To me, the decision to make the next appearance of Batman a movie in which he teams with Superman is a pretty genius idea. DC Comics has the unenviable position of not only competing with Marvel’s flawless release structure of their Avengers movies, but it also has to replace the lead in its most successful series to date. Rather than playing catch-up with a Justice League movie (f0r now), it’s a great idea to bring together their two most important superheroes. But who will play the Caped Crusader? While thinking about it quickly, the first name that popped into my head was Ryan Gosling. As I tried to top that idea, he just started to make more sense, so here’s my three reasons why he should be the next Bruce Wayne.
Historically, A Perfect Fit
One of the main factors taken into consideration when talking about whom should don the cowl next is physicality. As he will assuredly be Batman more often than he is Bruce Wayne, he will have to be a presence once in the suit. DC lists the Batman character as 6’2”, but in the history of being Batman, only Adam West was that tall. The rest ranged from Michael Keaton at 5’9” to Christian Bale and Val Kilmer, each listed at 6’. According to IMDB, that would make Ryan Gosling the second tallest at 6’0 ½ “.
Height may seem insignificant, what with movie magic and all, but when dealing with a presence such as the Caped Crusader, it makes a difference. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, for example, the man that Christopher Nolan basically gift-wrapped the role for, stands three inches shorter than Ryan Gosling and has yet to prove, save for maybe Hesher, that he can fill a screen with his physicality. The height disadvantage and his unproven record leave a lot to be desired.
In terms of age, in 2015 when this Batman-Superman movie comes out, Gosling will be 35, which is just around the average age of the men that have come before him. Bale was the youngest of the newest Batmen at 31 for Batman Begins, while Michael Keaton was 38 at the time of the release of Batman, so it seems that the mid-30s is the target age for the next Batman.
A Proven Resumé
It’s easy to chalk up Ryan Gosling as some sort of heartthrob that shows up on the covers of magazines without much substance, but that’s an opinion of someone that has not been paying attention. Throwing out his appearance in The Notebook, Gosling has had a long list of interesting roles. Starting with his breakout role in The Believer, Gosling has won crtitical acclaim in interesting projects like his Oscar-nominated role in Half Nelson, as a crack-addicted high school teacher, as well as differing projects like Lars and the Real Girl, Drive, Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines, and this year’s Only God Forgives.
Gosling’s acting career seems to mirror the trajectory of a pre-Batman Christian Bale. Both Bale and Gosling started their careers at a young age and spent their twenties taking on interesting projects that proved right away that they were ready to take on just about anything. For Christian Bale, American Psycho proved that he had a dynamic onscreen presence and a charisma that could help carry a film. In The Machinist, he proved that he could take on a role of a demanding nature. For Gosling, the comparison here is his work in The Believer and Drive.
The Believer is the film that put Gosling on the map. In it, he plays Danny Balint, an anti-semitic member of the KKK in the 1960s, who also happens to be Jewish. The performance has intensity similar to Edward Norton’s turn in American History X and solidified Gosling as a true talent.
In Drive, Gosling showed he could be a brooding force of nature. It’s a seething performance; one that might come naturally for a character that… I don’t know, maybe lost his parents tragically at a young age. The Batman story may play dark compared to other comics, but Batman never kicked a dude’s skull in an elevator. I posted this scene in our Number 1’s column a few weeks back, but I put it here again to illustrate the intensity Gosling has already shown.
A Win-Win Situation For Both
Let’s face it: whoever steps into the role of Batman has enormous shoes to fill. Bale may well be the best Batman we’ve had and, unfortunately for DC, it couldn’t last forever. They cannot afford to miss with their casting and although a Batman-Superman movie is virtually a license to print money, the fanboys will turn ravenous if the choice is less-than-stellar.
Gosling is a slam-dunk for DC. His track record should already be able to answer the question of whether he can tackle moody subject matter and his more recent work with Refn proves he can be physical. The critics love him. Women love him. The Internet really loves him, having created not one, but two memes in his honor. The fact is: everyone loves him; even if he is Canadian.
Does Gosling need this role? Probably not, but then again, Bale didn’t either. If he wants to, Gosling can keep going the route he’s on now, building a solid resume en route to becoming his generation’s Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio did have the highest-grossing film at the time, though, and aside from Remember the Titans, no film Gosling has been in has ever broken the $100 million mark. He’s made a pretty big name for himself essentially playing to the beat of his own drum, but with a big franchise like Batman under his belt, who knows where he may end up? Maybe he won’t be upstaged by the likes of Channing Tatum and Bradley Cooper in The Sexiest Man Alive poll next time. Or just maybe, we’ll be seeing less Ryan Reynolds.