We were talking about this exact same thing at work today, and then I saw the article on the BBC.
For years the Brits have most often been known as the villains of the piece when it comes to superhero movies – but the tables have now turned, with the two latest heroes set to hit the big screen hailing from British shores.
Forget Terence Stamp as General Zod in Superman, Sir Ian McKellen as Magneto in X-Men and Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man.
Enter Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and Henry Cavill as Superman. Not to mention Christian Bale, who will play Batman for the third time in The Dark Knight Rises.
Cavill’s casting marks the first time Superman – who fights for “truth, justice and the American way” – has been played by a non-US actor.
It certainly is nice to see the British actors not being comical villains anymore (not that I don’t like a good comical villain). But I wonder why the sudden reversal? Purely coincidence, part of a wider British invasion (The Walking Dead springs to mind), or is there something more to this – perhaps that, across most most forms of media, these days characters are generally darker than before, possessing many more shades of grey (especially Batman on film), so the elements that once suited a villain now suit the hero? But just what the hell are those traits? Maybe British actors simply do complex and ironic very well, or maybe they’re shorthand for those things.
Anyway, what do I know – I liked the Watchmen movie.