With 'The Avengers' on the way, we look at the best portrayals of the subgenre
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8. William Hurt, "A History of Violence" (2005)
It takes something special to blow into a film's final act and walk away with it in 10 minutes, but that's just what William Hurt did in David Cronenberg's 2005 adaptation of John Wagner and Vince Locke's graphic novel "A History of Violence." It's easier when it's on the page for you to devour, but when you look at what Hurt was handed, the necessity to lift it way off the page was inherent, and he rose to the occasion. As Philly mobster Richie Cusack, Hurt took a big, wet bite, surprising many with a take on the character as nuanced as it could be broad, begging for a few more minutes of screen time. Wins from the New York and Los Angeles film critics all but guaranteed what seemed like an already inevitable Oscar nomination.