Alphabetical Movie – Iron Man 2
So I’m thinking about the trajectory of late career revivals for actors. It seems to me that these revivals must include, at some point, an appearance as a villain in a Super Hero movie.
Take Mickey Roarke.
His career was completely in the toilet until his Oscar nominated turn in The Wrestler. Suddenly, the guy has a career again. Good for him. The Wrestler was a good movie and he was amazing.
Had it not been for that film, I’m not sure he would have ended up as the villain in Iron Man 2. His character, whom I only remember as “angry Russian guy with a toothpick,” has all the depth and subtlety of a Rod Stewart song (ex: “Infatuation”) but it’s being performed by an Oscar nominated actor and that gives it gravitas.
What do you think Sir Anthony Hopkins is doing in Thor?
Simply by being in the film, he makes Odin a little bit less ridiculous. If you are going to refer to a guy being in the “Odinsleep,” that guy better be someone like Anthony Hopkins. Otherwise you are going to deal with a lot of muffled laughter.
I gotta think that whoever is responsible for casting the next Superman film was upset when Peter O’Toole announced his retirement from acting. What better nemesis for Superman than an aged version of Lawrence of Arabia?
He’d have a British accent! British accents are awesome! We also know that Brits are 50% more evil than Americans.
Back to Roarke’s parrot obsessed bad guy from Iron Man 2.
I have to assume that the producers read the part and told themselves that if some other hack actor without an Oscar nomination was playing the parrot obsession, it would look like little more than a personality quirk inserted into the script to make it look like the villain had unexplored depths. Depths about which we neither considered nor cared.
With Oscar Nominee Mickey Roarke, however, he’d be able to make it look like there was a reason for the personality quirk.
This is the sort of thing that aging actors bring to super hero movies. No longer do we have a boring villain who is motivated by revenge or world domination. Clearly Mickey Roarke was trying to save the parrots!
And Anthony Hopkins had to enter the Odinsleep so he’d stop wanting to eat his sons with fava beans.
You see what I mean? Gravitas!
What is the biggest problem with The Amazing Spider-Man? How much gravitas can Rhys Ifans bring to Dr. Curt Connors? The guy played Hugh Grant’s friend in Notting Hill, right? Nobody looks at that role and thinks “this guy can bring the gravitas!”
Now if they’d gotten Sean Penn to play Curt Connors, the screen would have been dripping with gravitas. When Penn walks down the street, he leaves pools of gravitas that other actors drink from. If he’d been Curt Connors, there wouldn’t have been a moment were we didn’t believe how badly he wants his missing arm back. He’d never have to say it. You’d just know.
Roarke may not possess a font of gravitas at Penn’s level but he sure has enough to bring to Iron Man 2.
Because let’s all be honest with ourselves. None of us gave a crap about Mickey Roarke in Iron Man 2. We all just wanted to see more Robert Downey, Jr.