With Batman officially heading for a recast, the internet has been quick to throw all their faves into the proverbial ring.
The news of Ben Affleck’s departure from Matt Reeves’ Batman movie is less than 24 hours old, but the internet already has a lot to say about who should be the new, younger version of the dark knight to step into the cape and cowl.
Though we don’t know too much about the role other than that it’ll feature a younger — though not necessarily young — Batman than Ben Affleck’s version, rumors are that director Matt Reeves seems to have something (or someone) very specific in mind:
THE BATMAN: this sounds like it could move faster then people would expect with the date set. Hearing studio wants a familiar face and Reeves has his certain age in mind and that age is very specific like I said two names within 7 years of each other; "Too young, too Old'
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) February 1, 2019
Twitter has thrown out a lot of names, all with little to no commonality for the choices other than that they seem like they could glare convincingly and are very handsome.
And while those are two well-known facets of the caped crusader, it’s also good to remember that takes way more than that to be a great lead for the upcoming Batman film. We’d need an actor with the physicality and intensity to pull off Batman, and the charisma and charm to play a convincing Bruce Wayne.
Like I said, everyone has an opinion on who that might be. Some are great left-of-field picks, some are obvious, and some seem to be have been picked mostly because they’re vaguely attractive and dark-featured.
Here are a few of the more popular mentions we’ve seen floating around, along with my completely uninformed opinions as someone who knows absolutely nothing about casting choices and movie-making:
What is Man from U.N.C.L.E, really, if not a low-key Batman/Superman spy AU?
Armie Hammer has been the front runner for many a Batman recast article since the rumors first started to emerge over two years ago that Ben Affleck may not be returning as the character. It’s a bit of an obvious, shallow and safe choice, but one that I’m not really vehemently opposed.
At 6’5 and 32 years old, Armie Hammer certainly has the physicality for the role and seems to be about the right age for it. He is also clearly made to play a handsome socialite and billionaire, and there’s just enough simmering intensity beneath the surface that I think he could be convincing as Batman, too.
Plus, if his addition to the DCEU meant that Henry Cavill could be definitively persuaded to stay on board, then I’m 110% committed to this casting.
If the only thing you’ve seen Richard Madden in is Game of Thrones, then I understand why this choice might be rather unconvincing to you. But do yourself a favor and check out The Bodyguard on Netflix, which is an incredibly good show that’ll convince you that Richard Madden at Batman/Bruce Wayne isn’t a completely terrible idea.
While I think he’d do fine in the action scenes, the biggest ding against him is his physicality. Ben Affleck was already a big 6’4, and once he bulked up to play Batman, he was just a pure wall of muscle and menace. At 5’10 and rather slim, I’m not all that sure Richard Madden has the body type to make a convincing Batman.
On the other hand, Richard Madden has brooding, mad intensity down pat, and Hollywood diets and workouts can work wonders, so I could definitely see him in the role.
Despite being a little short for the role at 5’10, I don’t think anyone who has watched Daredevil could really argue that Charlie Cox doesn’t have the fighting prowess to pull off Batman. The fight choreography in that show is stunning and Charlie Cox absolutely knocks it out of the park in every single scene that he’s in.
And while Daredevil is a little more Catholic guilt than brooding intensity, there’s enough crossover between the personality traits of the character and Batman to make me believe that Charlie Cox could pull off a very convincing Batman.
I’m not as certain that Charlie Cox oozes the charisma necessary for the role of Bruce Wayne, but I also fully recognize that that’s my own personal bias at the fact that I mostly cannot stand Matt Murdock. As choices go, I don’t think this is a terrible one, though it’s also one I wouldn’t necessarily call great, either.
Whew. Oscar Isaac is so handsome y’all.
But as much as I love him and as much as I’d love to see him as Batman, since we’re aging down the character, I think that Oscar Isaac — at 39 years old — is probably too old for the role. He’s also relatively small in terms of superheroes, at just 5’9.
He’s actually my number one choice for Scott Free aka Mr. Miracle. And wouldn’t you know, Ava DuVernay is out here making a New Gods movie. Make all my dreams come true, Ava, and let’s get Oscar Isaac in the DCEU.
Michael B. Jordan
I’ve been a fan of Michael B. Jordan since his Friday Night Lights days, and do honestly think that at 31 he is the right age for what Matt Reeves is looking for. Likewise, at 6’1, he has both the intensity and physicality to pull off the role of Batman, as well as the charm and charisma to play billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. I also do get a special kind of perverted glee when the DCEU lures away MCU folks, but that’s just my own personal pettiness.
However, writer Joelle Monique brought up a good point when Michael B. Jordan was suggested to fill the shoes of the caped crusador:
I don't ever want a Black Batman. In this political climate, dark skin men could not fly around in all black outfits and force rich white men to go to jail. The suspension of disbelief is just too far.
— The First Joelle Monique ✍🏾 (@JoelleMonique) January 31, 2019
And I think the point might be so convincing that despite everything Michael B. Jordan has going for him (and it’s a lot), I don’t think he’s right for the role.
This actually leads to a bigger question about Batman — whether or not the character’s clear white privilege is such an integral part of the character that he could never be anything but a wealthy white guy — but that’s a discussion for a different article at a later time.
I have a very special place in my heart for Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and have long wanted him to blow up big in a way that he hasn’t quite gotten to yet.
At 28, he’s one of the youngest picks for the Batman, which seems like it’d work out fine for a franchise that’s both looking to cast a younger Batman and likely hoping to keep the same actor for at least a trilogy of films.
At 5’11, he’s a good five inches shorter than Ben Affleck, but perhaps it’s my own personal bias speaking (it definitely is), but there’s an intensity and physicality to Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s presence that makes him feel bigger than he is. He plays brooding and somewhat unhinged intensity well, as his roles in Nocturnal Animals and Outlaw King both highlight.
He also has the smirky charm, confidence and bravado to play a very convincing Bruce Wayne, with the dark features and simmering intensity that I imagine when I think of Bruce Wayne.