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Thread: Best Actor To Comic Villian

  1. JayKatz Guest

    Best Actor To Comic Villian

    The last Comics & Cinema article focused on the actors of Hollywood in their Superhero roles. This week we look at the villains. I have to say, looking for any standouts was a struggle to come up with any villains that really made any sort of Impact in the comic book movies. The list is extremely short and disappointing in fact. Itís funny how when you think of all of the comic book movies that have come out, only a couple of great performances come to mind when thinking of a villain.
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    Letís just go straight to the top here. Two Batman movies made 19 years apart gave us the same exact result as far as the actor stepping up and playing the same brilliant villain. Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger played the Joker to perfection in their own way. Many have debated which one did a better job of playing the psychotic villain. Fans should embrace these two wonderful portrayals in their own way. Jack played the charismatic psycho Joker, while Heath did the dark psycho Joker. They were both absolutely enjoyable to watch in their own way. Taking away anything or criticizing either one of these actors playing this disturbed villain would be a tremendous fault on anyoneís part. Realizing too that nothing in life is perfect and yes maybe they could have done a thing or two different here or there, but they nailed the part. Joker from Ledger and Nicholson are in an elite club all by themselves and deservingly so.
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    Where Jack and Heath have succeeded, many have failed. Speaking of the Batman movies, do we really have to mention how God awful the Batman & Robin movie was? Each villain in that movie gave a hideous performance, not to mention the superheroes too (Clooney & OíDonnell), Mr. Freeze; Schwarzenegger, Poison Ivy; Thurman and Bane (played by who cares!). This Batman movie was a travesty we all know that. The villains were a very large part of the downfall of this movie. Besides the fact it was geared towards the 9 Ė 13 year old market, the villains flat out stunk. Letís move back a couple of years before to 1995 to Batman Forever. Well itís not as bad, but itís bad and Jim Carrey as the Riddler? Is there a better part suited for this downright goofball, doofest, funny man actor? The problem as like in many of Jimís roles (not all, calm down everyone), he overacts. He completely overacted his part. He overplayed the Riddler! That in itself deserves some kind of an award. There was enormous potential if Carrey would have just not been Carrey. The pressure was on from the onset to get this done right. The fanboys wanted the Riddler and gotÖ.well Jim Carrey. Tommy Lee as Two Face? He seemed to be out of his element and it felt very forced at times. Not once did anyone believe that Tommy was pulling this off, heís a seasoned veteran that can act his ass off with the best of them. Here though, he falls very short as well. Sticking with the Batman movies, Michael Keatonís second go at Batman in Batman Returns was as good as his first go at Bruce, but that was already discussed in the last Comics & Cinema article. Weíre looking at the villains in this movie and we have a slight winner here, finally! As a anti-hero Michele Pfeiffer is a total hotty as Cat Woman. She completely runs circles around Halley Berry here in this role that she went on to play later on. Michele had the sexiness, the confusion and struggle down, where as Halley just looked smoking in the cat suit. Eye candy is good, but you need a soul. You need to want the audience to care if you lose one of your lives. As an audience member, I couldnít wait for Halley to get to her 9th life; it meant I was that much closer to the exit door. As for Michele, she gets a nod for a valiant effort here. Then we have a villain that was as bad as Arnolds Mr. Freeze, the Penguin played by Danny Devito. Much like not caring about Halley as a character, the Penguin shares that distinct honor. Who cares why the Penguin lived under Gotham? Who cares that heís not accepted by society? The point here is we SHOULD care! Not once did the audience really feel an emotional connection with this villain. Was this Devitoís fault? Or was it that the Penguin character is not an appealing one? Devito has been in the game way too long at that point in his career to be called anything less than a good actor, like Tommy Lee as Two Face, Devito was out of his element. That coupled with the previous fact that maybe the character is not appealing spells for some serious failure.
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    So what about Marvelís flagship character you ask? Spider-Man does not go unscathed here at all. The biggest disappointment has to be the Green Goblins mask. Why did they make it so it looks like an evil Kool Aid man on crack? William Defoe does a tight job with the villain itself. Thank God for this because that mask is utter crap. Not only did that mask do so poorly, but they brought in the New Goblin to wear a ski mask?! Well at least itís better than the Kool Aid one. Aside from the costume fails, both Defoe and James Franco play parts that connect with the audience. Not on every level, but they do connect in a way that many other movie stars fail to do while playing a villain. Flint Marko was okay as the Sandman in Spidey 3. Hereís the problem with Ďokayí as a villain, you become extremely forgettable after the crowds leave the theater. Yes knowing he wasnít the main villain, he still would have left an impression if the character was an explosive one. He wasnít, heís forgotten. Venom was one of these ridiculous computer generated villains that simply did not work at times. In the last comics & Cinema article there was a mention of Silver Surfer being one of the best Actor to Superhero in Comic Book movies. He too was computer generated, but it worked. Many times it seemed like he was not really in the same film cell. At times in Spidey 3, Venom didnít look like he was in the same frame. You cannot say the same when watching the Surfer. Besides, Silver Surfer was and is a better all around character than Venom , so this contributes to the disconnect with Venom a bit when it comes to the big screen.
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    A nice connection occurred in Spidey 2 with Alfred Molina as Doc Ock. Here is another win for the villains. Alfred played the part well and looked spectacular doing it. His calm demeanor to his build up psychotic madness was entertaining to witness. Molina gets kudos for his villain Doc Ock.
    Fantastic Four Introduced Victor Von Doom to the silver screen. And what a disappointment this was. Not only was the costume off, but the whole vibe of Dr. Doom was off. Being one of Marvelís oldest villains in their universe, youíd figure Hollywood would be a bit more careful to not ruin it. Not saying Julian McMahon didnít try hard enough, it just never seemed to fit right in that role, much like Ian McKellen as Magneto. I know a lot of people will disagree with that last statement, but Ian just doesnít seem like a fit there. At times he does, but most of the time he doesnít. Dr Doom and Magneto go on the list of Ďcould have been betterí. Speaking of X-Men, there are a couple of loses here too. Agent Zero in the Wolverine Origins movie was hideous because, with all of those powers, he needed to be around longer and needed to play a bigger role. Tyler Mane as Sabretooth, better than Liev Schreiber.
    Superman has so many problems these days itís not even funny anymore. How many times will we hear that the re-vamp Superman movie is coming? Itís going to be darker and with an edge. Superman needs many things done in order for it to work again, but thatís not the focus here today. The focus goes onto Lex Luthor. Why must Lex be in every Superman movie? Can we not have him around so that maybe Supes can fight a villain like General Zod again? Terence Stamp owns Superman in the 1980 movie. There is nothing in comic book life that was better than watching Superman bleed for the first time in his life. It was compelling to watch the downfall and rise of Superman, all this happening because of General Zod totally kicking ass. Superman needs a serious challenge of a villain like Zod in order to gain his respect in the movie kingdom once again. Also a changing of garment would help, but we all know from a previous article how most feel about this. Terrence Stamp gets the thumbs up here. Oh yes, Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey as Lex? Itís a bore fest. These villains are not believable on the big screen, maybe Michael Rosenbaum of Smallville works better as Lex because heís on the small screen. Either way, Lex is played as a movie villain, Hollywood needs to move on from him.
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    See you all soon and remember to turn off your cell phone when reading this article. We need quiet in this theater.
    Jay Katz

    Remember to Visit & for Articles from InvestComics. Get all of the mentioned Comics at Don't miss out on all the happenings on The Outhouse at

  2. tiggerpete Guest

    dude, Kevin Spacey as Lex was the best part of Superman Returns, I think he hit the very definition of the character, a true egomaniac in the best sense of the word, huge ego, and a definite maniac. and pretty much the ideal version of the character IMO, scheming business man first, trying to build and maintain an empire by using a few shortcuts and trying to get supes off his back. now his performance wasn't on the level of Nicholson or Ledger, but who is? all-in-all, a great entertaining performance (I did like Superman Returns, but just wanted more action to it, which I hope to see in the sequel if they manage to actually make one (seems doubtful right now, but anything can happen))

    at the time I didn't know any different, but looking back, I hate what they did to Bane in Batman and Robin that pisses me off more than the pun machine Mr. Freeze, just a terrible misinterpretation of the character, who if you read Knightfall, you know kicks serious ass.

    as for a new Superman villain, having watched some of the old Superman TAS recently, I would love to see Toyman, Parasite or Metallo show up, or hell, Darkseid! if they did that they could throw in cameos of many of Jack Kirby's fourth world characters, andhave the essential ones front and center (Highfather, Orion, Lightray, Mister Miracle, Big Barda for the good, Darkseid, Desaad, Granny Goodness, Glorious Godfrey, Kalibak, and Kanto for the evil, you could have a tight story with just Highfather, Orion, Mr. Miracle, Darkseid, Kalibak, and Desaad, with the others as cameos) Mongol would be amazing as a villain, Braniac seems obvious, hell, if you want it lighthearted, throw in Mr. Myxyzptlk, how about Bizarro? Superman has been around for over 70 years, has been in 5? movies, and has dealt with Lex in four of them. I am not saying Lex shouldn't be in any more movies, but the same plot gets tired after awhile. Lex breaks out of prison, or has a crazy scheme, Supes deals with the problem and in the end puts Lex back behind bars, or otherwise brings him to justice, it is lazy and unoriginal. now a movie version of Geoff Johns Superman Last Son would kick ass. How about a two part movie experience filmed at the same time with the same actors a la Kill Bill, Doomsday, and Reign of the Supermen (set up for a third part following the GL movie, call it "Paralax") how awesome would that be? Why is it, with all of the great existing storylines out there, Hollywood just recycles the same plots over and over? there is 70+ years of continuity to mine for a truly kick ass movie, why not actually use it and make the Superman movie to rival Dark Knight? its not impossible, get the right story (its out there somewhere) get the right actors (also out there) and the right script and director, and keep it true to what the character is (Darker does not equal better, I think we learned that lesson in the 90's) the defining characteristic of Superman has always been his ability to rise above the crap that drags everyone down, he is the shining knight to Batman's dark knight, as dark as Batman is as a character, Superman is the polar opposite and the paragon of the light, dark things may happen around him, but Superman is not an emo like Spiderman, he is not a sociopath like the Punnisher, and he is not paranoid like Batman, he is the big blue boy scout, and that is what sets him apart from all of the other heroes, to make him a dark tortured soul would be so out of character and wrong, that not only would I walk out of the theatre, I would demand a refund. (sorry for the rant, sometimes you just get on a roll and can't stop typing)

  3. CalvinCamp Guest

    I suppose it doesn't really impact the question of whether the portrayal of the character was a failure, but I think it would be a mistake to blame the failure of most of these characters (or the heroes addressed last time) on the actors. In nearly every case where the character was truly bad, the movie was also truly bad. In nearly every case where the character could have been better, the movie was also mediocre at best.

    In most cases, these were not inherently bad actors. They didn't simply botch their roles. Some even outshined the movies they were in. All it takes is observing how some of these actors (I'm thinking Spacey and McKellen in particular) stand out in an otherwise mediocre movie, to see that there is someone else to blame for the shortcomings.

    Taking Batman and Robin as an example... The movie didn't stink because the villains were badly portrayed. The villains were badly portrayed because the movie stunk. George Clooney didn't play a terrible Batman; he just played Batman in a terrible movie. The same with Schwarzenegger, Thurman, and even Jeep Swenson (the guy who played Bane). A bad movie can happen to any actor.

  4. BarriLang Guest

    Alfred Molina as Doc Ock was AWESOME! Sly little grins he let us know that scatch the surface and there was a monster underneath but the skin thinest barrier of Otto was holding the evil back.

    He was SUPERB!

  5. tiggerpete Guest

    my favorite villain portrayal I think is Terrance Stamp as General Zod in Superman 2 who doesn't love "Kneel before Zod!" classic. the guy that played Striker in X-men 2 was pretty good too. Jeff Bridges was great in Iron Man as well, Stane I think it was.

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