The 411 Movies Top 5 09.06.13: Top Superhero Actors
Posted by Shawn S. Lealos on 09.06.2013
From Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Christian Bale as Batman to Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Christopher Reeve as Superman and more, the 411 staff counts down their top five superhero actors of all time!
Welcome to Week 390 of the Movie Zone Top 5. My name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.
Before we get started this week, 411mania is looking for a new writer to write a weekly Comics 8 Ball column, and since there are a lot of comic fans who read my stuff, I am taking this time to see if any of you would like to step up. To see what the 8 Ball looks like, check out Jeremy's Movies 8 Ball column here. If this is something you might be interested in writing, contact Jeremy, Chad or Ashish.
On to the Top 5
The 411mania writers were given the following instructions: With the Ben Affleck Batman talk finally dying down, lets look at some positives. Lets count down our 5 favorite superhero actors. These need to be actors who played heroes and not villains, and you are counting down who you think did the best job as a superhero in a comic book movie. This can be because they were the best at mimicking what made the character great in the comics or because they made the character better in the movie than he is in the comics - your choice.
Honorable Mentions: Dolph Lundgren- The Punisher, Chris Hemsworth- Thor, Tobey Maguire- Spider-Man, Billy Zane- The Phantom, Hugh Jackman- Wolverine (he is Wolverine)
5. Wesley Snipes- Blade
I seriously doubt that most people outside of the comic book nerd world knew that Blade was a movie based on a comic book character before it hit theaters. I had a vague idea of who Blade was, but I wasn't as familiar with him as I was with the Punisher or Batman. So when the Stephen Norrington directed movie hit movie screens in 1998 I had no preconceieved notions as to what Blade was supposed to be like. And I was blown away. Snipes took the character and made him a stern faced, single minded killing machine. I didn't expect to see Blade leaping around, in camera, destroying every vampire thing in sight. And I didn't expect Snipes to be as big of a badass as Blade. Snipes just inhabits the role and makes you believe that he really could drive around the world killing vampires. He really is that good. I'm sure Marvel will eventually remake Blade into something else and have someone else play him as Snipes is getting older, but will the actor inhabit the character likes Snipes? Doubtful.
4. Michael Keaton- Batman
No one wanted Michael Keaton to play Batman back in 1989. Everyone thought it was a joke, a seriously bad idea, and an impending disaster. How the hell could Mr. Mom be Batman? Ridiculous. But then the actual movie came out and suddenly director Tim Burton's choice of having Keaton star as Batman was brilliant. He didn't look ridiculous wearing the heavy rubber armor, the ears, and the cape. He was dangerous. Still the best movie Batman some twenty plus years later.
3. Robert Downey, Jr.- Iron Man
When it comes to the Iron Man character, Robert Downey, Jr. really is Iron Man. I know that doesn't sound all that special on this list since everyone on it has managed to become the character he's playing, but Downey, Jr. has also managed to make Iron Man perpetually cool. He's inherently charismatic, even when he's being a douchebag. And there doesn't seem to be any slow down in terms of Downey, Jr's popularity as Iron Man. You need to have that since that's what the Iron Man character is all about: smarts, charisma, douchebaggey you sort of tolerate because he's probably just given you a job. Marvel will probably try to recast the character soon since the company won't want to pay Downey, Jr. what he's actually worth. I doubt it will work. I doubt audiences will be able to accept it.
2. Christopher Reeve- Superman
First off, Reeve actually looked like Superman, so right there you know that you're dealing with something bigger than other movies and other performers. Reeve probably wasn't happy with the typecasting back then, but his performance in four major movies is what made him known throughout the world. It's what people still remember about him,. He was just an incredibly believeable hero. And that's what you have to have, an inherent integrity that just oozes everywhere when it comes to Superman. The character won't work without that integrity.
1. Ray Stevenson- The Punisher
The Punisher is not a happy person. He is a perpatually downbeat entity. But then when you look at what the Punisher does you don't expect him to be a smiley face kind of guy. He is a nonstop killing machine. And it's all in the eyes. Lundgren, who before Stevenson was the Punisher, had that. You could tell that he was tormented, destroyed, and sort of going through the motions in terms of killing. But then Stevenson upped the ante and provided a kind of integrity that Lundgren couldn't produce on screen in the character (Thomas Jane clearly didn't havr it). The Punisher was suddenly a little more than a non-stop killer.
5. Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit-Girl, Kick-Ass
The big question for me when Mark Millar's comic was first brought to the screen is how his foul-mouthed sociopath ten-year old could possibly be brought to life. Moretz answered that with a resounding "yes" as the utter highlight of the film. Yes, it was jarring seeing this kid cursing worse than a sailor while slicing up guys with sword and blowing them away with guns but Moretz also showed the heart deep down of a kid robbed of a childhood and doing what she thought best. The somewhat disappointing sequel gave her more material as she tries to live a normal life only to realize that for her, "normal" is donning a costume to kick some serious ass. Either way, Moretz is great at the action scenes, letting you buy her able to smash up a Russian amazon and the dark humor that makes these movies memorable.
4. Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man
It's arguable that without the casting of Downey Jr, Iron Man and thus the entire current awesome Marvel movie library, would not exist as huge hits. The way he vanishes into the role is stunning, this is Tony Stark walking right off the comic book pages, not just in looks but also the performance of a genius who loves flaunting his rich lifestyle. The scene where he puts together the armor ("Oh, yeah. I can fly.") is still great, you get his love doing it all and creating this and that's carried through the sequels, Downey showing the whirlwind mind of Stark at work. He can show strength, as in Avengers but still nice as the loveable jerk who can be a hero despite himself and a guy to be happy to have on our side.
3. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine
Way back in 1999, there was a lot of fan debate on this pick. Having the most popular X-Man played by a completely unknown Aussie who happened to be six feet tall? Today, of course, you can't imagine anyone else in the part. Jackman just totally nails Logan, the snarling, the mood and how he carries himself as a man ready to go off at any moment. This is a man who's lived over a century, lost so much and yet still pulled into fighting for what he knows is right. He may heal fast but he feels the agony still and Jackman sells that even in the so-so solo spin-off movies. But when he gets into Wolverine mode (like going into full beserker rage on soldiers in X2), he's truly the best there is at what he does and a key reason the entire saga works.
2. Jackie Earl Haley as Rorscharch, Watchmen
Fans can argue the merits about the adaptation of the classic graphic novel. But one thing we can all agree on is how Haley was an inspired and brilliant choice for the story's most popular character. The walk, the costume, the way he moves and his voice...that is exactly how I always imagined Rorscharch sounding and Haley brings him to life perfectly. The point where he tells a room of convicts "I'm not locked in here with all of you. You're all locked in here with ME" is terrific as you can see just how twisted a real-life crimefighter would be and yet root for him in his brutal black-and-white view of the world and helps elevate the entire film just with his amazing role as a truly disturbed yet oddly noble character.
1. Christopher Reeve as Superman
Most today don't realize how much of a rush there was of actors wanting to play the Man of Steel back in the 1970's. From John Travolta to Sylvester Stallone, they lined up but Richard Donner took a chance on a little-known actor like Reeve. It turned out to be a brilliant move as his lack of previous credits worked wonders for the role. His Superman is powerful but yet relatable, smiling even as he busts crooks and determined to do the right thing, despite what others think of him. But the true brilliance is his Clark Kent. The way he carries himself with a slouch, a different voice and makes the bumbling, mild-mannered persona so natural that for the first time ever you can buy people not looking past the glasses and seeing the truth. But his Superman truly soars, a legacy still untouched by others and makes the entire movie work.
Shawn S. Lealos
5. Chris Evans, The Human Torch
I know, I know, people hated the Fantastic Four films, but honestly I didn't think they were that bad. I hated what they did with Dr. Doom in the first one, didn't care too much for Ioan Gruffudd as Mr. Fantastic and couldn't stand Jessica Alba as Sue Storm. However, I thought both Michael Chiklis as The Thing and Chris Evans as The Human Torch were both fantastic casting choices. Honestly, Chris Evans is a good Captain America, but he was perfect as Johnny Storm. He had the right attitude and played Johnny exactly how I imagined he should have been played. He was probably the best thing about the movie.
4. Ron Perlman, Hellboy
The fact that Guillermo Del Toro can't get anyone to chip in to make Hellboy 3 is a crime. Both of the movies in the series were great with the second just an incredible experience. As for Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman was just perfect in the role. He embodied the frustration that Hellboy faces and is just a great anti-hero, perfectly balancing the demon side and the hero side into one of the most fun characters to appear in a super hero movie in a long time. Ron Perlman IS Hellboy.
3. Christian Bale, Batman
I remember the first time that I saw American Psycho. It was one of my first experiences watching an adult Christian Bale in a movie (I saw him in Newsies in a college journalism class before this). Anyway, watching him play Patrick Bateman, a self obsessed businessman with a secret he was hiding made me immediately think that he could be a perfect Bruce Wayne if they ever re-booted the Batman franchise. Lo and behold, that is exactly what happened and I was happy to see that I was right. He was a perfect Bruce Wayne, not too aloof and not comical, while also not as dark and depressed as Michael Keaton was. Christian Bale got it just right and is up there just above Val Kilmer as my favorite portrayal of the character.
2. Hugh Jackman, Wolverine
I know that a lot of people are tired of Wolverine in the movies, but honestly Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is still one of the most entertaining characters in any of the X-Men movies. He is just perfect as Logan, and I can't think of anyone other than Hugh Jackman that I can see playing Wolverine now. He has the perfect sarcastic humor, the perfect violent tendencies and it just – I'll say it a third time – perfect in the role. I honestly don't believe that the X-Men franchise would have taken off like it did if not for Hugh Jackman's portrayal of Wolverine. He was that good.
1. Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man
I said that Hugh Jackman was perfect as Wolverine, but I can't think of anyone other than Robert Downey Jr. in the role of Iron Man. Sure, Marvel said they want to be able to pull a James Bond and change out actors over the years to keep the characters moving, but Iron Man is the one character that will make that difficult. It has been proven that a lot of people can play The Hulk. I am sure they could find another Thor or Captain America as well without too much trouble. However, unlike those characters, Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark and he is the reason that Iron Man is the most popular of all the franchises in the Marvel universe. Some balk at how much money he is getting for the roles, but I honestly believe that without Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man would not have been as good and Marvel would never have reached the level it did in the movies.