In my years of watching many big-time movies and TV shows, from horror series to fantasy movies to superhero films, I never quite noticed how often this actor seemed to pop up in some of my favorite projects. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that James Marsden is one of the most versatile actors that is in the business right now, and his resume of excellent films and TV shows proves that.
But I know that my word won’t be enough for you, so that’s where this list comes in handy. Here are the best James Marsden movies and TV shows, and how you can watch them streaming right now, from his musical hits to miniseries’.
The X-Men Series (2000-2014)
The X-Men film series has spanned so many movies that it’s hard to put down just one premise, so I’ll say this simply - the X-Men are a Marvel team full of mutants with different powers that are tasked with saving the world on several occasions, often led by one of their strongest characters, Wolverine, or Charles Xavier (Professor X).
For several years, James Marsden portrayed Scott Summers, otherwise known as Cyclops, a mutant who has the ability to emit beams of energy from his eyes that could kill anything and anyone, but due to this, he has to wear protective eyewear at all times, even when sleeping. Out of everyone that could have played this role, I do think Marsden did it the best. No one else could bring that same amount of swag and coolness to the character that he did, and honestly I wish he had played the role even longer, but everyone has to move on from superheroes at some point.
The Notebook (2004)
Probably one of the most famous romantic dramas of all time, The Notebook -- based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks -- tells the story of two souls and their undying love for each other back in the 1940s, and how somehow, love can conquer all.
James Marsden plays Lon Hammond, Jr., one of the love interests in the film, and while this was one of Marsden’s earlier big movie roles, I do think it’s one of his best. His chemistry with Rachel McAdams was great for the time that they were together, and he shows off his acting skills in a way he hadn’t done before this. I also personally really enjoy the main love story. As talked about as it is, it does deserve a lot of the praise it receives.
If you’re looking for a fun fantasy film with Disney charm, check out Enchanted. This movie, starring the wonderful Amy Adams, tells the story of an animated princess who suddenly has her world thrown upside down when she is transported to the real world by the stepmother of the prince she was due to marry. Now, she has to somehow find her way back - while surviving New York City.
If I can recall correctly, this was the first time I had ever seen James Marsden, who plays Prince Edward, and what a movie to be introduced to him on because Marsden seemed to just be having the time of his life in this role, at least from what I could see. I think of him more as a dramatic actor but seeing him as Prince Edward, this handsome man who has no idea how the normal world works, makes me laugh every time. With the sequel, Disenchanted, coming out soon, I think it might be time to do a re-watch.
As the first of a few television shows on here, let’s start out with a banger with Westworld. In this fun sci-fi series from HBO, Westworld takes place in a dystopian future where there is a theme park of the old wild west built with humanistic looking androids that will do whatever you want. However, when some of these androids begin to develop a consciousness and feelings, all hell breaks loose.
For the first two seasons, James Marsden played Teddy Flood, one of the main characters, and honestly he knocks it out of the park. The Westworld cast is filled with talent regardless, but I really liked Marsden’s character and his interactions with Dolores, played by Evan Rachel Wood. While it’s a shame he isn’t on the show anymore, it’s still such a great series to watch, and with Season 4 hopefully coming out soon, this moment might be great to binge-watch it.
This movie is hands down one of my favorite musical movies yet. In Hairspray, get transported back to the 1960s in Baltimore, where young teenager Tracy Turnblad is hoping to try out for her favorite show, Corny Collins, as a dancer. Life out there is tough for a girl like her - but as long as she has the power of dance and love on her side, nothing can stop her.
James Marsden portrays Corny Collins in Hairspray, and while this movie had some perfect casting, nothing quite fit as much as Marsden playing the host of the show. He just has this perfect charisma and charm that only he could pull off, and he also has an excellent singing voice and the moves as well. Hairspray in general is a musical that everyone would love, with some amazing music like “You Can’t Stop The Beat” and “Without Love,” to speaking about important messages such as racial segregation and body love. If you haven’t watched it yet, be sure to check it out now.
Dead To Me (2019-Present)
If you’re looking for an amazing dark comedy to binge next, check out Dead to Me. In this Netflix original series, two women are both in a grief group following the deaths of their husbands, one of which was hit by a car and the other a supposed cardiac arrest. However, it’s revealed that not everything is as it seems, and sooner or later, secrets begin to unfold.
James Marsden plays Steve Wood, one of the main characters of this show. I would tell you more about his character but this is a series that I really think you should go into blind. Marsden is fantastic in his role and really rocks it in every scene that he is in, but the Dead to Me cast, overall, is so talented and creates an engrossing story that will have your eyes glued to the TV from start to finish, and Marsden is a huge part of that. Definitely one of the best shows on Netflix to watch.
30 Rock (2012-2013)
Next up, we have the classic comedy, 30 Rock. In this sitcom that went on for several seasons, 30 Rock follows a head writer at a sketch comedy show, showing her daily life as she has to deal with not only her co-workers but the the stars of her show, and the constant struggles she has to face.
No, Marsden was not a main member of the 30 Rock cast, but he was a major recurring character for a couple of seasons from 2012-2013, playing Criss Chros, Liz Lemon’s boyfriend and later husband, and while he wasn’t in the show for super long, I’ll always remember his character for being a genuinely good guy who sells organic hot dogs. Marsden was the perfect choice for this role, and his interactions with Tina Fey’s character are some of the best in the series.
27 Dresses (2007)
I feel like when it comes to romantic comedies, this is what everyone knows James Marsden from. 27 Dresses is a romantic comedy about a young woman who has been a bridesmaid all her life - no, seriously, twenty-seven times. Now, when her sister is getting married, she’s serving as a bridesmaid again - only this time, watching her sister marry the man that she actually loves.
What makes James Marsden so good in this role is not only his charisma but his natural charm that he has for roles like this. I love his relationship with Katherine Heigl’s Jane in the movie, even in their rocky moments. One of my favorite rom-com scenes ever are those two getting drunk as heck and dancing on the bar together because it just feels so real and something that a couple would do in the real world, and it makes me smile every time.
Sonic The Hedgehog (2020)
Next up, we have a video game movie that ended up doing a lot better than I ever thought it would. Sonic the Hedgehog, one of the few movies that was released in theaters in 2020, tells the story of the titular character, who somehow ends up in a small town out of nowhere. When a police officer stumbles across him, the two of them decide to team up when an evil genius plans to perform experiments on the hedgehog.
James Marsden plays Tom Wachowski, the police officer that Sonic works with, and I have to say, this film impressed me. As a gamer myself who grew up playing Sonic, this movie felt like a breath of fresh air in the film industry that so often has trouble trying to adapt video games to screen, as they told a genuinely fun buddy story between a famous character and someone new. Marsden did a great job playing Tom and I loved the friendship that blossomed between him and Sonic. Definitely a winner here.
The Stand (2020-2021)
Last but not least, we have the miniseries, The Stand, based on the novel from Stephen King. In this post-apocalyptic show, a pandemic has wiped out almost all of the population of the world, and the few survivors have turned to a dark figure or a light figure. Now, it’s a battle between good vs. evil in a world where everything is grey.
As someone who enjoys the heck out of horror franchises and Stephen King adaptations, The Stand is one of my favorites from the modern era. James Marsden as Stu was, again, such perfect casting, and his character feels like someone we could all relate to, someone that genuinely just wants to do good, which Marsden acts to perfection. The Stand itself is a great miniseries with plenty of awesome characters to love, so you should check it out soon.
With so many amazing roles, one can only wonder what he’s going to do next. Whatever the case, I’m sure I’m going to love it regardless if Marsden is in it. Now if only Disenchanted could come out sooner, I’d really love that.
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Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!