Posts Tagged ‘Heath Ledger’
After watching The Dark Knight in 2008, I was sure of one thing: Catwoman would be in the next film. From the moment Lucius Fox responded to Bruce Wayne’s question of whether his new suit would protect from dogs by saying, “should do fine against cats,” I knew the character would make an appearance. As Christopher Nolan and his writing partner/brother Jonathan had left Bruce Wayne and his alter ego Batman, it seemed the logical next step. The Joker had destroyed our hero’s hopes in every way. He corrupted Harvey Dent, who Bruce believed was the only hope of eliminating the need for Batman’s vigilantism by legitimately prosecuting Gotham’s criminals. He had murdered Bruce’s childhood sweetheart, Rachel Dawes, who Bruce believed was his “one chance at a normal life.” He had even forced Batman to become a villain and take the blame for Dent’s actions as Two-Face in order to keep the city from losing all hope. So Nolan’s next entry would need to lighten the mood in contrast to the anarchic sense of play of Heath Ledger’s Joker. The villain needed to engage Batman in a different way that still challenged Bruce’s perception of himself as both villain and hero, man and Bat. Moreover, Bruce needed someone to help him move on from Rachel and be reminded that life could still be fun. To me, using Catwoman was the perfect way to do it.
Director: Marc Webb
Length: 2h 16m
Synopsis: A reboot of Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man trilogy, this iteration of Spidey goes back to his origins. As a young child, Peter Parker’s (Garfield) parents run away for unknown reasons, leaving him with his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). As a teenager, he begins to discover secrets about his parents that lead him to Oscorp and cross-genetic experiments. This leads him to a room full of genetically altered spiders, one of which bites him, giving him spider powers. Upon receiving these powers, he must learn how to use them in truly responsible ways. Peter is suddenly faced with a powerful adversary in his mentor Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), who becomes the super-villain known as the Lizard after injecting himself with reptile DNA in the hopes of re-growing his missing arm. Connors then plans to infect all of New York with his affliction, giving Peter a challenge he may not be ready to handle.
With Iron Man 2 opening this weekend, marking the biggest comic book movie since 2008′s The Dark Knight, we thought it would be appropriate to consider what the best castings have been since the genre began. There have been a lot of cases where the actor/actress fit the role like a glove. Some choices seemed obvious at the time, while others worked out unexpectedly well. A perfect example is Michael Keaton as the caped crusader in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, a casting which few supported before the film’s release but which many now consider the best casting of the character to date. But not even that sweet surprise made the Movie-Thoughts Top 5 Best Comic Book Castings. See which actors we thought fit their comic book characters best, and then send us your Top 5! Later we’ll tally the totals and see how close we came to the fan consensus.
And the Top 5 are…
5. Robert Downey Jr. – Tony Stark/Iron Man
Downey Jr. wasn’t so much a casting of a super hero as a casting of a super ego, but nevertheless his quick-witted line delivery and narcissistic on-screen persona transfer perfectly to a character we’re meant to believe is bizarrely brilliant and grossly spoiled (at least before his capture). Once the narcissism was exchanged for just an inordinate amount of pride and confidence, the heroic nature of the character was able to shine through and RDJ flowed from the former to the latter flawlessly.
4. Christopher Reeve – Clark Kent/Superman
As good as Brandon Routh was as his replacement in 2006′s Superman Returns, Christopher Reeve has been immortalized in the iconic role of the Man of Steel for good reason. Not only was he able to look the part, which is harder to achieve than you might think, but he was able to expertly play both the awkwardness of Clark Kent and the self assuredness of his alter ego. Those who know Superman know that that alter ego is not a psychological rock, and when it came time to display the requisite humility and vulnerability the character sometimes shows he was able to pull it off without missing a beat. Mr. Reeve helped prove to us that even the impenetrable are not invulnerable.
3. Patrick Stewart – Professor Xavier
Not only is Mr. Stewart perhaps the best known bald actor thanks to his role as Star Trek‘s Capt. Jean-Luke Picard, which helps match the look of the character, but all else about him as an actor fit this role perfectly. The low but friendly timber of his voice, the air of wisdom and sincerity, and the hyper-disciplined demeanor all amalgamated to Stewart actually being Professor Xavier. The role called for someone who could convince us that he is the ultimate confidant who always knew what’s best, and he pulled it off with flying colors. Imagining anyone fitting this role better seems impossible.
2. TIE: Jack Nicholson/ Heath Ledger – The Joker
Admittedly, we’re cheating with this one, but we just could not decide who fit the role better based on the versions of the character that they played. Nicholson as The Joker in 1989′s Batman fits perfectly because the character as it was envisioned for the film drew inspiration from earlier Batman comics, when the character was more goofy and aloof. During this period the villain took a primarily sociopathic persona but was not nearly the intellectual foe that he later became. Ledger’s Joker, as it was written, was clearly based on the more sinister version displayed in the comic series decades after the earlier version. During this era, which still continues, the character proves to be frightfully brilliant in his scheming to battle Batman and Gotham City, manipulating various peripheral characters to exact his will. Nicholson’s devilish grin and menacing stare made him look the part to a “T”, and his maniacal laugh effectively made him The Joker. Ledger’s actual look relied more on makeup, but his healthier physique allowed him to be a more competent combatant with Batman in physical terms and not just psychological. Much of his success with the character was due to his outstanding performance, but that everything about him fell exactly in line with the version he was portraying makes this a one in a million cast.
1. Hugh Jackman – Logan/Wolverine
The character of Logan/Wolverine in the X-Men movies, we would claim, is based from the version portrayed in the comics of his own series. For unlike his portrayal in the series that involves the entire X-Men crew, there he has considerably more depth and foundation (as one would expect). Jackman’s physical stature and hair styling made him believable from a purely aesthetic standpoint, but his ability to range from all requisite mindsets (tenacious, tortured, paternal, romantic, etc.) allowed him to convey all aspects of the character as needed. The arch of the character in the films is thanks in large part to the writing, but we here find it downright unfeasible that anyone possesses the mix of physical likeness and acting skill to pull off the role of Wolverine better than Hugh Jackman.
We don’t doubt that our Top 5 list is controversial, and we’re hardly married to it, but we feel it certainly captures five of the best castings of any comic book character yet seen on the silver screen. Based on the submissions you all send in to us we’ll likely feel inclined to make a revision or two, but until then we stand by what you see. When you narrow down your own Top 5 lists, try to keep in mind that it’s not about ranking your favorite movie/comic characters but the quality of the casting of those characters and how the actor/actress fits so well in their respective roles.
Here is a list of roles that we hated to leave out but had to (in no particular order): Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus, Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man, Ian McKellen as Magneto, Danny DeVito as The Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, Willem Dafoe as The Green Goblin, Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor.
Perhaps some of these roles will make your list. We’re interested to see, so let us know!
The Dark Knight: Batman Becomes a Westerner
The character of Batman as presented in director Christopher Nolan’s 2008 film The Dark Knight represents many of the iconographic elements that comprise what is known as the Westerner. The caped crusader can more accurately be distinguished as being more medieval (that is, consisting of character traits more attuned to medieval literature) in most of his filmic representations, such as Tim Burton’s Batman (1989), and such a connection does not completely stop with Nolan’s most recent feature as even the film’s title outright labels its hero a “knight.” But despite this, Nolan has introduced the character of Batman to the world of cinema in a new way that displays him more as a western idol reminiscent of the days of John Wayne. American audiences gorged themselves on this newest version of the classic superhero, amassing a domestic box office revenue of over $530 million (second only to Titanic‘s $600 million+), and the reason for this may be found in the social structure of its viewers. Read the rest of this entry »