“Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.” – Batman, The Dark Knight
Evidently, fans of the X-Men franchise were due for a reward this past weekend. In honor of the terrific X-Men: Days of Future Past (just watched it and LOVED IT!), this post will focus on eight ‘Scene-Stealing’ performances in comic-based movies. Not only did these characters steal the scene, but they also helped propel the actors & actresses portraying them to Hollywood’s “Mega-Star” List.
So, without further delay… “Here We Go”!
1) JOKER in The Dark Knight (Heath Ledger)
Sadly, we’ll never know just how big of a star Heath Ledger might have become following his stunning performance as Joker. While his inclusion on this list was easy to predict, his successful portrayal of the Joker was not. Most fans (including me) were extremely skeptical of Ledger being cast as the most notorious villain in Gotham. However, our skepticism was immediately replaced with ‘awe’ upon The Dark Knight‘s opening weekend.
The following clip (the “Hospital” scene) still sends shivers up my spine as Joker successfully corrupts Harvey Dent’s heart:
2) IRON MAN in Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)
I usually steer away from proclaiming the main protagonist in any film as a ‘Scene Stealer’. When it comes to RDJ’s Iron Man though, I couldn’t bring myself to excluding him from this list. He not only resurrected his career with the role, but also built the foundation from which the entire Avengers ‘movie universe’ would ascend from.
The “I am Iron Man” scene at the end of the first Iron Man film will forever be one of my favorites:
3) MAGNETO in X-Men (Sir Ian McKellan)
Most movie goers were unfamiliar with Sir Ian McKellan (knighted in 1991 for services to the performing arts) until his role as Magneto in the first X-Men film. I remember going into the movie looking forward to seeing Wolverine and the rest of the X-Men. However, as soon as McKellan appeared on screen I was ready to join his Brotherhood of Mutants.
Magneto’s “Plastic Jail Escape” in X-Men 2 has got to be one of the greatest prison break scenes in cinematic history:
4) MYSTIQUE in X-Men: First Class (Jennifer Lawrence)
It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest Jennifer Lawrence fan, and if it hadn’t been for her role in Hunger Games I probably wouldn’t even be writing about her… but timing matters and Lawrence’s Mystique is the perfect example of that. During Rebecca Romijn’s tenure as the sexy shape-shifter, Mystique was a memorable part of an ensemble cast. With Lawrence driving her character, she’s an unstoppable force destined to be featured as one of the main characters of all future X-Men movies.
Here’s Mystique and a young Professor X in the “Magic Trick” scene in X-Men: First Class:
5) LOKI in Thor (Tom Hiddleston)
Loki is truly a unique individual. The viewer is often asked to root for him in some scenes and against him in others. It takes a phenomenal actor to pull off this kind of cinematic dichotomy, and Tom Hiddleston has succeeded in doing just that. Fans were divided when it was originally announced that Loki would be the main villain in the Avengers movie, but Hiddleston proved that he was more than capable of holding his own against his better known co-stars.
There are so many great Loki scenes; I’ve included “Loki Reveals his Plan” from Avengers here because it ranks among the best… plus, it features Black Widow (see #8):
6) JOHNNY STORM in Fantastic Four (Chris Evans)
Okay, I’m kinda’ breaking the rules here. Johnny Storm wasn’t exactly an iconic character nor did it make Chris Evans a ‘mega star’. However, I would venture to say that Evans was a scene stealer as Johnny in the Fantastic Four movies. AND, thanks to Evans’ charismatic portrayal, he eventually landed the much bigger role of Captain America which has elevated him to ‘mega star’ status.
Here’s the “Snowboard Chase” scene featuring Johnny Storm in the first Fantastic Four movie:
7) WOLVERINE in X-Men (Hugh Jackman)
Hugh Jackman is Wolverine. That’s one of the biggest advantages to having a relatively unknown actor take on a role of this magnitude. If they do it well, which Jackman most definitely has, they become the character in the eyes of the fans. While Jackman will undoubtedly continue to maximize his star potential beyond his adamantium-clawed persona, Wolverine may never be the same when the day comes that Jackman walks away from the X-Men franchise.
“Wolverine vs. Lady Deathstrike” from X-Men 2… Epic fight scene!:
8) BLACK WIDOW in Iron Man 2 (Scarlett Johansson)
I love to save the best for last. It was a toss-up for me between Jackman’s Wolverine and Johansson’s Black Widow, but in the end, it’s ‘Ladies Last’. In the midst of failed female super-hero movies (Catwoman, Elektra) and the debate over whether or not a Wonder Woman solo movie could succeed at the box office, emerges a female super hero who puts the rest to shame. Black Widow is near the top of the superhero pyramid and she’s done it without even having any super powers! Not to take anything away from the first seven characters / actors on this list, but I believe Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow is the ultimate Scene Stealing comic book movie star!
Watch Black Widow in her first big action scene in this clip from Iron Man 2: