Anghus Houvouras looks at the reported contenders for the next Dark Knight in Warner Bros.’ Superman and Batman movie…
Since the announcement last month of a World’s Finest movie, the internet has been going into overdrive with speculation about who will take over the mantle of the Dark Knight. The Hollywood Reporter recently ran a story indicating that Warner Bros. might be looking for a more mature Caped Crusader.
But the real insight is the kind of Bruce Wayne/Batman that Zack Snyder is looking to cast. According to numerous sources, this Wayne/Batman will be in the late 30s or around the 40 mark. He will be established and rugged. This new movie will not seek to recount an origin story or the rise of the Dark Knight. Christian Bale, The Dark Knight trilogy Batman, has said he won’t return for another film.
First off, let me just say how much I like hearing this. The idea of an older, wiser Batman played against as younger, more idealistic Man of Steel is the kind of conflict I want to see in a movie featuring two of comics most iconic heroes. The list of names has been varied.
Let’s take a look at the leading contenders according to Hollywood Reporter sources:
Ryan Gosling, 32 – It makes sense. Gosling has a relationship with Warner Bros. having starred in this year’s drama Gangster Squad. The ladies seem to love him, and he appears to have an infinite well of deadpan seriousness. But I don’t think he’s the right fit.
Joe Manganiello, 36 – Manganiello was an earlier contender for the Man of Steel before Henry Cavill got the part. He’s big and beefy. Certainly he has the physicality to play a super hero. I think he lacks a certain… cerebral element for Batman.
Richard Armitage, 41 – Another actor with ties to Warner Bros., now starring in the endless series of Hobbit films. Certainly he has the gravitas, but is he really the kind of marquee name to help make this the billion dollar franchise Warner Bros. is hoping for?
Max Martini, 43 – Seems like every one of these actors has some kind of previous experience with Warners. Based on early speculation, it seems they don’t want to stray too far from the stable. Martini was certainly not awful in Pacific Rim, but once again is name recognition even a consideration for the new Batman? While I kind of like the idea of a relative unknown taking on the Dark Knight, it seems like one hell of a gamble for a studio who really needs to knock this out of the park. Though some think knocking it out of the park is a foregone conclusion no matter who’s underneath the cowl.
Matthew Goode, 35 – He’s already worked with Snyder. And after this year’s dark turn in Stoker, I know he has both the looks and the dark side to play Batman. The only thing working against this choice for me was having seen Watchmen where Goode played Ozymandias with a crippling lack of charisma. I don’t know how keen I am to see him strap on a rubber suit and mask again.
So those are the studio’s main contenders according to Hollywood Reporter sources. I’d like to throw my pick into the mix. Someone in their 30’s or 40’s. Someone who can do tough, brooding, and charismatic. May I suggest…
I can’t think of another actor good enough to play a more mature version of the Caped Crusader. A strong actor with charisma to spare. We’ve seen him do tough (Dredd, RED), epic (Lord of the Rings), and charismatic (Star Trek). Urban is one of those great screen presences who seems primed for greatness and would make an exceptional Batman. An actor with the intensity to play Batman, the hubris to pull of Bruce Wayne, and the classic leading man stature to give audiences a new take on the character.
I was a fan of Christian Bale in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, a decidedly darker version than previous incarnations. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a little less angst for Batman’s next big-screen appearance. And I think Karl Urban is just the actor to do it.
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker. His latest work, the novel My Career Suicide Note, is available from Amazon.