Admiral M wrote:
One thing I still stand by is that more often than not, a superhero movie has featured either a mediocre actor or a mediocre performance by an otherwise good actor in the lead role. Nerys gave the list of outstanding performances, so here's the list of mediocre performances:
Michael Jai White - Spawn
Ryan Reynolds - Green Lantern
Nicholas Cage - Ghost Rider
George Clooney - Batman (although I regard Clooney as a pretty decent actor, and despite the fact he was assigned to the good list - in this movie, he was awful)
Chris O'Donnell - Robin
Alicia Silverstone - Batgirl
Josh Brolin - Jonah Hex
Shaquille O'Neil - Steel
Ben Affleck - Daredevil
Jennifer Garner - Elektra
Chris Evans - The Human Torch
Ioan Gruffudd - Mr Fantastic
Jessica Alba - The Invisible Woman
Ray Stevenson - The Punisher
Of course, this is all subject to my opinion, although popular opinion of numerous critics and reviewers alike, agrees with me.
But a lot of those weren't mediocre actors, but excellent actors stuck with mediocre scripts, characters, or directors. It doesn't work to lump skilled actors like Clooney or Gruffudd with someone like Shaq or Jessica Alba. And of course Evans was great as Cap, so he's hardly to blame for any shortfalls in the portrayal of the Torch. As for Brolin, I'm not sure how he is as an actor, but from what I've heard about the Jonah Hex movie, no actor could've salvaged that role.
In any case, the point is that not one of those actors was cast solely or primarily for their ability to perform a physical skill -- unless you count Alba, who seemed to be cast mainly for her ability to look good in her underwear. Less-than-gifted actors may be chosen for their looks, their personal charisma, or yes, their fame, but there are always going to be multiple factors in play including how they interact with, or look alongside, the rest of the cast. Even Shaq had two movies' worth of acting experience and a limited performing career in rap prior to Steel
Admiral M wrote:
Superman... also represents the "Jesus figure", in that he landed on Earth as a child (descended from the heavens), and is the son of a brilliant scientist (science which would be indistinguishable from magic to us) and a member of a highly advanced race (Gods).
Well, the problem with the idea of Superman as a Christ figure is that he was created by two Jewish guys. Also ComicsAlliance's Chris Sims deconstructs it rather well here
As I understand it, the entire deal with Jesus in a nutshell is that he was the Son of God, divinity made flesh who was sent to Earth in order to instruct us as a teacher and then sacrifice His life, redeeming the whole of humanity for its sins through His suffering on both a literal and metaphorical level....
Superman's story, on the other hand, has nothing to do with any of that. The core of his character isn't about sacrifice or redemption at all, it's about having power and choosing to use it for the benefit of everyone rather than just using it for yourself. The comparison seems to be entirely based on the idea that Superman's a really nice guy who came from somewhere up in the sky. That's about where the similarities end.
Jor-El is not Space God. He doesn't send Superman to Earth for our benefit, he sends Superman to Earth because it's the one place in the universe where his son can survive and thrive. He's protecting him, not sacrificing him, and humanity's need for someone to fight robots and Brainiacs doesn't even cross his mind. And, to paraphrase Grant Morrison, I'm pretty sure Heaven didn't explode shortly after Jesus was launched down to Bethlehem.
Superman's morality isn't divine or innate, either. It's not something that he was born with, and it's not something that sets him apart from humanity. Morally speaking, anyone can be as Good as Superman; the only advantage he has is that he was brought up by a couple of really nice farmers. He's an aspirational figure rather than a redemptive one, who shows us that we all have the ability to use our talents for good, we just have to choose to do so.
I think the Superman-as-Christ idea is largely a creation of the 1978 movie. Unfortunately a lot more people watch movies than read comics, so that variant interpretation has come to be seen as the standard.