Manchester United And Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton, Tom and Jerry, Rick Grimes and Negan; the world is filled with rivals who will do anything in their power to get one over on the other and the film industry isn’t too far from that, specifically when it comes to the rivalry between comic book entities, Marvel and DC. While the majority of audiences tend to lean towards the lighter and more comedic side, in the exceptionally profitable Marvel, there are still stark warnings that the darker and more grounded DCEU is ready to fight back with every chance it can get (even if the critics don’t see it that way).
With such a strong rivalry forged, one would believe that this cements alliances between the acting community and has stars vying for one side or the other. Through the years though, there have been some who have strayed from one side to the other, forgetting any allegiance with either Marvel or DC and instead mixing it up. While you may think that’s only one or two, there are plenty of individuals who have jumped ship and here they are.
How many of them did you know? Let us know in the comments and also tell us if we’ve missed anyone!
Ryan Reynolds – Green Lantern / Deadpool / X-Men Origins: Wolverine
To kick things off we can’t look any further than the man who has taken three attempts to finally get it right when it comes to comic book movie adaptations. Ryan Reynolds has always been one of the more charismatic and comedic actors to have taken a bow in the comic book movie world but it hasn’t always been plain sailing for him. Initially portraying the Merc with the Mouth Deadpool/Wade Wilson in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Reynolds found out the hard way that comic book fans are ruthless and was on the end of a brutal barrage of abuse following the character being stripped of his very essence in every which way possible.
Hoping to put this behind him, Reynolds jumped ship to DC to pastures new, but then discovered that a CGI suit, a terrible script and even more CGI really doesn’t work as 2011’s Green Lantern proved to be the second nail in that coffin he found himself enclosed within in his film, Buried. Fortunately, the ridicule was enough and Reynolds rallied to make the Deadpool that the people demanded and finally broke free from the shackles and became comic book movie royalty in 2016 with that R-rated, fourth-wall-breaking delight that was our first foray into Deadpool territory.
As plans are afoot for the sequel – with the teaser arriving this past weekend – we can safely say Reynolds has found his guy to save himself from further bashings.
Josh Brolin – Jonah Hex / Guardians of the Galaxy
Taking into consideration that Josh Brolin’s career has spanned over three decades, and his buddy Chunk befriended a guy who wears a Superman t-shirt, it hardly comes as surprise that the actor has entered into comic book escapades in more recent times.
It all didn’t start too positive though, with his first foray coming by way of DC’s Vertigo character Jonah Hex, in a film that included Megan Fox – the instant indicator that it was destined to fail. For the scar-faced anti-hero it was curtains and saw Brolin then move on to become a strong contender for the role of DC’s new Batman after the huge success of Chrstopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. This was not to be though, and Brolin would eventually find his calling as Marvel’s chief villain Thanos, in a role that seems to fit the great man like a glove and promises to be groundbreaking come his eventual big entrance in the next Avengers adventure.
Tommy Lee Jones – Batman Forever / Men In Black / Captain America: The First Avenger
Another veteran actor of the screen, Tommy Lee Jones takes us back to the classic days of when comic book movies were invigorated with a lot more colour and that real sense of the unbelievable in terms of its characters and their personalities. Most notably, the actor provided part of the villainous double act for Batman Forever, joining Jim Carrey’s crazed Riddler to take on Val Kilmer’s Dark Knight.
Jones would then jump over to a property driven by Malibu Comics – a company which would be bought by Marvel Comics – Men In Black. Providing one of the most refreshing and exciting pieces of action cinema of the ’90s era, the film provided a superb team in Jones and Will Smith.
Clearly undeterred by a new era of superheroes, Jones would finally move on to work with the MCU in the form of Captain America: The First Avenger, providing a less established role in the guise of Colonel Chester Phillips.
James Marsden – X-Men series / Superman Returns
James Marsden is an actor who has been around the block more than a few times, having appeared in celebrated television shows such as the recent Westworld and the classic 30 Rock, but he is most known for his work within Fox’s X-Men films. Portraying one of the most famed X-Men, Cyclops, Marsden brought an authority to the role as well as a certain charisma and importance to a character who is one of the key members of the team.
Aside from providing a core individual for the Marvel team, Marsden also joined director Bryan Singer to reboot Superman in the new age of superhero cinema with Superman Returns. The film, despite its cult following, didn’t quite match to expectations and Brandon Routh’s career as the Man of Steel came to a premature end, paving the way for Henry Cavill to revitalise the Blue Boy Scout. Marsden, Kate Boswell and little Superboy had no chance…
Michael Keaton – Batman / Batman Returns / Spider-Man: Homecoming
Arguably one of the best on-screen Batman representations of them all, Michael Keaton was the man to bring Gotham’s finest into a whole new era that showcased the darker and moodier tone of the comic books in all their glory. Sporting the cape and cowl to great effect, Keaton starred in both Tim Burton movies, Batman and Batman Returns, before passing the reins on to Val Kilmer in 1995. It wasn’t until Christian Bale’s appearance to kick off the Christopher Nolan era that audiences had restored faith in the character.
With his career well and truly kickstarted following Oscar triumph Birdman, Keaton this year turns sides in both ways as he becomes chief villain The Vulture in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. For an actor usually seen on the good side of events, it will be an interesting prospect seeing how Keaton can tackle this character and whether he can help to restore faith in Spider-Man as a hero of longevity this time around.
Callan Mulvey – Captain America: The Winter Soldier / Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Remember those days when you came home from school to switch on to Aussie soap Home and Away, then follow it up with Neighbours and then head over to watch Heartbreak High? Chances are, if you’re in your late twenties like me then Callan Mulvey will have featured at some point in that daily routine. The Home and Away and Heartbreak High star has since gone on to star in Hollywood’s big-hitters, with one notable appearance coming in arguably Marvel’s greatest achievement, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Partnering Frank Grillo as SHIELD agent Jack Rollins, Mulvey cut a dominating and dangerous figure in the movie and it would have been great if he had also returned like Grillo in Civil War, but it was not to be. That was all down to the fact that he had indeed turned sides and joined DC’s behemoth Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
Portraying villainous character Anatoli Knyazev, the actor was instantly recognisable and once again made his mark as one of those secondary characters whose impact was still felt even among the big-hitters of the picture.