Everyone’s a Super Hero these days… or at least a character based on a comic iteration, be they a powerless vigilante or a supporting character. Playing just “3 Degrees of Marvel” is easier than “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”
There are many memorable superhero performances that have redefined comic book characters. Who can imagine anyone but Hugh Jackman playing Logan / Wolverine? Is it possible to think of the Joker without conquering images of Heath Ledger? Even now that we’ve seen Chris Cooper as Norman Osborne in the failure that was The Amazing Spider-Man 2, who could forget Willam Dafoe from 2002’s original Spider-Man film?
Sure, great performances all, but not exactly accurate depictions of the character. Wolverine is about four feet tall in the comic; Tom Cruise would actually be a more accurate portrayal of the character (not that he would be ideal either).
What I’ve collected, is a list of the most accurate casting choices of comic book characters, not the “best” or most “memorable.” Not the biggest characters or Super Heros, necessarily, but the best characters minor otherwise. These are the castings that can’t keep a Geek from smiling because he couldn’t imagine a better interpretation himself when first reading a comic. And after seeing it, this actor will always become the character’s voice when reading decades of comics to come.
5) Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
Most people use RDJ as Tony Stark as the industry standard of comic book casting… and they ain’t wrong! I just managed to find 4 other castings that are even more accurate.
It turns out that Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark… both on screen and doing interviews. He has all the charm and brilliance that defines Tony Stark, bringing the darker edge of the character into play in Avengers: Age of Ultron, in which writer/director Joss Whedon labels Stark as the villain in the film’s commentary.
RDJ pulls off both sides of Stark, the hero who regrets his own and companies’ past as “War Mongers” and the man so tortured by his experience bringing a Nuke through a wormhole to outer-space that he creates the greatest villain the Avengers have ever faced, and will further be driven to oppose teammate Captain America (Chris Evans) in Captain America: Civil War.
Donwey Jr. is both the perfect physical rendition of Stark as well as a man who share’s Stark’s darker, “less sober” past.
No silver screen actor can touch Mark Hamill’s interpretation of Batman’s nemesis, The Joker, started in Batman: The Animated Series and lifted to nirvana in the Video Game, Batman: Arkham Knight (as well as the franchises earlier chapters, Arkham Asylum & Arkham City).
Hamill’s joker just has more… fun. Hamill has worked an almost endless versions of the laugh, also bringing the Joker’s voice in and out; letting the madness seep from his performance.
Though Animated, Hamill’s Joker is also the most accurate; a man with a giant grin, but none of those scars the film version of the Joker mysteriously decided to use. With the exception of 1989’s Batman and 2008’s The Dark Knight, The Joker has never had scars (Thankfully it looks as though Jared Leto’s Joker will repair this remedy… though his appearance calls to question how accurate his performance will be).
Hamill offers the most fun interpretation of the unstable Joker, with an animated face that can’t be topped by any of the feature presentations of Batman’s greatest nemesis.
3) JK Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson
There comes a casting every now and then, that is so legendary that not even a reboot of a franchise can top the original. In the case of The Amazing Spider-Man films, the creative talent realized that J. Jonah Jameson was so well cast by J.J. Simmons, that they didn’t even attempt to offer a new take on the character.
J.K. Simmons timing is so perfect, his look so accurate, that it is impossible to read a Spider-Man comic today without hearing the actor’s voice. He’s Spider-Man’s perfect hater, an actor I would still recommend Marvel Studios use for their 2nd “reboot” of Marvel’s Webslinger.
2) Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock
Fox’s Gotham is really the 1st time I’ve seen Jim Gordon’s partner and eventual right-hand-man portrayed by a live-action actor. Even Christopher Nolan, who used the Dark Knight Trilogy to reintroduce us to lost Detective Comics characters like Lucious Fox, failed to produce Harvey Bolluck, an essential character in the comic realm.
Benjamin McKenzie was a hard sell as Jim Gordon, as his most famous role was from female teen show The O.C., but he’s worked out fine. On the other hand, Donal Logue, best known from an equally “shitty” comedy Grounded For Life, lives and breaths Harvey Bolluck into existence in a way that makes the comic impossible to read without hearing Logue’s voice.
A drunk with a conscience and extreme loyalty to his partner, Logue is incredible as Batman essential Harvey Bolluck.
1) Matt Ryan as John Constantine
Finally, we arrive at the best of the best; Matt Ryan as DC Comic’s (formally Vertigo’s) John Constantine! Forget Keanu Reeves who was terribly cast in the big-screen version of DC’s best “master of the dark arts!” Matt Ryan plays the character with the coy cockiness and James Bond-esque womanizer that perfectly reflect the comic counterpart, right down to his appearance.
This is the prime example of an actor breathing life into a formally written & drawn character with no real voice. I know can’t read Justice League Dark or John Constantine: Hellbazler without hearing… and even picturing Matt Ryan. I’d never enjoyed the aforementioned film… or comic until I saw Matt Ryan play Constantine. And since them, he has become one of my most favorite comic characters of all!
There you have it, the 5 most ACCURATE Comic Book Castings… of all time! It may not be the main characters you expected, but these supporting and less known-“Heroes” could not be better represented on the screen!
4 thoughts on “The 5 Most Accurate Comic Book Character Castings In Film and TV”
Jameson! Couldn’t agree more.
John bernthals punisher smokes all of these.