The DC Extended Universe is still in it’s early stages, with only three movies released to date, but that hasn’t slowed down the massive hype train built by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros Studios. Man of Steel had some mixed reviews but was generally received as a positive hit from critics, while both of this years DC properties – Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad – were met with harsh reviews even before their initial release to the general public. I’ve personally really enjoyed all three films in different contexts, but that doesn’t mean they’re without flaws. The reason for this is because we haven’t seen DC characters brought together on screen like this before, and general audiences may still be getting familiar with the company’s characters and style. Darkness isn’t “their main thing” but it’s a big part of what makes these characters so intriguing, to make their own individual ideologies believable should they exist in the real world of ours today. Of course, they’re still comic book characters at the end of the day, but the ability to ground them in realism is what DC has a knack for.
This is in tandem with the news that broke earlier today, when Geoff Johns officially confirmed that Joe Manganiello will be playing the incredibly deadly assassin Deathstroke/Slade Wilson in Ben Affleck’s solo Batman film. The only way I could explain my own excitement for this is by holding down the exclamation button until I eventually fall asleep. Yes, the character is that damn awesome. Deathstroke is more popular than ever in today’s comic book age, starting as a Teen Titans villain facing the team and then becoming such a force individually that he’s taken down Batman himself multiple times throughout the years. What makes the reveal of this character in the DCEU that much sweeter is the casting of Manganiello himself. I personally, along with a very large majority of DC fans around the world wanted him to portray the villain/anti-hero from the beginning. Remember, his name has been tied to the character for a long time, and for good reason. He has a vast variety of skills and traits that make him the ideal actor to don the eye patch and iconic suit, to the point where it’s very hard to just simply ignore. I’ll break it down for you in two simple points below. This is why Joe Manganiello is the perfect casting choice for Deathstroke:
A Wide Range Of Acting Ability & Experience
Joe spent the early years of his career in several theatres productions throughout Pittsburgh, where he was born, and went on to graduate at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama. He then moved to Los Angeles where he got his first gig as Flash Thompson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002). After that, he captured numerous roles in short films such as Impact Point, Wounded, Not Evelyn Cho and The Girl With The Tramp Stamp Tattoo, and though they weren’t high budget films, he continuously received praise for his work and continued to build depth on his acting resume. His roles in feature films such as Magic Mike, its sequel Magic Mike XXL, and What To Expect When You’re Expecting, allowed him to get more experience in different genres of mainstream film.
There’s also the TV projects he’s worked on, where he’s arguably shown his most impressive work. He had the opportunity to work on three different CSI shows (CSI, Miami and NY), and a slew of others (American Heiress, E.R., White Collar, and Two and a Half Men). The thing is, it only gets better from here. Creating a solid foundation of work in small or guest star roles, and some projects that aren’t overly popular allowed Manganiello to hit a new level in his career. His work in How I Met Your Mother and One Tree Hill generated a lot of critical praise for the actor, but none more than HBO’s True Blood, where he was a part of the main cast from Season 3 until the show’s finale in Season 7, and oh boy, did he kick some serious ass as the werewolf Alcide. If you haven’t watched True Blood, I seriously recommend doing so to get familiar with him at his best.
What you’ve seen is the wide body of work he’s been a part of, from low budget shows/short films and teen dramas to comedies, suspense thrillers, romance projects, gritty crime dramas and high end action flicks. That’s what the big deal is here, the man can portray any kind of personality you ask him to (it’s a LOT easier said than done) and at first you wouldn’t expect it if you’re unfamiliar with him, which is why he surprises so many people and is liked by so many in Hollywood. He can be absolutely hilarious in interviews, press tours and other events alike. He’s a truly dynamic actor, with a universal personality who’s been coveted for big budget blockbusters for some time now, and is finally getting an elite role he deserves. Talent before everything else, folks, and if Batfleck’s directorial history is any indication, he definitely knows who he wants in his films, and exactly how to get the best out of them.
Looks & Physicality
When an actor or actress is cast in a specific role, especially in films based on comic book lore, fans tend to pick apart how much talent the person has or lacks. When there isn’t a whole to criticise in a negative light, they try to tackle the actors looks, and how they might not match up to their comic book counterparts. Yeah.. that argument can die right now. In fact, that argument has never once started when Joe Manganiello’s name has been brought up in discussions about Deathstroke. It’s surprising, whether his hair’s wavy or cut short, and what his expressions and emotions are at the time, he looks like Slade Wilson regardless. He usually rocks the full beard that he’s genuinely known for, but has recently posted photos of himself in London where Justice League is currently filming, sporting the classic thick goatee with his cheeks shaved.
Those are just the facial similarities. Manganiello has been on the cover of tons of magazine covers for fashion, health, fitness and entertainment. He’s been featured on covers and stories for outlets such as Entertainment, Men’s Health, People, Muscle & Body, Bello, Muscle & Fitness, Men UK, Details, August Man and more. His name is almost always connected to health and fitness, the dude’s impressively jacked and packed with phenomenal muscle mass while standing at 6’5 – which is another prime feature of Deathstroke’s physical structure, that can’t be ignored.
The problem with a lot of the live action solo Batman films is that there’s never been a foe that can properly go toe to toe with him in combat, and match his every physical ability – except for Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, although Bale’s Batman in that film was underwhelming and fragile. Liam Neeson’s portrayal of Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins was incredible, but once Bruce went home to take on the identity of the caped crusader, he became something else entirely. Due to Ra’s underestimating the way Bruce wanted to do things, he lost any advantage and therefore wasn’t the greatest test for him. I believe there’s no one better for Batman to fight in live action than Deathstroke, as he’ll present a massive, yet believable challenge for Bruce Wayne in the DCEU. He might just be the scariest hand to hand combatant fans will witness Bruce fight 1-V-1 on the big screen. Affleck’s Batman is a lot taller and bigger than any previous incarnation of the character, and a fitness guru like Manganiello is the perfect casting for a movie that needs another high quality, yet underrated talent with a dynamic presence and background in both film and television. Since his name has been connected with Deathstroke for a few years now, I can bet it’s safe to say he’s already familiar with the character and his comic book lore, which is the biggest and best bonus of all. Deathstroke is one of my favorite DC characters in particular, and I thoroughly believe that even with all of the amazing talent out there, no one has the specific traits and skill set required to execute his comic book aspects better than Joe Manganiello.