This week has seen the first major casting announcement for Zack Snyder’s ‘Justice League: Part 1’, with Oscar-winner JK Simmons taking on the role of Batman’s long-time ally Commissioner Jim Gordon.
The news got us thinking about the very best comic book movie casting
decisions, and how Simmons already ranks among them. He was the best part of Sam Raimi’s 'Spider-Man’ trilogy, and now he gets the chance to steal
the show all over again.
So we’ve made our list of six of the best superhero movie casting
decisions, starting with Simmons’s manic portrayal of the Daily Bugle’s
editor in chief.
JK Simmons - J. Jonah Jameson
Jameson is a great opportunity for an actor to really chew some scenery,
and that’s precisely what Simmons did in the three 'Spider-Man’ movies
starring Tobey Maguire in the title role.
As Peter Parker’s boss and Spidey’s most staunch critic, Simmons provides
wonderful comic relief, proving no performance is too over the top when it comes to comic book adaptations. In fact, Simmons’ performances are among the very best in the superhero genre and it’s a shame he won’t get to
reprise the role in next year’s reboot.
Robert Downey Jr - Tony Stark / Iron Man
There’s a reason Robert Downey Jr gets the biggest pay checks in the Marvel
Cinematic Universe (MCU) - he’s one of the two people most responsible for
its prolonged success, alongside Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.
Downey Jr has often embodied the character of Tony Stark, but the
comparisons were apparent long before the success. The actor’s rockstar
lifestyle - prior to his reform and the career resurgance he has Marvel to
thank for - made him a great fit, but a risky proposition for a studio
making its very first feature.
Heath Ledger - The Joker
The Joker will always be a role put under a great deal of scrutiny. That was true before Ledger was controversially given the part, but it’s especially true following his Oscar-winning performance as the Clown Prince of Crime in Christopher Nolan’s 'The Dark Knight’.
Many hated the idea of pretty-boy Ledger playing such a dark and twisted character, but he proved each and every nay-sayer wrong, providing an iconic performance for the ages.
Chloë Grace Moretz - Hit Girl
Only 11 years of age when 'Kick Ass’ was made, Chloë Grace Moretz stole the show in Matthew Vaughn’s bloody, violent and irreverent comic book
Casting someone as a foul-mouthed and screwed-up, pre-teen killer is
something a director doesn’t want to get wrong, and Vaughn absolutely did
not. Moretz is now a star big enough to be scrapping with Kim Kardashian on
Mark Ruffalo - Bruce Banner / The Hulk
Prior to Mark Ruffalo getting the job, Eric Bana and Edward Norton both had a crack at playing Marvel’s green giant. Both did well, but not so well that they were invited back. Enter Ruffalo, who proved the perfect fit for the one of Marvel’s most iconic heroes.
Joss Whedon’s excellent 'Avengers Assemble’ script helped give us a Hulk that finally worked on the big screen, and while Ruffalo did perform as him, he truly succeeded because of his portayal of Banner. Ruffalo’s laid back acting style juxtaposed brilliantly with The Hulk’s rage.
Patrick Stewart - Professor X
In casting British screen and stage legend Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier, Bryan Singer and his team nailed it on the first attempt. He brings a quiet dignity, authority and depth to a character that brings together heroes of every ilk.
James McAvoy has been good as a younger version of the character in more recent films, but it is hard to imagine anybody will ever be as good as Stewart.
Picture Credits: Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures / 20th Century Fox / Warner Bros / Universal.