindicated fans who have been clamoring for him to be cast as Reed Richards.

His MCU incarnation of Mr. Fantastic feels like a version of the character that the Marvel Universe needs. He exudes a grace and an intellect that gives the character balance, which is something neither of the prior incarnations had.

There’s also a sense of weariness to Krasinski’s Mr. Fantastic, given that his version of the character has been a hero for a long time. That gives his take on Mr. Fantastic a much-needed edge.

Comic book fans have long demanded that John Krasinski and real-life wife Emily Blunt lead the Fantastic Four as Reed Richards and Sue Storm. Blunt may not have shown up (yet?) but seeing Krasinski as Reed proves that Marvel is listening to great ideas by fans.

John Krasinski is expected to return in the upcoming Fantastic 4, where he’ll have more time to build his Reed Richards.

4. Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)

Deadpool without Ryan Reynolds is like a sandwich without bread—a messy pile you wouldn’t want to receive at a birthday party.

Reynolds’ power as Wade Wilson is infectious, forcing Disney to keep him on as the character for the next set of MCU movies because there’s no possible replacement for him in the eyes of fans. 

What’s even more extraordinary about Reynolds’ debut as Deadpool is that he wasn’t even loved in the first film.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine badly mishandled the character of Deadpool, leading to much fan disappointment as they wanted to see Deadpool in full sardonic glory. That appeared to be the end for Reynolds as Deadpool, whose chance was apparently blown.

Some years later, leaked test footage changed the game for Reynolds as Deadpool. Fans loved what they saw and were quite vocal about their demands, so much so that Fox greenlit the Deadpool movie within 24 hours of the footage going public.

3. Hailee Steinfeld (Kate Bishop)

For a character who isn’t as universally recognized as most heavy-hitters in the Marvel franchise, Kate Bishop has a lot of hardcore support. She’s beloved by comic book readers, who made a lot of noise when Hawkeye was announced by Kevin Feige. 

In one unified voice, fans called for Hailee Steinfeld to undertake the role of Kate Bishop in the MCU. Feige listened.

When Hawkeye debuted on Disney Plus, fans sat back and reveled in their correctness. They had pushed for one star above all others, and she had done a stellar job in her performance.

As Kate Bishop, Hailee Steinfeld grounded the character and made her human, but with a sense of fun that made her enjoyable to watch. Her frenemy relationship with Yelena Belova has become a sensation, as the pair’s interactions made for some of the best scenes in the show.

2. Joaquin Phoenix (The Joker)

The character of The Joker is arguably the hardest role to cast of any comic book character, because this character remains the only one from comic book history to win Academy Awards.

The Joker has become a star in his own right, no longer needing the challenge of Batman looming over him, and that’s all down to Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in Joker.

Fans had long shipped the idea of Joaquin Phoenix in the role, as he has the special sauce people want in Joker. It’s nebulous and undefined, wholly indescribable yet wholly real. 

When Joker hit the big screen, we were all stunned by his raw and unrestrained performance that was unmatched by anything we’d seen since Heath Ledger’s take. It would win Phoenix an Academy Award for Best Actor and shatter the idea that villains need a hero. 

1. Zöe Kravitz (Catwoman)

A little-known fact about Zöe Kravitz and her role as Selina Kyle: she actually had already portrayed the character in The LEGO Batman Movie, albeit not for very long. 

But fans wanted more from her in the role. They made endless fan art that showed Kravitz in the catsuit and vocally supported her on social media platforms. They wanted to truly see Zöe Kravitz as Catwoman, and they wanted it in The Batman.

With the controversy surrounding Robert Pattinson’s casting as The Batman, director Matt Reeves decided that fans were right on this one—and he officially cast Zöe Kravitz in the role. 

The result? Perhaps the finest Catwoman casting since Michelle Pfeiffer. Kravitz oozed a charm that fans always knew she would have, a tantalizing gait that said everything about how this Selina operated. 

With Pattinson and Kravitz returning for the sequel, we’ll see the relationship between the iconic characters develop further, with a Catwoman whom fans have wanted since day one. 

30 Days of Modern Geeky Movies

Are you bored and in need of movies to watch? Here at whatNerd, we’ve seen a lot of geeky movies—sci-fi movies, fantasy movies, thriller movies, you name it!

And while a lot of them were pretty forgettable, a few of them stand out as classic geeky movies that everyone should definitely watch. Check out our 30 favorite modern geeky movies.

All of these movies are from 2000 or later, and there are NO superhero movies on our list! Download the printable PDF below and see how many you can watch in the next 30 days:

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