With 'The Avengers' on the way, we look at the best portrayals of the subgenre
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5. Brian Cox, "X2" (2003)
This is the one that surprised me a bit when it landed on the list. I've always been a fan of Brian Cox's performance as military baddie William Stryker (later prequeled by Danny Huston in the disastrous "X-Men Origins: Wolverine") in Bryan Singer's "X2" -- still the best film of the superhero genre, for my money. But I never really realized I was SO fond of it. Indeed, Cox brought a whole other element to Singer's franchise, a world of "mere" homo sapiens adversity that was as ominous as any classic supervillain. Seeing him share the screen with fellow theater rats Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart is also a nice wink, but he took to the role perfectly and with a certain panache.