Having re-watched the 1978 Superman film for the first time in years, I realized just how perfect Christopher Reeve was as Superman. It also reminded me of how much I disliked Man of Steel and despite Ben Affleck’s involvement, how little I’m looking forward to Batman V. Superman. There’s been a ton of DC Universe projects at the theater or on the small screen already so I decided to pick my favorite all time cast members. I’ll start with the man from Krypton.
Superman – Christopher Reeve will always be Superman to me. I grew up with his films and just can’t support the new dark/EMO Superman who lets people die. Reeve looked like a superhero and he didn’t need special armor or a snazzy outfit, he put on the tights and was Superman.
Clark Kent – As much as I want to put Dean Cain here, I have to give it to Tom Welling. Smallville came at a time where comic shows weren’t as popular and the idea of a teen Clark without the Superman alter ego seemed out of left field. Without Smallville would we have Gotham?
Lois Lane – Since I automatically think of Reeve as Superman, I automatically think of his Lois played by Margot Kidder. She held her own in every scene with Reeve and I really don’t picture anyone else as Lois. I love Amy Adams, but her Lois Lane KNOWING who Superman is is total crap. Kidder and Reeve had the perfect Clark/Superman/Lois dynamic.
Lex Luthor – This is one of the toughest calls. Kevin Spacey was a great Lex in a not so great film (Superman Returns). Michael Rosenbaum made a young Lex fun in Smallville, but I gotta go Gene Hackman here. Hackman brought wit to the evil businessman, but also kept him grounded making him a great villain.
Batman – Anyone that knows me is predicting one name immediately, but they are in for a surprise. I’m going Michael Keaton here. Keaton’s Batman was a trailblazer. Comic movies were risks back then and his Batman helped change the game. Batman to me will always be the no-powers/all gadgets hero and that is what Keaton was. Honorable mention to Adam West because he’s Adam F’ing West!
Bruce Wayne – Here’s the name you’re expecting, Christian Bale. Bale personified the rich, tormented, revenge filled Bruce Wayne better than he did Batman. He spends most of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises as Bruce Wayne and brought an American Psycho uneasiness to the Gotham playboy.
Robin (Dick Grayson) – To me only one person has ever done Robin right and that’s Burt Ward from the 1960s TV show. Ward was every bit of West’s sidekick with the classic costume. No one else comes close.
Joker – Probably the hardest pick on the list. Do you go Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger? Fanboys (and most people under 30) automatically go Ledger, who won an Oscar for his portrayal, but almost 30 years later we still talk about Jack’s version as well. I guess it comes down to how you like your Joker, more the trickster or more the sociopath. Honorable mention to Mark Hamill’s amazing voice work as The Joker and to Cesar Romero’s TV version.
Catwoman – Anne Hathaway? You’re funny. Halle Berry? Seriously? The trio of Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar, and Lee Merriweather share the pick here. Until they get Catwoman right, these three will always be my first thought.
Penguin – Burgess Meredith was an amazing foe to Adam West, but I’m going out of the box here, I’m actually going Robin Lord Taylor. He is hands down the break out star of Gotham and I only see him getting better. In time this will be a fantastic pick.
Alfred – Michael Caine in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy is a darn close to perfection Alfred. Caine is simply an amazing actor who brought so much to that character. Honorable mention to Sean Pertwee, who if it wasn’t for Robin Lord Taylor, would have been Gotham’s break out star. His Alfred got better and better as the first season played out.
The Flash – Sure there hasn’t been too many versions (or at least versions that lasted a while) but hands down Grant Gustin is The Flash/Barry Allen to me. The first season of the CW show was so good and got better week after week. It had episodes that were some of the best TV of this year. I can’t wait for season 2.
Green Lantern/John Stewart – Ok so I’m kinda fudging this one a bit, but rumors that David Ramsey’s John Diggle on Arrow could eventually turn out to be John Stewart are good enough for me! Diggle is great and I really hope he turns out to be John Stewart.
Green Lantern/Hal Jordan – Another character without other versions, Ryan Reynolds is the best Hal Jordan. Sure everyone hated this film, but I didn’t think it was THAT bad. It’s not great or anything, but I’d watch it over Man of Steel, yeah I said it!
Green Arrow – Stephen Amell has become a household name thanks to his portrayal of Oliver Queen on the CW. I actually didn’t watch the show right away till others told me it was surprisingly good. I’ve been a fan since. They did not fail this casting choice!
Wonder Woman – A character they’ve been trying to re-launch over and over again that’s never seemed to pan out. One reason for that is Lynda Carter. Her 1970s Wonder Woman TV show was IT. No version today will top Carter’s. Carter’s Wonder Woman has been an icon for 40 years, FORTY. Whether it’s Xena, Buffy or any other female hero, they owe everything to Lynda Carter.
With more shows coming out the pipeline (Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow) and more films heading our way soon (Suicide Squad, Justice League), iconic DC characters will have other actor portrayals soon and we’ll also see more DC characters for the first time. Manu Bennett will be tough to beat as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke on Arrow and we’ll be discussing Jared Leto’s Joker for the next year or so along with Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. We’ve yet to get a solid Aquaman, but maybe Jason Momoa can do him justice. DC doesn’t seem to have as many characters as Marvel, but has been making films and TV shows a lot longer. So what do you think of my picks? Who are your picks? Let me know at www.Twitter.com/Murraymaker.