Comic fans should rejoice, this is almost a time that can be called a renaissance for our fandom. Between the MCU, the DCU, the DCAU, various live actio television series, animated series, current & contuining comic books, indie comics and fandom conventions. We have a lot of material to entertain our escapes into super-heroism (or Villainy for those inclined). We're not even considered a niche nerd-based pass-time anymore. We're mainstream baby!
This time is ours! So let's take a look at how Hollywood has used some extremely popular actors and actresses in films representing beloved characters. From some of the best representations to some of the weirdest and worst, even some entries of obscurity.
Curtis, Human Torch, Lucas Lee, Jensen, & Captain America
Chris Evans has had a lot of success in the realm of CBM's. He single handedly stole the show during the Fantastic Four films, even if mostly we wish to forget those films. His Human Torch and the Doug Jones' Silver Surfer were great additions to the silver screen.
EDIT: Lucas Lee (Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World) & Jensen (The Losers) & a nod to his vocal work as Casey Jones in TMNT (2007) -- Thank you CBM Community!
Evans would get yet another character in the new Marvel Cinematic Universe, disconnected from the Fantastic Four failure, and give us a shining example of how Captain America, with some old fashioned style, could flourish. While context clues in the films connecting to various source comics hint that his impending death is yet again on the horizon, Expect to see Evans continue his role as the man out of time (which has multiple meanins) in Avengers 2 (possibly 3) and Captain America 3.
Death Row Marv & Whiplash
Rourke has always been an intense actor and was interesting to watch during Iron Man 2. He himself complained his disdain for how his role was treated and how he'd probably never work for Marvel again. Frankly speaking, I thought he was wasted in the film as Whiplash and thought he would have made a much better Omega Red. Truth be told I had wondered if Marvel was somehow courting the idea of not killing him off and leading him toward becoming Omega Red, based on how his character appeared during the end of the film. But this was wild speculation on my part and I think I started a minor rumor mill issue because of my statements.
Mickey was an amazing Death Row Marv. As far as CBM's go, he was almost born to play this particular role. His Gravitas, his attention to detail, his forceful style was almost so good it was cheesy and reminded me of Pacino in Dick Tracy - thankfully it wasn't cheesy, it was pure comic book love. I'm sure we'll see him in other CBM's down the road. Next week he'll be reliving the role in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Though technically isn't that what Marv had and did in the first film...A Dame to Kill for?)
Superman, Batman & Daredevil
The internet was alive with the sound of raging nerd music when Affleck was cast as the next Batman. Many (if not most of us) chimed in on the madness. Myself included HERE
also (indirectly) HERE & HERE
. But most folks at that time didn't even realize (or just forgot) that he had also (technically) played a wonderful representation of George Reeve's gaining and performing as Superman in the film Hollywoodland.
Most fixated on his role as Daredevil. While that movie was not really that great, Affleck was excellent as Matt Murdock. Pesonally I'd only recommend the Director's Cut of that film.
So far, the little we've seen of Affleck in the new batsuit, the new batmobile, that appears similarly to the Arkham Knight Video Game variation, appears to be phenomenal! I, like most, can't wait to see this new Batman take flight along side the birth (finally) of a Justice League film and the DCU's continuation.
Thanos, Dwight , Jonah Hex & Agent K
Josh Brolin is an excellent actor that has had a lot of experience playing Comic based characters. From his hysterically uncanny representation of Agent K in his younger years, to his excellent upcoming works in the MCU as its singularly principal villain; with an ending that bares to be an epic clash of characters.
Brolin is now the new face of Dwight in Sin City, which was previously Clive Owen, and is premiering next week. He also played a near perfect live action version of Jonah Hex. While that movie was not the best example of Brolin's work, for that matter of DC's, it was still an entertaining film for a smaller more obscure DC character. Someone Batman encounters in the Brave and Bold continuity.
Sue Storm & Nancy
Singularly one of the greatest beauties on earth with talented acting chops, Jessica Alba mesmerized CBM fans in her role as Nancy. Did she really do a number on us as Susan Storm...I'm not so sure. But then again (in my opnion) Fantastic Four wasn't weakened by the actors, they mostly did a decent job. Short of Micheal Chiklis, Chris Evans and Ioan Gruffudd the film was horrifically cast, and the story was simply awful. Let me not get started, I might start ripping into the dumb scenario coming from the reboot.
Back to the lovely Alba, We'll be seeing Nancy again next week and I'm curious to see if DC or Marvel will look to her for other roles in the future.
Johnny Blaze / Ghost Rider, Big Daddy & Almost Superman
Nick Cage is an interesting actor, he has moments of genius and many others that are so historically off the wall he is almost a mainstay go-to-guy for outlandish memes and jokes. His role as Big Daddy was excellent, even the strange break in his voice during a scene where he was burning. Everything from shooting his daughter in the chest to his wonderful and vicious fight scenes. He was great in the quirky role that seemed to combine Batman and the Punisher and represented the Comic character very well.
His representation of Johnny Blaze was a completely different story. How he was able to get a second film as the Rider is still a mystery to me. What was intended to be a return to the source became a larger focus on the wildman himself (himself being Cage). From his ridiculous transformation scene to some of the more awkward and cheesy delivery of his lines. The second Ghost Rider film was almost unwatchable when Blaze was on the screen, instead of Ghost Rider himself.
Thankfully Tim Burton never got to make his version of Superman in Superman Lives and the studio ended up making Superman Returns, with Brandon Routh many years later. While Entertaining and long awaited, not much to speak of either.
Catwoman & Storm
Halle Berry is one of Hollywoods most capable actresses. It was odd to see her playing Storm with the most horrendously fake wig and equally repulsing accent. Thankfully she (or someone on the production) learned from this mistake and fixed both issues and slowly evolved her in every subsequent X-Men film where she'd have an appearance. A testament to her will to adapt and succeed.
She wouldn't get the same opportunity for growth with the Catwoman film bombing. She looked hot, she was interesting, CG Berry was weird, and she tried to give the audience a modern version of Eartha Kitt's style from the 60's Batman series. But we'd soon learn that we hated it with a bloody passion that would melt suns. We will (hopefully) be seeing her again in X-Men: Apocalypse. Any one else get all "Nooooo!" when she died in X-Men: Days of Future Past? Don't bullshit me, I know some of you teared up for a moment! Even if that moment happened to be watching the trailer, which revealed way to much.
J.A.R.V.I.S., Vision & Priest
We've been hearing his voice in Iron Man's head since 2008. We rumored if his voice was also going to be used as Ultron for a time. Thankfully we now know he is the amazingly powerful Vision in the next Avengers film. Paul Bettany has played a variety of characters in his career and has had a lot of experience in the CBM world. A lesser known film was a not-so-well-received CBM that amazingly flopped at the Box Office, Priest.
The world was just not ready for you to be a super-ninja vampire-killing machine mate. Maybe a Super-Ninja-like Rambo version of an angel in Legion? Nope, not that one either. But at least there is a series being carried on from that film.
Silver Surfer (Fantastic Four), Hellboy, Tank Girl, Contortionist (Tales from the Crypt), Batman Returns
Doug Jones is among the most prolific of character actors, more so when you account that the bulk of his work you never see his actual face. He has had (possibly the most) work in the CBM world than anyone else. From a random character in the old-school Tales From the Crypt to special hencman in Penguins gang in Batman Returns. What he is most currently known for are various characters in Pan's Labyrinth, but for us CBM fans, He was an excellent Silver Surfer (which is probably the only reason I saw that movie) and a wonderful Abe Sapien in Hellboy. Short of Ron Perlman who practically lives in a make-up and effects trailer on the sets of his films Doug Jones is quite possibly the most prolific costumed and character actor in CBM history.
Hannibal King, Wade Wilson/Weapon XI/Deadpool, Green Lantern & Nick Walker, The Outer Limits
Ryan Reynolds is a controversial actor himself as far as CBM's are involved. The fandom seems to be divided if he is at fault for some of the characters he's protrayed failing at the box office. Mainly his role as Hal Jordan in Green Lantern. Then came his more recent role in the film R.I.P.D. which bombed similarly to Green Lantern. His earliest turn taking a journey into the realm of CBM's was with The Outer Limits and eventually Blade's third and arguably worst film, Blade Trinity. Chances are still high that when Deadpool finally gets made...*crosses fingers*... Reynolds will be playing Wade Wilson. Whatever needs to be done to erase the memory of the awkward interpretation from X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Even though that was mostly Scott Adkins performing all of the martial arts and sequences. Still, most of us would rather forget the ending of that film.
Did you enjoy this article? There are many other actors who've brought many of our favorite characters to life. More of them to come! Share, pin, comment, tweet, you know the deal!? Maybe you don't? Click that giant red thumb, this little Cuban Editor will be grateful to you for it. If not, tell me what else you'd like me to write about. Join the conversation, here or at any of my social media networks.