By now, most of us have been to see Batman V Superman and made up our minds on whether we agree with the critics or not. Zack Snyder's dark take on the DC universe has both critics and fans divided. You can read my review of the superhero epic here - https://creators.co/@alexleptosart/3854565
As we move on with the DC Extended Universe to it's next hit, Suicide Squad, which has me awfully excited; a new trailer was released today (or yesterday, depending on where you're reading from) and it's keeping up the light hearted tone that was present in the last trailer, despite sources that suggest the movie won't be as fun as it appears. Even though this discussion won't be about that trailer, I'll place it here for your enjoyment because it's awesome. Also, be sure to check out my thoughts so far on the film here - https://creators.co/@alexleptosart/3859472
Before Suicide Squad though, superhero fans are eagerly awaiting Marvel's third team up movie, Captain America: Civil War, which is basically looking like Avengers 2.5. This brings me to today's topic. Whether you're a DC fan or a Marvel fan, or both, one advantage that DC seem to have over Marvel in building its cinematic universe, is star power. A lot of the stars of the Marvel cinematic universe were relatively unknown at the start; sure, many of them had multiple previous film and television roles however not many of those roles were of note. Lets talk a little bit about them first. (I'm focusing on the MCU and DCEU, so won't be talking about the television shows or the Fox portion of Marvel- X-Men and Deadpool)
Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr are the most established movie actors of the Marvel universe, whereas the others were not quite as note worthy to the general public.
Johansson started her career as a child in the 1994 comedy, North. She transitioned from child/teen roles to adult roles in 2003 with the movie, Lost in Translation, for which she won the BAFTA award for Best Actress in a Leading Role at just 19 years old. By the time she was 20, she had been nominated for multiple Academy and Golden Globe awards. As well as acting, Scarlett Johansson has dabbled in the music industry, having released 3 studio albums contributed to several other works. She has also become a modern sex symbol, having frequently appeared in published lists of the sexiest women in the world. She held top spot in Esquire magazine twice and was named Playboy's Sexiest celebrity.
Robert Downey Jr enjoyed great success as stage actor in the 1980's and early to mid 90's before running into troubles with drug abuse and addiction in the late 90's. During that time, Downey Jr would struggle to find work until around 2001 when he was on his way to recovery and returning to his career. Despite having had much critical success in semi- independent movies until then, It wasn't until Marvel's first movie in it's modern cinematic universe that Robert Downey Jr would become a household name. Iron Man saw release in 2008 to great critical and commercial success, setting the stage for the MCU as it is today. Downey Jr has since enjoyed great success in blockbuster hits such as the 2009 version of Sherlock Holmes and it's sequel, 2008's action comedy Tropic Thunder alongside Ben Stiller and he is set to appear in an upcoming Pinocchio film. His career doesn't look like it'll be slowing down any time soon.
Other stars such as Chris Evans are mostly known for their roles in this universe. Chris Evans was familiar to Marvel and superhero fans for his role as the human torch in 2005's Fantastic Four, having only started his career 6 years prior. He has appeared as Steve Rogers/Captain America seven times since 2011 and looks as though he will be doing so for a while yet.
Chris Hemsworth saw his movie debut in just 2009, with his first role being that of George Kirk in J.J. Abram's adaptation of Star Trek. He appeared in two more films before appearing as Thor in 2011. He has since appeared in multiple successful blockbusters including Snow White and the Huntsman, Rush, In the Heart of the Sea and the upcoming Ghostbusters.
Jeremy Renner saw early success in 2002, playing serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Dahmer as well as many other roles. He got his breakthrough in 2009 in Iraq war thriller The Hurt Locker, for which he received critical acclaim for his role. In addition to playing Marvel's archer, Hawkeye, Renner has since starred in Ben Affleck's crime drama The Town, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters alongside Gemma Arterton, appeared in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and continued the Bourne legacy in, well, The Bourne Legacy.
Mark Ruffalo started his career at 22 and while he has appeared in many films, he did not rise to prominence until later in his career. Ruffalo had many minor roles through the 90's and received positive reviews for his role in the 2000 Academy Award nominated drama, You Can Count On Me. This would lead to other significant roles including appearing opposite Tom Cruise as a narcotics detective in Michael Mann's crime-thriller Collateral (2004). Mark Ruffallo's career took off in the 2000's, including a role in Martin Scorsese's thriller, Shutter Island as U.S. Marshal Chuck Aule, the partner of Leonardo DiCaprio's character Teddy Daniels. In 2010, he starred in Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right, with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. His performance earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In 2015, Ruffalo received his second Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of wrestler Dave Schultz in the biographical drama Foxcatcher. In the same year, he went on to star as a bipolar father-of-two in the independent comedy film Infinitely Polar Bear, for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination. He also appeared as journalist Michael Rezendes in the 2015 Best picture winning drama, Spotlight, for which he earned his third Academy Award nomination as well as a BAFTA nomination.
We then have the younger cast members, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, known for the titular role in both Kick-Ass movies; and Elisabeth Olson. Olson was already somewhat familiar to the public eye for being the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson, having appeared in six of their productions. Her breakthrough came in 2011, starring in thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene, for which received critical acclaim. She appeared in the Godzilla remake and In January 2013, Olsen was nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award; and we'll have to wait and see what 19 year old Tom Holland brings to the character of Peter Parker/Spider-man in only his sixth film appearance.
Now we move onto DC who have just started to build their cinematic universe to a mixed start. Even if the DC movies aren't good, one thing that will bring more casual viewers to the movies is it's list of already established A-list Hollywood stars.
Previously lesser known stars in the DC extended universe include Henry Cavill, who had had multiple film roles but did not meet mainstream status until being cast in Man of Steel, and to an extent, Jason Momoa, mainly known for his television roles; particularly in HBO's Game of Thrones as Khal Drago. A few of the Suicide Squad cast are lesser known to the general audience such as Jay Hernandez, Adam Beach, Karen Fukuhara and Joel Kinnaman. While Jai Courtney's filmography is only just into the double digits, those movies include blockbusters such as Jack Reacher, A Good Day to Die Hard, The Divergent Series: Insurgent and Terminator Genisys. Also, just thought i'd mention that if it wasn't for scheduling conflicts, Tom Hardy would've played Rick Flag. Damn.
Gal Gadot's movie career is also just into the double digits, with her most notable role being that of Gisele Yashar in three Fast & Furious movies, with one being photograph/archive footage. She has appeared in smaller roles in other films and since playing Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in Dawn of Justice, has been cast in more main roles for the future.
Jesse Eisenberg's film credits include the 2005 arthouse comedy-drama The Squid and the Whale. The film won awards for best dramatic direction and screenwriting, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize; the film received six Independent Spirit Award nominations and three Golden Globe nominations, as well as other nominations and awards. Eisenberg's other roles include Adventureland and the multi-award nominated The Social Network. It received eight nominations at the 83rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won three. The film also received awards for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Original Score at the 68th Golden Globe Awards.
The DCEU also stars Ben Affleck as the caped crusader. Affleck is already known for a long list of other multi-award winning roles as both an actor and director. There isn't really much need to go far into his credits or talk about his career, as you probably already know about it. His 2012 political thriller, Argo, for which he served as actor, director and co-producer, was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning three for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing. Affleck was not nominated for Best Director, for which many nominees agreed that "Affleck was robbed", in Bradley Cooper's words.
Amy Addams is also a hugely established star, having won two Golden Globe Awards, and has received five nominations each from the Academy Award and BAFTA Award ceremonies. As well as Lois Lane, her credits include 2002's Catch Me If You Can with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, Disney's Enchanted (2007), Doubt (2008), The Fighter (2010) and American Hustle (2013)
Suicide Squad stars Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto. Three more A-listers. There's no point me talking about Will Smith, we all know who he is.
Margot Robbie started her career in Australian film and TV roles and, like most Aussie stars, had a regular role on Australian soap opera, Neighbours, as Donna Freedman from 2008-2011. Robbie rose to prominence in Martin Scorsese's 2013 biographical black comedy Wolf of Wall Street alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, after getting her start in the U.S in short-lived ABC drama series Pan Am from 2011 to 2012; and making her big screen debut in the 2013 romantic comedy-drama film About Time. Margot Robbie has blown up following The Wolf of Wall Street; In 2015, Robbie starred in hustle-drama Focus alongside her Suicide Squad co-star, Will Smith. Robbie then appeared in the romantic World War II drama film Suite Française and starred in the Sci-Fi film, Z for Zachariah. In 2016, she will portray Jane Porter in the action-adventure film The Legend of Tarzan in addition to being the first actress to portray Harley Quinn in a live action role in Suicide Squad.
Jared Leto will become the fourth actor to play a live-action Joker. Many will know him as the vocalist of rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars, but he is also an Oscar winning actor who has had multiple acclaimed film roles as both actor and director. Leto has starred in blockbuster movies as well as independent and arthouse films. He made his film debut in How to Make an American Quilt (1995) and received critical praise for his performance in 1997's Prefontaine. Leto's other credits include supporting roles in Fight Club (1999) and American Psycho (2000). He received critical acclaim as heroin addict Harry Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream (2000); he had a starring role in Mr. Nobody (2009), which received a ten-minute standing ovation from the audience upon its premiere at the 66th Venice International Film Festival. He made his directorial debut in 2012 with the documentary film Artifact, which was well received.
Leto's most notable performance as a transgender woman in Dallas Buyers Club (2013) earned him an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor. Leto is considered a method actor, often remaining completely in character for the duration of the shooting schedules of his films, even to the point of affecting his health. Actors that have starred alongside Leto have gone as far to say that they never actually met Jared Leto until after shooting. For Dallas Buyers Club, Leto lost a considerable amount of weight, shaved his eyebrows and waxed his entire body and in his words, became "very sick". He is also known to be selective about his film roles.
Another popular star in Suicide Squad is English model turned actress Cara Delevingne, who will be portraying witch possessed June Moon, Enchantress. Delevingne's list of roles is a short one, having rose to prominence as a model, appearing in magazine and website shoots and later catwalk shows. She has walked for brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Victoria's Secret. Over the four fashion weeks of 2011, she had walked in more than 20 shows and had earned a name for herself. Vogue described her as their 'crush of the season' and the Telegraph picked up very early on her becoming 'THE' girl of the season while in New York. She has also begun designing fashion collections for companies such as Mulberry. So far, her only mainstream starring role has been in 2015's comedy drama, Paper Towns. Thanks to her modelling career and her bubbly personality, she has become a popular figure of pop culture. Despite her short list of film roles, I look forward to her performance. She must have been cast for a good reason and, as I'm saying, she's a popular figure and will attract more viewers.
Also, Viola Davis.
My point is, that the DC cinematic universe has many already famous Hollywood actors, meaning that it would generate interest with people that aren't as interested in comics, whereas the Marvel films wouldn't have done as early on. Sure, the Marvel actors may be A-listers now, and the MCU has been successfully built over the last eight years, but with DC making an attempt to catch up rather quickly; and while it wouldn't have a problem in doing so, having well-known actors can help really get it off the ground.
Let me know your thoughts!