Tag Archive: ed norton


Disney now owns three of the biggest companies in the world of movie making: Pixar, Marvel and LucasFilm, in particular the Star Wars franchise. So with these three huge franchises all working under the same roof it is inevitable that comparisons will be made, but just which is the biggest and best franchise? I will be ranking Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars out of 10 in categories such as Oscar recognition, box office takings, quality of the films and star quality.

 

Box Office

The box office takings are vital to companies and film franchises such as these three as it indicates whether there is any demand for their films any longer and obviously, at the minute, there is. The Star Wars franchise (the original trilogy and prequel trilogy) have taken $3,793,650,642 at the box office, making an average of around $632million per film. Marvel Entertainment have so far released six films of their own, from Iron Man to The Avengers and have made $3,772,055,196 (with The Avengers making up the most of that) averaging $628million per film. None of this quite matches Pixar who, since releasing Toy Story have amassed an incredible $7,794,770,758 at the global box office, however on average this only amounts to just under $600million per film.

Marks out of 10 for Box Office takings:

Pixar: 6

Marvel: 7

Star Wars: 8

 

“Son?”

Oscars

Each year the Oscars acknowledge the best films and the best efforts in making films. Marvel are really lagging behind in this area with just three nominations, two for Iron Man and one for Iron Man 2. Star Wars have so far managed to win seven Oscars with another fifteen nominations! But still this is far far behind Pixar who have been storming the Oscars with almost all of their films and have won ten Oscars for their feature films with another 30 (yes 30!) nominations!

Pixar: 10

Marvel: 1

Star Wars: 6

 

Film Quality

There is no doubt about who makes the best films out of Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars. Ever since their first release Pixar have continually churned out near perfect, enjoyable family films almost every year. With their recent releases it looks as though they have started to lag but their discography cannot be ignored. Marvel, aside from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, have dominated the superhero genre and continue to bring out fun, light hearted but still very very good films and all of this culminated in one of the best films of 2012: The Avengers. I have never really liked Star Wars but I can appreciate that the original trilogy was good (yet nothing to really shout about) however the prequel trilogy is universally disliked.

Pixar: 10

Marvel: 8

Star Wars: 6

Star Talent

Star Wars made stars out of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford primarily, although they were virtual unknowns at the time. However, they did attract Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness to the franchise. In the prequels they managed to cast some good British talent with Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor along with the huge Samuel L. Jackson. Marvel also signed Samuel L. Jackson up along with huge stars Robert Downey Jr, Ed Norton, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Renner, Hugo Weaving, Tim Roth, Jeff Bridges and Sam Rockwell (and that’s not even all of them!). Tom Hanks, John Ratzenberger, Michael Keaton, Kevin Spacey, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi have all provided voices for Pixar characters but a lot of the time the actors are unknown to audiences.

Pixar: 6

Marvel: 9

Star Wars: 4

 

Overall Ratings:

Pixar: 32/40.

Marvel: 25/40.

Star Wars: 24/40.

So overall Pixar comes out on top which is unsurprising to say the least! Although with their two most recent films (Cars 2 and Brave) not going down as well as previous efforts are they on the decline? Marvel have just released the third highest grossing movie of all time this year and their universe of films is only going to continue to grow and get more and more exciting. Star Wars has continued to live on in television shows since the end of the film franchise and everyone is expecting big things from the new instalment. In the next few years it will be interesting to see who Disney is getting the most from.

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The Bourne Legacy Review

Aaron Cross is the new hero of the Bourne franchise.

Ten years ago, in 2002, Jason Bourne discovered went looking for his Identity, in 2004 Bourne appeared once again to unleash his Supremacy and in 2007 he never actually delivered an Ultimatum but this was the title of the film nonetheless. Now, the year is 2012 and a new leading agent, Aaron Cross, is dealing with the aftermath of Bourne’s actions, the Legacy that has been left behind.

The Bourne Legacy was always going to be a difficult task. The original trilogy of Bourne films are critically acclaimed and even more loved by fans, it is one of the most successful and greatest trilogies of all time without a bad film in the franchise. Now, minus Matt Damon in the lead role and Paul Greengrass in the director’s chair the task becomes even harder. A good move by the studio was to hire Tony Gilroy to write the fourth film, which would turn into a sequel/reboot/paraquel, since he wrote the original trilogy as well. And what started out as simply writing the first draft turned into a full writing and directing job for Gilroy meaning that they had someone in control who could capture the essence of the original films and was already involved in the Bourne universe rather than bringing in a stranger.

It doesn’t get much cooler than this.

Legacy does a fantastic job of both establishing a new character, story and opening up the story as well as coupling these events with the actions that take place within The Bourne Ultimatum. The opening scene pretty much does this immediately with Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) beginning the film in the same way Jason Bourne left it: lying motionless in the water before suddenly moving into action. The occasional mention of Jason Bourne help to keep the film in the same universe without relying on it too much to continue the story.

Action scenes have always been vital in the Bourne franchise and these have been lauded by fans over and over again because they are perfectly choreographed and have a proper gritty sense of realism. There are worries at the beginning that this may not be the case with The Bourne Legacy as it takes a while for some big fight scenes to take place. Instead we have to settle for Aaron Cross finding his way through some mountains, shooting a few things with a rifle and bonding with some other random agent in a log cabin in the snow. There is a little taster of what’s to come when Cross takes on a wolf but then the action gets so much better when Cross tracks down and saves Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), killing four people in the process using everything from the ordinary (a gun) to the unexpected that Bourne is known for (a table, fire extinguisher). The stunts and fight scenes are just as good, if not better in my opinion, as the original trilogy’s.

Renner and Weisz prove a winning combination on screen.

The performances from everyone in the cast are very solid. Jeremy Renner, continuing his great year following Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Avengers, is brilliant in the lead role and has fantastic chemistry with Rachel Weisz which really helps in the believability of their relationship towards one another as it builds through the film. Weisz herself is actually very good as well. Ed Norton doesn’t have much to do unfortunately but I anticipate a bigger role for him in the sequel which The Bourne Legacy certainly leaves itself open to and I wouldn’t be surprised if a script was already being written as I write this.

The Bourne Legacy does exactly what it needs to. It does a great job of exploring the world that we know Bourne lives in and gives insight to how his actions have affected people’s lives that were never given a second thought to before. With Matt Damon leaving this was a great direction to go. It doesn’t quite live up to the original trilogy but what it does is leave itself open for it’s own franchise to be headed by Jeremy Renner and hopefully Tony Gilroy will stay on writing duties even if he steps down from directing. Fans of the first three films should enjoy The Bourne Legacy but it is a hard place to jump in to what is already a pretty complicated series of films.

My Rating: 7/10.

Recently Trainspotting was voted top in a poll of best British films to be released under Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

I think that this is a little bit of an injustice. Trainspotting is possibly the greatest British film released under any reign. Scratch that. Trainspotting is one of the greatest films EVER made in any language, any country, any genre. Trainspotting is as close to perfect as I have ever seen a film reach.

Released in 1996 to rave reviews from all angles Trainspotting tells the story of Renton, a guy deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene who tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends. After working together on Shallow Grave Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor teamed up to make an absolute classic based on Irvine Welsh’s novel.

Superstar director – Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle is one of Britain’s greatest directors and is one of my favourite directors working today. Christopher Nolan, the Coen brothers, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino get the majority of attention and are perhaps the most famous of directors but Danny Boyle always has been and remains one of the best. Since Trainspotting he has churned out hit after hit including 28 Days Later, The Beach, Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours and while all are very impressively filmed and are gorgeous to look at nothing quite touches all the senses in the same way that Trainspotting does.

Trainspotting introduced Ewan McGregor to the masses and he has gone on to have a very long and prestigious career in film. I am a fan of the Scot and his performance here as Renton is flawless. He gives possibly the best narration to a film ever (along with Ed Norton’s narration in Fight Club) but his presence on screen is fantastic; he really submerges himself deeply in the character’s life and his performance is both harrowing and hilarious at the same time. If McGregor is to be remembered for any film role, it should be this one.

One of the greatest friendships ever caught on film.

McGregor laid down the gauntlet for his fellow cast members to compete with and they picked it up and ran with it. Ewen Bremmer as the dimwitted and closest friend of Renton, Spud, gives a humorous turn while keeping in tune with the dark subject matter. Johnny Lee Miller has gone on to star in American television series’ such as Dexter but he will always be known as Sick Boy and Kevin McKidd manages to put in a great performance as Tommy to the extent that you feel sorry for him but you don’t really care about him. It’s strange. But Robert Carlyle as Begbie, a short tempered frustrated possible homosexual, is amazing; Carlyle always gives a safe performance but he offers up a lot of laughs in an otherwise serious film.

The friendship between Renton, Sick Boy, Tommy, Spud and Begbie is completely believable and authentic. All the relationships are recognisable and take away the drug use (or include it) and you probably know people just like this group of friends in Trainspotting. To me, one of the most important parts of a film is character interaction, development and relationships and each and every one is spot on. The friendship between Renton and Spud is probably my favourite because even though Renton lets Spud go to jail whilst he remains free and later on Renton does them over, you can tell that the only one of that group that Renton really cares about is Spud and I think that is touching really.

The realism captured on film of the drug addiction, Scottish life, friendship, death and sexuality is incredible. Trainspotting could well be real, it is filmed that well, it could well be a documentary with Ewan McGregor’s voice over warning everyone about drugs and the addictiveness of them so it is hard to believe that this is a work of fiction. Some of the scenes become incredibly hard to watch because of the haunting events unravelling but you can’t peel your eyes away from the screen; the dark images will stay with you for as long as you live.

Luckily though, Trainspotting, while dealing with a lot of serious and dark themes does manage to pack in the laughs as well. There is a lot of humour for viewers to find there and the ‘worst toilet in Scotland’ scene manages to be both horrible and hilarious at the same time, absolutely cringeworthy as well as Spud’s ‘dinner table accident’ scene later on.

I can’t express in words how good Trainspotting is. It’s probably not a film for the faint hearted but it’s nothing like any other film ever made.

Combine the greatness of Danny Boyle and the quality of actors like McGregor and Carlyle to name just a couple and you are in for something fantastic right from the word go.

Trainspotting IS one of the best films ever made. No question.

Mark Ruffalo is hitting headlines everywhere at the moment. Most recently, he has become the latest victim to the twitter hackers of the internet but that’s not what everyone is bothered about right now. The other reason you might be hearing Mark Ruffalo’s name everywhere you go right now is because he is currently starring in Marvel’s The Avengers and is the outstanding performer of the ensemble. Up until a few years ago, though, Ruffalo was not widely known by audiences, so just where has he come from?

Ruffalo began acting in 1989 (yes he really has been around that long) but he only appeared in one off television episodes, short films or very very minor roles in films. It was not until 1998 that Ruffalo started making waves in the acting world. He managed, by chance, to meet Kenneth Lonergan, a very successful playwright and screenwriter and the two began collaborating on stage productions. For appearing in Lonergan’s play This Is Our Youth Mark Ruffalo was cast in Lonergan’s film You Can Count On Me; Ruffalo gained a lot of positive reviews and was even likened to a young Marlon Brando, for an actor trying to get his break that is not a bad comparison to have.

Ruffalo sporting a whole new look for Collateral

This led to more work in the early noughties for Ruffalo and his film career finally began to take off with some haste. He experimented with genres going from romance with XX/XY to war with Windtalkers; from drama Life About Me to comedy View From The Top working with esteemed actors like Nicolas Cage and Gwyneth Paltrow along the way. Mark Ruffalo also had a part in the critically acclaimed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind alongside the brilliant Jim Carey and he certainly should be used to praise after appearing in another critical hit Collateral with Tom Cruise.

All actors like to prove they are versatile just to improve their CV, make them more preferable for roles, but even so you don’t have to do them all. Unfortunately for Mark Ruffalo he tried and even decided to step into rom-com. If you’re a male established actor usually rom-coms aren’t the way to go, but anyway Ruffalo appeared in 13 Going on 30, Just Like Heaven and Rumor Has It before returning to a more serious side of things in 2007 with Zodiac, a crime drama directed by the amazing David Fincher.

It doesn’t get much better than working with DiCaprio AND Scorsese

In 2010 Ruffalo appeared in four films. Date Night and Sympathy For Delicious can be forgotten about because with the other two he certainly makes up for them. First, there was Shutter Island, a fantastic thriller where Ruffalo played second fiddle to Leonardo DiCaprio and did a terrific job, no doubt about that. Then there was The Kids Are All Right for which his performance saw him nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars.

In 2011 Ruffalo starred in Margaret which, despite its cast featuring Ruffalo, Matt Damon and Anna Paquin, only had a limited release. But now, here we are, the year is 2012 and Ruffalo becomes the third person to portray the Incredible Hulk in as many films. A lot of Marvel fans had enjoyed Ruffalo’s close friend Ed Norton’s performance as Bruce Banner and were wary of Ruffalo taking on the part. How delighted fans are now that he did just that though, becoming without a doubt the best Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk on the big screen.

After the huge blockbuster that is The Avengers, Ruffalo is returning to more dramatic roles in Thanks For Sharing, Foxcatcher and Now You See Me but it is highly likely that Ruffalo has a clause in his contract with Marvel tying him down to several more projects as Bruce Banner so this will definitely not be the last you hear of the brilliant Mark Ruffalo.

Ruffalo became the first person to portray the Hulk on the big screen thanks to the use of motion capture technology.

What Next For The Avengers?

With The Avengers now released in the UK and several other countries, and around a week away from the release in the US I decided to speculate on what would happen after this amazing event; where will the Avengers go next?

 

Iron Man 3 is set for a 2013 release.

Iron Man

There is a lot of casting news and fan buzz around Iron Man 3 at the minute and this is the project that we, as fans, know the most about at the minute. It will be loosely adapted from the comic book storyline of Extremis and will be directed and written by Shane Black. It will be interesting to see how Tony goes back to his own life after working as part of a team, to see if he has learnt anything new in his time with The Avengers but according to Kevin Feige Iron Man 3 will isolate Tony Stark.

 

 Thor

Thor 2 slated for 2013 release but this seems unlikely.

With Thor being back on Earth for The Avengers it is clearly possible for Thor to return to Earth, despite going back to Asgard at the end of the team up event. It’s unlikely that Loki will be the villain in Thor 2 after being the main villain in Thor and The Avengers; the villain that I would like to see would be Enchantress and possibly Executioner. The only thing is, Thor clearly still cares about Jane and asks about her in The Avengers but will Thor 2 be set on Earth or in one of the other nine realms. I would like to see more of the fantasy world and another realm but I would like the love story of Thor and Jane to relight as well.

 

Captain America

Captain America 2 has a realistic release date of 2014.

With Captain America now in the modern day it seems likely that Captain America 2 will be about getting Steve Rogers back into the world, which I think would be a great road to go down. I think that Cap’s story should be a character building story in the next instalment and how he copes with the changes to everything he once knew and believed. I would like to see a scene with Peggy Carter (which was cut from The Avengers) and it would be interesting to see if Nick Fury helps get Cap back into the world as well.

 

Hulk

The Hulk is the real star of The Avengers.

After Ang Lee’s version of the Hulk and Ed Norton’s version (which was largely outshone by every other Marvel feature to date really) it seems unlikely that The Hulk will receive another solo film, which is a shame because Mark Ruffalo’s interpretation of the character is really enjoyable in The Avengers. I would love to see Bruce Banner, not necessarily the Hulk, in the next Iron Man film with Banner and Stark striking up quite a nice friendship, although it is just as likely that Banner will continue to work with SHIELD.

 

Black Widow & Hawkeye

A backstory is hinted at and would be interesting to explore.

There have been rumours that both of these characters are in line for their own solo films following The Avengers but I find this highly unlikely. Hawkeye is not really given enough screen time to become an important character in the eyes of the movie audience (which is a shame because he is one of my favourite characters in the comics) and Black Widow, in my opinion, does not warrant a film for herself either, and with the drastic failures of female led super hero movies so far it would be quite the risk. Putting them both in a movie together and exploring their backstory and relationship would be interesting but I can’t see it happening. I expect we shall just be seeing them in terms of SHIELD agents from here on out.

 

Nick Fury & SHIELD

A Nick Fury film is on the cards.

A script is in the works for a Nick Fury solo film and there are plans for a SHIELD film as well. Personally I think that making the two would be a waste of time and money for Marvel. I think if a Nick Fury film is to be made with Samuel L Jackson it needs to combine the SHIELD movie as well. The film could still focus on Nick Fury but it would also be backed up by Hawkeye, Black Widow, Maria Hill and maybe even Bruce Banner if he works for them. This would be the best way to promote all of the ‘secondary characters’ of The Avengers.

 

But before all this, I urge everyone to go and see The Avengers! What a film!

So The Avengers is finally upon us (in Britain anyway, over in the States you still have another week to wait. God knows where the logic in that is, but anyway) and fanboys can rejoice as their favourite superheroes are brought to the big screen together. Since the release of Iron Man in 2008, the excitement has just been building and today what I imagined throughout my childhood was put before me in the cinema.

The Avengers, if you don’t know the story by now, is the tale of these superheroes: Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow. Together they are brought together by Nick Fury and SHIELD to defeat the enemy that one single hero could never defeat alone. There is an army from another world waging war on Earth, led by Thor’s evil half brother, Loki. Family ties and egos get in the way but can these great people overcome their difficulties to save millions of lives?

The cast and director of the biggest superhero film to date.

The cast is incredible. Robery Downey Jr is, as we have come to expect as Tony Stark, fantastic. Joss Whedon’s snappy dialogue really lends itself to Downey’s portrayal of Stark excellently and he really continues to make the character so, just, amazing. Chris Hemworth is the Avenger stuck in the middle, on one side planet Earth and on the other his family, and he pulls off the torn God of Asgard well and the character continues to develop from his own film. Chris Evans as the ever warm hearted and honourable soldier Steve Rogers, or Captain America, is great. Jeremy Renner doesn’t have as much screen time as I would have liked or enough time to showcase his acting abilities but he does what he needs to, along with Cobie Smulders, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg. Tom Hiddleston once more continues to play the delightfully evil Loki but it is really Mark Ruffalo who impresses, especially as I was a big fan of Ed Norton as Bruce Banner but Ruffalo puts any doubts to bed almost immediately.

The Avengers is in a very lucky position in which all the characters are all already known to film audiences thanks to their own films. So here, we dive straight into the action and waste no time with character introductions which makes the first act one of the most compelling I have seen in recent times. How the heroes are brought together is very well done, it’s something I had my doubts about before watching and it could have been done very cliched so well done to Whedon for that. Thor’s arrival in the film in particular is well handled.

Hemsworth and Evans have expressed an interest in appearing in each other's sequels.

Most things that fans may question are put to bed almost immediately in The Avengers which leaves ties open to all of the other individual films that will surely follow once more. Things such as where Jane Foster is, why the Avengers are not after the Hulk (something alluded to during The Incredible Hulk‘s final scene) and how Thor returns to Earth are answered very quickly and very sensibly. The only thing is there is no mention of Peggy Carter which I think could have been hinted at (I know a scene that featured Steve and Peggy was cut but it would have been nice to have her name mentioned at least).

The Hulk is unlikely to get another film to himself.

The final war is incredible. These are some huge action scenes, whole sets are blown up and the special effects are phenomenal, especially in the case of the alien ships. Seeing Thor, Hulk, Cap and Iron Man all working together is something that is sure to get the fanboys worked up into a sweat and it will leave them grinning after leaving theatres for weeks afterwards. Watch out for the ‘continuous shot’ in the war scene which is one of the best scenes I have ever seen; in one shot we follow all the action and get to see each individual showcasing their skills. It looks as though one hero becomes the leader (although I shall leave out who so you can find out for yourself) and watching The Avengers one hero really steals the show: The Hulk. Ruffalo’s performance, as I said earlier, is really good! But when he turns into the Hulk you know that sh*t is about to go down. Every time the Hulk is on the screen he is destroying things and he becomes the best possible weapon for SHIELD and the Avengers to be in possession of. Words just can not describe how good it is to see these heroes fighting side by side.

The Avengers is everything that a comic book movie should be. We have heroes with a lot of heart, not always getting along (and the insults and little ego battles are really entertaining), we have a villain with motivation and a real sense of evil. There are huge explosions, great action scenes and the dialogue is full of wit. The direction is top class and everything just comes together superbly. The only phrase to describe this movie is with these two words: absolutely orgasmic.

My Rating (a little biased): 10/10

With the UK release of The Avengers, or Avengers Assemble, just one week away I have decided to look back over the films that Marvel studios have made in the lead up to this huge movie event. Ranking them from worst (which is a horrible word to use, especially in this case as none of the films are exactly bad) to best. Here we go:

 

5. Iron Man 2

It seems fairly obvious that this is the worst, sorry 5th best, of the lot. It had too much to do, trying to tie in The Avengers with another storyline meant that the inclusion of Nick Fury and Black Widow felt almost too forced and Jon Favreau really annoyed me with his desperate plea for attention by giving himself more screen time. Iron Man 2 just fell short of capturing the essence of wit, style and charm that had won over audiences with the first film.

 

4. The Incredible Hulk

This is incredibly harsh on the big green fella. It’s just a testament to the high standard Marvel have set themselves with their films. The Incredible Hulk places Ed Norton in the role of the scientist with huge anger management issues and Norton is superb in the role. The film also left itself open for a sequel, although that probably won’t be happening, with the hint at The Leader. Ending with an appearance of Tony Stark himself, it got fans drooling at the thought of a connected movieverse.

 

3. Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America is the big one really. Eventually becoming leader of The Avengers in the comic books, he is a well loved hero across the world. The film brought us the morale compass that is Steve Rogers and introduced one of the best love stories in comic book movie history which eventually ended in heartbreak as Steve said goodbye to Peggy Carter just as he managed to save America from Red Skull. The final film before The Avengers, everything was tied up as Steve woke up in the modern day and was found by Nick Fury himself.

 

2. Thor

There were worries about how it was possible to make a Norse God into a  character that would fit in with the realism of the world established in Marvel movies that came before this. These such worries were put to rest as Chris Hemsworth took over the mantle and brought everything to the role. Over the course of the movie we saw this arrogant, war hungry young prince become a well rounded, real noble person as he fought to save his friends, both God and human, from his evil half-brother Loki.

 

1. Iron Man

It couldn’t be anything else. Iron Man was what started the whole franchise. If Iron Man was not a success then The Avengers sure as hell would not be happening this year or any time in the near future. Iron Man became one of the greatest comic book movies so far; the characters were great, the special effects on the Iron Man suit itself were outstanding. Where Marvel’s characters had appeared in films before (not mande by the studio itself) they had either gone too cheesy (Fantastic Four) or dark and gritty (X-men), but Iron Man managed to combine the two and instantly became a classic. We got Tony’s charm, his wit, his playboy lifestyle combined with the underlying story of terrorism and arms dealings. Iron Man is brilliant and we all have this to thank for The Avengers.

As we approach the end of April/beginning of May The Avengers is getting more and more attention and it hasn’t exactly been flying below the radar anyway. But over the last couple of days Marvel have announced a couple of interesting things and released a couple more pictures to go with their sure fire summer superhero smash!

A new picture of the Hulk has been released, a still from The Avengers giving audiences a better look at the big green monster. Since they are using motion capture on Mark Ruffalo to film the Hulk’s scenes you would expect the Hulk to resemble Ruffalo. But just how much the two do look alike is still amazing to me. Where Ed Norton’s Hulk didn’t really look like the actor you can really see here the effort that has gone into the Incredible Hulk and he looks fantastic, you can clearly see Ruffalo in there.

A new still featuring Captain America has been released from the set of The Avengers but that’s not all. Marvel have announced that the release date for Captain America 2 will be April 4th, 2014. It was expected that the super soldier would be receiving a sequel as Marvel continue their domination on the superhero scene at cinemas but it was unclear when this would be. Now it has been announced along with a brief synopsis stating that Captain America 2 will pick up where The Avengers leaves off and will follow Steve Rogers as he continues his integration into a new world and continues his affiliation with S.H.I.E.L.D and Nick Fury.

And finally… It has been announced that the sequel to X-Men: First Class will start filming in January of next year. Fox needed to be quick out of the gate with this sequel as Lionsgate are planning to film Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, which also features Jennifer Lawrence, who stars as Mystique in the new mutant films. It was a competition for Lawrence’s schedule and it looks as though X-Men will win. Nothing is known about the plot for the second X-Men film yet but we do know that Matthew Vaughn is returning.

The pictures from The Avengers and the news surrounding X-Men and Captain America is sure to please comic book fans.

Casting is a vital part of the film; if you get the wrong actor to play a character it can go horribly wrong and the whole movie could fail because of it. Never is this more true than in the world of comic book movies. Millions of fans all over the world are already in love with the characters before they are brought to the big screen and if you cast someone that the fans are not happy about they will not hold back, you shall know about it! But when casting goes right, it brings out some of the best performances and best characters in the world. Here are my top eight perfectly cast comic book movie characters.

8. Chris Evans as The Human Torch

Known to many comic book fans now as Captain America, Evans made his first appearance in comic book movies in the awful Fantastic Four films. Despite both films being criticised heavily by almost everyone, fans and critics alike, nobody could criticise Chris Evans as Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. He outperformed the rest of the cast by a country mile and bought a much needed charm and sense of humour to the role.

7. Ed Norton as Bruce Banner

When it was announced that Ed Norton would not return for The Avengers as Bruce Banner fans were outraged and with good reason. Norton’s performance as the troubled scientist who turns into the Incredible Hulk was brilliant. Norton had a lot of hard work to do because of the negative fan reaction to Ang Lee’s 2003 interpretation of the character but the casting of Norton and his incredible performance won the hearts of many Hulk fans.

6. J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson

The original Spider-man trilogy, directed by Sam Raimi, may not have been the most perfectly cast Spider-man film in the world but J.K Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson was a masterpiece. He looked identical to the comic book portrayal of the character and fans loved his performance. A highlight of the, soon to be rebooted, Spider-man franchise.

5. Christopher Reeve as Superman

Does this really need explaining? The man IS Superman. There has never been a better Superman before or since on neither the big screen or small screen. Reeve was an excellent casting as the Man of Steel and is still celebrated among comic book fans.

4. Heath Ledger as The Joker

Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his appearance as the Joker and rightfully so. Ledger managed to bring this psychotic vision of The Dark Knight’s arch nemesis to the screen and make him genuinely scary. It was a sad loss when he passed away but he will always be remembered as the Joker and one of comic book movie’s finest castings.

3. Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl

Many people don’t think of Kick-Ass when they think of comic book adaptations but this is where the origins of the story lie. Chloe Moretz is great as the ‘hero’ Hit Girl. She is a small girl who packs a powerful performance and is the star of Kick Ass without a doubt. She has a huge career ahead of her built on this performance.

2. Patrick Stewart as Professor X

Straight off, Patrick Stewart looks the part, down to a tee. But his performance further proves why he was the perfect choice to play the mentor to the X-men, Professor X. His calm and cool demeanour brought a lot of character to the role and then in the second instalment, X2 (one of the best comic book movies ever made) he was able to show off the emotional side to his character even more. And as well as that, his chemistry with Ian McKellen’s Magneto was a joy to behold. A fine casting decision.

And finally…

1. Robert Downey Jnr. as Tony Stark

Perfection!

The perfect casting of a comic book character if ever there was one. Downey Jnr doesn’t just play the character, he actually is Tony Stark. He has the look sorted; he has the charm, the wit, the charisma and you believe his intelligence. Iron Man was the beginning of the whole Marvel Universe which comes together this summer with The Avengers so a lot was riding on this first film and Robert Downey Jnr drew the plaudits right from the offset. Tony Stark came to life in the Iron Man films and made Downey Jnr a household name again; his performance was a joy to behold and I sincerely hope he is Tony Stark for a long time to come.

Honourable mentions

Ian McKellen – Magneto

Kelsey Grammer – Beast

Ron Perlman – Hellboy

Jackie Earl Haley – Rorschach

Anthony Hopkins – Odin

With the 2012 Academy Awards just around the corner I thought I would take a look at five actors that do not have an Oscar but should.

Ed Norton.

Ed Norton is one of the best actors of his generation, consistently turning in top performances in all of his movies. Even when the script is not great (The Italian Job for example) you can still count on Norton to be fantastic. Nominated twice; best leading actor for American History X and best supporting actor for Primal Fear. Yet most surprising to me is that his work on Fight Club did not even gain him a nomination!

Johnny Depp.

Depp is one of the most famous men on the planet and even though today he is mainly thought of as Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise he is undoubtedly one of the most versatile actors of his generation. Johnny Depp has been nominated three times, each in the leading actor category; Sweeney Todd, Finding Neverland and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Surely it is only a matter of time before Depp collects the Oscar that he deserves.

Steve Buscemi.

In recent years Steve Buscemi’s film career does seem to have tailed off into cameo slots and altogether not so great films and with him now working on television it is unlikely that we will see him picking up an Oscar anytime soon. However, the fact that he does not have one already is very surprising! He has given unforgettable performances in Fargo, Con Air and of course as the brilliant Mr Pink in Reservoir Dogs but the Academy has not even recognised him with a nomination.

Leonardo DiCaprio.

Nominated for three Oscars in his time: best leading actor for Blood Diamond and The Aviator and best supporting actor for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. It is surprising to me that he does not have an Oscar yet and that he doesn’t have more nominations for The Departed, Shutter Island or Inception. DiCaprio started out as the heart throb of Hollywood but with a little help from Martin Scorsese and choosing his films carefully he has transformed into one of the best leading men working in Hollywood today. An Oscar is nothing more than he deserves.

Gary Oldman.

The 2012 Oscars have finally recognised this man’s talent with a nomination in the best leading actor category for British film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Gary Oldman has been ever brilliant throughout his career. Best known to younger audiences as Commissioner Gordon in Christopher Nolan’s Batman series or as Sirius Black in Harry Potter but he has been a magnificent actor for so much longer, you just need to watch Sid and Nancy or JFK to see that. Good luck to him at the Oscars.