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Friday, February 26, 2016

Favorites - 20 Best Casting Decisions in Comic Book Movies


Now that I’ve gotten through with the disappointments, I can now look at the good casting decisions. Thankfully, there have been more good ones than bad. You’ll have some actors that’ll do a fine job. They’re not bad, just average. Then you get the folk who absolutely rule in the part. They’re lauded for the role and you wonder if anyone could fill the actor' shoes. Unfortunately, there are a lot of them, so choosing ten great casting decisions in comic book movies would be a little hard. In saying that, here are my 20 best casting decisions in comic book movies. Did you really think I could stop at ten?

20. Jackie Earl Haley as Rorschach (Watchmen) – While I’m not the biggest fan of the story nor movie, I thought Haley was well casted as the Question look-alike. Haley definitely brought the crazed vigilante to life in that movie. He brought out the roughness and grit with that voice of his. He was definitely one of the highlights there.

19. Kelsey Grammar as Beast (X-Men: The Last Stand) – Who do you think could really play Dr. Hank McCoy? I can’t really think of too many actors who could pull off that role. Who ever asked him to be in the movie deserves some reward. Kelsey Grammar was a bright spot in a really lackluster movie. He felt like Beast to me with the look and the dialogue. I just wish we got more of him in the movie and in general.

18. Ron Pearlman as Hellboy (The Hellboy movies) – Ron Pearlman was a nice pick for Hellboy. The guy just has a knack for playing masked characters. It’s his portrayal of Hellboy that basically pulled me into that world. I don’t follow the character much but if he is anything like Pearlman portrayed, then I may be checking some of those comics out one day.

17. Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury (Marvel Cinematic) – (imitating SLJ) YEAH, I SAID IT! WHAT’S WRONG WITH A BLACK NICK FURY ANYWAY? NOTHING, THAT’S WHAT, SUCKA! In all seriousness, I liked him in the role. He may not have been the quintessential version of the character, but he was good all the same. Besides, it’s Samuel L. Jackson. Who else would you get to play a cool secret agent who leads SHIELD? Don’t say David Hasselhoff!

16. Gary Oldman as Commissioner James Gordon (Nolan’s Batman trilogy) – Gary Oldman, a guy who could play just about anyone, was perfect for the role of James Gordon in Nolan’s Batman movies. Unlike past Gordons, this one actually did stuff. He and Batman really felt like a team and Oldman played that really well.

15. Elias Koteas as Casey Jones (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) – For those who don’t remember, TMNT was based on the comics. Heck, the first movie’s story was adapted from the comics. I thought and still think the casting of Koteas as Casey was pretty perfect for that movie. He was one of the best parts to the original and I really can’t see anyone else playing that part. He was cool, snarky, and a little crazy. There aren’t many vigilantes who’ll use sports equipment to teach some “JV low-lifes” a lesson. He was even a bright spot in that pit of darkness called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3.

14. William Dafoe as The Green Goblin (Spider-Man) – Just look at him! He looks like a goblin! Yeah, that’s a little mean. In all seriousness, I thought he was a good choice. He played the role well in the first movie and I thought his appearances in the later movies were cool. I liked the interplay between him and Tobey Maguire. Yeah, the costume looked like he should start a fight in Angel Grove but it wasn’t that bad. His performance outshined that metallic armor.

13. J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson (The Spider-Man films) – If there’s one character that was consistently good in all three Sam Rami films, it’s ‘ole JJ. J.K. Simmons did the character justice even in Spider-Man 3 where things went a bit awry. He was always hilarious in every scene he’s in. Whether he’s doing this or that, Simmons ruled that character. I can see why they didn’t revamp the character in The Amazing Spider-Man duology.

12. Scarlet Johannsson as Black Widow (Marvel Cinematic) – I just realized there aren’t many good female performances in comic book movies. While there are good ones, most of them aren’t that memorable. Ms. Johannsson is a different story and I’m not saying that because he’s gorgeous either. Not only does she look good in the role, she owns with some pretty good acting. She was one of the bright spots in Iron Man 2 (an okay movie) and pretty cool everywhere else.

11. Karl Urban as Judge Dredd (Dredd) – While I’m not a big fan of the character, I have to admit that Karl Urban brought it as Dredd. He knocked the Stallone version out of the water with that cool gun of his. He looked cool and had some cool dialogue (“Mama is not the law. I am the law.”) The movie itself was good but I felt like it lacked a little something. I do wish it did better so we could see a sequel. Maybe we will get another Dredd movie somewhere down the road.

10. Wesley Snipes as Blade (The Blade films) – This was some perfect casting here. He’s not one of my favorite actors but his action movies tend to be pretty nice. He fit the mold of a cool vampire hunter well. Even though Blade: Trinity wasn’t well-received, I remember him being cool there too. I couldn’t see many guys pulling off what Snipes did in the Blade movies. Heck, someone tried to pull it off for a TV show, but Sticky Fingaz (yes, that’s his stage name) kind of failed. Hopefully, Snipes does get to return to that character one day. I’ll need to re-watch the trilogy one of these days.

9. Michael Fassbender as Magneto (The X-Men films) – Coming after Sir Ian McKellan (gotta put the “Sir”) wouldn’t be an easy feat. I mean, it is Gandalf for crying out loud. Still, Fassbender kicked some major butt as the young Magneto in the newer films. I was actually stunned when I saw him in X-Men: First Class. I didn’t know he was going to be that good. McKellan was great in the role but I kind of like Fassbender’s rendition a little more. It would still be tough to choose who is really better though.

8. Tom Hiddleston as Loki (Marvel Cinematic) – If there’s one thing you can say about Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, it would be that the villains tend to be a little poor even when good talent is behind them. You can’t say that about Loki. Part of that is because Tom Hiddleston brings a lot to that role. He can be charming as well as devious. There’s even a soft spot to him. We also got to actually see him grow into his villainy in the movies and that’s awesome. I hope he continues to bring it in later movies.

7. Chris Evans as Captain America (and many, many others) – So, who hasn’t Chris Evans played? I mean, he’s been around the block a bit. He was Johnny Storm in the Tim Story Fantastic Four movies, Lucas Lee from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and Jensen from The Losers. He made those roles work well even when some of those movies weren’t really good. The role we’ll probably remember him for will be Captain America in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. I was a little wary at first, but he surprised us all with a really good version of Steve Rogers. He has played the role of America’s ultimate do-gooder well and I hope he brings his A-game in Captain America: Civil War

6. Sir Ian McKellan as Magneto and Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier (The X-Men films) – It’s easy to see why Patrick Stewart got picked to play Xavier… he’s an awesome, bald actor. He is what I more or less imagine the character to be. As for Mckellan, he was pretty cool too. While I kind of like Michael Fassbender a little more in the role, Mckellan still rules. Magneto is a somewhat sympathetic villain and McKellan played it well. I do think that the characters work best when the two are on screen together hashing it out. Their interactions are always the best parts of the X-Men movies and that's why I grouped them together.

5. Michael Keaton/Christian Bale as Batman – Yeah, it’s sort of another tie. They played the same character, so it might as well count as one. Both men brought different things to the character in their respective movies. Bale obviously had more to deal with since he had three movies, but I thought Keaton did well as the Dark Knight in his movies. It must have been a shock to see him, a comedic actor, play such a serious role. While I do like Bale’s portrayal, that voice got grating over time. Overall, I don’t who I could say did the role better. If I had to choose, it would be Michael Keaton for me… I’m ready for the hate mail to flow on this one.

4. Heath Ledger as The Joker (The Dark Knight) – Heath Ledger had things working against him for his role as the Joker. Jack Nicholson’s good portrayal was still in everyone’s minds. There’s also Mark Hamill’s animated version which I think is the ultimate Joker. That doesn’t stop Ledger’s portrayal from being one of the best things about The Dark Knight. He hit all the right notes. He was funny, creepy, and felt like a legitimate threat to Batman and Gotham City. It’s sad that we didn’t get more from Ledger since he passed away in 2008. Still, it is one live-action portrayal that still holds up today. I don’t know what Jared Leto will bring to the table, but I do know he has a tough act to follow.

3. Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man (Marvel Cinematic)Iron Man was a big surprise to me when I first saw it. Part of the reason it worked had to do with Downey’s portrayal of Tony Stark. He brought good things to the role. He made Tony the coolest guy in the room as well as a kind of a jerk. He played it all well in the Iron Man trilogy and Avengers movies. I think the fact that Downey’s life somewhat mirrored Stark’s is what makes it work. I just hope Captain America: Civil War does the character justice unlike the actual crossover from the comics.

2. Christopher Reeve as Superman (The Superman films) – You know he had to be in the top 5. While our current iteration (Henry Cavill) is doing well, we really haven’t seen him get to Reeve’s level yet. Reeve brought a lot of good things to the role of Superman/Clark Kent. His Superman was gentle but tough. While I’m not a big fan of the overly clumsy version of Clark Kent, Reeve made it work in the movies. In fact, he’s really the only one in live-action who can make that version work. Even when the movies had some really low points, Reeve was never one of them. He’s probably the only good thing in Superman 4: A Quest For Peace. All in all, he was awesome.

1. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (the X-Men films) – You know he had to be on this list somewhere. It’s the role that Hugh Jackman is most remembered for. I doubt he wants to be remembered for Kate and Leopold. While he wasn’t the ideal height (Logan’s about 5’3), he brought everything else to the table. He’s played Wolverine as a lover, a fighter, and everything else in between. Even when an X-Men movie isn’t that good, he still brings his best to the role. I don’t know if anyone can pull off all that Jackman has done for the character. It would be a tough act to follow.

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Well, those are my picks. I know this list may change one day since there are movies I haven't seen yet. Maybe I'll do it again next year or something. With all of the movies coming out this year, I hope that it all goes good. Well, I'm out. Peace and God Bless.

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