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The best Chris Evans movies (that have nothing to do with Marvel)

Chris Evans sitting at a table in a chunky knit sweater
Lionsgate

If Robert Downey Jr. kickstarted the MCU with his captivating performance as Iron Man, Chris Evans cemented the Marvel movies as the main money-maker in Hollywood with Captain America. Evans possesses a slightly milquetoast charm that is both malleable and memorable, a true everyman with plenty of muscle and sex appeal to boot. He may lean on his good looks and exterior to catch eyes, but he also leans into a rare authenticity that makes his patriotic superhero a different breed of enticement.

Evans has been in plenty of non-Marvel movies before and after his time in the massive Disney-owned franchise. He slots in well as a star in action movies or as a supporting player in more comedic films. These are the best Chris Evans movies to show the MCU nerd in your life who can’t get enough of the American icon’s other work!

9. The Gray Man (2022)

9. The Gray Man
122m
Genre
Action, Thriller
Stars
Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas
Directed by
Joe Russo, Anthony Russo
Watch on Netflix

The Gray Man throws Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans into a stereotypical thriller film where two CIA agents fight for survival in the midst of a heated rivalry. Secrets will be revealed, death will be waiting on each man’s doorstep, all of that jazz, ya know? Both male leads have the charisma to elevate the mediocre script into an entertaining affair. It’s not going to go down as some sort of all-time great film, but it lets the Russo brothers reunite with Evans for a fitting popcorn flick.

8. Cellular (2004)

8. Cellular
94m
Genre
Action, Thriller, Drama, Crime
Stars
Kim Basinger, Chris Evans, Jason Statham
Directed by
David R. Ellis
Watch on Amazon

Sticking with the thriller genre, Cellular was probably one of the movies that most inspired Chris Evans’ ensuing career as an action and superhero actor. The movie pits a kidnapping target against shady police. Stars like William H. Macy and Jason Statham helped add more name power to the proceedings in a time before Evans was a blockbuster headliner.

7. Puncture (2011)

7. Puncture
100m
Genre
Drama, Mystery
Stars
Chris Evans, Michael Biehn, Vinessa Shaw
Directed by
Adam Kassen, Mark Kassen
Watch on Amazon

Puncture was Chris Evans’ first big opportunity to show off his non-superhero acting chops in the wake of Marvel’s success. Evans depicts Mike Weiss, a lawyer with more than a few personal issues that get in the way of his career aspirations. Drug addiction and mental health are always catalysts for Oscar-bait roles. Although Evans didn’t garner that type of adulation for the film, most critics recognized that he deserved a place at the elite table.   

6. The Iceman (2012)

6. The Iceman
105m
Genre
Thriller, Crime, Drama
Stars
Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta
Directed by
Ariel Vromen
Watch on Amazon

The Iceman is a classically-styled mobster film with all of the essential players present. Ray Liotta and Michael Shannon turn in the defining performances of a story revolving around Richard Kuklinski, a mafia man with a family life shrouded in deceit and murder. Fans of Breaking Bad and The Sopranos will enjoy the duel-life themes and criminal world proceedings here.

5. Gifted (2017)

5. Gifted
101m
Genre
Drama, Comedy
Stars
Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan
Directed by
Marc Webb
Watch on Amazon

Chris Evans doesn’t step outside of the action genre often, but Gifted is a prime example of his ability to navigate emotional family dramas. Evans plays a man who takes care of his unique niece and fights for her guardianship in a fascinating legal battle. Evans fleshes out a character that shows strength and resolve in a juxtapositional nature from the Marvel films. Octavia Spender lends a strong performance, too.

4. Sunshine (2007)

4. Sunshine
107m
Genre
Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller
Stars
Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Chris Evans
Directed by
Danny Boyle
Watch on Amazon

One of Cillian Murphy’s best movies, Sunshine also features a pre-Marvel Chris Evans in a fun science fiction romp that takes plenty of liberties in fleshing out an apocalyptic scenario. Evans and Murphy play scientists desperately trying to save the sun so that the people on Earth have a chance at seeing a new day. Climate change and other prescient issues make the scenario apt and interesting. 

3. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

3. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
113m
Genre
Action, Comedy, Romance
Stars
Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong
Directed by
Edgar Wright
Watch on max

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World features the dorky energy of Michael Cera as a downtrodden musician fighting for his dream of becoming a rock star. Chris Evans, Kieran Culkin, and Anna Kendrick fill out the cast of eclectic folks who are even weirder than Cera’s titular protagonist. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World shows the media landscape that more movies and shows need to be greenlit in conjunction with video games, as a brawling game was released on PlayStation 3 and other consoles during the same summer as the film.

2. Snowpiercer (2013)

2. Snowpiercer
127m
Genre
Action, Science Fiction, Drama
Stars
Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, John Hurt
Directed by
Bong Joon-ho
Watch on Amazon

An offbeat idea executed to perfection, Snowpiercer is the story of a train carrying post-apocalyptic survivors through the tundra of Earth’s remaining reckage. Chris Evans plays the character tasked with leading humanity into its next era against the evil factions trying to take control of the train. Evans’ performance shines as a prototypical science-fiction lead role that suits him. The movie was popular enough to receive a TV adaptation years later on TNT. 

Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out
131m
Genre
Comedy, Crime, Mystery
Stars
Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas
Directed by
Rian Johnson
Watch on Amazon

Chris Evans fits Knives Out’s ensemble cast like a glove. The Rian Johnson flick plays out like a live-action depiction of the board game Clue, with plenty of interesting subplots, twists, and turns. The totality of the production is greater than the sum of its parts, with superb music and fitting cinematography enhancing the story. Unfortunately, Evans doesn’t star in the sequel, Glass Onion, one of Netflix’s biggest 2022 hits.

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek, Quote.com, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
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