The main cast for Matt Reeves’ The Batman is rounding out, with Colin Farrell added to the list of names on the villain call sheet. He is in talks to play the Penguin, joining Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman and Paul Dano as the Riddler. (Andy Serkis is also in talks to play Alfred and, in a particularly good bit of casting, Jeffrey Wright will be Commissioner Gordon.) Three Bat-villains is a lot to throw at one movie—did we learn nothing from Batman & Robin? It really looks like The Batman is doing something with The Long Halloween, as there are still more rumored villains to be added, including, maybe, Matthew McConaughey as Harvey Dent. We’ll see how that one develops. McConaughey got close to playing Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but he decided to do The Dark Tower instead. So he is amenable to playing a supervillain, and hopefully this time there is no boneheaded decision to distract him. Also, with this many villains in play, I assume we’re skipping origin stories in favor of dropping in on a Gotham where Batman has been operating a while, and already built up a rogue’s gallery. Does this mean we can get a Bat-movie that does not involve the murder of the Waynes? I challenge The Batman to not show the death of Batman’s parents. It would literally be a first.
Colin Farrell is a good actor, so I am sure he will do a good job as the Penguin, but this does not strike me as inspired as Zoe Kravitz or Paul Dano—or Matthew McConaughey as Two-Face. Of course, I am horribly biased when it comes to the Penguin, because I think they should just bring back Danny DeVito, who was perfect. But if they do want a hipper, handsomer Penguin, then I don’t think you can top the work Robin Lord Taylor did on Gotham. The Penguin hasn’t been portrayed quite as many times as the Joker, but we do have two exceptional performances already. The bar for the Penguin is actually pretty high. (The Joker is now officially an easier role to play because as long as you’re better than Jared Leto, you’ll never be the worst.) I realize I am probably the only person with any hesitation about Colin Farrell playing the Penguin, and that’s because I am probably the only person who stuck with Gotham. But goddamn, Robin Lord Taylor was so good! Still, even with the hesitation, The Batman is shaping up nicely, and I am enthusiastic about its potential. After the turmoil of the Batfleck era, the era of RBattz is bright with promise.