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15 Actors Who Have Played Both Superheroes And Supervillains

January 7, 2021 2.6k votes 305 voters 20.7k views15 items

List RulesVote up the actors who proved they can play both good and evil.

Sure, it’s great to be the hero who saves the world and returns order to innocent people’s lives. However, it must also be delicious fun to take on the villain who wreaks havoc and enjoys every chaotic second. For the talented actors who played superheroes and supervillains, they've had the rare chance to do both.

A great hero will captivate an audience and make them stand and cheer. The perfect villain will enrage an audience and make them boo. One movie truth is that a great hero is absolutely nothing without a worthy adversary. 

Which actor impressed you the most with their ability to play both good and evil? Make your voice heard. Vote up the actors who made it work as both a supervillain and a superhero.

  • Josh Brolin first entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the supervillain Thanos in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy. Thanos did not have a big presence in Guardians, but his trouble-making role grew in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The alien warlord from the planet Titan is such a mighty supervillain that the Avengers have to call in superhero reinforcements - the Guardians among them.

    Brolin must be doing something right as Thanos. In 2020, Thanos was ranked as the world's most popular film villain

    Brolin later took on the enigmatic Cable in 2018's Deadpool 2. The time-traveling mutant soldier is not necessarily a good guy or a bad guy. His body has been mostly remade with cybernetics. He has the strength and ability to kill and/or beat up just about anything.

    Both Thanos and Cable are important Marvel characters. Which one does Brolin prefer playing? According to Rob Liefield, who co-created the character Cable, Brolin is looking forward to playing Cable in additional MCU films: 

    Josh wants to be Cable again sooner than later. He is itching to be Cable again. He loved being Cable. He told me he understands how beloved his role as Thanos is, but he doesn't look completely like Josh Brolin.

    Pulled off both?
  • Most Reagan-era movie fans knew Michael Keaton as the comedic actor from 1980s comedies like Mr. Mom and Beetlejuice. During that time, superhero movies were not anywhere near as ubiquitous as they became in later decades. When Warner Bros. announced it was making a big-budget Batman movie, comic book fans got excited. However, many of those same fans were unhappy when director Tim Burton hired Keaton to play the title role.

    Despite the Bat-controversy, Keaton admirably performed as the Dark Knight in two Batman features - 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns. Prior to Keaton’s turn as the vigilante superhero, most people only knew the campy Adam West version of Batman from the tongue-in-cheek 1960s television series. Keaton brought a complicated, intellectual quality to the superhero.

    Keaton turned supervillain for 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. The Oscar-nominated actor played arms dealer Adrian Toomes, who becomes the villainous Vulture. Keaton’s bad-guy character was both supervillain and respected family man. Co-producer Eric Hauserman Carroll described Toomes as "the dark Tony Stark."

    Pulled off both?
  • Kurt Russell was several decades into his Hollywood career when he took on the role of the Commander (AKA Steve Stronghold) in the 2005 superhero comedy Sky High. His good-guy character shares a lot of qualities with Superman. The premise of the family-friendly film centers on a high school for teenage superheroes. In the world of Sky High, the Commander is considered one of the greatest superheroes ever.

    Movie audiences have seen Russell adeptly play both hero and villain throughout his prolific acting career. Stuntman Mike from Death Proof is one of modern cinema's most vile antagonists. The actor had no problem serving as the villain in the MCU's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Ego the Living Planet is Star-Lord/Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) long-lost father. He initially comes to Peter as a friend, but then his evil plan to become the only living thing in the entire universe is revealed.

    Pulled off both?
  • We don't get to see much of Hugo Weaving's face in either of these two comic book roles. Movie fans will most likely recognize the British actor as Agent Smith from The Matrix trilogy and the half-elven Elron from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises.

    In 2005, he portrayed the masked V in V for Vendetta. V maybe an anarchist terrorist, but his heart is in the right place. Weaving hides his face behind the Guy Fawkes mask for the entire film. However, the actor adds the perfect amount of flair and mystery to make the freedom fighter memorable.

    Weaving went over to the dark side in 2011 to portray the supervillain Red Skull in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger. The audience only gets to see Weaving's face when he is Adolf Hitler's colleague Johann Schmidt. He becomes Red Skull when his face is disfigured after he injects himself with Super Soldier Serum. Weaving is more than convincing and went down as one of the MCU's most ferocious villains.

    Pulled off both?