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Chris Evans: The best 6 roles he's ever played (yes, Knives Out is on there - keep your knives in!)

Yes, Captain America is on the list, along with two other comic book-related movies

Chris Evans in Knives Out
Image credit: Claire Folger

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You love Chris Evans, and we understand; we love him too. (So much so that we made a guide to help you follow his career as Captain America in the MCU, even.) But… which Chris Evans do we love the most?

Ahead of Evans coming to Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con later this month — we’ll be live-streaming the panel as it happens if you’re not at the show — it’s time to revisit the career of the man some people call Steve Rogers, and see just what he’s capable of.

The actor will be appearing later this month at our Emerald City Comic Con 2024 in Seattle, and you can reserve ECCC 2024 Photo Ops with Chris Evans right now and beat the rush.

And you can livestream the Chris Evans Spotlight panel from Seattle's ECCC 2024 right here on Popverse!

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Image credit: Universal Pictures

In a movie filled with great performances, I’m just going to go ahead and say it: Chris Evans as Lucas Lee is the best thing about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. In what’s as much a parody of his own career to that point as anything else, Evans nails it as a the dumb-as-rocks egotistical movie star with a successful career in mid-level schlock — at once cocky and arrogant, while beautifully brittle and needy — with an army of stand-ins to do his dirty work for him. It’s a performance ahead of its time, in that it demonstrates how well Evans can play the comedy asshole… and how much fun it is to watch him when he’s doing so.

What’s Your Number? (2011)

What's Your Number?
Image credit: 20th Century Studios

Let’s take a moment to appreciate Chris Evans as a rom-com star. There was a period in his career where this seemed to be the direction he was going to take, being both charming and handsome and entirely the type of actor that you could see any woman — in the case of What’s Your Number, Anna Paris, who’s having more fun than anyone else in the movie, perhaps — fall for him. Sure, the movies might have been somewhat generic and throwaway, but they were also a lot of fun to watch… and what’s more, Evans was reliably perfect as the homme de jour and love interest in each and every occasion. (A skill he retains to this day; 2023’s Ghosted might not be the best movie, but he’s very watchable in it.) The only problem with all of this is actually best exemplified by What’s Your Number — when Chris Evans is your neighbor and he’s clearly interested in you, why do you need an entire movie to work that out?

Snowpiercer (2013)

Snowpiercer
Image credit: The Weinstein Company

On paper, Snowpiercer is a strange proposition: adapted from a European graphic novel by Parasite director Bong Joon-ho, co-starring Evans, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, and Tilda Swinton, and the whole thing being a fast-moving action movie that’s also about climate change and global warming. And yet… it works, spectacularly well, with Evans getting the chance to show off some sensitive, low-key chops that it’s possible people hadn’t expected him to have. (It’s called range, friends.) It was, in a wonderful way, almost a bait-and-switch: audiences came to the movie for Evans’ star quality, only to leave knowing that he was a better actor than they’d been giving him credit for. Think of it as an unlikely win-win scenario at the end of the world.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Image credit: Marvel Studios

There’s no way to write about Chris Evans without writing about Captain America — a role that not only made him a star, but kept him impossibly busy for a decade or so, with him appearing as the star-spangled Avenger an astonishing 10 times in eight years. Is The Winter Soldier the peak of Evans’ time as the character? Possibly — it’s a movie that offers him the opportunity to really did into some emotional moments, as opposed to simply being stoic and heroic in equal measure, while letting him get some comic relief in there as well. Were we tempted to put the PSA cameo from Spider-Man: Homecoming in this spot, instead? Well, sure, but can you really blame us?

Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out
Image credit: Lionsgate Films

What was that we were saying earlier about our love for Chris Evans playing a comedy asshole? Dear readers, Knives Out allowed him to indulge in that talent to a degree nobody even knew they wanted, with Ransom Drysdale being exactly the villain we needed but hadn’t realized just yet. Is it a career best performance? Very possibly, and not just because of that sweater. Do we want a Ransom-centric Knives Out spin-off along with whatever the next Benoit Blanc movie is? You bet your posterior we do, and as soon as possible.

Defending Jacob (2021)

Defending Jacob
Image credit: Apple TV+

The Apple TV+ miniseries that Evans acted as executive producer on was a departure for the actor, being.a very serious dramatic role with no genre elements, and an extended performance that asked a lot of Evans as the central figure in an emotionally murky story about morality, family, and the extents people will go for the ones they love. It’s a world away from Lucas Lee, Ransom Drydale and, especially, Captain America — but that’s the appeal of it, for both Evans and the audience alike; it’s a role that leaves the future wide open as to where he can go next, and what he’s capable of.

Have your say!

Okay, we’ve given you our six favorite performances from Evans’ career to date, but now we’re curious about your take. So curious, in fact, that we’ve created a poll for you to tell us: What is your favorite Chris Evans project? And why is it Scott Pilgrim vs. the World or Knives Out? Vote early, vote often, and pass the word to your friends, too; it’s for science. (Almost.)


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Graeme McMillan avatar

Graeme McMillan

Staff Writer

Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.

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