Cookies notification

This website uses cookies to provide you with a better experience

You can adjust your cookie settings at any time at the bottom of each page. If you do not adjust your settings, you are consenting to us issuing all cookies to you

Deadpool's Ryan Reynolds and 4 other A-listers who've appeared in different comic book universes


For many A-listers, the chance to play a superhero like Deadpool is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Yet with the franchise battle lines drawn between the various comic book properties, actors are often compelled to stick to certain sides. Not only do we have the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and DC Extended Universe (DCEU), there are also standalone Marvel and DC affiliated properties that aren't officially part of a wider franchise.

But not all actors feel the need to stay loyal. Take Ryan Reynolds for example. Prior to his gloriously irreverent lead role in Marvel's fast-talking Deadpool (the sequel to which arrives in May), he played the title character in DC's Green Lantern.

Reynolds is someone who's bridged the comic book movie divide – and he's not the only one...

Ryan Reynolds

DC movie Green Lantern (2011)

Standalone Marvel movies DeadpoolDeadpool 2 (2016, 2018)

As mentioned, in 2011 Reynolds played DC's eponymous Green Lantern alongside his now wife Blake Lively. His character Hal Jordan becomes the first human member of the Green Lantern Corps, working to defeat Parallax in order to save the universe.

Having been in development for several years, Green Lantern received largely negative reviews from fans and critics, and underperformed at the box office. As a result, Warner Bros abandoned all plans for a sequel, and instead plan to reboot the character as part of the DCEU, starting with Green Lantern Corps in 2020.

Luckily for Reynolds, his next foray into the superhero world was better received. Seemingly born to play the role of Marvel anti-hero Wade Wilson/Deadpool, Reynolds has been praised for his performance, with the film going on to make more than $783 million worldwide. (It's best to forget his prior appearance as the character in 2009's much-maligned X-Men Origins: Wolverine.)

Can Deadpool 2 possibly top its predecessor? We'll have to see. While we're on the subject, fellow actor Josh Brolin has also hopped over the comic book divide. Not only is he acting as Ryan Reynolds' cyborg foil Cable in the upcoming Deadpool sequel, he's also a key part of the separate MCU story arc in this April's Avengers: Infinity War, playing earth-conquering supervillain, Thanos.

Chris Evans

Standalone Marvel movies Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2005, 2007)

MCU movies The Captain America and Avengers series (2011 – present)

Prior to his MCU debut, Chris Evans appeared twice as Fantastic Four hothead Johnny Storm. (He's a Marvel character, although neither movie is part of the MCU, which technically makes it a different universe.) They weren't particularly well received, though Evans' performance was viewed as one of the few highlights.

Luckily, Evans found his MCU redemption in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger, and he hasn't looked back since. Over the years, Evans has subsequently grown into the role in 2012's Avengers Assemble, 2014's The Winter Soldier, 2015's Age of Ultron and 2016's Civil War.

The imminent release of Avengers: Infinity War on 27th April marks Evans' sixth appearance in the role, and we just couldn't imagine a world in which he is not Captain America.

Halle Berry

DC movie Catwoman (2004)

Standalone Marvel movies The X-Men series (2000 – 2014)

In DC's Catwoman, Halle Berry plays the titular role (previously embodied by Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns), but came to regret her choice. The film was universally panned, with Berry receiving the Worst Actress award at the Golden Raspberry Awards. (She did however have the good grace to turn up and accept the award in person.) Grossing only $82 million on a production budget of $100 million, Catwoman is still considered to be one of the worst comic book movies of all time.

Thankfully, at the time, Berry had her role as weather-controlling mutant Storm in Marvel's X-Men series to fall back on. Since her series debut in 2000, she's gone on to appear in 2003's X2, 2006's The Last Stand and 2014's Days of Future Past. The part has since been passed to a younger generation with Alexandra Shipp now in the role (who will next be seen in this November's X-Men: Dark Phoenix).

Ben Affleck

Standalone Marvel movie Daredevil (2003)

DCEU movies Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Justice League (2017)

Marvel's Daredevil may now have found a home as a successful Netflix series, but the 2003 film wasn't as successful. Criticised for a lack of dramatic depth, Daredevil is a film we'd all like to forget ever happened, nobody more so than Affleck himself. He made a decent fist of the blind, crime-fighting vigilante, but sadly the script just wasn't there.

Affleck has subsequently joined the DCEU, making his debut as Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He has since gone on to reprise this role in last year's Justice League, although questions are now being raised as to how long he'll continue to play Batman.

Michael B. Jordan

Standalone Marvel movie Fantastic Four (2015)

MCU movie Black Panther (2018)

The non-MCU 2015 reboot of Fantastic Four saw Michael B. Jordan, like Chris Evans before him, step up to the mantle of troubled superhero Johnny Storm. Subject to extensive reshoots and heavily reported production woes, the film was a critical and commercial failure, receiving the award for Worst Film at the 36th Golden Raspberry Awards.

On the bright side, the success of Jordan's new film more than makes up for that disappointment. As the villainous Eric Killmonger in Black Panther, Jordan delivers a complex villain whose motivations are as understandable as his methods are appalling. We're certainly not the only ones feeling the love for Black Panther and Killmonger, as it currently stands as the highest grossing film of 2018 with $900 million in the bank.

Honorable mentions

Kurt Russell

Standalone Marvel movie Sky High (2005)

MCU movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Okay, Marvel family adventure Sky High might not technically be part of a comic book universe, but in our eyes it definitely deserves to be up there with the great superhero movies..

As Steve Stronghold, Russell plays a much more likeable character than in MCU blockbuster Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2, where his role as Star Lord's (Chris Pratt) father Ego reveals much darker dimensions.

Stan Lee

Marvel movies Too many to list!

Marvel godfather Stan lee has famously cameoed in every MCU title so far, but he's also popped up in a host of standalone Marvel epics, including the first three X-Men titles and the first three Spider-Man movies.

Who else would you have added to our list? Tweet us @Cineworld and be sure to check out Deadpool 2 when it hits our screens on 16th May.

Hannah Dixon is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.