We Live Entertainment’s Favorite DC Heroes and Villains
With the release of Wonder Woman, here at We Live Entertainment, we’ve decided to take a look back at the most iconic performances of DC characters in both television and movies. Check out our list below!
Julz Sordillo: Matt Ryan as Constantine
The best performance of a DC character is by far, Matt Ryan as the titular character in the all too brief series Constantine. This has been one of the best representations of any comic book character out there. Matt Ryan’s overall look, wit, demeanor, and charm, or sometimes lack there of, embodies everything that Constantine is in the DC Comic. The only departure would be the lack of chain smoking at the network’s insistence. A little hero, a little villain, all Constantine.
Mark Krawczyk: Michael Keaton as Batman
One of my all time favorite superhero performances has got to be Michael Keaton’s Batman. I remember people being skeptical back in the day when it was announced. Course back then people wrote into magazines, we didn’t have the internet to immediately voice our concerns a.k.a. knee jerk rant like today. After I saw him in the role I loved it, not only did he bring the darkness to the Batman the fit perfectly with Burton’s style BUT his Bruce Wayne is still one of my favorites. He had just the right balance that I was looking for in Batman. Plus the screen chemistry between him and Jack Nicholson was amazing. I still get a huge smile on my face when I watch the 1989 Batman he says “I’m Batman”. Yes, yes you are Mr. Keaton.
Ashley Menzel: John Barrowman as Ra’s Al Ghul
John Barrowman is a master performer from television, to the stage and beyond, he is incredibly talented and a total joy to watch in any role he tackles. He brings something fantastic to every role and Ra’s Al Ghul is no different. He embodies everything that the character should be and more. He is layered and his performances are nuanced. They balance on the love that he has for Thea and his evil nature. He is enticing and exciting and everything you’d want in a villain.
Gabe Alcantara: Stephen Amell as The Green Arrow
While we have some fantastic movie stars playing some of DC’s most iconic characters on this big screen, we have to remember there are some talented actors killing it on the small screen as well. Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow on The CW’s Arrow is one I happily praise on a daily basis. Aside from having a major man-crush on this humble, charitable, family oriented human being, I am always in awe with his progression portraying the protector of Starling City. Nothing against Justin Hartley’s terrific version of Oliver Queen in Smallville, but Amell has become the definitive onscreen version due to his true understanding of the heroic but tortured nature of the character. You can tell Amell gives it his all, both emotionally and physically Yup, Amell performs as many of his own stunts as he’s allowed. He recently proved he was the “real deal” with his participation on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior. Stephen works his ass off maintaining his status in the Arrow-verse fandom. He appreciates his fans and tries to give us every reason to celebrate the character. Amell’s acting was a bit weak in the beginning of the show’s first season, but as the show’s material improved, he evolved like a true superhero. With the show’s stellar fifth season having recently ended, Amell can take comfort in knowing his legacy as the Green Arrow in fully intact. If a big screen version of Ollie should come along in the future, it’s going to take a lot of hard work trying to match up with the impeccable talent and charm Stephen Amell has shown on The CW. He has not failed DC.
Nick Casaletto: Jack Nicholson as The Joker
The 1989 Batman film directed by Tim Burton was revolutionary for any and all superhero films we currently see in present day. This was also one of the first times when a “big star” was cast in a superhero movie, so a lot was at stake. Jack Nicholson absolutely nailed the iconic role of The Joker, before it became the household name it is today. His performance is funny, terrifying and full of camp that is a pure joy to watch. You never know what he will do next, and Nicholson plays on that factor throughout the entire film. When you look back and think of “Batman” from 1989, you remember the visuals and how dark and visceral the world Burton built is. However, you can’t help but have The Joker pop up in your mind before the caped crusader due to the everlasting performance from Jack Nicholson.
Tony Estrada: Henry Cavill as Superman
Henry Cavill as the iconic character Superman is one of my favorite performances for a DC superhero because he gives us a character that feels more human. This character isn’t as joyful as Christopher Reeve’s Superman but he still has the one element that makes this character so great… hope. Henry Cavill does such a great job of bringing the dark yet realistic side of this character and it makes sense too because this is a character that has gone through so much in his life. Even though Superman is a man with super powers, he faces normal life problems just like us human beings which is why I find this character so relatable. Despite everything he has gone through and despite what the citizens may think of him, he is still very hopeful and he wants to continue to move forward in his life.
Spencer Moleda: Heath Ledger as The Joker
Heath Ledger’s Joker can’t be considered solely as a performance because it wasn’t— it was a one-man phenomenon. Overnight, a comic book character storied with cartoonish iterations was elevated to the top pantheon of cinematic icons, more than standing tall against Tony Montana, King Kong, and Hannibal Lecter. With The Dark Knight, working from a script by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, Ledger shattered his own image as a pretty face and “that guy from the gay cowboy movie”, and the world welcomed it. By underplaying where other actors had simply magnified, he allowed audiences to see past the clown and finally fear the chaos he embodied. He didn’t just alter the course of comic book adaptations; he became the face of all the frightening depths modern cinema could explore. Nearly ten years later, that hasn’t changed. If only Heath was here to see that for himself.
Bryan Sudfield: Liam Neeson as Ra’s Al Ghul
When watching “Batman Begins” for the first time, I was mesmerized with The Caped Crusader’s return to the big screen. The thing that stood out the most for me was Liam Neeson’s portrayal of antagonist Ra’s Al Ghul. Coming from someone who isn’t the biggest comic book reader, Neeson really captured the terrifying mentor role perfectly. As much as I love The Joker and Bane, I’ve always adored the character and as I got older & read more about him, I knew that Christopher Nolan did justice by casting Neeson to play this iconic Batman villain. It was amazing seeing him pop up in the latter sequels in this trilogy and I feel that his performance gets overlooked by a lot.
Scott Menzel: Burgess Meredith as The Penguin
I love the way that Meredith just presented the character and played the character. He wobbled like an actual penguin and had that iconic laugh with the silly top hat. I think Meredith really embraced what the character was in the comic books while adding his own personal touch to the material. While it is easy to argue that Meredith’s Penguin isn’t as menacing as Danny DeVito’s dark take on The Penguin in Batman Returns, I must admit that when thinking about Batman throughout my life, I always pick my favorite Batman and villains. While no one will ever top Michael Keaton as Batman, I will always have a fondness for Meredith portrayal because he is a childhood favorite and one that stands out among the rest.
Matt Marshall: Christian Bale as Batman
Everyone has their preferable iteration of Bruce Wayne / Batman. While I grew up on Michael Keaton in the late 80s and early 90s, Christian Bale is my definitive Batman and DC superhero. Over one of my all-time favorite trilogies, we witness his character evolve from novice ninja trainee to Batman in his prime to a broken soul returning for one last heroic mission in ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’ Like Nolan’s trilogy, Bale’s rendition is the most grounded and layered. I’ve always enjoyed the mocked Bale growl as well. And most of all, this Batman doesn’t wear hockey pads.
Nile Fortner: Tom Welling as Superman
The character Superman has been one of my all time favorite superheroes ever since I can remember. Everything from Superman comics, toys, collectibles, even an empty box of Superman cereal is in my closet. Now he may not be the most popular or coolest superhero, but I always had somewhat of a personal connection towards this character. I love the idea that all these other heroes hide behind some disguise, but Superman is true to himself, his culture, his beliefs, and Clark Kent is the real disguise and Superman (Kal-El) is who he truly is.
Out of all the actors who played Superman my top choices have always been Christopher Reeve, Henry Cavill and Tom Welling. Yes, Cavill has the human and emotionally side to his performance, and yes, Reeve was the most inspirational. However, I believe Tom Welling as Superman from the television series Smallville is an underrated Superman. I believe Welling captured the look of the character very well. He really does look like the character from straight out the comics. Also, he is a rare example of an actor getting Superman right and Clark Kent. He knew how to balance both. His relationship with Lois Lane was the best build up to a couple I’ve seen on the big and small screen.
What did you think of our list? Did we miss any of your favorite performances? Comment below!