film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997
Sun May 22 2016, 08:13pm | 3 comments
I don’t know. That’s a lot of blame to lay at the feet of superhero movies. I actually prefer it when an actor can subsume their “star persona” in order to serve the character as the story requires; it’s the stunt casting of “Look How Many Stars We Have!” movies like Oceans 11 or The Expendables that rubs me the wrong way. Actors being grim all the time isn’t the fault of the superhero film as a concept, but of a bad superhero script. And I’m not sure it’s Marvel’s fault, as the article suggests, if Robert Downey Jr. doesn’t act well in his non-Marvel movies.
One could argue that playing this kind of role across several films allows an actor to deepen their portrayal of the character. I think RDJ’s Tony Stark is much more complicated and interesting now than he was in his first movie.
The passage about Batman being more “important” than the actors playing him is, I suppose, accurate, but it’s unfair to suggest that actors can’t bring their own distinctive strengths to an established role. Keaton’s Batman is way different from Clooney’s or Bale’s, and Ledger’s Joker is different from Nicholson’s — much as Craig’s Bond is distinctly different from Moore’s, and Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is different from Rathbone’s. I don’t think the “restrictions” of the role prevent them from putting their own mark on it; the requirements of a sonnet also require you to “color inside the lines,” but that doesn’t mean you can’t do a whole hell of a lot within the lines.
Weren’t we just a few years ago, right on this very site, discussing how the era of the “movie star” was at an end anyway? I seem to recall the general consensus was 1) yeah, pretty much, and 2) good, if it means the actors have to portray characters, rather than portraying themselves portraying characters.
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