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, with varying degrees of success. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy starring Christian Bale was the take that really mainstreamed the character. Now it was not just comic-book fans and gamers who were aware about 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 infamous Rogues Gallery.
Then came Batfleck, and the results are mixed. There isn’t a clear consensus over how good a Batman Ben Affleck is. Some say his Batman underrated as the films he has played Batman in – Batman v Superman and Justice League – have been summarily panned by critics and some say it was terrible and one of the reasons the films did not work. The criticism usually brings up the character as it is written, and not Affleck’s performance per se. Even so, the Argo star is almost certainly hanging up the cape and may play Batman only once more in the upcoming Flash standalone film. But 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.
1. Tom Hardy: This versatile British actor has a solid onscreen presence and has done a variety of roles. He has even starred in a Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, albeit as a villain, Bane. He has a solid physique and has shown his incredible acting skills over the years.
2. Idris Elba: Idris Elba is another actor who could do justice to the role. Elba has the charisma and charm that Bruce Wayne has, and he has also showed his dark side when the circumstances require like the Batman. His character in BBC’s cop drama Luther faces the same problem Batman faces – keeping impulses in check. Of course, some will clamour that he is black and Batman cannot be black. But as Batman himself said in The Dark Knight Rises, “A hero can be anyone.”
3. Michael Fassbender: Another Brit. Sorry. In my defence, Fassbender is a superb actor and already has considerable experience as a costumed vigilante in Assassins Creed. And whatever your opinion of the film, you cannot help but love his performance. When I picture him as Batman, I say, “Perfection.”
4. Fionn Whitehead: One more Brit. I promise the last one would be an American. So this little-known actor played one of the major actors in Christopher Nolan’s war epic Dunkirk and I was impressed. I could not help but picture him as Batman, though he played a lowly soldier in Nolan’s film. The character, due to his command on various forms of combat, has been mostly portrayed by older actors but what if you brought a fresh face? Warner Bros and DC would be doing something different and while I know they would not want to experiment after continuous failures, they would certainly want a new take on the character as the veteran Batman has lost its novelty.
5. Adam Driver: The Star Wars actor plays a villain called Kylo Ren, but he has shown himself to be a great actor who can be a radical and unexpected choice to don the role of the masked vigilante. He has also earned a lot of fans for his performance in The Force Awakens and that might help lure more moviegoers to Matt Reeves’ Batman film.