Comic book fans have fared well in recent years with superhero movies. The announcement of an upcoming Avengers film has only built they hype further--and few casting announcements have been made. That being the case, I thought it was a good chance to step in and give Hollywood a push in the right direction (they value my opinion and all).
Since the appearance of Samuel L. Jackson as the "Ultimate" version of Nick Fury has given us the context of where this film will be happening, here's my dream line-up for the Avengers movie--Ultimates style:
Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man
Honestly, why mess with perfection? Downey was perfect as Tony Stark in the Iron Man movie, and he's already made a second appearance as the character in the Hulk movie. He perfectly captured the smarmy essence of Tony Stark and gave him a funny side we'd never seen in the comic books. If anything, he actually improved on the character and Marvel should be taking notes!
I can't think of a single way to improve upon his performance and take on the character with anyone else, so we have our man here.
Aaron Eckhart as Captain America
I know Aaron has already made a name for himself in the comic world by playing Two-Face, but watching that movie I couldn't help but notice the way he played the noble side of Harvey Dent. The squared jaw and blond hair also helped fortify the image in my head. As such, it's pretty easy to imagine him leading the team.
Eckhart hasn't really had a turn as an action hero leading man. While Two Face was a pretty active role there toward the end of The Dark Knight, he hasn't been tested. I'm still pretty confident with this call though. I think he could pull it off.
Edward Norton as Bruce Banner
Norton did an admirable job with the role. He was facing the huge obstacle of overcoming the stigma from Ang Lee's crapfest Hulk movie, and he was able to make the character kind of fun. Keeping in mind Bruce's serious mental problems in the Ultimates universe (and eventual heroic turn at the end), Norton seems an easy choice.
I can't really see a reason to take this part from him (besides, we don't want to make him angry...we wouldn't like him when he gets angry).
Matthew Fox as Hank Pym
The most troubled member of the team would have to be someone who could give us some emotional depth. Since Matthew's character on Lost seems to constantly be facing some inner turmoil in every episode, I'd say he's a sure bet. My son actually contributed this one, and I have to agree.
I know he hasn't really done well with feature films, and his work as Racer X wasn't that much to write home about, but give him a chance. Who was the least bit excited about Robert Downey, Jr. when they first announced him? And look at what people say now!
Eva Longoria as The Wasp
She's spunky, funny, and has the look. Yes, this is another stretch for feature films, but just about every actor here is a leap of faith.
The Ultimate version of Wasp is this woman who has an independent streak, while at the same time has some serious emotional issues. She's in love with a man who beats her, then falls in love with Captain America (only to realize he's too old for her), and then she's back to the bad boy husband. Talk about a desperate housewife!
Josh Holloway as Hawkeye
Yes, I know this is another cast member from Lost, but if we can't have him as Gambit (a natural choice) we might as well get him as somebody else he's closely suited for! Remember, we're focusing on the "Ultimate" version of the team, and this version of Hawkeye is one bad dude. Forget the Clint Barton you know from old days, this guy is an expert at every weapon and isn't afraid to kill without hesitation. Holloway has the tough guy image, and still manages to present just enough charm to make himself bearable.
Tyler Mane as Thor
Here's where it gets ugly. Yes, I know he didn't really give a standout performance as Sabretooth in the first X-Men film, but I think he deserves a second chance.
Keep in mind the fact that Ultimate Thor spent the first 24 issues of the comic book as this wild man who may or may not be delusional and thinking he's the god of thunder. There's a lot of partying, yelling, and fighting for the character...and I think Tyler could do it.
Just imagine seeing that hammer on film. It would be an incredible shot! I know Hollywood is already tossing around the idea of a Thor movie at some point in the future, but the nice thing about the Ultimate version of the character is the fact that there's no Donald Blake to worry over. We see Thor all the time.
Milo Ventimiglia as Quicksilver
Hey, this guy already has experience as a hero, so why not?
Milo has the appearance to make it work, and we've seen him do the whole "character in angst" thing on Heroes. The Ultimate version of Quicksilver is another one of those characters who is one bad dude. At the end of Ultimates Volume 2, he actually killed a supervillain by running so fast it made their skin peel off! Tell me that wouldn't be cool to see on film!
Milo is actually getting a lot of feature film experience in coming movies next year (3 at last count), so add the built-in audience from Heroes and you have an easy choice.
Morena Baccarin as Scarlet Witch
While she hasn't had a huge list of film credits, her role in Serenity (and of course, Firefly) gave her the ability to show off her exotic flair.
Yes, I understand that really creepy angle they were going for with Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver, but let's just say they drop that for the movie and give us a straight-ahead character story for Wanda. Morena's smile could melt a bad guy, and her flash of anger could scare them to death. Add to that the fact that she already has a solid fan base (Ever been to a sci-fi convention she's appearing at? The fans are rabid.), and she'd make a great contribution to the team.
Angelina Jolie as Black Widow
Since this character ultimately turns out to be a traitor in the midst, we have to go for someone who could do evil and good. Since since seduces Tony Stark, we have to go for someone who can do sexy. Since she fights a lot, we have to go for someone who can do action. For all these things, the natural choice is Angelina Jolie. She's done her share of action roles, and she's been good, bad, and everything in between.
Maybe you can't see her without thinking "Lara Croft", but I believe she could shake that image quickly in this role. She's an action star and superhero in her own right, so this wouldn't be much of a stretch.
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Not really fair since the character was actually written with Jackson in mind, but his brief work as Nick Fury after the credits of Iron Man gave us a good idea of what he could do. Of course, look at just about any other movie he's been in and you'll see he's one man who can take charge.
There's nothing more to add here, since this choice is so obvious. Now, if they were going with the standard Nick Fury, that would be a tough choice.
And of course, we can't forget the most important part of the whole thing...
Jon Favreau as the Director
During the entire filming sequence of Iron Man, Favreau was there for the fans. He read Internet message boards, gave constant updates from the set, and dove into the comics to get a feel for the characters. If we want a movie that's going to remain faithful to the comic from which it came, I can't think of a better person to do it.
Jon has already expressed interest in doing the film anyway. Keep your fingers crossed on this one! Hopefully Marvel will be paying attention to the fans and remembering the positive reviews folks had for Iron Man.
Ok, Hollywood, I've given you the answers you've needed. Now get out there and make the film!
Seriously though, what casting changes would you make to the list?