3 of the Best vs 3 of the Worst is exactly what it sounds like – 3 of the best examples of either an actor, film series, genre, etc. versus 3 of the worst. It’s also an opportunity for you to have your say on my choices and whether you would have placed something ahead of my best or my worst. This week…. Supervillain Casting!
With the recent news that Chris Cooper has joined Jamie Foxx and Paul Giamatti as part of the cast for Amazing Spiderman 2, as potential villain Norman Osbourne, it got me thinking about other actors who have brought comic book icons to the screen. Chris Cooper has the potential to be an amazing Norman Osbourne if done correctly and could join the ranks of some of the great supervillain casting. He could also mess up the interpretation completely, and join the vast amount of bad casting of a supervillain too. So without further ado…
3 of the Best
3 – Ian McKellen as Magneto
This one was a last-minute addition and kicked Alfred Molina out of the third spot for his role as Doctor Octopus in Spiderman 2. I would have kicked myself if someone had pointed out my overlooking of McKellen, who plays the tortured, prejudice but righteous Magneto brilliantly. His calm, superior manner makes the villain something much more than a comic book character and I can’t wait to see what they have him doing in the second part of the X-Men: Prequel series.
2 – Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two Face
This wasn’t truly realised until he actually became the alter-ego. Anyone can do a good job of Harvey Dent but to create that twisted but righteous, scarred villain is much more difficult. The less said about Tommy Lee Jones “Two-Face as the Joker” impression the better and Eckhart manages to undo all that and create a villain that was killed off far to early and could very easily have held the third film as the sole villain – in fact he would have made a much better choice than Hardy as Bane.
1 – Heath Ledger as the Joker
I wasn’t sure about using two character from the same film but Nolan has done a fantastic job of all his casting and arguably did the best job with the hardest role. When Ledger was first announced as Joker, I was gobsmacked, wondering how the kid from 10 Things I Hate About You and A Knight’s Tale would come close to Nicholson’s iconic portrayal. It was apparent from the moment he opened his mouth or jammed a man’s head onto a pencil, that this would be a defining Joker, making it almost impossible for anyone to follow as the clown, or to follow as a screen-villain at all.
3 of the Worst
3 – Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin
In fairness to Michael Clarke Duncan, this wasn’t his fault. He was perfectly ok in Daredevil, menacing enough and a good threat to Affleck’s Daredevil. He wasn’t Kingpin though. He wasn’t the huge, bald, ruthless but calculating villain who poses a distant, puppeteer style threat to both Daredevil, and even more, to Spiderman. Clarke Duncan is too recognisable as the cuddly, harmless, lovable guy from Green Mile. He hasn’t got the presence or darkness in him to play Kingpin and it ruined a potentially amazing screen-villain who I hope could still do a job for The Amazing Spiderman film series.
2 – Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze
This was a case of huge star over perfect casting choice. In a film filled with disastrous decisions, Arnie as Freeze is one of the worst. He just isn’t the character from the comics. The sub-zero temperature scientist who just wants to find a cure for his wife’s fatal disease. Wrongfully accusing Batman of injustice, he is a character who could not only be great as a story-centered villain but also shoots ice! The potential for a spectacle film with some emotion behind it is here, but not in the hands of The Terminator or Joel Schumacher.
1 – Jeep Swenson as Bane
How they got this so wrong is beyond me. Bane in the comics is an intelligent, vengeful and formidable opponent who actually breaks Batman’s back and puts him out of service for a whole years worth of comics. Tom Hardy gets him right, with a few tweaks to the story and motives, but a character much closer to the comics. Batman and Robin’s version is a hulk-like beast who says little, does even less and is nothing more than a glorified henchman. It’s an insult to the great comic-book character that plays such a huge part in the Batman comics and is done so well in the third part of Nolan’s amazing trilogy. It was the biggest mistake of the whole Batman and Robin farce and deserves its place as number-one worst supervillain.
Overall, a tough decision on both ends. Alfred Molina deserves to be in there, as does Michael Fassbender as Magneto. Equally, either of the villains from Spiderman 3 or the villains from the later Superman films could be included. So let me know what you think, any great villains I have forgotten or anyone that should be swapped out for something much worst?