Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

All the best Henry Cavill movies, ranked

The best Henry Cavill movies, ranked

Henry Cavill in The Man From U.N.C.L.E..
Warner Bros. Pictures

Earlier this month, Henry Cavill returned to the big screen in Matthew Vaughn’s Argylle, a spy action comedy in which Cavill played the title character – a man who may not exist. Unfortunately, Argylle hasn’t had a very warm reception at the box office, and it appears that Vaughn’s plans for a potential franchise are unlikely to go forward.

This shouldn’t reflect badly on Cavill himself, who last appeared on the big screen in 2022 during a cameo as Superman in Black Adam. Shortly thereafter, D.C. Studios decided to move on from Cavill’s take on the iconic superhero, and another actor was cast for the next Superman film. Regardless, we still believe that Cavill is a talented actor whose action career is far from over. Having said that, a lot of Cavill’s movies prior to 2011 represent some of the worst aspects of direct-to-video films. That’s why you won’t find any of those flicks on this list.

When considering the best Henry Cavill movies, we had to leave out those early films and primarily focus on his roles from the last 13 years. We also found that some of Cavill’s most enjoyable performances come when he’s in a supporting role rather than having to carry a movie by himself.

Henry Cavill in Immortals.
Warner Bros. Pictures

7. Immortals

Don’t expect a history lesson about Greek mythology from Immortals. This film plays pretty fast and loose with the mythos behind the Greek gods. But without this movie, Cavill probably wouldn’t have gone on to star as Superman on the big screen. In this story, Cavill plays Theseus, a mortal warrior who is favored by the gods against the evil King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke).

Zeus (Luke Evans) has ordered the gods not to intervene in Theseus’ quest to stop Hyperion, an order which is almost immediately ignored by his fellow gods. Perhaps Zeus would have reconsidered his stance if he knew that the conflict between Theseus and Hyperion had greater implications for the fate of the gods than even he suspected. Immortals is pretty far from Cavill’s best movie, but his presence goes a long way toward making it enjoyable.

Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Warner Bros. Pictures

6. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

It’s hard not to see things from the perspective of Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In a retcon at the beginning of the movie, Batman’s alter ego is revealed to have been in Metropolis on the day that Superman fought the Kryptonian army in Man of Steel. Thanks to that first-hand view of just how dangerous Kryptonians can be, Batman genuinely comes to believe that Superman is a threat to mankind.

Dawn of Justice is a lot more dour than Man of Steel, with only a few scenes of joy between Clark Kent and Lois Lane (Amy Adams). Cavill and Adams are great whenever they get to share the screen. By contrast, Jesse Eisenberg’s take on Lex Luthor is very disappointing even as he fans the flames of Batman’s hatred towards Superman. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman livens things up when she makes her presence known. It’s just not enough to successfully bring the movie to a satisfying conclusion.

Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel.
Warner Bros. Pictures

5. Man of Steel

At first glance, Cavill looks like he was born to play Superman. Even his successor in the upcoming film, Superman: Legacy, David Corenswet, looks uncannily like a younger version of Cavill. Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was Cavill’s best chance to shine as Superman, and there are moments in the film where he really does feel like a natural in the role.

Cavill’s Clark also has terrific chemistry with Adams’ Lois Lane, which skips right past the secret identity that traditionally keeps them apart. Unfortunately, Man of Steel’s most human moments are undercut by the arrival of General Zod (Michael Shannon) and his Kryptonian army when they threaten to attack the Earth if Superman isn’t handed over to them. Once Superman starts fighting his brethren in increasingly destructive battles, this movie loses its heart long before the Man of Steel does something that’s wildly out of character.

Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer in The Man From U.N.C.L.E..
Warner Bros. Pictures

4. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

It’s hard not to get the impression that Warner Bros. would like to forget all about The Man From U.N.C.L.E., even though it’s an amusing update of the original T.V. series from the ‘60s. W.B.’s reticence towards this movie may stem from Armie Hammer’s very public fall from grace rather than anything in the film itself.

Like the television show before it, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. takes place in the ‘60s as C.I.A. agent Napoleon Solo (Cavill) and his Soviet counterpart, Illya Kuryakin (Hammer), are forced to team up with MI6’s Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) to prevent Victoria Vinciguerra (Elizabeth Debicki) from unleashing a nuclear warhead. Director Guy Ritchie doesn’t play this movie as serious as the James Bond films, nor as comical as the Austin Powers flicks. Instead, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a refreshingly fun buddy action movie.

Henry Cavill and Millie Bobby Brown in Enola Holmes.

3. Enola Holmes

In British detective fiction, there’s no greater role than Sherlock Holmes. That may be one of the reasons why Cavill accepted a supporting part as Sherlock in Enola Holmes, a starring vehicle for Stranger Things’ breakout performer, Millie Bobby Brown. This is Brown’s movie from start to finish, and she only has a handful of scenes with her older brothers Sherlock and Mycroft (Sam Claflin).

The reason why this film ranks so highly among Cavill’s movies is that he gives Sherlock more warmth and compassion than the great detective typically gets to display. This incarnation of Sherlock not only genuinely cares for his sister, he’s impressed by her detective skills and very complementary towards her in a way that Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock or any of their on-screen predecessors could never be. Enola Holmes may be Brown’s franchise, but we’d like to see Cavill’s Sherlock Holmes in his own adventure as well.

Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill in Enola Holmes 2.

2. Enola Holmes 2

Unlike the first Enola Holmes movie, Cavill has a lot more to do in Enola Holmes 2. Once again, Enola finds herself living in her famous brother’s shadow when she sets out to start her own detective agency. Meanwhile, Sherlock has finally come across a case that even he can’t solve by himself. It’s going to take both Holmes siblings to untangle this mess.

Enola Holmes 2 also introduces a fresh take on Sherlock’s nemesis, Moriarty, whose identity is a secret throughout the majority of the movie. And although Cavill and Brown don’t share as much screen time as we would have preferred to see, they do some of their best work when they are together.

Henry Cavill and Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
Paramount Pictures

1. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Ironically, Cavill’s best movie, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, is one of the reasons why his appearance in Justice League didn’t make the cut. Paramount wouldn’t let Cavill shave his facial hair from this movie for Justice League’s reshoots, which led to some embarrassing CGI lips on his Superman in that film. That movie’s loss is Fallout’s gain, as Cavill gets to play both an ally to Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and his ultimate enemy.

C.I.A. operative August Walker (Cavill) is assigned to go with Ethan’s team after the I.M.F. accidentally lets terrorists get away with enough plutonium cores for three nuclear bombs. Ethan and Walker have an uneasy dynamic, but it does make for some very satisfying scenes when they need to work together. That includes the unintentionally hilarious moment of Walker reloading his arms during a fistfight. But when it came time for Walker’s treachery to be known, he was one of the franchise’s best villains to date.

Editors' Recommendations

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell is a freelance writer for The Manual, Digital Trends, Fandom, Yahoo Entertainment, and more!
The 12 best Jeff Bridges movies, ranked
The Dude has a long and storied career to celebrate
Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski

Actor, writer, and producer of film and music, Jeff Bridges is a household name that any movie lover should know. Born in true stardom fashion in L.A. to two already famous actors, Lloyd and Dorothy Bridges, Jeff still showed his worth as an actor by proving it time and time again. Starting at the young age of 17, Jeff had already featured as an extra in a few films and shows (some of his parents’ as well as others) before going out on his own to really get a taste for showbiz.
Pursuing his dreams never got in the way of his other life accomplishments though, like joining the Coast Guard right when he turned 18. Jeff strived to be a man of many talents. During his eight years of service, he landed his first breakout role in the timeless The Last Picture Show (we will get to that shortly), which was only the beginning of his long career in film.
As will be shown in our list today, Bridges took on countless roles that challenged him emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Some of which even helped him hone lifelong talents, musical and otherwise. Lots of people may think they know all of Bridges’ great films, but there are a few on this list that may surprise you and make you say “How could I, a great film fan, have possibly missed that one?.” We’re here to tell you: You’re not alone. Jeff took his acting talents to work with numerous different award-winning writers, directors, producers, and other actors over the years, which we’ve taken the time to rank. So here is our list of the top 10 best Jeff Bridges movies of all time.

12. Iron Man (2008)

Read more
The best Joaquin Phoenix movies, ranked

Joaquin Phoenix straddles the line between Hollywood headliner and obscure superstar. Hailing from a show business family littered with talented performers (such as the late River Phoenix), Joaquin loves to throw himself into the depths of morally gray characters who make grave decisions without the ability to react in a morally clear manner. His versatility allows him to play the sidekick or the lead, and his dedication to the craft of filmmaking always makes a Phoenix movie feel unique and on-brand.

Joaquin Phoenix will be back at the front of box office tickets later this year with the release of Joker 2. Before that sequel, fans should brush up on their favorite movies with him in the spotlight to truly appreciate his acting style. These are the best Joaquin Phoenix movies, from daring biopics to superhero adaptations with a wicked flair.

Read more
Will there be a season 2 of Shōgun?
Want to know if Shōgun will last more than one season?
Hiroyuki Sanada in Shogun.

There aren't many shows that debut with a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes, but FX's adaptation of James Clavell's Shōgun is something special. This is the second time that Shōgun has been adapted for television, and it was also a breakout hit in 1980 when it was hailed as one of the greatest miniseries ever created for TV. It took another 44 years before FX's modern take followed, but this version of Shōgun is already among the contenders for the best TV series of 2024.

Cosmo Jarvis stars in Shōgun as John Blackthrone, an English sailor who is trapped in Japan at the beginning of the 17th century. This was during a time when Japan wasn't particularly welcoming of outsiders. And once Blackthrone proved that he had value, he wasn't allowed to leave. Thus, the show chronicles Blackthrone's transformation as he acclimates to Japan and its people in a time of deadly turmoil.

Read more