Batman first appeared in 1939 in Detective Comics issue 27 fascinating young readers with his dark façade and unquenchable thirst for justice. A few years later in 1943 Batman would make his first appearance on the silver screen, cementing his place in pop cultural history. Since then, there have been many different incarnations of Batman on the big screen; from the campy portrayal of the cape crusader in the 60’s to the dark and realistic portrayal of Batman in the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight movies, Batman seems to be a character that is constantly being reenvisioned and who’s story is constantly being retold.
The most recent actor to dawn the infamous Batman cowl was Ben Affleck in the box office hit Batman V Superman. There were mixed feelings about Affleck taking up the Batman mantel. Some fans (myself included) were disappointed that Affleck’s Batman would be yet another incarnation of the iconic character and not a continuation of the Dark Knight saga. Many fans assumed that Gordon-Levitt would be reprising role as John Blake as the next Batman effectively typing in the Christopher Nolan universe with the Man of Steel franchise.
Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is arguably the best and most accurate portrayal of Batman to date. A big reason for the Dark Knight’s success is not only the brilliant work done by Nolan in creating a realistically dark and gritty universe—largely inspired by Frank Miller’s graphic novels—but also its “finite narrative”. In a recent interview promoting his new movie Snowden, The Dark Knight Rises’ actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, was asked about whether he had hoped to be the one to take up the cowl as the next Batman. Gordon-Levitt argues that The Dark Knight Rises was a perfect ending to the Dark Knight trilogy. Nolan set out to tell a story, a finite story with a begging, middle, and end. Batman may be a symbol of justice, but having anyone but Bruce Wayne don the cape and cowl is unimaginable. Although bittersweet to fans that would have enjoyed seeing more of Nolan’s Dark Knight universe, the definitive end of The Dark Knight Rises is arguably why the movies are so iconic.