From time to time Outright Geekery brings you a slanted and biased opinion on some trivially specific topic of geekery. We call it Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot.
The one thing I’ve noticed most about comic book geeks and comic book movies is we love trashing movie castings. Before, during, and after the film we pick nits and completely wallop every single Hollywood star who would dare to don the costumes of our most beloved characters. Some of these comic book movie castings, however, were so spot on that it’s nigh impossible to imagine anyone else in the role…even if they play a character that’s been recast. Now, it’s a lot easier to recast characters in ANY comic book movie because it’s really more about the special effects, makeup, story, and direction that makes a movie portrayal an accurate translation, but these actors nailed it so hard in these roles that I simply can’t imagine anyone else in the role. So, without further ado, we get obvious, but not too obvious, and you’ll never guess, Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot: Comic Book Movie Castings.
Honorable Mention: Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth in Batman
Michael Keaton’s Batman films were terrific. Sure, there was a hiccup here and there, but overall these were some great onscreen translations of the Batman story. Of all the great castings in this series, however, Michael Gough as Alfred was easily the best portrayal of the character up to that point, and, arguably, ever. Michael Caine’s take on the character was equally excellent, but it was a different sort of Alfred being used in Nolan’s trilogy. That little bit of argument is the ONLY reason Gough gets merely the honorable mention spot.
5. Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier in X-Men
There’s a story that Patrick Stewart tells about seeing Professor Xavier on the cover of a comic book and asking “What am I doing on the cover of this comic book?” It goes to show just how perfect a fit this actor was to this role, and it goes without saying why he makes this list. He only makes the number 5 spot because he WAS replaced by another actor onscreen, and James McAvoy did an amazing job of bringing the character out of the shadow of the great actor.
4. Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach in Watchmen
Could there ever be Watchmen remake film? Probably not, but if there IS a remake the most difficult recasting will be Rorschach. It wasn’t just that he looked good in the costume and had a fair resemblance to the comic book depiction of the character, Haley nailed the voice, hit the facial expressions, and simply WAS Rorschach. This movie gets a lot of flack but it’s a very true translation of the source, and Rorschach was the closest to that source of all the other casting. Hurm.
3. Kris Kristofferson as Abraham Whistler in Blade
Whistler was a big part of the Blade comics, but not really that necessary for a film adaptation. But they decided to include Whistler in Blade’s origin story, and Kris Kristofferson did such a great job portraying the character that I found myself feeling worse for Abraham than I did for Blade. He was so successful in the role that the entire Blade trilogy pretty much revolved around Whistler and his family. Could they replace this character? Yeah, but it wouldn’t be easy.
2. Sam Elliot, The Caretaker, Ghost Rider
The Caretaker is a difficult character to fully comprehend even for the most diehard Ghostrider fan. He’s not really an integral part of the character’s backstory, but The Caretaker is surely one of the most compelling aspects of the Ghostrider mythos. So, when the film came out and it was a such a big turd, the one truly redeeming aspect of the thing was the great Sam Elliot’s depiction of The Caretaker. The “Western” aspect of the character could have made The Caretaker as crappy as the rest of that flick, but Sam Elliot just refuses to suck. His role in Hulk as General Ross is also noteworthy, but not as much as the actor at the Top o’ this Lot.
1. J.K. Simmons, J. Jonah Jameson, Spider-Man
Since the very first scene he appeared in during Spider-Man, there’s simply no other actor who can fill the shoes of Triple J, J. Jonah Jameson, on the big screen. J.K. Simmons may be an Oscar Award winning actor, but this was the role he was born to fill. I know Disney has Spider-Man back for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but if they can’t get Simmons to reprise this role, they should just keep the character out of the films. It was that damned good!
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