I wish the studios cranking out one superhero movie after another would keep their mitts off of great actors.
Before the huge success of Batman, Michael Keaton was a terrific comic actor. Night Shift remains one of my favorite movies and one of only maybe 2 1/2 Ron Howard movies I can stomach. Since Batman? A couple of cameos as Ray Nicolette in Jackie Brown and Out of Sight and not much else.
For Jack Nicholson, his turn as The Joker (as entertaining as it was) in the same film cemented the actor as a caricature of himself a million miles away from the greatness on display in Five Easy Pieces and Chinatown. He’s done good work since, but at almost all times his persona outshines his performances.
I’m a little less worried about Christian Bale in the rebooted Batman movies for some reason, but Terminator Salvation is certainly cause for concern.
Granted, Iron Man probably rescued Robert Downey, Jr. in a way and he surely made that movie more interesting than it had any right to be, but I fear the edgy, interesting Downey of yore will never be seen again. Instead it’ll be Due Date, and Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes as far as the eye can see.
Most recently, the terrific Andrew Garfield signed on for a Sam Raimi-less Spider-Man reboot cynically mounted only a few years after the last horrible entry in the franchise. Most Americans haven’t even seen the kid who was so great in Boy A, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and The Red Riding Trilogy, and now I fear he’ll be ruined too.
Now comes word that Marvel is looking at Mark Ruffalo for The Hulk in the upcoming Avengers movie. Both Eric Bana and Edward Norton played the part unscathed, but that’s partly because both films were met by relative indifference. Will Ruffalo be so lucky? I hope so.
Superhero movies are an acceptable fact of life. Though I’m sick of them, some of them are even entertaining. The thing is, I don’t think they’re made or broken by the guy (or gal) inside the costume and I think the money and fame those roles bring is more of a detriment to fine acting careers than a benefit.
Filed under: Opinion