Top 5 DC movie performances of all time

Katerine Vasilaki gives us her picks for the top 5 performances in DC movies. No prizes for guessing one selection, but who are the other four?

Katerina Vasilaki
29th October 2019
Image: IMDB
Being a comic fan is more difficult than it looks, especially in DC’s universe. Imagine this: there is a novel (graphic or not) you fall in love with and you find out that there is a movie coming out in two years. You are excited. People are going to finally understand. But then… then you’re scared. People are actually not going to understand. What if the story is different, and the casting is unfitting or the director’s vision is different than your own? Well, I’m going to be your fairy godmother and show you the 5 most breathtaking performances in DC’s world. Keep in mind that I will be taking into consideration only live-action films as the animated ones deserve their own list.

5. Natalie Portman as Evey Hammond in V For Vendetta (2005)

‘Remember remember, the fifth of November’ comes in the fifth place on this list (pun intended). Natalie Portman’s performance in V for Vendetta as Evey complements the comic character as well as the movie as a whole. Based on Alan Moore’s graphic novel, this movie takes place in a totalitarian society, which V, a masked as Guy Fawkes man is actively trying to change. What raises the standards for Portman’s performance is the fact that her co-star is wearing a mask throughout the movie, therefore, she carries all the expressions in their scenes together. Evey’s character goes through a great transformation, illustrated quite vividly by Portman, making her the perfect fit.

4. Michael Keaton as Batman / Bruce Wayne in Batman (1989)

Coming in at number four, we have a timeless tale, maybe the most known of DC’s: Batman. There have been many actors trying to embody this dark superhero, however, one of them has left history. I’m talking about 1989’s Michael Keaton’s adaptation of the role, opposite Jack Nicholson. When talking about this film, you cannot help but notice the amazing job Keaton has done, making him look everything that he is; intense, slightly crazy and very mysterious. When fans first heard about the casting choice, they were worried that he wouldn’t make it due to his past works all being mainly comedian. Turns out, this adaptation is the guide on how to play this character, allowing viewers to forget about Adam West altogether.

3. Gal Gadot as Diana in Wonder Woman (2017)

This list would not be complete without Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. This 2017’s movie surpassed all my expectations, simply being breath-taking. When this movie came out, not many superhero movies had a female being the lead. The actress underwent serious training to have a body that fitted her character and tried participating in as many action scenes as she could avoid using the stand double much. What makes Gadot’s performance so powerful is that despite being a hero, she is still feminine, which is something not often seen. To further elaborate, there is this notion of women acting like men in order to obtain respect as well as power and while Diana has your typical hero attributes, she is still a woman commanding the room, which is quite refreshing.

2. Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in Joker (2019)

Some characters are legendary. Some villains are the definition of all evil. Of course, reading this list you couldn’t possibly be surprised when I mention Joker. On multiple occasions. For number two, I chose a recent film which has been a revelation, to say the least. Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker is hands down the most realistic interpretation of Joker, portraying the less-known origin story of Arthur Fleck, being beaten down by society. The movie as a whole is a masterpiece but the way this actor elevates the dialogue is magic. Viewers are able to actually see Joker being mentally ill, put down and locked in his own mind. Phoenix is purely phenomenal, creating a version of his own of this classic villain, which is part of what made his performance such a hit.

1. Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight (2008)

Now… This is probably the most obvious pick of all. If you didn’t expect this, then I have no idea what to say to you. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade or so, there is one actor who has dominated DC’s universe. Heath Ledger. The most iconic Joker performance of all, including Jack Nicholson’s very own adaptation. At number two we saw a raw, modern Joker, but here, we see the comics come to life. Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance is a masterclass on being a psychotic, obsessive and crazy in every sense monster. He cannot help but steal every scene he’s in, not making his character looking attractive one bit. Unlike other adaptations, this Joker feels truly disturbed and bleak with Heath adding such transparency, that turns The Dark Knight into something magical. Unfortunately, the actor passed before he ever got to see his electrifying incarnation of DC’s villain.

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