The Lucky Ten: CBM Heroes
LuckyKyd picks ten lucky acts to make the lucky ten. First up are the heroes of the comic book movies. Which actors gave us the best incarnation of comic book characters on the silver screen in my opinion? Make the jump to find out.
Hey everybody, hope you all are sitting comfortably and are ready to get an insight in my top ten choices of best CBM Heroes. This is the first of what will hopefully be many top ten choices of mine in different topics all concerning comic book movies.
First off, I have to admit that at least 2 of these choices, were some that I was not aquianted with before their respective movies, so I had to do a little research and catch up on some comics in order to correctly review the performance. This means that you will have to bear with me and that I might not be a pro on all the comic book counterparts on this list. Secondly, all of the choices have been picked through a set of criteria, which in my own opinion are important for the portrayal of a comic book hero on screen. These criteria are:
1. Acting - Did the person adapt the character with all its source materialistic characteristics and did the character on screen feel like the one from the comics. This includes all the little mannerisms, facial expressions, voice, behaviour and so on. I realise that some of this heavily depend on the script but in the end the actor will be the one who has to deliver the performance.
2. Appearance - I know some don’t think this is important, but the person have to look the part (naturally or with help from make-up or CGI). They can change the look to an extent but never depart significantly from the overall physical traits which one might be familiar with from the source material.
3. Personification – Now this is tricky. What I mean is the question if the actor and the script allowed the character to breathe on his/her own. For me it is important that the character on screen feels real and that the actor has made the character his/her own or sort of merged with the role and transformed into something fresh and new which the pages of comic book cannot showcase. Think about it this way whenever someone mentions a comic book character and you think of the first actor who comes to mind, that person should be the one that embodies not only physically but also spiritually the given character.
Last but not least. I realise that there is a difference between getting to perform the role of a comic book character for more than one movie. For some it is a one flick deal and for others it could be an endless stream. However for this list I have ignored the fact that some actors have had more time, scenes and practice in order to perfect a role than others and simply looked at what they have brought to the table in consensus to the above stated criteria and my own opinion on the matter.
So with all this in mind here are my top ten CBM Heroes. I hope you enjoy this article and go nuts in the comment section and feel free to be inspired and post your own top ten.
10. Wesley Snipes as Eric Brooks alias Blade
The character that kick-started the dawn of CBMs and ushered in a new and darker look on a super powered hero. If this was going to break the ice it had to feature a performance up to par with the ones received in the more critically acclaimed CBMs of the time which where two Superman and Batman films. In my opinion Wesley Snipes did just that and showed that a superhero can get down and dirty but still feel every bit as complex as the two household characters of DC. The first two movies are solid and so is the performances by Snipes, and even though the third, which I have only seen half of, is rubbish, his performance still stand for me as one of the better portrayals of a comic book character.
Films: Blade (1998), Blade II (2002), Blade: Trinity (2004).
9. Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne alias Batman
Now first off, let me say that I love Christopher Nolan’s take on the Caped Crusader. But even though I am a fan of the Dark Knight Trilogy this does not take anything away from how good the performance which Christian Bale cashes in throughout the three films. During Batman Begins his portrayal of Bruce Wayne carries the movie, during The Dark Knight he takes on a foe he do not understand and in the latest instalment he loses everything before he rises into CBM stardom. At least that is how see it. Many will say that when he acts behind the cowl he fallS flat, with a growling throat-cancer voice reminiscing Clint Eastwood and never really exhaling the same kind of haunting and enigmatic energy which Michael Keaton’s Batman did in the Tim Burton directed movies. But the soldier-like Batman in Nolan’s “realistic” take was never going to feel that way. I still refer to the scene from The Dark Knight where Batman finds and questions Maroni as one of those where Bale showed that he too was capable of showing a frightening Batman. However it is as Bruce Wayne, Christian Bale delivers what for me is the best portrayal of Batman. He hits every note right and leaves no emotion unexplored in Bruce’s complicated mind throughout the trilogy. Thanks Bale and co. for giving us a Batman we can believe in.
Films: Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
8. Sir Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier
Bald guy. Check. Wheelchair. Check. Almost irresistible screen presence. Well, check too. I do not think anyone doubted Mr. Stewart in this role. The average moviegoer will probably proclaim that this character does nothing more than sit around in a wheelchair instructing his student and occasionally putting two fingers to his forehead to use psychic abilities. But mostly in the comics this is what Charles does and what he does so good. Patrick Stewart puts in a great performance in all the three films he has appeared in and he does it with such seemingly ease that I had to have him on this list. He does not surprise us in the role but then again Cpt. Pickard was never going to surprise any he just hits cruise control and flows through the movies being his character 100%. And let us be honest the English accent suits this character really well.
Films: X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).
7. Christopher Reeves as Kal-El/Superman alias Clark Kent
You will believe a man can fly. That was the catchy tagline of what is still to this day considered the best and most important film about the last son of Krypton, Kal-El. And yes, one of the greatest reasons is the man portraying the red and blue blur. Christopher Reeves, God rest his soul, not only looked like he was a man who could fly, besides the outdated effects. He was amazing both as Superman and as his human disguise, reporter Clark Kent. The first movie is the Godfather of CBM’s and Reeves’ Superman is the Don Corleone of CBM Heroes. Till this day I can still say that I enjoyed him in all 3 films, haven’t seen the fourth and I am probably never going to do so. Anyhow I for one am looking forward to next year’s Man of Steel and to see if it can raise the bar for Superman giving the bad taste of the last well 3 movies and also if Mr. Cavill is up for the task of giving us a fresh take on the Boy Scout.
Films: Superman (1978), Superman II (1980), Superman III (1983), Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987).
6. Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Edward Morgan Blake alias The Comedian
For about three years ago I fell over a series called Supernatural, which made me jump up and down when I later found out that one of its best characters was going to play one of my all-time favourite antiheroes. I do not know what it is but The Comedian is such a complex vigilante and the very backbone of the entire goldmine that is the brilliant graphic novel, Watchmen. For me Jeffrey nailed the role spot on and delivered a flawless performance and was one of the best things about the film that maybe have suffered for leaning too much up against this so-called gold mine but in the end that was what made the characters some of the most exciting and well-written heroes on the silver screen.
Films: Watchmen (2009).
5. Ron Perlman as Anung Un Raman alias Hellboy
I still remember when Hellboy came out and i grapped it on DVD, not knowing anything about the character let alone that he was actually a comic book superhero. I quickly realized that some great writing went into this specific character and that it would take a man of both grand posture and acting talent to get this devil right. And right he got it. Big-smoking, red-hot tempered and hard-knocking all the way till the very end and back again. Both movies are great in their own aspect but whether you like the dark and gritty take of the first movie or the more fantastic take of the sequel, Ron Perlman was perfect cast as Hellboy. Period!
Films: Hellboy (2004), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008).
4. Jackie Earle Hailey as Walter Kovacs alias Rorschach
I know what you are thinking. Another dude from that Watchmen film, well yeah. I think I gave a suitable explanation to just why two actors and big screen adapted characters from the same film could appear on this list and I will leave it at that. I don’t know what it is with me, but I never really saw Jackie as Rorschach. I guess it is mostly because of his height. I know that Ror is not supposed to be a big guy, but when I think it just seemed odd when Jackie was standing along side Nite Owl. Also I did not know a lot about the actor, and I had not seen him act before Watchmen, so I was a little bit afraid that they had casted the wrong guy. Sure he looked like Kovacs but would that be enough. The answer to that question would have to be found in a pot of boiling hot water smashed right into the face of a hardcore-criminal and the following speech adapted right from the sides of the Time’s Top 100 Novel. That scene and the way the short guy just made Rorschach that terrifying character we all know and love, was essentially what made me see the light. This guy was without a shed of doubt the right guy for the role.
Films: Watchmen (2009).
3. Hugh Jackman as Logan alias Wolverine
I almost had a boy crush on Hugh Jackman after watching X-men for the first time (Yeah, I know pretty gay!). But I got past that hurdle and got to look at his portrayal of one of my favourite marvel characters. And even though you could have wanted him smaller and more of a little tumbler like he is in the comics, you cannot take away from the Australian actor that he got all the little mannerisms and characteristics down right. Even the hair which I thought would be hard to get right looks spot on. And though some of the later X-men films suffered some bad and overcrowded screenplays, the Wolverine still shined through even without his famous costume. Here is hoping Darren Aronofsky give us a Hugh in full yellow and black/brown regalia. Throughout the X-Men films Jackman delivers faithfully what we have come to expect from him and what I am sure he will deliver and hopefully triple in the upcoming film.
Films: X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), X-Men: First Class (2011 - Cameo).
2. Hugo Weaving as V
So far I haven’t seen Weaving in a role I did not like him in, and this is actually IMO a better performance from his side than the role as Agent Smith which made him famous. We never see his face for the entire film, and I swear if he was not credited for this part, I would have never figured out that it was him. One of the things I liked about V for Vendetta was that they recreated the plot to match our times, but they managed to still keep V in a more fascistic manner, though admittedly not as much as the comics. What still to this day amazes me when watching the film is that Hugo had to depend on nothing more than his voice. Yeah, yeah, Tom Hardy did a good job as Bane but he still had the upper half of his facial expressions to work with Hugo Weaving had a static Guy Fawkes mask and still managed to make V both frightening and charismatic. If you believe I have put him too high on the list. Too bad! It is my list. But do not cheat yourself from popping this film into the ol’ video player and enjoying a masterful performance.
Films: V for Vendetta (2006).
1. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark alias Iron Man
From the very first scene of the first trailer I was completely and utterly sold. Downey Jr. was not starring as Tony Stark in Iron Man, Tony Stark was starring as Tony Stark! Robert simply embodied the character, he incarnated him. The wealthy weapons engineer had jumped right out of the pages of a Tales of Suspence and signed on in Jon Favreau’s take on the invincible Iron Man. It was still not the biggest shocker for me. Mainly, because I had seen Robert in the film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, where a hint of that smart wise-cracking humour fell virtuously from his tongue.
However I still had to control myself the first 100 times I watched the trailer, and to this day Iron Man is still IMO up there with the best CBMs, not only because of the perfect cast, but you have to admit. Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark! Even in The Avengers he gives us a show and that is alongside many good portrayals that could as easily have made this top ten, such as Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Chris Evans as Captain America.
Films: Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012).
So, there you have it. Agree or disagree, this is my top ten of CBM heroes. Now to say that picking these was easy is a clear lie. 10 years ago it might have been fairly more easy to pick a top ten or maybe even harder to fill it out without having to throw some average performances in. The last decade has been very good to the fans of CBMs and therefore I had to pick with my heart, so chances are that some of these choices surprised you. Still, I have some notable mentions that I want to bring up: Because, as you may have noticed there are no mentions of any female actors (with the exception of Scarlett Johansson), but I cannot post this top ten without mentioning Chloe Möretz, who was the joker of Kick-Ass and delivered an amazing Hit-Girl, arguably the hardest character to adapt given the age. Bruce Willis as Detective Hartigan and actually a good portion of the other actors in the brilliant Sin City. And Brandon Lee as Eric Draven in The Crow gave me chills and delivered one hell of a performance in my opinion. Lastly I was pleasantly surprised by Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker alias Spider-man, or actually I was confirmed in my notion that he would give us a more faithful Spiderman. Not to say that what Tobey did with the character was bad, but Garfield just became more off the Spidey that I grew up with. Actually I could go on as there are more who I think deserves praise for their portrayals, but in the end I stick with this top ten, whether they were lucky or talented enough to be here, they belong here. At least for now that is.
I hope you enjoyed the read and feel free to comment, thump up or whatever you like. See you in the comment section.
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