By now we have all watched Zack Snyder’s Comic-Con appearance and my word has it caused an almighty stir on the internet, which is pretty understandable. When actor Harry Lennix (General Swanwick in Man of Steel) read the famous lines from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, every fanboy on the planet must have wet himself. In theory, Superman and Batman, Batman vs Superman, whatever you want to call it, will simply wipe the floor with competition in 2015, including Marvel.
Yet in practice, this might not be the case. Snyder has the ability – like he almost did with Man of Steel – to completely fudge the substance of his film with an over-reliance on special effects. To keep us all sane, he needs to cast a Batman which shows some faith to what Christopher Nolan did with the character, yet also move him in a completely different direction. For me, only one actor can achieve this. His name is Ryan Gosling.
People are probably going to hate this choice, but please bear with me until the end of the article. And please comment too – we need a debate on this!
Never mind talk about taking over from Christian Bale, the important comparison is with Superman himself – Henry Cavill. The British actor holds the key in who becomes the next Batman, simply because of how he looks and the kind of screen presence he holds. For example, Michael Fassbender would not work with Cavill. They look far too similar and with the new Kal-El being a bit on the dark side, their styles would seemingly clash.
Yes, of course Batman is inherently dark, so what’s the problem you might ask? Well it’s all about self-discovery. I would argue that the ‘darkness’ could be taken even further, especially in challenging the fun but rather silly Marvel franchises. Snyder and Goyer have suggested that this semi-sequel will address Superman killing Zod and letting Metropolis fall. If Batman comes into this equation, then maybe a raw, young and perhaps even sadistic version of Bruce Wayne could help Clark realize the kind of person he has to become (cough Jonathan Kent was right all along). After all, Man of Steel’s Superman was by no means the finished product.
On the flip side, perhaps meeting Superman will help a young Bruce come to terms with his parents’ deaths and finally accept responsibility as a hero. If you follow, the two opposing sides of the coin will enhance each character’s development, hopefully resulting in one heck of a movie.
To that end, Gosling perfectly fits this more brutal and tortured Batman, not to mention that he possesses the suave playboy looks to serve as the cover story. His skill in facial expression will help him here, for it is often with the silences of Bruce Wayne that we learn the most. He is an anti-hero by nature, a reason why Christian Bale was cast after his mesmerising performance in American Psycho. It may be a bit weird, but Gosling’s stare is the same awkward, cold and detached look some might attribute to a burgeoning Batman. See this montage from his film Drive:
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