Battinson: Same bat-whine, same bat-panic?
Previously, on “Freaking Out About Batman”…
Amid the chaos, screams and rioting six years ago following Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman, I emerged as a calm voice, advising people to take a deep breath and at least wait to see the movie. After all, Heath Ledger turned out OK as the Joker.
I pointed out five other casting choices that would have outraged “passionate” fans even more. No. 1 on my list was “Twilight” star Robert Pattinson (thanks to a meme produced by The Geek Strikes Back Facebook page).
With the search once again on for a new Batman…
I’m not flipping out about this either. As with Ledger, Affleck and just about any other person cast in a role they haven’t actually played, the best way to judge the choice is watching the movie. I’m less concerned with Pattinson being Batman than I am about whether the filmmakers will have the character kill people left and right. That’s not (usually) Batman.
I get why people don’t like the idea. “Twilight” does not appeal to a lot of comic fans (although, despite its other flaws, the basic structure of a love triangle between a brooding, kinda dull guy, a hairy dude and a woman about whom fan opinion is split undergirded many a classic X-Men story). Maybe just think of him as Cedric Diggory?
It’s harder this time to come up with a list of alternatives that could draw similar ire, but with roughly 600 words of space to fill comes roughly 600 words of responsibility. So:
* Josh Brolin:
Fine actor, but he’s already been Thanos, Cable and let’s not forget Jonah Hex (or do). If you ever bet on a comic book movie casting announcement, the smart money’s on Brolin, Chris Evans or somebody from “Game of Thrones.”
* Will Ferrell:
We have to take Batman seriously, and despite a dramatic turn here (“Stranger Than Fiction”) and there (the dad in “The Lego Movie?”), that’s not a term that often applies to Ferrell. I’d rather see him play the Silver Surfer opposite John C. Reilly’s Galactus anyway.
* Chris O’Donnell:
Some people still haven’t forgiven Joel Schumacher, George Clooney and everyone else involved with “Batman and Robin” (but that bit with Batman’s credit card having an expiration date of “Forever?” That’s funny). If the Robin from that movie ascended to the Dark Knight role, there’d be Internet rage, memes, maybe a petition or five… so pretty much what we have now.
* Michael B. Jordan:
He already committed the transgression of being an African American playing a comic character whose skin tone was most often rendered as, well, red with yellow highlights. But beneath those flame effects, the Human Torch was a Caucasian, which was integral to his character of, um, being a guy who liked cars and was impulsive? I guess? Jordan could play a fine Bruce Wayne/Batman, but considering the way people flipped out about his casting in the admittedly disappointing “Fantastic Four” reboot BEFORE A SINGLE SCENE WAS SHOT, I doubt the studio would do it.
* A Muppet:
The bar of unreasonable fan discontent over Pattinson is so high, only something this extreme could top it. I wouldn’t mind a Muppet-based, Batman-style film with a mix of human and felt actors. After all, if “Lego Batman” isn’t the best Batman movie, it’s only because “Dark Knight” exists. But casting a Muppet – Gonzo? – only as Batman with an otherwise standard cast and tone just might tick some folks off to a Pattinson-like degree.
I’d still wait to see the movie before passing judgment. But maybe on DVD instead of in theaters.
Evan Bevins is the writer of the webcomic “Support Group.”