The Justice League movie is in the works and at Huffington Post they’re asking:
At the Guardian they’re not asking, they’re flat out saying:
The big reveal at the end of The Dark Knight Rises was Christopher Nolan’s last little joke for fans. It wasn’t meant to set up future Batman movies. It was meant put an ironic cap on Nolan’s trilogy. Anyone who saw visions of sequels starring Gordon-Levitt taking wing either missed the irony or is too high on Gordon-Levitt (which is hard to be, I think. I’m very high on him myself.) or really doesn’t get Batman. He is not Tony Stark in black Kevlar. Stark needs the armor to be Iron Man. Take that away and what is he? All the things he tells Cap he is, genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist…but not a superhero. Not even a hero. But Bruce Wayne doesn’t need the bat suit. Frank Miller introduced the idea of the bat suit as armor in order to allow a fifty-something Wayne to go about acting like his twenty-something self. Tim Burton borrowed it for his movies to sell the idea that short, scrawny, unathletic Michael Keaton stood a chance against even the weakest and most cowardly thug. Nolan used it, well modified, to deal with the fact that in his more realistic Gotham City criminals carry guns that work. But Bruce Wayne is a scary proposition in his own self. The suit’s nothing. He can and often does go out on patrol in mufti, for all it matters to what happens when he shows up at a crime scene. Suit or no suit, cape or no cape, bodies are going to fly. Basically, he’s a human superman with issues.
Ideally, then, the actor you want to cast as your Batman is the guy you almost cast as your Superman. Or maybe it’d be better the other way round.
I can’t see Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Superman.
I can see him as Nightwing, though. And if you see him as Nightwing then it’s possible to see the ending of The Dark Knight Rises as something more than a joke. John Blake would be the guy to take over Batman’s job, but he’d do it on his own terms, as his own person. Nightwing is Batman without a homicidal rage to keep suppressed. But he’s also more of a cop at heart.
But Nightwing doesn’t belong in the Justice League.
Doesn’t mean Gordon-Leavitt couldn’t be in the movie.
He’d make a pretty good Barry Allen or a Hal Jordan or, even better, a Kyle Rayner, although I think the Justice League movie needs John Stewart’s Green Lantern, for diversity and so as not to remind the audience of the melted crayon and spilled poster paint mess that was Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern movie.
But that’s the thing.
Do you need a Green Lantern?
Do you need the Flash?
What about Aquaman?
The Atom? Gordon-Levitt would make a good Ray Palmer too.
I think you have to have Hawkgirl to avoid the Smurfette problem you’d have with Wonder Woman as the only girl. But do you have to bring in Hawkman along with her?
In the best of all worlds, you’d include all of them. (Green Arrow’s expendable, I’m sorry to say.) You can get by without the Atom and Hawkman. Maybe without J’onn J’onzz as well. Even Aquaman can go. But that’s it. It’s the Justice League, after all, not the Justice Team. You need a crowd. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl. That’s six leads to cast before you’re even ready to cast the villains. And at the moment the producers don’t even have one hero on hand, unless this new Superman is meant to lead into The Justice League, and that’s not certain. Zack Snyder’s being cagey about that.
I don’t have a lot of hope for Man of Steel but Henry Cavill might be ok. It’s likely he’s no Robert Downey Jr, however, and it was Downey who made Marvel’s The Avengers possible. There are only three core Avengers anyway, and if Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth hadn’t worked out as well as they did as Captain America and Thor, The Avengers might still have worked as Iron Man 3. Even with Evans and Hemsworth doing their respective fine jobs and Mark Ruffalo’s pleasant surprise turn as Bruce Banner, Downey is the film’s star and Stark its protagonist.
I don’t have much of a point to make here, beyond Joseph Gordon-Leavitt being too short to play Batman, which, to be honest, is what I mean when by saying I can’t see him in the part. But it turns out not to matter because Gordon-Leavitt’s people are already denying that he’ll be doing it.
Oh well. Warner Brothers has given itself three years to work on this. Maybe something will gel. Meanwhile, The Dark Knight Rises is coming out on DVD next week. So I’ll just refer you to something I wrote when it was in the theaters last summer and pretend that was my point all along.
Justice League illustration courtesy of DC Comics.