10(ish) Actors Who Best Portrayed Comic Heroes Part 2
Hope the first batch of actors peaked your interest. Of course, not all of us will agree on these things but I think most , will at least reach some common ground. Let’s finish things off with the final installment. With plenty more superhero movies on the way, I look forward to adding to the list.
5. Michael Keaton & Christian Bale – ( The Dark Knight Trilogy & Batman, Batman Returns)
It’s really impossible for me to choose. I have to go with a tie. Both actors really cancel each other out in my opinion. I like them both for different reasons. Michael is a great looking Batman. He’s hot the perfect jawline, to me. Not to mention his expressive eyes, which convey menace and intensity. Every time there’s a close up of Keaton’s face I think, ” That’s Batman.” Simple as that. His Batman is a man of few words. He’s more of a mythic figure, who keeps to the shadows and lets the action do the talking.
Bale’s Batman is more of a physical threat. He can fight and he can turn his head. That’s more the suit that he got to use, but nevertheless. He really nailed the more skilled aspects to Batman’s fighting ability. His Batman was more vocal but not too much so. Let’s just say, vocal enough for people to remember Bale’s not so popular, Batman growl.
As Bruce Wayne you have two different approaches as well. Keaton’s Bruce Wayne is of a normal guy who happens to be rich. He plays Bruce very aloof, much like Christopher Reeve played Clark Kent. Keaton also looks fairly threatening. He’s not particularly tall or built. Doesn’t like like a guy who would kick ass in a bat suit. In the quieter moments, he’s very much in his own head. There’s something to him but we can never quite get the full picture. It made the contrast between Batman and Bruce Wayne much more stark.
Bale’s Bruce Wayne is more akin to the comic book version. He’s a playboy. Not interested in anything meaningful or deep. He’s always surrounded by beautiful women, and very much in the limelight. ( Except for Dark Knight Rises, in a way.) Bale’s Bruce Wayne is also more of a physical specimen. He’s got the looks and the build. His Bruce Wayne is also one that is more emotional. We can to know much more of his troubled psyche.
As you can see, it’s really what you prefer. I say, why bother choosing!
4. Brandon Lee – Eric Draven( The Crow)
A shame about what happened to Brandon Lee. Killed on set filming, this very movie. It turned out to be his last great roll. Much like Heath Ledger in Dark Knight. The Crow was really Lee’s first critically acclaimed dramatic performance. He cared about this project and he loved the comic on which it was based on. He really zoned in on the character and brought out the passion, anger and sadness of the character. I’d go as far as to say that Lee’s version, is a bit less angsty then the comic book version. As bleak as the movie can be, I find the comic to be even more so. Brandon Lee’s always gave you a sense of hope despite there not being much to find in the story. Being a skilled martial artist, he obviously brought the goods for the action scenes. I also found him genuinely frightening at times. He played it with a twisted bit of dark humor. Very reminiscent of The Joker at times. There have been reports circulating around that a remake is on the way. I ask, WHY? Leave it alone.A great performance from a man taken too soon. R.I.P.
3. Charlie Cox – Daredevil( Netflix’s Daredevil)
Truth be told, I actually never heard of Charlie Cox until I watched Daredevil. I remember seeing him in a brief role, in the film, The Theory OF Everything. I found it so hard to believe that this soft natured English man could play, a tough as nails American character like Daredevil. Not to mention, it was going to take a lot to erase the memories of Ben Affleck’s terrible portrayal of D.D. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised. Scratch that. I was blown away as to how good he was. He has a fierceness and intensity that is absolutely essential for playing Daredevil. Cox also had a great amount of likability that’s also important when playing Matt Murdock. The physicality he displayed was also just as impressive. He nailed it in all aspects. Daredevil needed this kind of performance to bring back the respectability he so richly deserves.
2. Karl Urban- Judge Dredd ( Dredd)
I’m a big Judge Dredd fan. He’s a wholly unique character that doesn’t pull any punches. Love him or hate him. Before the “Dredd” film, most people remember only ,Sly Stallone’s portrayal of Dredd. For many, this is their ONLY exposure to Judge Dredd. I actually liked many aspects of Stallone’s portrayal. He had a great jaw. And as far as I’m concerned, the best scowl. Including Mr. Urban! Nevertheless, there were a lot of problems with 1996’s Judge Dredd, that led to it being panned by fans and critics alike. Karl Urban’s Dredd is almost an identical blueprint to the comic version. He’s uncompromising and he NEVER takes off his helmet. That says a lot about the commitment of an actor, when taking the role. He developed his own voice and his own scowl as well. He was physically imposing without ” trying” to be. Karl urban wasn’t interested in creating a Hollywood type character he could ride to fame with. I was deeply disappointed the box office returns for Dredd were not high enough to warrant a sequel. Still, we finally got a great Judge Dredd movie along with a great performance that remained true to the character.
1 . Hugh Jackman ( X-men films & all Wolverine spinoff’s)
No question about number 1 for me. Aside from his height, he is the perfect Wolverine. It’s really hard to imagine another actor taking on the role, and just pulling off the hairdo. I was a bit annoyed at first, when I watched X-men in 1999, because Wolverine didn’t wear his mask, but I quickly forgot about that when I realized how good Hugh Jackman was. Physically, he looks the part. I don’t think the ladies would disagree. However, the most important thing was to achieve having that balance between, berserker rage and heart. Wolverine is a character of extreme emotions. He’s not like, Judge Dredd, for instance. AN actor has to be able to channel all those emotions while being this heroic, man’s man. It seems that with every movie that comes out, Hugh Jackman gets better. He gets to know the character a little bit more and put his stamp on it. I was especially impressed with his performance in The Wolverine. It was really a treat to watch him preforming. I have to give a lot of credit to the directors for helping him find the ” right” way to play Wolverine. I actually had a chance to watch Hugh Jackman’s screen test for the role. It’s not that he couldn’t act, it was more that it seemed…off. Kudos to Bryan Singer, who saw the potential in him to play Wolverine. Because, honestly I never would’ve picked him based on that test. Also because he came in as such a pretty boy. That just goes to show you the work he put into becoming Wolverine. It also doesn;t hurt that Hugh Jackman has an undeniable fondness for the character. So much so, that he keeps getting roped in to play Wolverine again. The next Wolverine movie is said to be Hugh Jackman’s last. We’ll see…
Honorable mention: Michael Fassbender – Magneto ( X-men: First Class & X-men: Days of Future Past)
I know he doesn’t play a ” hero” so to speak, but he’s in that gray area. Just enough that I think he needs a nod. He really gave me the Magneto I always wanted. I like Ian Mckellen and I think he’s a fantastic actor but he never suited the role of Magneto. Not enough subdued anger. And perhaps, a touch too old. Michael Fassbender really nailed that anger and passion for his cause. I felt it big time. When you can emphasize with his character that says a lot, considering he wants to extinguish human life. I never really emphasized with Magneto when Ian McKellen was playing with him. I think Michael Fassbender played him so well, most people forgot, Wolverine wasn’t in X-men: First Class. Well, not really anyway.
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