We all know by now that Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character (Robin John Blake) becomes Batman at the end of The Dark Knight Rises or at least attempts to follow in his footsteps. Sometime later, rumors began to circulate that he'd play the Dark Knight in DC's future movies. I thought this was a horrid idea but never spoke up because JGL's camp shot down the notion. However, the internet has combusted once again with the rumor after the website Movieline asked director Christopher Nolan about the idea.
According to the site, they asked the talented director if we could expect to see JGL appear as a cameo in Man of Steel, or anyone else, as Batman. They then asked if said potential cameo would tie-in to the 2015 Justice League film. In response, Nolan apparently smiled and said "I can't talk about that. You know that," in a cheerful manner.
So because of his apparently positive emotion and not bluntly saying "no," people are once again speculating. As you can tell by the title of this article, I think this is a downright bad idea. Don't get me wrong, I think JGL is a terrific actor, but using him for the follow-up films seems to be a poor decision.
First and foremost, Batman needs to be Bruce Wayne. This isn't mindless fanboy rambling over minor changes. I can tolerate small changes -- altercations to origins, costume changes, etc -- as long as it's done well, I can handle it. Films are only inspired by the source material, after all. But if you're going to begin a new franchise with Batman, Bruce Wayne being under the cowl is simply a must have. We wouldn't have John F. Walker or Bucky as Captain America in the first Marvel's The Avengers. Eventually? Sure, a sidekick taking the mantle can be a powerful thing if handled well as a franchise progresses. But by all accounts, I view the trilogy as a standalone franchise. Additionally, Robin John Blake isn't even a comic book character. If you're going to have someone as the new Batman, shouldn't it at least stay remotely true to the source material?== TEASER ==
"But what if Nolan's trilogy is in the same world as Man of Steel and Justice League?" Well, it shouldn't be. One of the many things that made Nolan's movieverse so exceptional was the fact it was grounded in reality. There wasn't a bigger picture outside of Gotham City. The notion of people flying or aliens invading just doesn't fit into the trilogy's universe and it was transparent Nolan didn't want his world to connect to DC's bigger picture. And if there were men flying around and all sorts of craziness taking place, we would have heard about it over the course of the films. However, Nolan made no attempt to draw any connections to the other (upcoming) franchises.
All of the easter eggs were Batman related. Everything was done in a manner that was remotely believable and we were supposed to think it could happen in real life. Bane wasn't a superhuman dude and there was a reason for his pain tolerance and edge in strength. Ra's al Ghul wasn't immortal and there wasn't a Lazarus Pit. Having this universe connected to the likes of Superman and others wouldn't work. In fact, the only way it would work is if all of these superhuman events started to conveniently happen after The Dark Knight Rises. It's a possibility and that would make things much easier to swallow , but then that brings us directly back to my point that Batman as a member of the Justice League should be Bruce Wayne.
Why? Because as much as I love JGL, his character is an atrocious Batman. Bruce Wayne traveled the world and studied with the League of Assassins. He trained for years and despite this, he was still barely able to overcome the odds Gotham threw at him. What did Robin do? He could barely handle two goons (not to mention he had to use his gun) and even though he's motivated (or a "hot head" as Foley loved to say), he sure felt like a rookie. Come on, a severely weakened Commissioner Gordon got the jump on him and then had to teach him to "check his corners." Know what happens to Batman if he doesn't check his corners? He dies. Robin's inspired and means well, but let's be real here, the kid's dead after a running the rooftops and trying to fight crime for a month (at most).
The Dark Knight Rises had a perfect ending for him. The notion of JGL following in Wayne's footsteps and sticking around to carry on Batman's legacy is a powerful and incredibly moving concept. But if we take a step back and think about what really happens after the credits stop, then the odds aren't exactly in his favor.
"What if they make him Bruce Wayne and disregard the other movies?" Well, that would just confuse a fair chunk of the general audience. To be blunt, I think there are better choices for Bruce Wayne out there, too. Frankly, casting JGL from Robin to Bruce would be puzzling to a good portion of people. I mean, it would be like casting The Human Torch as Captain America. How crazy would that be, right? Oh, wait... (just playing, I think Evans does an able job) Now, casting JGL as Dick Grayson is something I could absolutely get behind in spite of it confusing a portion of moviegoers.
JGL is a fantastic actor and if he does end up involved, I'll obviously do my best to keep an open mind until I see the final product. After all, I have no idea what Warner Bros. has up their sleeve for the expanding DC movieverse. That said, I'd really prefer if the Nolanverse ends with The Dark Knight Rises. Batman should be Bruce Wayne, TDKR should be the end of a great story, and Robin John Blake definitely isn't fit for the cowl.
Do you think Nolan's trilogy should connect to the upcoming DC films? Or do you think JGL should be Batman even if the films aren't connected? Once again, this is still just a rumor.
Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine and IGN Entertainment. At the end of the day, he could probably stomach anyone being under the cowl if the movie's solid.