From leading romantic comedies to thrillers, dramas, and even animated features it’s clear that no Hollywood casting director can put Chris Evans in a box.
During the span of his varied two-decade career, Evans has played a drug addict, an astronaut, a vengeful ex-boyfriend, a villainous playboy, and a foster dad. Now, on the heels of his latest roles in Netflix’s action-thriller The Gray Man and Pixar’s Lightyear, we figured it would be a great time to revisit some of the actor’s best work.
10. Not Another Teen Movie (2001)
Where to watch: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+
New to the Hollywood scene, Evans played his first “loveable schmuck” role as Jake Wyler in Not Another Teen Movie. In the movie, Wyler is the popular high school jock with the seemingly perfect life and perfect cheerleader girlfriend until, of course, the school’s most unpopular (but smart!) girl undergoes a makeover that redirects the popular jock’s attention. Written purposefully as a parody of other popular teen romantic comedies like Pretty in Pink, American Pie, and 10 Things I Hate About You, Evans’s ability to be douchey and charming at this stage of his early career is the perfect beginning for his eventual roles as the leading man in other romantic comedies like What’s Your Number.
Read our review of Not Another Teen Movie.
9. Cellular (2004)
Where to watch: HBO Max, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+
Evans helmed his first action-thriller role in the movie Cellular. The story follows an unsuspecting man named Ryan (Evans) as he races through the streets of Los Angeles uncovering LAPD corruption and crime rings after he receives a phone call from a kidnapped woman (Kim Bassinger.) While not critically favored, it is great to see Evans’ first foray into the action genre as he takes on a more serious persona.
Read our review of Cellular.
8. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)
Where to watch: Hulu, Roku, Amazon Prime Video
Prepare to feel the wrath of the league of evil exes. In Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Evans plays Lucas Lee, an overconfident action star and overzealous ex who aims to destroy the life of the titular Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) after discovering he’s been dating his former middle school girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead.) Though Evans briefly appears in the movie, his character’s wacky bravado and sweet skateboarding antics have packed a pretty big punch in Evans’ iconic filmography.
Read our review of Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World.
7. Puncture (2011)
Where to watch: Peacock, Amazon Prime Video, Tubi
In Puncture, Evans takes on his first biopic role as the late lawyer Mike Weiss who fought against “Big Pharma” to ensure that doctors and nurses have access to safe single-use syringes in hospitals. Puncture is an uneven film, but it offers Evans one of his most complex roles, portraying a troubled and passionate amateur lawyer who struggled with major addiction. Released the same year as Captain America: The First Avenger, this film further showcases Evans’ range in powerful performances no matter the subject.
6. What’s Your Number? (2011)
Where to watch: YouTube, Apple TV+, Amazon.
If you’re looking for an upgrade from Evans’ romantic role in Not Another Teen Movie, then What’s Your Number is definitely for you. The plot’s premise centers around Ally Darling (Anna Farris), a quirky thirty-something who enlists the help of her hot neighbor Colin Shea (Evans) to track down her ex-boyfriends due to her outdated sexual insecurities. It’s a goofy situation, and paired with the comedic prowess of Farris, the movie also contains one of Evans’ most underrated, silly, and best romantic lead roles to date. The best part about this film is that it purposefully banks on the self-awareness of Evans’ physical attributes, allowing more of his innate comedic ability and natural charm to shine through during vulnerable moments.
5. Snowpiercer (2013)
Where to watch: Tubi, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Apple TV
Snakes on a plane? How about Chris on a train? In South Korean writer-director Bong Joon Ho’s political sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer, the fate of lower-class rebels rests in Curtis Everett's (Evans) hands. The year is 2031 and humans have failed to stabilize the effects of climate change, leaving the last remaining humans to create a semi-functioning society on a train that endlessly circles the frozen earth. The train has an unfair social hierarchy, with wealthy folks riding in luxury cars located at the front of the train, while low-income folks are crammed in the back. All hell breaks loose when Everett shepherds his team of rebels to the front of the train, uncovering dark secrets in the process. Like Captain America, Everett has a distaste for societal injustice that Evans plays with strong emotional vulnerability. Thanks to Snowpiercer’s R-rating, however, the grit and anger that Evans conjures for this role really shine through. It’s a one-way ticket to a kickass performance that you don’t want to miss.
Read our review of Snowpiercer.
4. Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)
Where to watch: Disney+
Captain America: Winter Soldier takes the unshakably self-assured hero down a dark path as he struggles to reconnect with his best-friend-turned-HYDRA-assassin Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). Along the way, Cap finds himself at odds with the unjust policies of the government that he once held in high regard. In a callback to a promise he made to Bucky in his first film (“I’m with you ‘til the end of the line”), Evans does a heartbreakingly good job at portraying Cap’s fierce loyalty to his friends even when they’ve gone too far off the deep end. Oh, and if we could give Evans an award just for that super cool elevator fight scene alone, we would.
3. Gifted (2017)
Where to watch: Youtube, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video
Gifted is a sentimental film that completely removes Evans from his usual elements in the action and romantic comedy genres. Evans plays Frank, a man taking care of his prodigy niece (McKenna Grace) who is then taken into a taxing custody battle with his own mother. It’s a complete tear-jerker that showcases a softer paternal side to Evans as he uses his range to give a tender performance that doesn’t stray too far into melodrama.
2. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Where to watch: Disney+
After nearly a decade of harrowing battles, tremendous losses, and the occasional win, Evans portrays Captain America’s last hurrah with the Avengers gracefully. In this ambitious and encapsulating end to the Avengers franchise, Evans is able to maximize his minimal screentime by hitting important emotional character beats with heart. From his team-up with Spider-Man (who he affectionately refers to as “Queens”), his wielding of Mjolnir, his triumph over Thanos, to his final attempt at getting one last dance with his true love Peggy Carter, Evans’ ability go from fear to failure to courage makes for an emotionally resonant watch. We dare you not to cry at the end as elderly Cap reflects in tender earnestness on his life before passing his iconic shield to Falcon.
Read our review of Avengers: Endgame.
1. Knives Out (2019)
Where to watch: Youtube, Amazon Prime Video, Apple
In his best role to date, Evans put down the shield and picked up the knife in Rian Johnson’s delightful murder-mystery film Knives Out. Cast as the devilishly handsome and wealthy family outcast Ransom Drysdale, Evans’ impressive range of talents are all on display as he goes from charismatic charmer to a calculating cold-blooded killer. Under Johnson’s clever witticisms and dark comedy, Evans’ ability to portray a man’s descent into madness after playing the hero for so long makes this performance incredibly fun to watch. Out of a stacked cast that includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Daniel Craig, Toni Collete, and Ana de Armas, Evans’ seductively sly performance takes the cake. Or should we say, the donut hole?
Read our review of Knives Out.