As the juggernaut that is the superhero genre continues to chug along, it continues to offer movies populated by some of the most beautiful and attractive people on the planet. Superhero comics are not the only comics getting some serious silver screen time, but the reasoning still seems to be the same among executives. Despite the comics from whence they came, characters that ordinarily aren’t considered very attractive (and perhaps for good reason) are given makeovers. Horrifically scarred anti-heroes are now slightly deformed rogues. Nerdy supporting characters are now the toned, confident companions to their superhero pals. Shy, ugly ducklings are now hotties that have a chance at getting the hero’s attention.
Is it a good thing that these characters have gotten the superhero treatment? Does it imply that there’s no room for regular folks in the worlds of comic books in order to put butts in theater seats? Sometimes, it gains the character a fanbase they wouldn’t have previously had, or enlarges their existing one. Occasionally, it makes a once distinguished character completely generic. Feast your eyeballs on 15 characters whose on screen versions are way hotter than their comic book counterparts and let us know how they measure up.
15 TONY STARK
The vast majority of comic heroes have pretty attractive alter egos. Superman and Batman have all been played by hotties on-screen, even if one’s alter ego is sort of a nerd and the other one is a billionaire playboy. When the first Iron Man movie came out, it was the first time Tony Stark, the man behind Iron Man had ever been seen in the flesh.
The Tony Stark of the comics wasn’t anyone to write your mom about; he didn’t really have to be, either, since his face was covered while in his superhero form and the suit gave him all his physical strength. But a lot of time was spent with Tony Stark in the film, and Robert Downey Jr. clearly defined the role as confident, witty, and with sex appeal.
For years Aquaman was considered one of the lamest superheroes in the history of all of comics, mostly due to the fact that his personality and look hadn’t had a facelift in decades. Unlike other superheroes that went from cheerful and helpful boy scouts to gritty and realistic tough guys (looking at you, Batman), Arthur Curry was still in the same green tights and orange top (though he did get some facial hair at one point).
By now everyone has been introduced to the super swole, inked up, Poseidon’s-hotter-brother tasty crab cake that is Jason Momoa. Aquaman was never considered as sexy as the other Spandex wearing members of the Justice League or the Avengers, and by now they’ve all been portrayed by some of the hottest actors around.
Deadpool was never known to exactly be a looker in the comic. An ex Special Forces operative turned mercenary, Wade Wilson was already being eaten away by cancer by the time he became Deadpool, so he didn’t look like much. When he’s approached about a miracle cure for his cancer, he becomes part of a top secret experiment.
A special serum awakens certain dormant mutant genes in him. To see how he’ll mutate, they torture him to trigger it. When he’s put in a crazy chamber that almost suffocates him to death, his mutant fast healing ability kick starts which, while curing his cancer, leaves him all disfigured. He’d be more gross if he wasn’t played by one of the hottest actors in Hollywood today, Ryan Reynolds, who manages to make a third degree burn victim sexy.
12 AUNT MAY
Much of the time, we never get to see much from the parental figures of superheroes unless they are superheroes or otherwise famous themselves. In the case of Spider-Man’s guardian Aunt May, she’s his stalwart supporter, and only living family member once Uncle Ben dies. Throughout the majority of the comic books, she’s always depicted as a kind elderly woman, at the youngest middle aged, whose role is to fuss and fret about Peter Parker.
In the film Spider-Man: Homecoming, Aunt May got a sexy makeover! Instead of being somewhere in her 60s Aunt May is played by the sassy Marisa Tomei, complete with a brash New York city accent and the body of a 30-year old. She keeps a watchful eye on young Spidey, and also his mentor, Tony Stark, who receives no shortage of winks.
The imposing and stoic gatekeeper of the Bifrost Bridge, it’s been Heimdall’s charge to protect the realms of Asgard from all manner of evil forces from charging through the city gates. He takes his oath to Odin very seriously, and is the brother of Thor’s warrior pal Lady Sif. He was made gatekeeper because he has the gift of heightened sight, able to see threats to Asgard (like marching ice giants) days before they reach the city gates.
In the comics, Heimdall was just a big viking, almost indistinguishable from Thor. They both have super speed, strength, and their bodies are three times as dense as Earth humans. Beginning in Thor and for several more films he’s portrayed by Idris Elba, who brings some majestic gravitas to the role, and makes Heimdall much more of a proud warrior than an Asgardian bouncer.
A character that some might consider minor in The Punisher comics, Joan is a neighbor to the brooding Frank Castle when he plans to unleash vengeance on the criminals that murdered his family. An incredibly meak young woman, she has difficulty even having simple conversations with him, but nevertheless helps him rediscover his humanity on different occasions by sharing her hopes and dreams.
In the 2004 film version starring Thomas Jane, Joan is played by Rebecca Romijn, who for those keeping score at home, had also played Mystique in the first X-Men movie. Joan went from being a shy neighbor to a hot love interest for Frank Castle, who never held back on telling him exactly what was on her mind.
9 JIMMY OLSEN
Superman’s #1 Fan Jimmy Olsen is basically DC’s version of Peter Parker (without the powers), a young photojournalist working for the Daily Planet. He’s buddies with Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman, and sees them as role models. In most depictions he’s a freckled ginger kid who wears nerdy bowties and needs constant saving by Superman (seems like a great friend to have around, not).
In the Supergirl series, he’s James Olsen, and anything but a geek. He’s played by the tall, well-dressed, well-muscled Mehcad Brook, and instead of being buds with Superman, is a potential love interest for Supergirl. Confident and forthright despite a tragic past, he is well adjusted despite losing his father to criminals as a kid. He later becomes a superhero in his own right, the crime-fighting Guardian.
8 DONALD PIERCE
Last year’s Logan marked the end of Hugh Jackman’s fantastic run as Wolverine, a character he’d brought to life for almost two decades. A film as moody as the mutant himself, it was a noir-style character study that was a departure from the action-packed superhero cinematic stories audiences had seen so far. It also introduced the character of Donald Pierce as played by Boyd Holbrook.
In the comics, Donald Pierce is a cybernetically enhanced human and member of the infamous Hellfire Club, as well as leader of the Reavers, beings similar to himself that fight on his behalf. He wears a white and silver suit, and was modeled after Donald Sutherland’s character in M.A.S.H. Boyd Holbrook however, has the looks of a young Brad Pitt and the swagger of a young Tommy Lee Jones, all wrapped up in a leather trenchcoat, aviators, and a Southern drawl.
Originally, the doctor that experimented on Deadpool as part of the Weapon X project was Dr. Killebrew. This was changed to Francis Freeman aka Ajax in the 2016 film of the same name. In the comics, Francis was a disfigured government operative known for his sadistic treatment of the inmates at Killebrew’s facility (which included Deadpool). Deadpool undermined his authority at every turn, insulting his name and attempting to make him lose his control. It worked, and it enabled Deadpool to get in a confrontation with Ajax, kill him, and escape.
Of course, Francis didn’t due during the altercation in the comics or in the movie, and thus actor Ed Skrein was able to go on chewing the scenery. It’s precisely because he looks like a pouty faced clothing model that makes it so twisted when he gleefully outlines all the ways in which he would torture Deadpool.
6 EGO, THE LIVING PLANET
When the announcement that there was going to be a sequel to the wildly popular Guardians of the Galaxy, comic fans rejoiced. The original had been an unexpectedly epic action adventure yarn featuring a crew of intergalactic misfits with great chemistry. It left us with the question of just who Star-Lord’s father was, and the sequel offered an explanation.
Enter Kurt Russell, a staple of '80s action adventure movies, and thus perfect to play the paternal figure in a movie with so many retro references. He played Ego, a living planet that can also manifest its matter into a being, as it had to impregnate Star-Lord’s mother on a visit to Earth. Taking the form of a studly '80s Kurt Russell to jumpstart a master plan of rebuilding the entire galaxy in your image seems only natural.
The closest thing Batman had since losing his parents was Alfred. The family butler since his youth, Alfred was always depicted in the comics as a stuffy middle-aged Brit with greying hair and a polished demeanor. Film versions have mimicked this for some time, until recently with the appearance of Jeremy Irons in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Instead of just bringing the tea and a healthy amount of parental advice, Alfred is not unlike James Bond’s Q, in charge of all manner of Bat-tech and its functionality. He oils and repairs Bat-vehicles. He pilots them remotely when Batman is indisposed. He enjoys a good Scotch. He’s a snappy dresser, wears some hipster Elvis Costello glasses, and has a full head of hair. Basically, Alfred is a silver fox that looks more like Batman’s older stud brother.
4 JONAH HEX
The titular character in a western comic book series of the same name, Jonah Hex is a surly bounty hunter who is horribly disfigured on one side of his face. He doesn’t have any superpowers, but he’s a skilled tracker thanks to being raised by Apaches, and even when drunk is known to still have the fastest draw of any criminals whose bounties he collects on.
In the comic series, Jonah Hex is quite a bit more disfigured than in the movie made starring Josh Brolin (think Two-Face). Since it was deemed that the character might not be as likable with too horrific a facial deformity, it was reduced to just a large scar. Even so, it’s difficult to mar such a classically handsome face.
3 DR. DOOM
One of the most iconic villains in comic book history, but largely unknown by the uninitiated comic book fan, Dr. Doom is the main antagonist of the Fantastic Four. In the comics, his face is horribly disfigured and covered by a large, imposing metal mask, and he wears other armored components. Not believing in the success of a primarily masked villain, executives decided that actor Julian McMahon would play the part without the mask for the majority of the movie.
McMahon had previously been famous for playing the lead plastic surgeon on the television series Nip/Tuck, which made the irony of him having his face mutilated particularly strong. He came across as incredibly arrogant, vain, and egomaniacal as Dr. Doom, which was appropriate considering he was every bit as good looking as either Johnny Storm or Reed Richards.
When you think of a character whose mutant ability is to morph into a giant blue furry, you’re not expecting them to make the final result appealing to humans. Beast is one of the few X-Men who can’t really transform back into his human self, so his mutant abilities are always in full effect. He was played by Kelsey Grammer in the the third X-Men movie, but he was covered in piles of prosthetics and rarely seen without them.
In the recent X-Men films, he’s younger, leaner, and vastly more attractive. Actor Nicholas Hoult makes him not only relatable to a younger audience, but also less bookish and reserved. His Beast is what he’d look like if he was a male model, and they don’t cover up his pretty boy looks when he transforms into the big blue guy, either.
1 THE FOX
That a film came from the comic series Wanted is surprising, as films based on moody graphic novels can be hit or miss (as was the case for Watchmen and V for Vendetta). It followed a group of supervillains who basically ran the world behind the scenes, their machinations having significant influence yet no one knew who they were. They called themselves the Fraternity, and they did everything from rob banks to assassinate high profile society members.
They desire to recruit unremarkable office worker Wesley because his father as once a part of their esteemed cohort. To achieve this task they send The Fox, an accomplished assassin with a penchant for wearing a pair of fox-like ears. In the comics she’s attractively rendered, but the film starred Angelina Jolie, who pushes the envelope with some half nude scenes and smokey eyeshadow.