Many people have opinions about which version of Batman is the best. Some think Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne and Ben Affleck’s Batman are better, while others prefer to watch Michael Keaton as they remember him from their childhood. Regardless of opinion, it should not matter which version appears in a film because many people hold different preferences that can be achieved through other mediums outside films such as comics or TV shows.
“Batman in Flash” is a phrase that has been used for years. The phrase refers to the idea that it shouldn’t matter which version of Batman appears, because they are all the same character. Read more in detail here: batman in flash.
The world of DC cinema has seen considerable transformations in recent years, with projects through a broad range of incarnations only in the last half-decade. Batgirl, which went from being announced as a Joss Whedon-led project in 2017, to gaining a completely new creative team in the form of writer Christina Hodson and directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, to gaining a star in Leslie Grace and beginning production earlier this year, is one project that has managed to endure. Fans have been interested to see how the Batgirl film fits into the ever-evolving DC Extended Universe as pieces of the picture have began to come together, and on Wednesday, we received an answer that some may not have expected. Michael Keaton will play Bruce Wayne / Batman in Batgirl, according to a Warner Bros. official listing, a character he first played in Tim Burton’s Batman film and will reprise in the next The Flash picture.
From the start, this announcement has elicited mixed reactions: some are pleased to see Keaton reprise his role as Batman, while others are disappointed that the film’s Batman will not be portrayed by Ben Affleck, who has been the primary DCEU’s Batman since 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Although we’re still a long way from obtaining any information regarding Batman’s participation in Batgirl in the form of a trailer, one thing has already been clear: it shouldn’t matter whatever version of the character appears in the film in the end.
Outside of the film’s filmmakers announcing in an interview that it would be “the genuine Batman,” it has never been expressly stated which iteration of Batman will appear in Batgirl prior to the Keaton bombshell. Given that three actors are due to portray the Dark Knight in upcoming films: Keaton and Affleck in The Flash, and Robert Pattinson in The Batman, it was anyone’s guess what it may entail. Nonetheless, rumors that the film would tie to the canon of Birds of Prey and the upcoming Black Canary film, as well as the return of J.K. Simmons’ Commissioner James Gordon, who was last seen working directly alongside Affleck’s Batman in Justice League, led some to believe it would be Affleck’s incarnation of the character.
Still, it needs to be reconciled with speculations and stories about Keaton’s post-The Flash involvement in the DC Films universe, with some speculating that he may be playing a mentor role akin to Nick Fury, crossing over with other characters in the main universe. Fans had began to speculate whether he may be related to Batgirl in any way, given the buzz that had gathered around the picture at the same time. After all, we know that The Flash’s actions will likely mess up the DC universe in the future, and that Affleck may be done with franchise and IP films for the time being. If The Flash changes the main DCEU reality to make Keaton the major Batman instead of Affleck, it’s safe to assume that this will have an affect on Batgirl’s stories, both Gordon’s and Batgirl’s.
Is it sad that we haven’t seen Affleck connect with any other members of the “Batfamily” in the years since he was initially cast as Batman? Yes, but that fact, along with Affleck’s apparent lack of involvement with Batgirl, shouldn’t dampen some fans’ enthusiasm for the picture, particularly months before its debut. That’s especially true when you consider Keaton’s Batman appearance’s potential context — at best, he could serve as her mentor; at worst, he could appear in a few key flashback scenes, setting up Barbara’s childhood admiration for the Caped Crusader or even the controversial events of The Killing Joke.
Fans who were dissatisfied that Batman didn’t appear in Birds of Prey, Doctor Strange was deleted from WandaVision, and an Iron Man moment was omitted from Black Widow would most certainly be displeased with the Batgirl movie. Those tales all centered on female characters breaking through in the typically patriarchal realm of superheroes, a notion that is just now starting to be considered in superhero adaptations and that doesn’t need a significant cameo from a more well-known male superhero to make its point. Given Barbara’s comic background and the fact that Hodson previously authored Birds of Prey, we can fairly assume this motif to continue over into Batgirl.
If decades of comics have taught us anything, it’s that Barbara Gordon’s narrative, whether as Batgirl, Oracle, or a civilian, can be lovely even when she’s not in Batman’s shadow. While it’s reasonable that a version of the Caped Crusader would play a role in Barbara’s cinematic adventure in Batgirl, the details of who wears the cape and cowl shouldn’t matter when Barbara’s tale is at the foreground. In any case, moviegoers will witness the appropriate cinematic premiere of a character who has traveled a long and tortuous path to the big screen, and no appearance by any version of Batman should overshadow that.
Batgirl will be available exclusively on HBO Max at a later date.
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