Since his role on HBO’s “Band of Brothers,” Michael Fassbender has been one of the busiest actors in Hollywood. Since then, Fassbender’s proven to be among the most talented actors of his generation. Fassbender’s intensity is his greatest strength as an actor, but to limit him in that regard would be a disservice. One of the aspects of Fassbender’s rise to fame has been his ability to bounce between commercial work and prestige film. Fassbender revitalized a superhero franchise, and received a pair of Oscars in just the last six years alone. I think his snub for “Shame” reaffirms that his Oscar nomination count is lower than it should be.
With “The Light Between Oceans” opening up this week, Fassbender brings another emotionally charged performance to the big screen. He’s also kicking off the “Assassin’s Creed” franchise this December, making 2016 a big year for Fasssbender. With that in mind, we want to hear what are your favorite Michael Fassbender performances? I’ve listed my 3 favorites, and full disclosure, these aren’t his 3 best performances. However, I can watch these films over and over again solely due to Fassbender’s skill as an actor. In case your wondering, his best performances in my opinion are 1) “12 Years a Slave,” 2) “Shame” and 3) “Steve Jobs.”
1. Steve Jobs
One of my favorite performances in film last year was Fassbender’s performance as the man behind Apple. Does the film have some issues? Yes. Is Fassbender ever one of them? Absolutely not. Fassbender chews through Aaron Sorkin‘s dialogue like he was born to deliver it, and gives a poppy performance in the process. At the same time, his attention to the minutia creates a fully transformative performance as Jobs. I’ll state it here: I think his performance as Steve Jobs was better than Leo’s performance as Hugh Glass. Fassbender blows through this film, and with the issues already present, I doubt this would have worked without him in the lead role.
2. X-Men: First Class
Whenever I think of the missed opportunities of film franchises, I go straight to X-Men: First Class. Why wasn’t the entire film just “Magneto: Nazi Hunter?” Wouldn’t that have been the coolest superhero movie of all time? Alas, the film we got is easily the best in the franchise, and it all comes down to the tremendous performance Fassbender delivers. He was so good, Kristopher Tapley of Variety kept him as the poster image for his supporting actor rankings the entire year. Fassbender blends the intensity and hatred of Magneto with the intellect of a genius to craft the most layered superhero villain in film history. Don’t get me wrong, Heath Ledger‘s Joker is the best performance in a superhero movie, but Fassbender’s Magneto has more complexity. This performance stands alone from the sequels, and remains the best performance in the franchise.
3. Inglourious Basterds
I love that Michael Fassbender was in this film, even if just for a pair of scenes. It’s another role where Fassbender is able to showcase his own intellect through a character that feels like he’s in control the entire time. However, Quentin Tarantino never gives characters full control of their situation, setting up Hicox’s fate far before we even get the shootout in the bar. It’s a fairly simple role in the film, but Fassbender gives one of the best performances in the film despite limited screentime. My favorite fact about this film is that it gives him the ability to speak German, his first language. This only further showcases Fassbender’s talent, and hopefully Tarantino and Fassbender team up again in the future.