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Batman has had tons of different onscreen iterations over the years. Usually, something is tweaked about him to stand out from the other versions, like Tim Burton’s gothic take, Chris Nolan’s realistic Dark Knight, or Joel Schumacher’s infamous bat nipples. Despite all the differences in these Batmen, there are always similarities. If there’s one thing that you can absolutely count on seeing in a Batman movie – besides his origins – it’s his supporting cast. Just like how there must always be an Alfred helping from the Batcave, there must also be a Commissioner Gordon. Perhaps the best Jim Gordon on film has been the Dark Knight Trilogy’s version, played by Gary Oldman. Oldman played Batman’s ally on the force for three movies, so he’s got experience with the character and it seems like he’s not afraid to dish out advice to the next actor looking to play Gotham’s top cop.
It was recently reported that Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) would be playing Commissioner Jim Gordon in the new DC Cinematic Universe and will be making his first appearance in Justice League Part One. In an interview with Yahoo Movies, Gary Oldman offered some friendly advice to Simmons about the nature of the Gordon character:
He’s like a Watson, oddly. He’s sort of like Watson to Sherlock, is Gordon to Batman.
You would think that if anything Alfred would be Watson and Gordon would be Inspector Lestrade, but I see what Gary Oldman means. Gordon is the man on the streets and he helps Batman within the confines of the law. He’s also as incorruptible as Batman and has to face just as much darkness. Before Oldman, Gordon was pretty much represented an old man barely keeping up with Batman and barely doing anything at all. Gary Oldman elevated the character and gave fans the serious character that could be seen in the comics.
Will J.K. Simmons do the role justice? There’s no question that Simmons is a terrific actor and he could totally own the part (he even looks like Gordon) with the right material. The big question though is what kind of Commissioner will we get for this darker DC Cinematic Universe. With characters like Superman and Batman abandoning their strict moral codes, should we expect Gordon to do the same? Honestly, I half expect Zack Snyder to have him shoot criminals in the head point blank or kill by proxy (which is still murder). It’d be cool to see a Gordon who still sticks to his code, despite being in a world where even the superheroes have given it up.
You can see J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon in Justice League Part One, which is scheduled to release November 17, 2017.