Superhero Movies: More Than Popcorn Films

Despite the box office success of superhero films and the depth of some of their source material, imi9bet most of these films are seen as shallow, mindless movies with no serious characterization. This assessment simply is not true. Superheroes can be complex characters with well-defined personalities, and the right actors and actresses can bring these personalities to life on the big screen. As five films demonstrate, playing roles that originate in comic books does not diminish actors’ credibility. They still take the roles and characters seriously, even when dealing with outlandish premises. joker681

In “Watchmen,” Jackie Earl Haley played the sociopathic vigilante Walter Kovacs, also known as Rorschach. From the first lines of the film, viewers get a clear glimpse of Rorschach’s unhinged personality from his monologue about the decaying morality of New York City and, by extension, the rest of the world. Kovacs is inwardly tortured and angry at both himself and society, joker78 and he the only way he knows of to deal with this anger is to hunt those he sees as criminals. The scene in which he fully discards his civilian identity as Rorschach serves as an example: Haley makes Kovacs visibly shiver with anger at Blair Roche’s brutal death as he exacts justice on the murderer. Another scene, where Kovacs is in prison after being apprehended, shows how contemptuous he is of criminals even when he is seemingly at their mercy. pggame365

In “The Mighty Thor,” another superhero movie, Chris Hemsworth brings the Norse mythological god of thunder to life. Exiled from Asgard because of his arrogance, Thor has to regain Odin’s favor and his own powers to deal with the trickster god Loki. Hemsworth portrays Thor’s difficulty in getting used to Midgard/Earth in a diner scene: the Asgardian custom of slamming a mug on the table to show appreciation is humorous to the audience and in-character for Thor, 168galaxy but it is off-putting for Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman) and the other humans. Through this and other scenes, viewers see how awkward Thor is and perceive his disoriented confusion, which leads to violence after he has first landed on Earth. Thor attacks everyone in a rage, unable to accept that he has temporarily become fully human. Over the course of the film, Thor becomes more accustomed to being among humans, a development that is reflected in his more natural conversations with Jane Foster and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård). gcwin99

In the trilogy of films that is named for him, the half-breed vampire hunter Blade represents another example of a well-played comic book hero. Acted by Wesley Snipes, this character is gritty yet stylish, perhaps to provide a contrast to the angst-ridden literary vampires that were previously popular. Snipes participates in intense action sequences with the same stoicism viewers would expect of a reality-based superhero, taking time to deliver witty profanity-laced one-liners. Along with the X-Men and Spider-Man, Blade was one of the first superheroes to come to the big screen. hp888

The 1989 “Batman” film features Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader in one of his most popular adaptations. Although Christian Bale’s performance in “The Dark Knight Trilogy” is widely praised, many viewers criticized the gravelly voice Bale uses when playing Batman, claiming it makes it harder to take him seriously. Keaton plays Batman more suavely, striking a blend between the dark, serious Bale and the lighthearted Adam West from the 1960s movies. In short, Keaton plays the role of Batman naturally rather than as a deliberately adopted persona.

Finally, one of the best superhero movie performances of all time goes to a villain: the Joker in “The Dark Knight.” Heath Ledger’s take on the iconic Batman villain brings the Joker’s menace, macabre humor, and love for chaos in a single package that is best illustrated in the chilling “magic trick” scene in which he gouges out a mobster’s eye with a pencil. The Joker comes across as perpetually full of nervous energy and on the verge of violence. Small mannerisms such as constantly licking his lips and nervously looking around, combined with the menacing voice Ledger developed, make this Joker one of Batman fans’ favorites.


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