Superhero movies are almost a genre unto themselves at this point. We’re so far beyond the mid-90s when comic fans were starved for adaptations of comic book characters and we’d try stuff like The Phantom or Batman and Robin just to see how close it would be to the source material. But unlike DC Comics or indie book adaptations, Marvel had to sell off the film rights to some of their characters so multiple studios have adapated their books. In turn, this means that some actors have portrayed more than one character from Marvel comics. Let’s take a look at those actors and compare how similar their characters look, in images from the original comics. One note: both Donal Logue and Idris Elba have appeared as different characters in Marvel movies but each originally played a character that did not exist in the comics and was original to the movies. So there is no comparison for Blade‘s Quinn to Ghost Rider‘s Mack or Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance‘s Moreau to Thor‘s Heimdall.
The Actor: Ben Foster
The Characters: Spacker Dave from The Punisher (2004) and Angel from X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).
How Similar Are They: Not similar at all! Spacker Dave was a heavily pierced and tattooed neighbor of the Punisher and Angel is a gorgeous winged mutant superhero! He was better as Dave because Angel was underwritten.
The Actor: Ryan Reynolds
The Characters: Hannibal King from Blade: Trinity (2004) and Wade Wilson/Deadpool from X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and Deadpool (2016).
How Similar Are They: Well, they are both superheroes. Tough guys that use guns and swords. In the comics, King was bitten by Dracula but never drank blood from a living human being so he was basically a good vampire (later cured) who teamed up with Blade to hunt vampires. Wade Wilson was a mercenary who underwent the Weapon X procedure because he had developed a number of terminal cancers. The procedure keeps his cancer in check with advanced healing abilities. I’d be willing to bet, based on the trailer alone, that Reynolds is more accurate as Deadpool.
The Actor: Chris Evans
The Characters: Johnny Storm/Human Torch from Fantastic Four (2005) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) and Steve Rogers/Captain America from Captain America (2011), Avengers (2012), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and Captain America: Civil War (2016).
How Similar Are They: Both are white guys with blonde hair. Both are prominent Marvel superheroes who are in excellent shape. Johnny is portrayed as younger and more of a hot-head, while Steve is more serious, introspective and in peak physical condition. Evans has been great as both but his Cap has juicier material to work with.
The Actor: Rebecca Romijn
The Characters: Raven Darkholme/Mystique from X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and X-Men: First Class (2011) and Joan the Mouse from The Punisher (2004).
How Similar Are They: Not at all similar. Mystique is a shapeshifting mutant but Joan is a timid neighbor of the Punisher. In the comics, Joan is not portrayed as especially beautiful. Romijn was fine as Joan but iconic as Mystique.
The Actor: Jon Favreau
The Characters: Foggy Nelson from Daredevil (2003) and Happy Hogan from Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010) and Iron Man 3 (2013).
How Similar Are They: A little similar. Both are slightly heavyset sidekicks. Foggy is the law office partner of Matt Murdock (Daredevil) and has a bigger sense of humor. Happy is Tony Stark’s bodyguard and a bit overserious about his work. I think his performance as Foggy is one of the better parts of the Daredevil movie.
The Actor: Ray Stevenson
The Characters: The Punisher from Punisher: War Zone (2008) and Volstagg from Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013).
How Similar Are They: Hmmm, not very similar really. Punisher is a human male with no superpowers, just a lot of guns and a mission to kill organized crime. Volstagg is a humongous Asgardian warrior who battles alongside Thor. Punisher has black hair. Volstagg has red hair. They don’t look or act very similar at all. Stevenson seems to be having much more fun as Volstagg.
The Actor: Sam Elliott
The Characters: General Thunderbolt Ross from Hulk (2003) and a mashup of Caretaker and Phantom Rider in Ghost Rider (2007).
How Similar Are They: All three of these characters are gruff, older white dudes. General Ross is usually depicted a bit more heavyset than they went in the films. Caretaker is gaunt and lanky and pretty a pretty good fit for Elliott. Phantom Rider was more of a typical western cowboy hero, generally younger than the other two characters. In Ghost Rider, Caretaker used to be a version of Phantom Rider, who in the comics was originally called Ghost Rider but did not have a supernatural story. Elliott was a good Ross but Caretaker is closer to what he excels at: the mysterious, tough mentor.