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Top Five Most Faithful Portrayals of Comic Book Characters in Movies

Yes, the title is convoluted. Basically, this list is comprised of the five roles from comic book movies I feel are most faithful to their comic book origins. These aren't necessarily the five best acting jobs from comic book movies (although, some of them definitely are), but rather the actors and roles that got their characters the most right.

Obviously, in order to judge how accurately a movie nailed the characters as presented in comics, I have to be familiar with their portrayal in the comics-world, so that leaves out roles like Ron Perlman in Hellboy or Paul Giamatti in American Splendor, since I haven't read either comic. There's also the comic book movies I've never seen, but, for the most part, those are limited to movies that fans haven't been all that ecstatic about, so I doubt Halle Berry as Catwoman or Sean Connery as Allan Quatermain would've made the list anyway. Who did? Read on!

What? No Jessica Alba?

5. Mickey Rourke as Marv, Sin City - Obviously, the characterisations of all the characters in the Sin City movie are spot on, since the movie was relentless faithful to the comics. Were this a top ten list, I could conceivably fill spots 6-10 with other characters from the movie. I'm going with Mickey Rourke because his portrayal of Marv was the most dynamic, and the casting of Rourke fit perfectly (unlike, say, Bruce Willis as Hartigan, who did a good job with the role, but was a little younger than how I always read Hartigan). Probably the only Mickey Rourke role I've ever enjoyed.
You'll believe a man can overcome a hokey movie to create an iconic film role.

4. Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent / Superman, the Superman movies parts I-IV - After re-watching the first two entries in this series, I was struck by how mind-numbingly stupid and dull they both were, coming to the conclusion that the only reason why anyone reveres them is pure nostalgia (I challenge anyone to review them and prove me wrong). That said, the only reason to watch them is for Christopher Reeve, who nails both the role of Superman, in a quiet, confident fashion, and Clark Kent, in a lovably clumsy way that almost allows you to accept the conceit that no one would think look past the glasses to see that this schmo could be the Man of Steel.
Snikt, bub, snikt.

3. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, the X-Men trilogy - From his first appearance in the first X-Men, Hugh Jackman embodies Wolverine. I think we lucked out that the producers trusted the role to a little-known actor, as I believe that a bigger name would've played the role too big, and lost the essence of the loner Canuck. Jackman maintained his grasp of the character even through the terrible movie, but his performance still dropped down a spot due to the improper use of Wolverine as the series developed. The movies tried to make him the leading man hero-type, which isn't his character at all (of course, the comics have been fucking this up throughout the years too, squeezing him into almost every title in the Marvel universe).
Possibly a stunt double.

2. Christian Bale as Batman / Bruce Wayne, Batman Begins - In some ways, playing Batman isn't all that difficult (at least when the director actually allows for some screen time for the Dark Knight, unlike when George Clooney donned the cowl). It's all mystique and intense stares, then switching out for your stunt double. What makes Bale's performance so great is his treatment of Bruce Wayne, making him the first memorable Bruce Wayne in the movies. Bale and director Christopher Nolan understood that Bruce Wayne is the Batman's alter ego, not the other way around, a tool Batman uses to deflect attention from himself while he uses Wayne Enterprises to fund his war on crime. Thus, Wayne is flamboyant, flighty, and flippant, a billionaire playboy who doesn't seem to take anything seriously enough to have anything in common with Gotham's hero.
Peter sure was lucky New York had so many empty alleys for him to take his mask off in.

1. Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker / Spider-Man, the Spider-Man trilogy - Here's the thing: Peter Parker is a dork. A lovable dork, but a dork nonetheless. He's the goofy kid who was a good boy for his Aunt May well into his teenage years, who was so into science that he could invent web fluid and spider tracers as a teenager. It made him a difficult character to cast, since big budget action movies usually like to rely on handsome movie stars to help sell them (for the longest time, Leonardo DiCaprio was attached to the role, back when James Cameron was slated to direct, which would have been a bad choice, despite DiCaprio's talent). Maguire effortlessly embodies this side of Peter Parker because, well, do I have to say it? The only question was whether or not the guy who rode Seabiscuit could fill out a Spider-suit credibly. And despite the restrictions he placed on himself with his vegan diet, the answer was yes.
Tags: comic_books, lists, movies
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