By now, we've all seen the latest Batman vs Superman trailer dozens of times, and broken it down scene-by-scene...right? As exciting as this trailer has gotten everyone for a full scale launch of the the much promised DC Cinematic Universe, I think it's prudent to step back and look at what we're getting.
At this point, the majority of the Justice League has been cast, release dates have been announced, and images of our 3 main leads in action have been shown. Speculation and rumor has Chris Pine filling the last open suit, as the lead in the Green Lantern Corps film. It's an exciting time for DC fans who have seen the brand flounder with most recent comic-to-screen attempts that don't star Batman. But I cannot avoid asking a very important question: Are these actors strong enough?
I don't mean physically, especially with America's favorite strongman, Dwayne Johnson, joining the fold in the near future. I mean, do these actors have the chops to do more than look good in the suit and fight CGI baddies? A quick look over at Marvel's films reveals a who's who of Hollywood's greatest actors, thespians who are capable of lifting comic book storylines off the pages and delivering terrific performances. Marvel has chosen to fill it's films with truly great actors from top to bottom. Secondary and tertiary characters are carefully cast with more than just replacement level talent, but character actors that stand out. There are multiple Academy Award winners throughout the MCU. Even when they have to replace actors to fill roles, they add top level talent such as Don Cheadle or Mark Ruffalo. DC, on the other hand, has taken a different approach, it seems.
Henry Cavill was the key cog to the DCU as Superman. He was a calculated risk that, in my opinion, paid off. His performance as the Man of Steel was the best part of that film. Ben Affleck's selection as Batman set the internet afire, and he continues to be a polarizing figure when it comes to his acting abilities. I, personally think that furor is overinflated. Affleck has improved greatly in his acting ability in recent years after making himself a punchline with questionable performances and choices during the early part of the 2000's. I think we're safe with these two men.
Gal Gadot, as Wonder Woman, is where I start to question things. She has yet to inspire any confidence in her acting ability. Can she believably carry a major role and icon like the Amazonian princess? I'm hopeful. Jason Mamoa has the unenviable task of breaking the mold of Aquaman that most people have in their minds as the weakest member of the SuperFriends. Physically, he seems up to it. But everything I've seen him in, from Haywire to Conan to his time on Game of Thrones, give me no faith in his acting ability. He's got brooding about with barely audible dialogue down pat. But real emotion? Not so much. Ray Fisher as Cyborg? What I know about Ray Fisher and what he brings to the part could fit in a thimble. Ezra Miller as the big screen Flash, not to be confused with the television version, is interesting, as I've like the things I've seen him in recently. But again, it's all been small parts that don't showcase real acting skills. Finally, Chris Pine, if we do get him as our Green Lantern, could possibly be the most boring pick for a superhero ever. But I'll wait until that role is actually cast before I jump in with too much vitriol for him.
Why so negative? you may ask. Why not just enjoy what we're getting? Maybe it's an inherent pessimism. Maybe it's decades of watching DC trip over their own shoelaces. Maybe it's the fact that I continue to be blown away by what Marvel is doing and I want that same level of excitement for what's to come with DC. Maybe filling out the casts with high quality actors to combat the Benedict Cumberbatch's and Michael Douglas' that Marvel seems to get with ease will help. But for now, all I can do is look ahead with apprehension and concern over what DC is looking for in it's acting choices, and hope it succeeds before the superhero film bubble bursts. But that's a topic for another time.