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Jester’s Blog: Will the Next Batman Please Stand Up?

Only a year since Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale ended their three-movie Batman run, and with Man of Steel still in theaters, Warner Bros. has surprised many by revealing plans for a Batman/Superman team-up movie as the sequel to Man of Steel, teaming the newest Superman, Henry Cavill, up with a yet-to-be-cast Caped Crusader (barring the unlikely event of Christian Bale reprising the role).

Disclaimer:
While the Batman/Superman crossover has a history in the comics, I would much rather see them stay separate in their own solo adventures onscreen.  I feel Superman’s more sci-fi fantasy elements clash with Batman’s more gritty, pseudo-realistic tone, I would much rather have a direct Superman-centric sequel to Man of Steel without inserting Batman into the mix, and I feel it’s too soon after Christian Bale’s three movie run, generally regarded as the best onscreen Bruce Wayne/Batman yet, for someone else to step into the cape and cowl.

That out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the names most regularly tossed around on internet forums as possible contenders for the Caped Crusader (keep in mind, we have no idea at this point if any of these people are actually being considered for the role, they’re just names fans like to suggest).

Jake Gyllenhaal

Gyllenhaalpros: An Academy Award-nominated actor.  Attractive, as Bruce Wayne should be.  Buffed up for The Prince of Persia.  Auditioned for the role in 2005 for Batman Begins and was screenwriter David S. Goyer’s runner-up favorite, losing out only to Christian Bale.  Incidentally, Gyllenhaal has a history of narrowly losing out on starring roles as iconic superheroes; he nearly replaced Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2 when Maguire injured his back while filming Seabiscuit.

 

cons: I like Jake Gyllenhaal, but he’s best-known for mellow nice guys.  If he is capable of pulling off the dark, intense, intimidating traits needed for Batman, he has yet to show it onscreen (granted, he was a little out there in Donnie Darko, but not in a Batman kind of way).  I know he auditioned and was seriously considered for the role back in 2005, so maybe he showed something in his audition that he hasn’t shown in a movie yet, but as it stands, I have a hard time seeing him being dark enough for The Dark Knight.

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan Gosling

Gosling

 

pros: Like Gyllenhaal, an Academy Award-nominated actor and heartthrob.

 

 

 

 

cons: My issue is much the same for Gosling as for Gyllenhaal.  While I don’t think Gosling would have much trouble pulling off suave, charming socialite Bruce Wayne, I have more trouble seeing him being intimidating enough for Batman.  Also, his blond hair might count against him, as comics and movies Bruce has always had dark hair (then again, so did Harvey Dent until Aaron Eckhart).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

"Looper"- Opening Night Gala Premiere - Red Carpet - 2012 Toronto International Film Festival

 

pros: Has a scrap of a legitimate “claim” to the role, as The Dark Knight Rises ended with his Robin John Blake implied to be taking up Bruce’s mantle as Gotham’s next defender.  Although for all we know, the Batman/Superman team-up might be (and probably is) completely unconnected to Nolan’s trilogy, making the above totally irrelevant.

 

cons: Alas, the “not intimidating enough” hang-up strikes again.  Also, Gordon-Levitt just looks too young.  Not big enough, not tough enough, not grown-up enough.  It’s hard to imagine Gotham’s dangerous criminals being afraid of Officer Blake.

 

 

 

Matt Bomer

Matt Bomer

 

pros: Oozes suave charm on his television series White Collar which would work perfectly for Bruce Wayne.  Pretty boy.  Previously auditioned for Clark Kent/Superman.

 

 

cons: Maybe too much of a pretty boy.  Like Gosling, it’s a little hard to picture Bomer getting down and dirty with criminals and being tough and menacing enough.  Could probably play Bruce Wayne in his sleep, hard to see him as Batman.  Also, as unfair as this may be, the fact that (while he credibly plays a straight man on White Collar) Bomer is openly gay may count against him with studios (rumor has it that it already counted against him with Superman).  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jensen Ackles

 

dean

 

pros: Already has experience doing the gruff and brooding thing on six seasons of the television series Supernatural.  Actually adopted a gruff voice after his return from Hell in Season 4 (it’s a long story) that ironically made him sound a little like he was doing a Christian Bale-as-Batman impression.  Also has a Batman connection, as he voiced The Red Hood for a Batman animated movie.

 

cons: Committed indefinitely to Supernatural.  Also not a “name” apart from Supernatural fans, though Henry Cavill wasn’t really a “name” before Man of Steel either, so I’m not sure how concerned the studio is about that.

 

 

Tom Hardy

 

"Inception" Premiere

 

pros: Actually has a number of appropriate traits for the role.  Has played his share of hard-asses.  Has no problem with intense, edgy, and brooding (not entirely unlike Christian Bale).  Far more believable as a “tough guy” than the likes of Gordon-Levitt, Gosling, Gyllenhaal, or Bomer.  Has buffed-up and done brutal fight scenes for several roles.

 

 

cons: It might count against Hardy that he’s already played a Batman villain (though the fact that he spent the whole movie masked and with his voice heavily distorted makes it questionable how many audience members would even notice it was the same person).  Also, I’m not sure if quirky, edgy, mumbling Hardy can pull off a suave, charming socialite that Bruce Wayne needs to be.  While several others on this list are easy to see as Bruce and harder as Batman, Hardy ironically might be the other way around.  I would say he also might be a little short, but the fact that he played Bane might toss that concern out the window.  Also, considering Hardy’s buttload of upcoming projects, his movie schedule might be booked pretty solid for a while.  By Hardy’s own admission, he’s a little dodgy with American accents, but a good dialect coach might overcome that.

 

 

 

Idris Elba

 

idris-elba2

 

pros: Gruffly authoritative demeanor.  Can be intense and brooding.

 

 

cons: Not a “name” (but neither was Cavill before Man of Steel).  Also, I have serious doubts that studios are in any hurry to cast a black Batman, Elba fanboys’ wishful thinking notwithstanding.

 

 

 

 

Karl Urban

Karl Urban

 

pros: Already played Judge Dredd, which required him to be gruff and intimidating while having 2/3 of his face covered, and even adopted a growly Batman-esque voice.

 

 

cons: Commitments to Star Trek sequels might limit his schedule availability.  Also, like Hardy, he might be another that’s actually easier to imagine as Batman than as Bruce Wayne.

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Fassbender

Fassbender

 

pros: Has already played an edgy, brooding comic book movie anti-hero (a young Magneto in X-Men: First Class).  His crisp good looks and coolly suave demeanor could work for Bruce Wayne.

 

cons: Fassbender can be intense and menacing, but I’m not sure if I see Fassbender being physically tough and intimidating enough as Batman.  Also, given the intense competition between Marvel (which owns X-Men) and DC (which owns Batman), actors crossing back and forth are rare, and the fact that Fassbender is already Magneto might rule him out for Batman.

 

 

 

 

And there you have my $.02 (or ($.30, or $1.20, or whatever all this shakes out to).  This list is by no means meant to be definitive, merely an attempt to assess the advantages and disadvantages of some of the Batman “names” one sees most often tossed around as suggestions on internet fan forums and the like.  Of course, there are various others whose names have come up somewhere or other–Richard Armitage, Spartacus star Liam McIntyre (who apparently is on record as saying he’d like to play Batman), Jim Caviezel, Jon Hamm, Eric Bana, Luke Evans, etc., etc.

Also keep in mind, while the likes of Gosling, Hardy, Fassbender, Elba, etc. are fanboy favorites whose names get inevitably tossed around when any comic book character’s pending casting is announced, the next Batman may very well be a relative unknown or at least someone who hasn’t occurred to anybody yet (remember Heath Ledger’s totally out-of-left-field casting as The Joker?).

So, what do you think?  Do any of these names strike your fancy?  Have someone else you’d like to see scrambling over the rooftops of Gotham?  Remember, Christian Bale at least partially got his foot in the door by being a fan favorite to be cast as Batman before Batman Begins was even in the works, so your opinion CAN make a difference.

~Jester

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