After reading this article about Charlton Heston on the New York Times, I had a thought that Keanu Reeves, at least in terms of how critics panned his acting, could be the Charlton Heston of our generation.
The paragraph that triggered the thought:
In long shot and choking close up, Welles directs Mr. Heston brilliantly, making particularly memorable use of the actor’s physicality, his big, rangy body and the hard, clean right angles of his face. The ramrod straight, straight as an arrow Vargas, with his impossibly long and loping stride, could not look or register more different from Quinlan, an amorphous blob who all but rolls across the screen. Welles exploits Mr. Heston’s rigidity as a performer (and his American movie-star presence) for the character, using what in other films sometimes seemed like a limitation of craft and technique to the great advantage of the story’s texture and meaning. He turns Mr. Heston’s jutting jaw into the wagging finger of righteousness, deepening the film’s complex morality.
Compare the above to this review of Constantine:
Overall, this was an enjoyable movie to watch. The CGI graphics were shit, but who knows perhaps Hell and hellspawn really does look that pathetically bad. I’ll let you know when I get there. Keanu Reeves has only one facial expression. He uses it well in this role (he used it well in the Matrix trilogy too)
Both have played iconic roles in landmark movies of their respective generations while confounding critics with their successful careers which should not have been due to their supposed lack of talent.