Recent Superhero Film Casting

mos cast

The big news blazing across the Internet lately has been over the recent spate of castings for roles in upcoming superhero films. Normally, the news would bring about satisfied grunts from fans all over, but some decisions and even just the rumors have been quite controversial.

Initial Grumblings

It all started in earnest late last year with the revelation that Israeli actress Gal Gadot will play Wonder Woman in the upcoming Man Of Steel sequel. Many were very surprised by this decision and some complained that she was too skinny. Guess what? So was Christopher Reeve and bulked up just fine and in time for Superman.

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There were some grumblings around that time when fans learned that Elizabeth Olsen will appear as Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch in next year’s The Avengers: Age Of Ultron. But in the end, most had enough confidence in director Joss Whedon to give the actress the benefit of the doubt. Besides, the main cast will reprise their roles, so how much screen time will Olsen have anyway?

Then, a couple of weeks ago, fandom started raising ire when it was announced that Michael Douglas will play Hank Pym in the Ant-Man movie that is also coming out next year.  pymWhile Paul Rudd’s casting as Scott Lang, the film’s main character was acceptable for many, a bunch of whiners started going off about Douglas’ age and that the choice veers significantly from the version seen in the comic books. In the end, the movie will be about Lang and it does follow the comic books’ canon. Scott Lang did take over the Ant-Man duties from Pym and made a name for himself. Douglas is an Oscar-winning actor of high caliber and he can add needed depth and pathos to Pym. So he should be fine.

After that the Internet really went into a tizzy when rumors about the potential cast for the Fantastic Four reboot started surfacing. Director Josh Trank has been working overtime on Twitter to deny many rumors, yet it wasn’t enough to satisfy Fantastic Four fans. Trank denied in August of last year that actor Miles Teller wasn’t in consideration to play Reed Richards, but recent rumors have it that he has the role locked up along with Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm. Things seemed to calm down a bit when actor Josh Gad, rumored to be the pick for Ben Grimm, went on record to deny this latest claim.

Eisenberg As Luthor

eisenbergAll that was nothing compared to yesterday’s news. As many of you know, Jesse Eisenberg has been chosen to portray Lex Luthor in the Man Of Steel sequel. Included in the announcement was that Jeremy Irons will play in the film Alfred, Batman’s butler, and this was generally well received. However, fans seem ready to take to the streets over Eisenberg. They cry that he’s too young looking, he doesn’t look menacing. Why wasn’t it Bryan Cranston or Joaquin Phoenix as speculated? They’re convinced the film is doomed.

Well all that is premature at this point. Most of these actors have solid resumes and should be able to do their jobs well. It’s nearly impossible to get an actor who is exactly like the comic book counterpart (Samuel L. Jackson notwithstanding) because comic book lore is constantly changing. It’s hard to pin down a definitive version of a character, so that gives a creator license to play around with a character. The important thing is that the characters remain true to their core. Whereas the Fantastic Four news was troubling since it was clear that the actors being considered veered significantly from the essence of the Fantastic Four, these other choices seem reasonable. And honestly, it’s ok to make some changes or updates.

In Luthor’s case, Eisenberg’s casting suggests that Luthor will be in the mold of the modern-day billionaire. Many of us think of nerdy types like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg when the word billionaire is mentioned. These men made their riches with technology and Luthor is noted for being a scientific genius who got rich. He isn’t a real estate tycoon as was seen in other Superman movies and that shows that the creators want to remold Luthor into his modern portrayal seen in the comic books. The question is can Eisenberg appear menacing? That is vital, if he cannot, then the movie is sunk. In the film The Social Network, jokeEisenberg portrayed Zuckerberg as a less-than-honorable person. So it’s not hard to imagine the actor going one step further. But he should be able to accomplish this task. Besides, remember the uproar over Heath Ledger when it was first announced that he would play the Joker in The Dark Knight? After the movie came out, his Oscar-winning performance changed many minds.

We’ll see when the first photos of him being bald surface and it may help if Eisenberg bulks up a bit!

Lewis T. Grove

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