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From the minute it was announced on stage in Hall H that Man of Steel 2 essentially would be a Superman-Batman team-up movie, the Internet has been vibrating with conversation about who should step into the Caped Crusader’s legendary costume for the sure-to-be-massive sequel. The immediate thought process would be that the movie would connect back to Christopher Nolan’s existing Batman universe, perhaps giving Warner Bros. the chance to offer Christian Bale Downey-Jr. levels of cash to reprise his role as the not-deceased Bruce Wayne, coming out of “retirement” to investigate this strange alien who has landed on our planet (and caused millions of dollars of destruction in neighboring Metropolis).
Getting Bale to step back into the Bat suit would be fine. I’m angling for something a little more iconic. I’m angling for the studio to mend a fence it broke 16 years ago. I’m saying they should lure George Clooney back into the Bat suit.
When Clooney accepted the role of masquerading billionaire Bruce Wayne in Joel Schumacher’s 1997 sequel Batman & Robin, he was primarily a TV star with very little big-screen experience. He should have known better, recognizing the atrocity that was Akiva Goldman’s hokey, jokey screenplay. Those puns!
But Clooney wasn’t the problem with Batman & Robin, and the idea of an older Clooney playing womanizing Wayne – as well as his stoic alter ego – still holds plenty of promise. In the 16 years since playing the Dark Knight, Clooney has grown in stature as an actor, director and industry spokesperson. He has two Academy Awards on his shelf. He has emerged on the other side of the shit storm that was the Batman debacle smelling like a rose. A triumphant return to the character would be “The Redemption Story to End All Redemption Stories.” He is as venerable a middle-aged actor as we have working in Hollywood at the moment. In fact, I'd argue that if not for Batman & Robin, most of you would be clamoring for Warner to consider Clooney in the role!"
Here’s what got me thinking of Clooney, however: the quote that Snyder and Harry Lennix used to sell Batman vs. Superman to the Comic-Con crowd. It was lifted from Frank Miller’s seminal The Dark Knight Returns. And if Snyder has any interest in telling aspects of that story, he’s going to need an older, seasoned actor to play Bruce Wayne. Someone like Clooney.
If you are unfamiliar with the piece, it takes place in a future where a 55-year-old Wayne, retired but fed up with the crime plaguing his city, puts his suit back on. It ends with a bone-crunching Batman-on-Superman fight. And it offers up all of the characteristics Clooney could explore in an older, wiser portrayal of Batman.
Listen, I know it isn’t going to happen. Clooney often pokes fun of the enormous winning streak he calls life by self-depricatingly bashing himself in the Batman movie. And Warner will want someone younger for the role, someone they can sign for multiple films, the way Marvel locks up key people for 5, 6 or 7 movies. But while everyone’s throwing around the name Jon Hamm for an older Batman, why not consider someone who already has slipped on the cape and cowl … and might be willing to do it again?
Should George Clooney play Batman again?