First, there was a satirical Batman TV series in the 1960s and a 1966 film. Adam West played the role that was a self-parody. That Knight, ladies and gents, was not Dark. Then came Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney with their distinctive takes on the Caped Crusader, and varying degrees of success.
Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy starring Christian Bale was the Batman that really mainstreamed the character. Now, it was not just comic-book fans and gamers who were aware of the World’s Greatest Detective (sorry, Sherlock). Now, a casual moviegoer knew why it was cool that Batman did not have superpowers and could name the members of his famous Rogues Gallery.
Then came Batfleck, and the results were mixed. There isn’t a clear consensus over how good a Batman Ben Affleck was. Some say his Batman is underrated as the films in which he played the role – Batman v Superman and Justice League – were summarily panned by critics and some say his Batman was terrible and one of the reasons the films did not work. The criticism usually brings up the character and not Affleck’s performance per se. Even so, the Argo star has hung up the cape and the hunt is on for a younger Batman. Matt Reeves’ film, titled The Batman, will require a new casting.
Here are our suggestions regarding who could take up the mantle and do justice (no pun intended) to the character. There is no order.
Fionn Whitehead: Just how young a Batman the WB and DC are talking about? This little-known Brit played one of the major characters in Christopher Nolan’s war epic Dunkirk and impressed. If the higher-ups are looking for a fresh face, there are few others who fit the bill. Sure, physically he is barely a Robin, but that is nothing months of intense workout cannot solve. He was also seen in the recent, much-discussed Black Mirror special, Bandersnatch. Whitehead would be a radical choice.
Michael B Jordan: Jordan has always shown flashes of talent (HBO’s The Wire, for instance), but he really came into his own last year. He played the role of one of the best villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Erik Killmonger in Black Panther — with a charisma and flamboyance that is classic Bruce Wayne (minus the murderous streak, of course). As for his being black, there is nothing in Batman lore that prevents a person from any race in existence to be the Caped Crusader. He just has to be an American citizen. As Christian Bale’s Batman said, a hero can be anyone.
Armie Hammer: Hammer has been rumoured to play Green Lantern for quite a while. But we have a better suggestion. He should be Bruce Wayne/Batman. He is a great actor, looks the part physically, and is young enough to carry the role for a decade if not more so.
Liam Hemsworth: The much ignored Hemsworth sibling could be a decent Batman. Like his brothers, he has striking good looks, height and the physique to boot already. He has not had a lot of big opportunities and this might be his breakout role.
Timothée Chalamet: If they are just starting a new franchise, there might not be a better actor this young who can play this high-profile role and play it well.