Recently there have been some rumors spreading across the interwebs about Joseph Gordon-Levitt being the Batman for the upcoming Justice League film. Which is not quite confirmed. With that in mind, there are a couple things that need to be looked at if this was going to come to fruition.
First of all is what kind of Batman would the character of Robin Blake make? A few issues here arise when you realize that Blake doesn’t have nearly the physical or forensics training that Bruce attained during his eight years abroad. Bruce honed a multitude of skills over an extremely focused and extended period of time; whereas Blake was a police officer for the Gotham PD. I’m not sure what kind of entrance exam they require under Gordon, but I doubt it had anything to do with ninjitsu or the are of theatricality. In order for Blake’s character to be a convincing replacement for Bruce’s he would have to find some sort of method to train during the peaceful times in Gotham immediately following Bruce’s absence. How could he achieve this?
A Bat-log, of course. Blake was given full access to Bruce’s cave, which I’m assuming meant his files, contacts, and intelligence gathered on people from both his past and present. Using this, Blake could discover and locate some of the individuals that Bruce trained with over his years abroad. This would save him invaluable time that Bruce had to spend tracking these people down, therefore allowing him an expedited method of achieving the same results. One thing he probably won’t be able to replicate is Bruce’s training with the League of Shadows. Therefore, Blake would have to fight in a different fashion than Bruce did; much as comic book Robin differed from comic book Batman.
This isn’t a bad idea for the upcoming Justice League film, since it will be happening (presumably) fairly recently after the events of The Man of Steel. This is because both characters will be learning how to be superheroes after working to foil one major attack on their homes. If Bruce was to enter into the game he would have much more experience, and — although it’s fun to watch Bruce trounce Clark whenever he can — it would be unbalanced. This also depends on another issue that hasn’t been brought up yet, and that is Nolan.
Which really isn’t as big of a deal as many people probably want to make out of it. Nolan is a great story-teller — no doubt about it — but he is far from perfect. The Dark Knight trilogy might have been his brainchild, but it is not his intellectual property. The rights to these films belong to Warner Brothers, and they are completely within their rights to continue this universe under different direction. With that in mind, why would they not? Fans ate up the realistic and gritty tones crafted by Nolan and his team, and Warner Brothers would be foolish to try and emulate Marvel’s tone in making super hero films (see: Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds). Don’t emulate, and instead innovate. DC and Marvel have had different tones to their heroes since inception (not a Nolan reference) so continuing that on-screen will bolster their differences while simultaneously celebrating them.
The challenge here is how to make the rest of the fantastic powers fit into a real world setting. Marvel’s franchises require a certain tint to view them in. Often times the reasoning behind a lot of what they do is “because science.” This suspension of disbelief is the only way to watch films like Thor and Captain America without being completely turned off. You have to tell yourself that it’s a comic book movie, and therefore the unexplained can remain unexplained as long as it’s entertaining. The Dark Knight trilogy — although not completely based on working scientific principles (ie. the Batwing’s ability to maneuver the way it did) — is situated in a “real world” setting. If this hero was to exist then this is what he would look like.
Many might become upset if this real world setting that Nolan created is then hijacked into a world of leaping tall buildings and magical green rings. However, it is not impossible. It is just really freakin’ difficult. It could be brought up that if they existed in the same universe then why didn’t Superman intervene in the events at Gotham during Bane’s attack? Although a good question, it’s not a difficult one to answer. Especially after looking at the teaser that was released for The Man of Steel.
What you’re seeing here is a Superman that spends an undisclosed amount of time not being Superman. He is working on a fishing boat, traveling via the roads (I’m sure there is a reason he isn’t flying) like Bruce Banner, and not entirely coming to grips with his destined place as Metropolis’ flying savior. Clark could have been aware of the events, or he could have been completely oblivious and out of the loop. Either way, he has an excuse as to why he didn’t do anything with Gotham.
In the comics, Dick Grayson (Robin number one) took over the cowl for Bruce when he “died,” and this provided a number of interesting interactions with the rest of the JLA, who were used to Bruce’s attitudes and methods. Granted, the rest of the heroes won’t be accustomed to dealing with Bruce, but they might be familiar with his tactics and legacy. This could also lead into an eventual return for Christian Bale to reprise his role as Batman in a future film, and have Blake take up the Nightwing outfit.
Because of the precedent Nolan set with the Batman movies this will be an extremely ambitious project for Warner Brothers. If done correctly it has the potential to be an even larger success than The Avengers movie was, while at the same time appealing to the viewers who appreciated the sinewy and darker version of their superhero. It is a surprising announcement, as many of us thought that Nolan’s versions would just be an entity all to themselves, and many people expressed displeasure as the thought of a complete reboot of the series so closely to the end of TDK trilogy. This decision seems to fly between these two concerns in an attempt to make something that is both pleasing to the fans, and the investors of the films.