Recently, I got to watch “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” And while the movie itself was a stellar play of action, character development and social commentary, I couldn't also help but marvel(heh, heh) at the choices in character casting. Whether it was Chris Evans's portrayal of unwavering patriotism or Samuel L. Jackson being his normal, badass, Samuel L. Jackson self.....but with an eye patch. Marvel Studios has done a pretty good job of fitting the right actor/actress with the right character....recently, that is. But there were also the times when this wasn't the case. When the casting was so off that it nearly tanked(or did tank) the movies they starred in. So we're going to take a look at the times when Marvel had the perfect casting....and the times they didn't.
Note: These choices are selected from movies already out, so even if some future castings sound terrible(*cough*Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic*cough*), they will not be merited here.
#5 Worst: Taylor Kitsch- Remy LeBeau/ Gambit
Starring in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” Taylor Kitsch was cast as everybody's favorite cajun mutant, Gambit. And while the whole of Origins was a turd with Wolverine claws, it was Kitsch that really sold the worst of it. Gambit in the comics is a sly, charismatic rogue who, despite his kleptomaniac hands, has a good heart. Gambit in the movies was “Friday Night Lights” with a fake Southern accent. All the teen angst, none of the charisma.
#5 Best: Patrick Stewart- Charles Xavier/ Professor X
It's arguable that the 2000 movie “X-Men” is what kicked off our modern fascination with superhero movies. And there's little doubt that had something to do with Patrick Stewart playing the leader of the X-men, Charles Xavier. Patrick Stewart, having already added Captain Jean-Luc Picard to his dynamite resume, took on the role of Xavier with just as much finesse. And he nailed it. You can not look at Stewart's performances and not say, “Yep, that's Charles Xavier, alright.” His portrayal just exudes the character's presence of control, intellect and pacifism that is to be expected of Professor X. Four for you, Patrick Stewart.
#4 Worst: Ben Affleck- Matt Murdock/ Daredevil
To be fair, I'm not going to mention anything about Ben Affleck playing Batman in the future Man of Steel movie. But let's face facts: Ben Affleck's Daredevil sucked. I mean really sucked. Try as hard as he might have, he could not pull it off. The lines were corny, the times he tried to badass failed and all the luster that could have come from a super powered blind man was leeched out by Affleck's poor acting. And this was in a movie where everyone was also bad. Affleck proved himself to be a shining example when superhero movies can fail.
#4 Best: Hugh Jackman- Logan/ Wolverine
If there are three things certain in life, it's death, taxes and that Hugh Jackman loves playing Wolverine. And I mean he REALLY loves being Wolverine. He's been the same character for six, going on seven, movies and there is no sign of him stopping. And you know what? I don't want him to. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is awesome, not only because he can deliver the action and kickassery, but he also understands the character. Jackman constantly brings the lone wolf, desperado element that is so ingrained in Wolverine's being. But he also manages show Logan's humanity, err, mutantanity. Basically, I'll stop tiring of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine the day he decides to stop doing it......so, never.
#3 Worst: Eric Bana- Bruce Banner/ The Hulk
Portraying Bruce Banner is a hard thing to do as an actor. You've got to successfully demonstrate apparent intellect, show crushing guilt and shame over your other half and also display a never ending desperation to cure yourself of being the Hulk. These are things that Eric Bana did not accomplish, not by a mile. His performance as Bruce Banner in the 2003 “Hulk” movie was dismal, at best. So much so that I would even say Bana wasn't even trying to act as someone else. He just saw the script was like, “A'right. Nottin' Eye Couldn't 'Andle.”(He's Australian). Don't get me wrong, normally he's a fine actor and has done other films where he's done great. “Hulk,” however, won't be showing up on his posthumous filmography montage, if you get what I'm saying.
#3 Best: Chris Evans- Steve Rogers/ Captain America
As I said earlier in the article, Chris Evans as Captain America was nothing short of amazing. So well done that it qualified him to join the Top 5 listing, in my opinion. And frankly, I was surprised by how well he's done in “The Avengers” and in both Captain America movies. If you had asked me before “Captain America: The First Avenger” came out what I thought about Chris Evans playing Steve Rogers, I would've said one thing: “The guy from 'Not Another Teen Movie' and the Human Torch? Now playing a different Marvel character? Give me a break.” But boy was I wrong. Evans has done a stellar job playing Captain America, in all his finer qualities. He shows Cap's honesty, his loyalty to what's right and his powerful presence as a leader so naturally that I'm nothing short of awestruck.
#2 Worst: Halle Berry- Ororo Munroe/ Storm
The X-Men movies have brought a lot of great actors into the fold to portray their characters. But sometimes, they bring in actors more for their star power and less for their talent to portray the character.....enter Halle Berry. Already a big name herself, Berry was brought in for the influential “X-Men” as Storm, the weather changing X-Man of the group. But holy hell did she bomb. She was a storm herself, but more like a shit storm than the mutant kind. Whereas Storm in the comics is a strong, African woman who even served as team leader for a time, Berry's storm was a passive, quiet character who, more than not, was a damsel in distress. How you can turn a woman who controls the weather into a damsel in distress is beyond me. But Halle Berry found a way.....she found a way.
#2 Best: Robert Downey Jr.- Tony Stark/ Iron Man
It goes with little saying that Robert Downey Jr. is, without a doubt, the perfect Tony Stark. He portrays everything the character epitomizes: charisma, genius intellect, a deeper sense of goodness and a notorious wit. When RDJ burst onto the scene in his debut superhero film, “Iron Man,” it was a performance like none we've seen before. He was perfect, down to every detail. So wholeheartedly did we believe he was Tony Stark that at this point, it's hard to distinguish the actor from the character. He's THAT good at being Tony Stark. There is only one greater casting Marvel has ever accomplished in their films....
#1 Worst: Topher Grace- Eddie Brock/ Venom
Topher Grace.......Topher fuckin' Grace. You have to understand something before we begin. Spider-man is my favorite superhero. And Venom, his crazed, symbiotic counterpart, is my favorite of Spider-man's villains. So for Marvel to have cast Topher Grace as Eddie Brock AKA Venom AKA my favorite villain ever was a huuuuuuge let down for me. And I'm 100% serious right here. Casting this 110 lbs sniveling twat as a character who's supposed to be a revenge-driven roid jock with an alien suit was probably the worst thing Marvel could have done, to me. Did we get a desperate, out of his mind revenge complex from Eddie? Nope, we got a whiny liar without the shred of a spine. What about the classic Venom/Spider-man dynamic of a psychotic game of cat-and-mouse? Nope, we got a boring “kidnaps your girlfriend” plot. Everything about Topher Grace was the opposite of who Eddie Brock/Venom was and that was the biggest disappointment. They took my favorite villain and turned him into a wimpy brat with jealousy issues. I spit on you, Marvel. It's only ironic that your saving grace comes from the very same series that spawned Topher Venom.....
#1 Best: J. K. Simmons- J. Jonah Jameson
Sublime. Godlike. Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood. These are the only words I have for J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. Old Flattop may have not been a terribly important character in the Spider-man film franchise, but damn if Marvel didn't knock it out of the park with their casting for him. I mean, just look at him! J. K. Simmons's portrayal was everything it should have been for J. Jonah Jameson. Even the way he looked was perfectly matched in every way. As if J. K. had been born for the sole reason of playing Spider-man's arrogant, bully of a boss. It's so damn good that, with the hardest of my wishes, I hope J.K. reprises his role in the new “The Amazing Spider-Man” series, alternate universe as it may be. Because if "Spider-man 3" taught us anything, it's that a turd can at least be salvaged if it has one glittering diamond embedded in it.
That's the list, ABOGers! If you agree or disagree with the choices, let us know in the comments or share with us on our Facebook page
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