Something about this comparison just feels as though it’s kind of lopsided, as though one actor has already had his glory days and his aftermath and is now settled into the twilight year that come after while the other still has a strong case for starring in many movies yet to come. Yes, if you were wondering who’s who, Arnold has definitely gone past his prime and despite his skill on screen he’s still entering the twilight of his career, however long that will end up lasting, while Dwayne Johnson is still going strong. If asked to compare who has the better career at the moment then it would certainly be Johnson, as he’s pulling in the kind of profits that were unheard of back in Arnold’s day. However, adjusting for inflation and technology and anything and everything else that wasn’t quite as available in Arnold’s time, he’s had a phenomenal career. Almost every fan would have their own favorite movies and franchises that they’ve followed with both action stars, but there are definite roles that made both men superstars, though both of them found their burgeoning fame in very different venues, as Arnold was known primarily as a bodybuilder first and foremost, while acting came a little later, while Dwayne Johnson made his footprint in pop culture as The Rock from the WWE, two very different paths that led them both to the action genre, where they’ve both excelled to this point.
From a personal standpoint the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger can be pared down to two of the most iconic roles, that of the T-800 in The Terminator franchise and Conan the Barbarian. Many might say Commando, True Lies, and many other movies are his best, but those are, as I said, my personal favorites. They helped to showcase Arnold’s sheer physical size and strength as well as sense of refinement, in their own way, that was bound to help him become a legend. Dwayne Johnson on the other hand has had many different roles and only a few are really as memorable as anything Arnold has done. The Rock is still one of his greatest roles since like it or not, the WWE is an entertainment show, and the persona’s that each individual takes on usually isn’t who they are behind the scenes, though there are exceptions. However, Dwayne has fully admitted that he’s not “The Rock” when he’s at home, and is a very different person. Claudia Harmata of People can attest to this. But another character from my list of personal favorites would be Beck from The Rundown, largely because of his disdain for guns but his willingness to use them when it’s time to get nasty. In other words, Beck is a very practical person that tried to stick to his principles but knew when and how to get the job done when it came right down to it. Much as it is with Arnold a lot of people would probably create a list of characters that Johnson has portrayed that they enjoy, as Dr. Bravestone from Jumanji would no doubt be one of them. But as far as creating iconic characters he has a few, but none that have been able to stand the test of time quite like Arnold’s. The Scorpion King had a chance to be great, but whether it was too much hype or not enough attention paid to the overall story, the movie just kind of flopped.
Arnold has had his share of flops as well, as both he and Dwayne have gone on to try their hand at drama, comedy, and still remain tied to the action genre. Both of them have had their time in the sun, and for Dwayne it’s still happening since he has yet to really fade from the scene yet. In terms of who has had the more successful career though, Arnold would have to be the overall choice when it comes to creating the most memorable characters, and for having the most movies that have been fondly remembered at this point. But again, this is where the comparison becomes skewed, because Dwayne is still acting while Arnold has slowed down in a very big way doesn’t have as much left in him. In terms of earning power Dwayne is definitely on top at this point, and had they been able to compete as Arnold and Sylvester Stallone did back in the day, it’s fair to say that Dwayne might have had a chance, but he still would have been trailing Arnold if only because the huge Austrian became THE action star for a while until Stallone really started pushing his own name and brand. Even then, Arnold has still been one of the most impressive specimens in the action genre for a long time, and his legend is a little too much to overcome at this time. Dwayne still has a chance to be greater, but time is slowly running out. Austin Boykins of Hypebeast has more to say on this.
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