Over his illustrious career, Chris Evans has become associated with well-performed roles. Known for his contributions both in and outside of the superhero world, Evans made a solid case for his versatility by personifying two extremely different characters within it.
In 2011, Evans made his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he was no stranger to playing a Marvel hero. Six years prior, Evans starred as a hot-headed hero in Fox’s Fantastic Four. Now that Evans’ time as Captain America has come to a close and Marvel is actively seeking the cast for their rendition of the superhero faction, it raises the question of whether Evans would have been better suited to reprise his role as Johnny Storm instead of taking the mantle of Captain America.
Even though both characters Evans played are Marvel heroes, Evans would have never been able to play both within the MCU. Of course, Sony recently cast Aaron Taylor-Johnson who played Quicksilver in the MCU’s Age of Ultron to play Kraven the Hunter. It’s unclear if Kraven will ever make an MCU appearance, but with Taylor-Johnson playing him, it might make things a bit confusing for a few Marvel heroes. Taylor-Johnson’s roles actually have a few similarities but in Evans’ case, his characters are far from the same.
In the 2005 adaptation of Fantastic Four, Evans played Johnny Storm or the Human Torch. Equipped with pyrokinetic powers, Storm is also able to use his heat resistance to propel him into flight. Evans starred in Fantastic Four alongside Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd, and Michael Chiklis. The four reunited for the film’s sequel, Rise of the Silver Surfer which premiered in 2007. Unfortunately, they were unable to finish the trilogy due to the box-office performance of the sequel. This is not a reflection of the performances of any of the actors gave, as they all represented their characters rather well.
Johnny Storm and Steve Rogers do have a few similarities. Aside from both having been played by Chris Evans, they are also founding members of an elite superhero faction that tries to protect the world from inner and out-of-this-world threats. Despite being heroes, they are also incredibly different.
Captain America made most of his enemies being the stereotypical idea of a hero. He has a clear conception of right and wrong and always operates in the green. When Steve Rogers first receives his powers, he uses them to take down Hydra. He immediately becomes a hero (after a slight detour as a performer) and focuses on helping the American war effort. The only time he begins to stray from this is in Civil War, but even then, he ends up being right. Labeled a fugitive for refusing to sign the Sokovian Accords and fleeing with presumed bomber Bucky Barnes (who is still trying to recover from his days as the Winter Soldier), Rogers ends up being right about Barnes’ innocence.
The Human Torch is the opposite. When Johnny Storm becomes aware of his pyrokinetic powers, he uses them for his own gain. While the other members of the Fantastic Four struggle to accept and become acclimated to their new powers, Storm is over the moon and even bullies The Thing for the hideous inflection he’s inherited. Instead of gaining enemies for how righteous he is, Storm becomes detested for his cocky entitlement. Evans plays the irresponsible, arrogant, playboy extremely well and has adopted a few roles like it since. In Knives Out, Evans played Ransom Drysdale, who concocted a scheme to frame a nurse for the murder of his grandfather in order to keep his inheritance.
Storm is incredibly cocky and full of himself, especially once he receives his powers. Unwilling to listen to reason (or his sister Sue), Storm causes his fair share of problems amongst the group. Despite that, when it comes to saving the world, Storm would always be counted on. The eccentric attitude of Johnny Storm differs from the old-fashioned hero Evans would play six years later, but Evans does justice to both roles.
Steve Rogers is certainly more reserved and clearly prioritizes the world’s greater good above his own. As Steve Rogers, Evans brings a certain composure to Captain America that would be hard for anyone else to replicate. As Johnny Storm, Evans brings a distinct swagger that also can’t be copied. While Evans performs incredibly well in both roles, which one is he better suited to play?
Evans’ ability to pull off both the Human Torch and Captain America attests to his versatility as an actor. The easy answer would deem Evans as a better fit for the Captain America role because of his longevity. While he had a career long before taking the Captain America role, the Marvel role certainly boosted him further into celebrity status. Of course, Evans’ track record with bad boy roles is definitely something to take into account. Even though Evans portrayed Johnny Storm early in his career, all the small details of Johnny Storm (no matter how annoying), make the role more enjoyable to watch.
Fantastic Four and Captain America are now streaming on Disney+.
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