The Batman franchise has been a shot in the arm for DC fans. When the Tim Burton Batman movies came out, I was impressed with both the visual and story-telling aspects of the movies. Once Joel Schumacher came on board, the movies got more and more campy and lost the dark tone that the Burton movies had made. (How can we forget the awful bat nipple costumes?!?!?!)
Let's now fast forward to the Batman Begins and The Dark Knight films, which took the core elements that make Batman a great character and showcased them perfectly. Of course, the Christian Bale voice-work was laughable, but overall the story-telling was solid and the villains were executed to perfection. Chris Nolan has a great vision of the Batman mythos and makes the character portrayal dark and ruthless, yet also humanizes Bruce Wayne. Overall, the newer franchise has had great casting as there have been memorable cast members, however, I exclude the Rachel Dawes character here because I felt she didn't add much in the first first film.
Villains are one of the things that get discussed the most when we go into “New Batman” territory. After the great work by Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy and of course Heath Ledger, the Batman villains have taken a life of their own in terms of popularity, and are always being looked at closely by the press.
With that being said, below are some of my casting choices for villains in any future Batman films that may go into production.
Much like my article in the previous post regarding Spider-Man, lower-tier villains make great filler material and could be introduced throughout the film as criminals that Batman has caught and dropped off at Arkham. When I say lower-tier, I mean the likes of:
(Now I am sure many of you will probably not agree with a character like the Penguin being considered lower-tier, but given the darker tone of the films and the lack of danger the character possesses I chose to make him a lower-tier guy.)
Here are my cast picks:
Riddler-Personally, the Riddler is a character that has become more pivotal in recent Batman titles and has slowly moved up the ladder from being a hack villain to being a real force. You would want his character to be on par with the Joker, but with a more sarcastic wit about him. Now in terms of smarmy and sarcastic I see some great acting choices. JohnnyDepp of course is a fan favorite and would do well. Another choice to me would be Ed Norton. I would even go towards Crispin Glover who fits that dark persona that the villains seem to be taking as of late.
Talia al Ghul- If you want to go back to Ra's Al Ghul territory, his daughter would be a great villain. In terms of casting, I would only go with Rhona Mitra since she has great physical presence, is easy on the eyes and has already done a great deal of stunt work which would prove useful as someone who can not only fight Batman, but mess with him psychologically due to his past history with Ra's.
Catwoman- A fan favorite and rumored for the next film. With Catwoman, you want strength, speed, beauty and a sultry yet dangerous persona. You need a good actress who can really convey emotion since there will be plenty of dialogue between her and Batman. To me the following actresses can pull off this role with ease.
Angelina Jolie- A fan favorite that embodies all the traits I mentioned above.
Charlize Theron- Her work in Aeon Flux showed she's not afraid of doing action scenes and can act well in dialogue-heavy roles.
Jessica Biel- Physically perfect for the role. I am certain many question her acting ability but I am sure that for a Batman film she would step her game up.
Scarlett Johansson- Much like Angelina, she embodies all the qualities needed for the role.
Kate Beckinale- After her work in Underworld, I am sure she would be a make a great Catwoman as well.
Clayface- While he doesn't fit in well with the more realistic tone. I feel that like Ra's Al Ghul in the first film, he can be made a more threatening and tortured character. With Clayface, you want a young, handsome actor who can convey both anguish and anger after becoming a monster. I like Jake Gyllenhaal for this role as he can convey the unbalanced chracter very well.
Killer Croc- Much like Clayface, his character can be dark and terrifying. If you need further proof see the Arkham Asylum game which made Croc not only a force but also showed a terrifying mind behind the grusome visage. For Croc, you need a physically imposing presence. I would go with Micheal Clarke Duncan, which with heavy make-up and/or CGI would fit, as has the acting chops to make Croc a serious problem. I also like Andrew Bryniarski who not only has an imposing frame but has experience playing characters that require heavy prosthetic work.
I am only scratching the surface on Batman's Rogues Gallery and I am sure many of you wanted to see some other characters. To me, the character choices I have made here reflect my personal choices well.
Do you agree or disagree? Leave your comments and share your picks.