Top 5 Tuesday: James Marsden’s Roles as “The Other Man”

Left to right: James Marsden as "The Other Man" in 'Enchanted,' 'X-Men,' and 'The Notebook'

Happy Top 5 Tuesday, everyone! This week’s random topic of discussion: James Marsden. The guy has it all: the piercing blue eyes, the chiseled jaw, the brilliant comedic timing… So why doesn’t he ever get to play the leading man? Okay, he’s had one or two leading man roles (probably), but anyone who’s ever seen a movie with James Marsden in it can tell you that he gets typecast as “the other man” more often than not. By “the other man,” I generally mean the less desirable man in a central love triangle. Usually this means the one who’s more boring, whiny, and not the guy that the movie is named after (at least in the case of Superman Returns). So let’s review Mr. Marsden’s recurring roles as “the other man”…

1.) Scott, AKA Cyclops (X-Men 1-3) – Marsden was appropriately moody as Cyclops, and he was the perfect rival for Hugh Jackman’s gruff, sarcastic, irreverent, and ever-so-tortured Wolverine. Cyclops was certainly not likable in the first movie, but you’d be pouty and petulant too if Hugh Jackman was hitting on your wife. Jean Grey had a tough choice, but ultimately she was faithful to Scott. So does he still count as “the other man” if the woman chose him, but the audience chose Wolverine? I say yes. His function was the same: make the main guy look good by being an obnoxious baby. And he succeeded. Though, after watching the series again, I can say that his character may have gotten some undeserved scorn from me the first time around. Scott really is a good guy, he’s just not as charismatic and good-looking as Wolverine.

2.) Prince Edward (Enchanted) – This poor, lovesick prince followed his beloved princess out of the animated realm of the fairy tale world and into the scary, live action world of New York City. Now that’s devotion. He even stabbed a bus in his (somewhat misguided) pursuit of Amy Adams’ Giselle. Too bad she was underwhelmed by his gesture after meeting Patrick Dempsey and falling under the spell of his cynicism and his McDreamy hair. Nonetheless, Prince Edward was a top notch “other man” if only for his unrelenting romantic side and his duet skills.

3.) Lon (The Notebook) – Lon may have been the token “other man” in this love story, but at his character did have some depth to him, unlike other “other men.” He had style, wealth, charm, and even a slight southern accent. For a split second, you were almost rooting for him to win Rachel McAdams’ heart. Almost. But of course, it had to be Ryan Gosling.

4.) Richard (Superman Returns)How can any man native to this planet be expected to compete with Superman? I mean really, that’s just not fair. Anyone looks like a boring dweeb compared to the Man of Steel. It’s not Richard’s fault that his fiancée Lois Lane fell for a guy who wears tights.

5.) Kevin (27 Dresses) – Okay, so he’s not technically “the other man” in this one, since *SPOILER ALERT* he gets the girl in the end, but I think it should count since Katherine Heigl spends the first hour of the movie in love with another guy (the studly Ed Burns), and Kevin is kind of a jerk for the first half of the movie.

What do you think, pop culture fans? Did I miss any important “other man” roles in James Marsden’s repertoire? Do you wonder if he’ll ever earn leading man status? He certainly deserves it, if you ask me. See you next week for another Top 5 Tuesday!


Posted on November 15, 2011, in Film, Top 5 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You are absolutely right! James Marsden is high talented, he should pla the new Frank Sinatra (and not Leo die Caprio)!

  2. James Marsden was also the ‘other guy’ in Spiderman 2 – poor guy 🙂

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