We all know that Heath Ledger basically kicked ass as the Joker, no question. Better than Jack Nicholson and his egotistical ass. Let's not forget Mr. Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark) himself who gave a fantastic performance, as well. These thoughts got me wondering: "Who has been perfectly cast as their graphic novel counter-part?" I then decided to pile together a list of my top ten favorite actors who portrayed characters in comic-book based movies (sans Dark Knight,Iron Man, and Incredible Hulk cast). To me, the people on this list are not debatable; they really did bring their individual character to life.
10. Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko/Sandman (Spider-man 3):
Sure, Flint Marko really shouldn't have been in the story at all (even though Cyrus and Leon would wrongfully disagree), but let's face it, Mr. Church is an amazing actor and really gave Flint Marko an extra dimension of emotion that the comics never really taped in to. If only the story wasn't so convoluted, then maybe Mr. Church could have gotten more critical acclaim for portraying a pretty sympathetic character.
9. Cillian Murphy as Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow (Batman Begins):
If you thought Murphy was a gangly weirdo in 28 Days Later, oh boy, are you in for a treat! Murphy not only brings a subtle creepiness into his character through his whispering dialogue and strict professional personality, but forces you to notice his obscenely large shining eyes that could double for a lighthouse. Seriously! All you need is a close-up shot of his eyes, and you will notice that your pants will have become soaked in urine.
8. Hugo Weaving as V (V for Vendetta):
Yes, this movie is significantly different from the graphic novel. Yes, Alan Moore did not approve of this interpretation of V. And yes, you are a little whining bitch for bringing up these facts. Hugo Weaving's performance as the masked revolutionary is, in a way, a callback to victorian-styled mannerisms of a gentleman; while he does his dastardly deeds, you will become completely entranced by almost inexcusably polite personality. While the viewers never really "see" Hugo Weaving's face, the fact that his body language, voice, and personality completely conveys the character shows that even though an actor is behind a mask, he can just as expressive (if not more) than the ones who show their faces.
7. Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier AND Ian McKellen as Eric Lehnsherr (X-men 1 & 2):
We shall not discuss the misuse of these characters in the eternal bowl of snot turned movie X-men 3, instead we shall focus on the first two movies concerning these men. When concerning this choice I came to the realization that both of these men deserved this placement for equally spectacular performances. It really is true that Stewart represents the calm, spiritual Martin Luther King Jr. aspect while McKellen fully embraces the angered, radical, revolutionary personality of a Malcolm X type character. While these two actors were fantastic with the other cast members, they are astounding whenever they have any scenes together.
6. Famke Janssen as Jean Gray (X-men series):
I believe this is the only female actor who has played a comic book based character that didn't turn out to be a horrible actress, a damsel in distress, or a hooker (Frank "Goddamn Batman" Miller with Sin City). Sure, Halle Berry was pretty to look at, but comon, did anyone else want to choke her when she gave her "toad and lighting" line in the first X-men? She gave both the sensitive tenderness and absolute ferocity that Jean had in the comics. While there were some fantastic actresses in the X-men series, Janssen managed to step up her game and really put forth the effort to create such a wonderful character. Besides, she's hot. Double points for being the only female on the list.
5. Benicio Del Toro as Jackie Boy (Sin City):
He's a bastard, a womanizer, and a loudmouth. Yet, despite all of this, Del Toro manages to create an unforgetable performance as Jackie Boy opposite of the rather bland (and obviously British sounding) Clive Owen. His deep smokers voice is perhaps the real reason why this character is so enduring. His voice is almost serpentine-like as it slithers words of doubt and evil down the ear of Clive Owen's character (even though Jackie Boy was technically dead). Being able to freak out your enemy even more in the afterlife than in the real world has also gives him some extra points for bad-assery.
4. Brandon Routh as Clark Kent/Superman (Superman Returns):
I too have a soft spot for Christopher Reeve's performance as the last son of Krypton, but Brandon manages to create a character that one can see as not only a champion of justice, but also one of extreme isolation and loneliness. Routh's performance is nothing short of awe-inspiring as he can seamlessly cross between the confident Superman and the lowly bumbling fool known as Clark Kent. You can really see the restrain that Kal-El puts on himself to play the part of a humble human and in fact is only really able to let himself feel unrestrained is at his own home with his mother. Though I feel that Director Bryan Singer and the higher ups at Warner Bros. could have made a better movie were they not trying to make a sequel to movies from over 20 years ago, Routh's performance as the Man of Steel was definitely a highlight of the film. If I can say one thing that Superman Returns has over it's brother movie Batman Begins is the inclusion of a fantastic lead actor.
3. Ron Perlman as Hellboy (Hellboy series):
What can I say? Ron Perlman is Hellboy, there is no question. The movies may sometimes lack, but not it's lead actor. If you have seen the movies, I don't need to tell you what's up with his acting, you already know. And if you haven't seen the movies yet, then by all means, run to your nearest video rental store and get it.
2. Mickey Rourke as Marv (Sin City):
It's hard to play a sadistic, possibly insane, thug with an ass-load of makeup on, but somehow, Mickey Rourke makes it look easy. From the introduction to the last scene that featured him, Rourke was completely immersed into his character. His flinty baritone voice along with his sarcastic snide remarks makes him not only memorable, but somehow lovable as well. A character that really doesn't belong anywhere and solely searching for justice, Rourke brings out all of the potential his character possesses. It's a crime he didn't get nominated for best supporting actor.
1. J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson (Spider-man series):
After you watch a comic-book based film and go back to read the comic only to have a certain character talk like their representative actor in your head, you know that actor has given a great performance. This assertion can be applied to Simmons as he plays Peter Parker's cheap, anger-prone boss, J. Jonah Jameson. His overly bombastic attitude and brusque manner clearly shows his hypocrisy and greed. But beyond that, we see an actor who isn't afraid into tapping into the rather eccentric nature of his comic-book character, and that's why J.K. Simmons wins my favor.