While superhero movies are still struggling to be taken seriously outside of things as trivial as entertainment value and box office dollars, it's safe to say that the elemental nature of the heroes and villains within can often result in some extremely memorable, iconic performances that just might even be Oscar-worthy.
These performances have inspired us, made us fall in love with heroes and heroines, and allowed fans to lap up the delicious villainy of an A-list actor having the time of their lives as a wild baddie.
It's easy to see why so many name actors are attracted to superhero fare these days: not merely the money, but also profile, and because it's an entirely different box of toys, and allows them to harness their acting prowess in an totally unique way.
Here are the 20 greatest performances in superhero movies...
20. Nicolas Cage - Big Daddy (Kick-Ass)
Nicolas Cage may not have set the world alight with his portrayal of Ghost Rider, but he sure as hell made up for it with his brilliant, Adam West-inspired rendition of the very Batman-esque ultraviolent vigilante Big Daddy.
While Cage's impersonation of West's idiosyncratic line readings are themselves pure cinematic gold, the real winner here is his chemistry with on-screen daughter Mindy aka Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz).
The hilariously bad parenting tactics he employs combines with a genuinely touching father-daughter dynamic to make Cage's character unexpectedly well-rounded.
Though Cage largely isn't starring in the most inspired of projects these days, Kick-Ass decisively demonstrates how well his signature insanity can be harnessed in the right comic book movie.
Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes).
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