How About Casting Robert DeNiro as Bruce Wayne in a Series of Dark Knight Sequels Rather Than Rebooting Batman from Scratch?

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Now that everyone and their neighbor has seen "Marvel's The Avengers" and been subjected to a relatively innocent form of brainwashing in which they leave the theater thinking they've seen something great, it's time for the marketing boys out there in Hollywoodland to turn their attention to getting us all hyped up about Christian Bale's final performance as Batman. I kid, of course. Nobody is hyped about Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" because of Christian Bale.

Warner Brothers already began planning the reboot of the Batman franchise even before "The Dark Knight Rises" finished filming. One certainly hopes that that these plans are not going to follow the lead of the "The Amazing Spider-Man" and begin with an origin story film less than a decade after the last origin film. One also hopes that Warner Brothers will look to continue its placement of Batman on a level far above such comic book movies as "The Avengers" as represented by Nolan's comitment to storytelling over action set pieces.

I would suggest that rather than a much interesting approach to reconstituting the Dark Knight franchise would to avoid a do-over completely and take up the story twenty thirty years following the end of "The Dark Knight Rises." The actor I have in mind for taking over the cape would necessitate taking the franchise in a direction much more unexpected than those in charge of refilling Spidey's web shooters.

Back when he was considered one of the greatest dramatic film actors of all time it was typically said of DeNiro that his versatility in moving from a backwards Georgia cracker baseball player to hepcat jazz musician was so great that he had no "persona" that was analagous to Cagney's tough guy, Cary Grant's charming romantic or John Wayne's Duke. I disagree. In his most memorable performances from Vito Corleone to Travis Bickle to Jake LaMotta and beyond there could always be found a certain kind of nobility even when a DeNiro character was conducting himself in the most violent and psychopathic actions. "The Dark Knight" comic books series tells the tale of an aging Batman coming to terms with his mortality. At heart Batman is a fascist, but his singular commitment to a moral code places him above the typical fascists that dominate law enforcement. DeNiro could bring age, wisdom, weariness, psychopathy and his signature tainted decency to Batman.

Of course, this Batman's severely limited mobility would open the door to introducing the character of Robin into the series. Personally, I would like to see what Jake Gyllenhaal could do with the Boy Wonder.

For more from Timothy Sexton, Yahoo!'s first Writer of the Year, check out:

Plans for Batman Reboot Announced Even Before "The Dark Knight Rises" Rises

Is Robert DeNiro the Actor Who Best Personifies Post-JFK America?

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