I’m thinking: Are comic book movies ruined by actor face-time?

Hugh Jackman at the X-Men Origins: Wolverine p...

Image via Wikipedia

It seems a general trend in comic book movies that no matter who the character is, the actor portraying he or she needs a consistent amount of face- time. I began to dwell about this issue recently after watching the Spider-Man trilogy. It seemed Tobey Maguire would loose/remove his mask in almost every fight scene? Was Maguire’s constant face time worth ruining the secret identity aspect to Spider-Man‘s character entirely? Surely someone would recognise Peter Parker in one of those moments from the films. I’m hoping Sony has learnt from this and we won’t see Andrew Garfield loose his mask in every action scene. Though, based on his rising fame from his work on The Social Network, we probably will.

It’s not just the Spider-Man franchise that has been plagued by actor face-time damaging the aspect of the characters. In 2003 audiences who saw Daredevil would have witnessed what has become a classic comic book movie cliché, where the superhero removes or looses his mask in the final battle. Though In Daredevil’s case, Ben Affleck’s need for face-time was just one of the many issues wrong with the film.

The X-Men franchise had one of the most popular comic book characters of all time stripped off his mask completely. Yes, I am talking about Wolverine. Sure it would have looked a bit daft to have Hugh Jackman running around in a mask, but on the other hand was the decision for him not to wear one really based on this? Or was it based on studios not wanting to cover one of their high profile actor’s face? If done right, (Batman Begins style), Wolverine wearing a mask would have worked on screen. Especially since mutants would surely want to keep their identities a secret. Wearing masks would have portrayed that beautifully.

It doesn’t seem like persistent face-time in comic book movies is going to slow down anytime soon. For anyone that has seen the Iron Man films would know Ol Shellhead rarely keeps his mask down in the films, despite the use of clever camera shots of RDJ inside the helmet. For me as soon as you see the hero remove his mask or helmet, the fights over. And in the Iron Man films, the fights were never long.

There’s been a bit of fan-boy concern over how Chris Hemsworth is rarely seen wearing his helmet in the Thor movie. For a Norse God\warrior, wearing a helmet would seem like a daily essential. Especially since minor characters (Heimdall, royal guards) etc in the film seem to manage it. Whilst I haven’t seen enough of Captain America: The First Avenger to judge, one can only hope Chris Evans doesn’t lose his helmet as seeing as it’s a World War 2 film, Captain America could easily be shot in the head.

This isn’t a huge problem right now, but with the comic book movie industry thriving, it soon could be.

And don’t even get me started on Ryan Reynolds and his mask in the Green Lantern.

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