Thursday, March 10, 2016

J.K. Simmons to play Commissioner Gordon in 'Justice League'

With the glut of superhero films that have premiered over the last few years, and the seemingly endless stream of reboots, cross-overs and cinematic universes, it's easy to forgot about some of the earliest comic book films. For example, the first trilogy of Spider-Man films is very close to my heart. Yeah, I know that Spider-Man 3 is a mess. And the original has some effects that just don't hold up today. Yet, there's something so incredibly pure about that series and there's so much that the producers got right. From the best use of New York in a superhero film thus far to the pizzazz of the color scheme, Sam Raimi brought comic books to life on screen in a brand new way. But in addition to all that, there was one small bit of casting that might just be the best comic book character decision ever. Of course, I'm talking about J.K. Simmons as hotheaded Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson. No matter who plays Jameson in future Spider-Man flicks, nobody will ever be as good as Simmons. Fans even clamored for the esteemed character actor, who gained increased fame after his ferocious performance as Terence Fletcher in Whiplash, to return as Jameson in future Spider-Man reboots. Instead, Simmons will take his talents to another superhero franchise.

J.K. Simmons will star as Commissioner Jim Gordon in Justice League, taking up the mantle of Gary Oldman, who played the role in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. Simmons joins the epic cast of Justice League, which also stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams and Amber Heard. It'll be hard for Simmons to follow up Oldman's terrific turn as Gotham PD's finest, but if anyone can do it, it'll be Simmons. He has always been one of my favorite actors and he brings such an emotional intensity to each role. I'm very intrigued to see how he treats the character of Gordon, because the Commissioner isn't as inherently fiery as Jameson or Fletcher. But as Simmons has shown with Juno and even last week's Zootopia, he can bring warmth, humor and pathos to his roles as well, and ultimately, I have no doubt that Simmons will knock it out of the park. I have my doubts about this new DC Cinematic Universe, but if they keep making casting choices like this, my excitement will only continue to grow. With phenomenal actors like Jared Leto, Affleck, Margot Robbie, Simmons and Jeremy Irons, it's beginning to look like the DC Universe might be in great hands after all. Batman v Superman; Dawn of Justice hits theaters in two weeks, while Justice League Part One is set to debut on November 17, 2017.

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