As I was reading through some of my favorite movie sites this morning, I came across a great little article over at Cinematical where they listed what they thought were some of the best Superhero casting decisions in film (you can check their article out over here. I didn’t agree with much of it, so I thought instead of critiquing their list, I’d just give my own.
DON’T FORGET… THIS LIST IS NOT ABOUT THE BEST MOVIES… nor is it about who ended up doing the best job. That’s all 20/20 hindsight. The list for for who was the best casting choices going INTO the movies in question.
Feel free to add your own picks in the comments section below:
1) PATRICK STEWART (Professor X)
This is hands down, without question and without any doubt the single most “perfect” casting decisions in comic book movie history. Patrick Stewart was genetically bread to play professor Charles Xavier. Long before they even thought about doing an X-Men movie, for over 10 years whenever any discussion came up about “dream casting for an X-Men movie”, Patrick Stewart was ALWAYS at the top of the lists. No question, Patrick Stewart as X is the best casting in a Comic Book movie of all time.
2) ROBERT DOWNEY JR (Tony Stark/Iron Man)
There was a lot of speculation floating around regarding who would play Iron Man once they announced they were moving ahead with the movie (as there always is with these Comic Book films), but one name that no one really thought about was Robert Downey Jr. until they announced that he would indeed play Tony Stark. It caught everyone by surprise… but once his name was announced everyone stood up and said “Holy crap that’s PERFECT!” And indeed it was perfect. The key to pulling off Iron Man was pulling off Tony Stark… and if Tony Stark really was alive in the real world… his name would be Robert Downey Jr.
3) RON PERLMAN (Hellboy)
Not a lot of people in the mainstream movie going audience were familiar with who or what Hellboy was before the movie version came out. But for those who DID know who and what Hellboy was, the announcement of Ron Perlman as big Red seemed as obvious as the answer to the question “excuse me sir, would you like a blow job?” YES! The voice, the mannerisms and to some degree even the physical stature all screamed Hellboy. Brilliant casting.
4) GENE HACKMAN (Lex Luthor)
Really, what can be said about Gene Hackman that hasn’t been said a thousand times before? Already a world renowned actor having won the Oscar for best actor in 1972, Hackman brought credibility to a very risky film in 1978… Superman. he made being the bad guy in a comic book movie a cool thing. Well… let’s be honest… anything that Gene Hackman does automatically becomes “the cool thing”. The guy could masturbate in a children’s playground and it would suddenly become socially acceptable.
5) CHRISTIAN BALE (Bruce Wayne/Batman)
There is no more coveted role in the comic book genre than that of the Batman. However, the role also became one of the biggest risks ever since it had been practically ruined by the George Clooney effort and to some degree the Val Kilmer one too (Don’t get me wrong, I thought they were both good castings too… but the last movie was SOOOO bad it almost single andedly killed the comic book genre of movies all together until X-Men resurrected it). Again, like Downey, Bale’s name was not one of the top one’s being thrown around at all… but when they announced him, people who knew Bale’s work stood and cheered. It was a bit of a gamble, but we knew it was a great choice.
6) EDWARD NORTON (Bruce Banner/The Hulk)
Ok, so we’ve got this character… he’s an almost middle aged, skinny but cerebral and intense character… any ideas? Yeah… how about Edward god damn Norton! in casting the lead character for The Incredible Hulk, you don’t cast for the Hulk… you cast for Dr. David Banner, and if you can make it one of the best actors in the business today, then that’s a bonus. Getting Edward Norton on board brought some instant and much needed credibility to the new Hulk film that so many people thought was a bad idea. An excellent choice and a bold risk for Norton to take.
7) KEVIN SPACEY (Lex Luthor)
Lex makes a second appearance on this list. No one, and I mean no one wasn’t excited and pumped when the word came out that Kevin Spacey was going to play Lex Luthor. But unlike Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man… Spacey’s casting came as no surprise. People had been calling out for Spacey to play the iconic villain for years ever since they saw him as the fake Dr. Evil in Austin Powers 2 (how weird is that?). Getting him on board to play the antagonist was a no brainer.
8) THOMAS JANE (Frank Castle/The Punisher)
This was one of those situations where I really couldn’t properly see anyone playing the main character… until they said it was going to be Thomas Jane. The dude (in my opinion) was the perfect guy to bring The Punisher to flash and bone life. No offense intended to Dolph Lungren fans (hehe). Great decision for a not so familiar comic book character to main stream audiences.
9) TOBEY MAGUIRE (Peter Parker/Spider-Man)
This one falls much into the same category as the Hulk casting. When getting your guy, you don’t think about Spider-Man per se. You focus on getting your Peter Parker. Someone who could still pull off a screen presence and could act… but he has to be Peter Parker. Getting Tobey Maguire in the role fulfilled that mission VERY well. Maguire brought name recognition with him as well to the part which is always something studios want with their multi-million dollar investments in a comic franchise if they can get it.
10) JENNIFER GARNER (Elektra)
What’s that you say? You need an absolutely beautiful and stunning woman who will look great in tight leather, but can also kick insane amounts of ass? Hmmmm… sounds like a job for Sydney Bristow from Alias, Jennifer Garner became famous for traveling around the world as Bristow, beating the living hell out of evil agents and super spies… and holy crap he’s in INSANE shape too. She also was a big name at the time which helped. You may not like how Daredevil turned out (personally I liked it) but you’ve got to admit she was THE choice to play that role.