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I really don’t think there’s much of an argument about who’s the better Daredevil when you compare Ben Affleck with Charlie Cox. But when it comes to Kingpin, well, maybe we have an argument there. Because while most people praised Vincent D’Onofrio’s performance as the Kingpin on the Netflix Daredevil series, I think a lot of people forget just how good Michael Clarke Duncan’s performance was in the movie centered on Marvel's Man Without Fear.
For those who don’t know, The Kingpin is a popular villain for both Daredevil and Spider-Man (he was the main antagonist in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, after all), and to a certain extent, The Punisher. Created in 1967 as a Spider-Man baddie, he’s pretty much the king of New York's criminal underworld. Both the Netflix and the film versions have their strengths and weaknesses, and I thought I would ultimately decide which is the better version. I’m, of course, excluding the one voiced by Liev Schreiber, because that simply wouldn’t be fair since he’s clearly the best Kingpin of all.
Wilson Fisk is a big dude. In fact, in the comics, he’s 6 ft. 7 and 450 lbs. So, with that said, which actor pulls off the Kingpin’s overall size the best?
Michael Clarke Duncan's Size
Here’s the thing—and I’m just going to be blunt about it—Kingpin looks fat. But most of his 450 lbs is muscle. And if you remember Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP), you’ll recall that he was mostly all muscle mass and could even pull off being a body builder if he wanted to, so he definitely didn’t look fat.
But if we’re going on pure size alone, then Michael Clarke Duncan is actually not too far off from the character. At 6 ft. 5 and tipping the scales at 315 lbs, Michael Clarke Duncan would make most actors look puny. Even Ben Affleck, who at a relatively tall 6’4, currently only weighs 176 lbs. So yeah, he's much smaller in comparison.
Vincent D’Onofrio's Size
Vincent D’Onofrio certainly looks more like Kingpin than Michael Clarke Duncan, but I’ll get to that later. What I’m focused on now is the overall size, and Mr. D’Onofrio is no small fry himself.
At 6’3 and 250 lbs, Vincent D’Onofrio certainly has the weight and size to play a convincing Kingpin. But if we’re going by mere dimensions, then there’s a sizeable difference between Vincent D’Onofrio and Michael Clarke Duncan by about 65 lbs.
The Size Victor: Michael Clarke Duncan
While Michael Clarke Duncan may look a lot different from his comic book counterpart, there’s no denying that he definitely had the size over D’Onofrio.
The Intimidation Factor
Part of why The Kingpin is so scary is because of how intimidating he is. So which actor is the more intimidating of the two?
Michael Clarke Duncan's Intimidation Factor
As mentioned in the size section, Michael Clarke Duncan is a big dude, and when he threw his weight around, it was scary. In the director’s cut, Duncan kills his bodyguard with his bare hands and shows no remorse.
But here’s the thing. Because this Kingpin is so poorly written, we don’t really feel anything for him, as the movie focuses more on Bullseye, played by Colin Farrell. Kingpin is just a killer in the film, which, in a way, is pretty intimidating. We don’t quite know what he’s thinking, which is scary.
Vincent D’Onofrio's Intimidation Factor
Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin is actually very well-written, so we get a chance to learn about his background, making him a somewhat sympathetic character.
In doing so, it makes him a much more versatile antagonist, but one with a soft spot who can be pushed if you talk about his “one and only Vanessa.” But in making him such a well-rounded character, it kind of makes him less intimidating in a way. Yes, he’s more interesting, but he’s also not as scary.
The Intimidation Victor: Michael Clarke Duncan
Think about the Terminator. Isn’t it much scarier when the villain has no feelings? That’s Michael Clarke Duncan’s version of Kingpin, for better or worse.
In the comics, The Kingpin is a large, bald, white man who wears a white suit and carries a cane. So who pulls off the look best?
Michael Clarke Duncan's Appearance As Kingpin
Michael Clarke Duncan is a large, bald, black man who doesn’t even wear Kingpin’s trademark white suit. He does carry a cane, though.
I liked Michael Clarke Duncan in the role, but after seeing Vincent D’Onofrio, it’s kind of hard to go back.
Vincent D’Onofrio's Appearance As Kingpin
Vincent D’Onofrio looks just like the Kingpin from the comics. I mean, almost identical. I honestly couldn’t think of a better Kingpin, appearance-wise.
In that way, he’s pretty much the perfect Kingpin. And Vincent D’Onofrio thinks so, too, which is why he would love to play the character again.
The Appearance Victor: Vincent D’Onofrio
There's no contest here. Vincent D’Onofrio definitely looks more like the comic book character. He rocks!
The Daredevil Story They Fit Into
The Kingpin is only as good as the story he fits into. Which Kingpin is in the better story?
Michael Clarke Duncan
Sorry if I offend any fans of the Daredevil movie, but it kind of sucks. The main problem is that there’s just too much stuffed in there. You have Bullseye, you have Jennifer Garner's Elektra and you also have an origin story for Daredevil, all in one movie.
So yeah, Kingpin is in the film, but he doesn’t get too much time to develop. His presence is definitely in the background, which is kind of like the comics, but the rest of the story is pretty lame. I mean, there’s a reason why most people don’t look back upon this film fondly.
This one almost isn’t fair. Kingpin is by far the main antagonist in the Daredevil Netflix series, and his character grows from being the king of New York to the king of jail. So he has a full character arc throughout.
Plus, the show was really good, at least for the most part. In fact, many would consider Daredevil to be the greatest Marvel show ever, so it has that going for it.
The Daredevil Story Victor: Vincent D’Onofrio
Once again, there's no contest between the two Kingpins. One is in a much-maligned movie, and the other is in a highly respected TV series. Michael Clarke Duncan didn’t have a chance.
Which Kingpin was the most popular of the two?
Michael Clarke Duncan's Popularity As Kingpin
Besides me, I don’t think anybody even likes the Michael Clarke Duncan version of Kingpin. But I did think he fit the tough guy persona well, and he was certainly intimidating.
Plus, as mentioned earlier, I liked the idea that he was in the background for a great deal of the film and pulling all the strings. But…
Vincent D’Onofrio's Popularity As Kingpin
Everybody loves this version of the Kingpin. His pudginess works since it resembles the character, and he’s mostly calm, but sometimes flies into fits of rage, just like the comic book character, making him complex.
Honestly, what more could you want from the character? That’s why Vincent D’Onofrio is probably the most popular version of the Kingpin. I personally prefer the one from Into the Spider-Verse, but I understand why D’Onofrio’s is most people’s favorite.
The Popularity Victor: Vincent D’Onofrio
You have to give the people what they want, and the people want Vincent D’Onofrio!
Michael Clarke Duncan Vs. Vincent D’Onofrio: Who Wins?
I’ll continue to defend Michael Clarke Duncan’s performance as Kingpin, but the victor is clear. Vincent D’Onofrio is the superior Kingpin.
But what do you think? Do you agree that Vincent D'Onofrio was the superior Kingpin, or should that honor have been awarded onto Michael Clarke Duncan's version. Give us your thoughts in the poll and comments below.