Amongst the many complaints about the recent casting of Ben Affleck as Batman, people have repeatedly argued that he can’t play DC’s Dark Knight when he’s already known as Daredevil in the Fox adaptation of the Marvel comic. The argument is that nobody should be allowed to play more than one superhero, let alone cross over between characters owned by these two age old rivals. Affleck, though, is far from the first actor to crop up in a film adaptation of both Marvel and DC properties.
So what are his chances of transcending his previous role in the better-as-a-director’s-cut blind lawyer flop to embody completely the billionaire gadget freak and so-called “World’s Greatest Detective”? Well, for these 10 previous actors to have crossed between Marvel and DC, their attempts at reinvention have been a decidedly mixed bag. For all that it’s possible to appear in both sets of movies, the Oscar winning writer-director might not want to presume too much on a return to the acting A-list…
10. James Marsden
For Marvel: The square in the love triangle – one eyed monster Scott Summers AKA Cyclops in X-Men, X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand
For DC: Non-comic canonical news editor nephew and superbaby step-dad Richard White in Superman Returns
How did the change work out?
Marsden, an actor whose comic chops and charisma were apparent in Disney’s lighthearted fairy tale spoof Enchanted, never got an awful lot to do as X-Man Cyclops. Supposedly the team’s leader on the ground, the comics have often struggled to give the eye-lasered one a great deal of personality to justify his leading role.
On the big screen there was a similar problem and Marsden was never able to imbue the character with enough interest to rival Wolverine for the hearts of the audience, even if he did defeat him in romancing psychic Jean Grey. Sequel X2 had the character go sort of evil briefly (under the influence of mind control), but this was more of a momentary diversion than a serious challenge for the more interesting characters.
When X-director Brian Singer jumped ship to resurrect DC’s big blue boy scout Marsden followed. It is often felt that this perceived betrayal accounts for the casual and callous way his character was quickly bumped off at the start of the third X-Men. Unfortunately for Marsden,. all he had to cross over into was another love triangle in which he offered the film’s leading lady a bland reliable guy instead of the always-running-off-someplace-else glamorous superhero. This time he didn’t even get what he wanted onscreen.
This article was first posted on September 27, 2013