Marvel-ous! Issue #9: Top 10 Actor Portrayals

Hello True-Believers!

In recent years, Marvel has BLOWN UP in Hollywood. In the last 20 years, Marvel has released no less than 36 feature length live action films, with another 3 slotted for next year, and 15 more scheduled between now and 2019. This includes films from multiple studios with many different directors and stars. These films have brought in a whole new generations of fans (myself included) and made it not only accessible to be a comic fan, but completely acceptable!

In this list, I will be examining the last 20 years of Marvel films, and picking my personal favourite portrayals of characters on the big screen. This will include both heroes and villains. As always, this is a personal list, so it is just my opinion. Feel free to disagree! In fact, please do!

While part of these choices are based on the actors' ability to bring the character to life as they are written, actors that expand or bring new life to characters will also be brought into consideration. This is where some of my choices will be considered controversial, but I have accepted that the movies are not exact representations of the comics, and I can appreciate new interpretations of characters.

So without further ado, lets get to the list!

#10: Edward Norton
(Bruce Banner - The Incredible Hulk [2008])

I love Edward Norton. I also love a slightly twisted Bruce Banner. This one is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, because the movie wasn't really that good. However, I found that Norton played an awesome Bruce Banner, especially after reading the Jason Aaron run of Hulk (if you haven't read this yet, go do it. Easily my favourite Hulk story arc). Maybe it is because Norton plays twisted roles so well (Primal Fear, American History X, etc.), but I saw a lot of deeper and darker motives from his portrayal than any other I've seen, including Mark Ruffulo's most current take.

#9: Scarlet Johansson
(Black Widow - The Avengers [2012])

I won't lie, I was not into comics when the Avengers came out. I loved the films, but I had not yet made the jump to the source material. As such, I had never heard of Black Widow. Being an 18 year old boy when this came out, I was pretty excited to see Scarlet Johansson in a leather suit. What I was not expecting was a character that I cared about and wanted more of. I was thrilled when I found out that she was reprising the role in future films like the Captain America and Avengers sequels, because I really wanted more from this character. Having gone back to read some Black Widow stuff, I can't picture any one else for the role. Johansson set the bar high for all other female actors hoping to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

#8: Dave Bautista
Draax the Destroyer - Guardians of the Galaxy [2014])

If someone tells you that they knew who the Guardians of the Galaxy were before the movie was announced, they are probably a liar. In addition, if anyone says they thought that a former professional wrestler was going to play more than a musclehead, they are also a liar. Nevertheless, Dave Bautista played this role beautifully. He brought humour and emotion to a character that could have easily been just a stereotypical muscular meathead. He has one of my favourite lines in the entire film (regarding metaphors going over his head), and absolutely killed this role. You can tell that he had fun with this. I can't wait to see him in the sequel.

#7: Chris Hemsworth
(Thor - Thor [2011])

I'm not a Thor fan. I didn't care about the movies. I didn't care about the character. I don't enjoy his comics. I just don't connect with the character at all. That being said, Chris Hemsworth IS Thor. There is no better actor I can imagine for this role. While I may not like the character, there is no way that I can deny how well Hemsworth embodies the persona of a Norse God of Thunder with an ego problem. I hear Thor, I think Hemsworth, and that is the sign of a fantastic portrayal.

#6: Patrick Stewart
(Professor Xavier - X-Men [2000])

Like many kids, the X-Men movies were the first comic book games I saw. This was when I was introduced to the brilliance of Patrick Stewart. Not only, is the man a real life copy of Marvel's Professor X, but he perfectly embodies the wise professor image that the character brings to mind. As a kid, I can distinctly remember having dreams about finding out I was a mutant, and going to a school run by Patrick Stewart. If that isn't awesome, I don't know what is.

#5 Tom Hiddleston
(Loki - Thor [2011])

So, as you can probably guess from my comments about Thor, I am not a big Loki guy. I wasn't familiar with the character, nor did I care when I went into the Avengers movie, which I saw before the Thor movie. Tom Hiddleston sold me on this character. He played the Asgardian God of Mischief as a smug, cunning, scheming, and clever villain, who genuinely creeped me out at points during the film. I disliked the character, which is exactly what was meant to happen. Hiddleston sells this character so well, that even someone like me became connected to them.

#4: Evan Peters
(Quicksilver - X-Men: Days of Future Past [2014])

I can hear the hate already coming my way for this pick. Yes, Evan Peters' Quicksilver had very limited screen time. But his screen time was the best part of the entire film. His Quicksilver was a smart ass, he was cocky, he was a hooligan, and he was hilarious. I loved every second that he was on screen, and I already know that the Quicksilver lined up for the Avengers sequel won't be able to hold a candle to this. I want more Quicksilver in movies. Period. Hell, I would watch a Quicksilver solo film, which is something I never thought I would say.

#3: Chris Pratt
(Star Lord - Guardians of the Galaxy [2014])

Star Lord is awesome. Chris Pratt is hilarious. Chris Pratt playing Star Lord was unbelieveble. I loved it. He was simultaniously funny, witty, deep, emotional, bad ass, and didn't steal the show from the rest of his team mates. I felt emotionally connected to a guy who was abducted by aliens with nothing but a tape player, who then befriends a raccoon and a talking tree. That is insane, and I loved every minute of it. The fact that Star Lord has the best musical taste of any MCU character (with the possible exception of our #1) adds to my enjoyment of his portrayal.

#2: Hugh Jackman
(Wolverine - X-Men [2000])

Want to blow your own mind? Go look at a picture of Hugh Jackman's first appearance as Wolverine in 2000, then compare it to now. 14 years later, and the dude got more jacked than the comic book character he portrays! That's awesome! Now, I know a lot of people were choked that a 6'2" Austrailian was going to play the 5'3" Canadian mutant, but after seeing it, it's tough to ignore how amazingly he brings the character to life. Jackman also holds the record for the highest number of films portraying the same comic book character, currently at 7, with 2 more announced for the future. As far as I am concerned, Jackman is Wolverine, and the only way to get him out is to make a film of the recent Death of Wolverine storyline.

#1: Robert Downey Jr.
(Iron Man - Iron Man [2008])

Who else could it possibly be? The Iron Man franchise single handedly brought life to the main stream Marvel Universe, and RDJ was right in the middle of it. He is the perfect representation of Tony Stark, not only in appearence, but in the way that he plays the character. There is depth and compassion, as well as Stark's trademark smug demeanor. In my opinion, RDJ plays this role to an absolute T, and brings new life to the character, while still remaining to true to the source material. There really isn't more that a comic book fan can ask for.

What do you think? What is your favourite big screen depiction of a Marvel character? Let me know in the comments below!

As always, thank you for reading!