The release of “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” where Nicolas Cage will play himself, is right around the corner and I’m quite excited for it.
While, admittedly, I’ve been hard on Cage at times for some of his less than stellar filmography entries, I remain intrigued whenever I see him in a cast lineup. There’s always a chance that he can give a really memorable performance.
That happened in 2021, when he gave a performance that was absolutely snubbed by the Academy in the film “Pig.” I have to say I was proud of my fellow Minnesota film critics for awarding him the Best Actor award for the portrayal.
That’s not the only time Cage has fit a character so well in the last decade, though. Here are some other times that the actor was perfectly cast for a role, and delivered a solid performance.
Damon Macready, AKA Big Daddy – Kick-Ass (2010)
Cage’s character in this film, Damon Macready, obviously takes things way too far. He’s a man on a mission of revenge, and he roped his young daughter Mindy into the mix, training her to be an unstoppable fighter who’s able to use practically any weapon at her disposal.
While Damon is hardened in his quest for vengeance, though, and has placed Mindy in a deadly world, he’s also a loving, charming father. That doesn’t end with Mindy, either.
After being skeptical initially, Damon, who goes by Big Daddy, comes to trust Kick-Ass and appears ready to be a mentor to the young vigilante. He seems just as open to welcoming Red Mist, another young hero to the crime fighting world, too.
Obviously the vigilante lifestyle is a dangerous one and Damon is being reckless, but there’s a genuine care there as a mentor. Cage is able to bring all of this to the role so well, channeling Adam West’s Batman portrayal in the process.
Cage had wanted to be in a superhero role for a long time. Considering this was a rather unique superhero role, Cage was perfect for the part.
John Milton – Drive Angry (2011)
There’s no doubt that “Drive Angry” works in large part thanks to William Fichtner, who was clearly having an absolute blast playing the Devil’s Accountant who was trying to bring Cage’s character back to Hell. With that said, Cage absolutely held up his end of the deal in the production.
Cage’s character Milton is a man so filled with rage at the murder of his daughter that he breaks out of Hell and steals Satan’s weapon, the God Killer. What follows is Milton going on an absolute B-Movie warpath, and Cage is so great in the part.
A lot of actors can do the gruff, tough persona, but Cage’s unique style and quirks make this grindhouse throwback feature even more fun. Cage brings a level of camp to the role, which helps the movie excel as a romp, while still being able to play a badass who can drive well and fight even better.
It even concludes with him drinking a beer out of the skull of the main bad guy, and Cage makes it look awesome.
Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man Noir (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
The animated “Spider-Man” movie featured a really good voice cast and everyone the filmmakers picked fit perfectly. That includes Cage as the black and white Spider-Man Noir.
The dark, detective Spider-Man is calm, cool and collected. As a noir character, he’s very much the type to give monologues in a reserved manner, and Cage’s delivery is so spot on.
There’s a level of humor at play with his portrayal, too, often inserting 1930s quips. Cage’s smooth, distinct voice makes the noir Spidey standout in a crowded field.