by Ryan Rigley
One week has passed since Michael Clarke Duncan died, and we're still mourning the astounding actor. Among the reasons we'll miss Duncan is the fact that he had a number of comic book movie roles on his plate at the time of his death that will now unfortunately never happen. Take for instance his reprisal of the character Manute in the highly anticipated "Sin City" sequel or Kilowog in any potential "Green Lantern" sequels/reboot.
But easily the most famous comic book character that Duncan helped bring to life up on the silver screen was Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. Kingpin, in 2003's "Daredevil." Although some were initially surprised by an African American actor playing a character that had always been portrayed as Caucasian in the comic books, Duncan truly owned the role. In fact, he was arguably the best part of the entire movie.
Read on for our thoughts on the late actor's take on Kingpin.
What Worked: As in the comic books, Duncan's Kingpin begins his ascension to power as an enforcer for one of New York's premier crime lords; in the movie it's a mob boss named Falon and in the comics it's Don Rigoletto. However, in the comics Wilson Fisk takes it upon himself to murder his former employer in order to obtain leadership of his already vast criminal empire. While in the movie, we never see how it is exactly that Wilson Fisk becomes the Kingpin. Although it can be assumed that Duncan's Kingpin killed Falon and usurped his position as boss, it adds a whole different dimension to Fisk's character to imagine that he actually worked hard to become the Kingpin of New York's criminal underground.
What Needed Work: When people think of the Kingpin, they think of an obese man with a walking stick. After all, Wilson Fisk has been obese for pretty much his entire life. Michael Clarke Duncan may have put on a few pounds for the role, but the fact of the matter is that he was obviously all muscle from the get-go. In the comics, Kingpin is extremely rotund; hiding that underlying muscular frame with layer upon layer of fat. This, in turn, gives him the element of surprise when put up against Marvel's superheroes in hand-to-hand combat. It also provides for a plethora of fat jokes to be made at his expense. Spider-Man's "Your belly button makes an echo" is my personal favorite.
What Was New & Interesting: Matt Murdock, like most comic book superheroes, was driven to fight crime as a result of his father being killed by gangsters. However, in "Daredevil," it is revealed that Duncan's Kingpin was in fact the one responsible for killing Murdock's father all those years ago. This, while changing some key facts about Murdock's history, also makes for a more direct tie between Kingpin and Daredevil. First appearing in "The Amazing Spider-Man" #50, The Kingpin started out as primarily a Spider-Man villain. However, changing it so that Kingpin effectually creates Daredevil makes their ongoing feud all the more interesting and understandable.
The Rogue Report looks at comic book movie villains past, present and future to see how they handled the transition from the paneled page to the big screen. Suggest a villain for our next column in the comments or on Twitter!