Comic movie Mount Rushmore: Who would make the cut?
(Editor’s note: This article contains a spoiler for “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” You’ve been warned.)
One factor in having so many great comic book movies these days is great casting choices.
It’s not enough to toss popular stars into the roles (i.e. Dolph Lundgren as the Punisher, Arnold Scwarzenegger as Mister Freeze). Filmmakers need to show they understand the characters and what makes them work. Marvel nails it more often than not, and DC’s hit home runs with Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.
If there was a monument to great comic book casting, say a Mount Rushmore, who would be on it?
Not Ryan Reynolds.
He’s a great Deadpool and his dedication made those movies happen (unfortunately, since the humorous and clever bits are drowning in such excessive filth and violence). But despite what our fearless leader and editor Erin will tell you, he’s not one of the four GOATs.
Tom Holland may be the best Spider-Man we’ve seen on screen, but he’s not so far beyond Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield that he’s made the part his own.
Some give the nod to “Blade,” but I say the current golden age of comic cinema really began with 2000’s “X-Men.” That movie may not hold up quite as well now, but I felt something was going to be different about this movie when they cast Patrick Stewart as Professor X. His role as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard showed us he had the gravitas and, yes, bald head to play another sci-fi icon.
But James McAvoy’s performance as a younger Xavier proved that while Stewart may be the best, he’s not the only one capable of doing the job.
So who should have their faces carved into this imaginary mountain?
Christopher Reeve as Superman. Other actors have portrayed the Man of Steel well, but they’re all going for second place. Reeve remains the closest we’ve seen to a character just flying straight from page to screen. Not only did “Superman” make you believe a man could fly, it made you buy that maybe a pair of glasses and a complete change in physical expression really could hide the world’s greatest hero in the personality and body of a mild-mannered Kansas farmboy-turned-reporter.
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. It can’t have been easy to find someone to embody a nigh-unkillable superspy/samurai/wild man who’s loved by the ladies despite being 5-foot-3 and hairy as all get-out. That’s why there is at least a semi-serious petition out there to make Danny DeVito the next Wolverine. Jackman sported that absurd haircut and the attitude of a man who wants to be noble but will still use his darkest instincts to his advantage so well, it didn’t matter that he’s almost a foot taller than the character he played for nearly 20 years.
Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Downey took all the attributes Tony Stark displayed in comics – brilliance, arrogance, courage, epic control freak – and turned them up to 11. His performance in “Iron Man” helped make the Marvel Cinematic Universe a reality. Comic book Iron Man is now more like the movie version than Downey’s take was like the comics.
J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. Not a superhero, not even a headliner, but Simmons embodied the look, voice and swagger of Spider-Man’s fiercest critic. While the bigger name characters have to be replaced eventually, Sony went through three more Spider-Man movies and two Peter Parkers and Aunt Mays without recasting this role. Some of that is because you don’t have to have Jameson to make a good Spider-Man story. But also, who could possibly do it better?
According to the MCU powers that be: Nobody. Simmons’ surprise cameo in the mid-credits scene was the highlight of the movie for me, eclipsing the crazy story stuff happening around it.
Evan Bevins is the writer of the webcomic “Support Group.”