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Friday, June 14, 2024

Karl Urban, a.k.a. Batman?

This is sort of a follow up to “The Future Of The Bat”. In that article, I mentioned possible directions that the Batman saga could go in. In “The Dark Knight Rises”, Bruce Wayne fakes his death, moves to Italy with Selina Kyle, turns Wayne Manor into a Boys’ Home, puts Alfred in charge of it and gives the Batcave to now-retired GCPD detective Jonathan Robin Blake. If I was in charge, I’d leave it there, hand it to Blake, show that he doesn’t have what it takes, and bring back Bale.  However, Warner Bros. is looking at all their options.

As I reported in “The Future Of The Bat”, Warner Bros. was looking at Arnie Hammer. You may know him from his titular role in the upcoming “The Lone Ranger”, or his titular role in “Billy Graham: The Early Years”, but it appears as if that was simply a rumor. Logically, Warner would want to scope their options to more bankable names. This may sound crazy, but what about Karl Urban?

Back in October, Unleash The Fanboy did an article in which they made a decent argument as to why Karl Urban should be the next one to don the cape and cowl, should WB choose that route. They took three of his action-based roles and used them to base this argument. Here are their examples:

1) The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers and The Return of The King– Eomer. In the latter two installments of the LOTR trilogy, Karl Urban played Eomer, the leader of the elite Riders of Rohan, a cavalry-based praetorian guard, answering only to its king. Not only was he a bad ass warrior, he was a rough and edgy leader. Batman needs to be all of the above. He was a great counter to Aragorn, much like Batman is a great counter to Gordon. These two alone have him using more martial arts than Bale used in Equilibrium.


2) The Bourne Supremacy Kirill. In the second Bourne movie, the CIA program “Treadstone” sends their second best to hunt down Bourne- a man known only as Kirill. He’s brutal, he’s relentless, he doesn’t stop and he comes damned close to kicking Bourne’s ass a couple of times. He’s why it’s my favorite of the three movies. Like Batman, he doesn’t stop until he gets what he wants, he’ll beat you to a pulp if that’s what it takes, and he doesn’t care who you are. He hardly talks, and it takes the best to take him out. Less martial arts, but he makes up for it.


3) Dredd– Judge Dredd. Sadly, this one didn’t this one didn’t take off in the US, but I’ll get to that later. This one has more of the same- dark, brutal, bad ass, utterly relentless. Brooding dialogue, judgmental behavior, and a partner. Warner Bros. tried adding side-kicks into the mix in Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, and it took a decade for Chris O’Donnell to get his career back. Dredd deals with a solitary figure trying to train a rookie, ultimately learning compassion once he has to rely on her to save his ass. Warner Bros. may have learned their mistake with the Burton series of Batman films, but if they decide to take on Robin in the near future, this gives Urban an added bonus.


You may have noticed a pattern here. I know I did. The first two examples made a butt-ton in the box office, but they were bankable properties even without Urban. The last one simply wasn’t, by no fault of its own. While huge in the UK, 2000 AD is largely unknown to American audiences. Because of this, most viewers passed it off as a remake of the Stallone adaptation. It was a poor adaptation, and a bad movie. Keep in mind- this is early nineties Stallone, so the bar’s not that high to start with. It was that bad.

Urban may have added some credibility to a great movie, but not enough. This leads me to conclude that he’s a bankable name in conjunction with a bankable property. Here are two examples to illustrate this, in order of release:


1) Pathfinder Ghost. Pathfinder is a medieval action film telling the story of a Norse boy raised by Native Americans, only to help defend the Natives against a Viking invasion. It had Moon Bloodgood and Russell Means, as the chief and his daughter. Russell is ALWAYS playing a Native in some form, and Moon has finally gotten away from it with Terminator: Salvation and Falling Skies (in both cases, she falls for the bearded and badass leader). It had two Native actors, so why didn’t it take off? Well, the premise of Indians vs. Vikings just isn’t a good sell. Karl Urban? Yeah, still not a good sell.


2) Star Trek Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. Yeah, this one was gonna break the bank even without names like “J.J. Abrams”, “Orci and Kurtzman”, “Zachary Quinto”, “Simon Pegg,” “Anton Yelchin”, “Eric Bana”, the list goes on. Compare this to Pathfinder and you should see my point.

In short, Karl Urban is a decent actor with more than enough action under his belt. He’s just as qualified for the role as Val Kilmer was, and it pains me to admit how much Batman Forever sucked. As we’ve noticed by now, success requires talent on both sides of the role. Val Kilmer made a decent Batman and a dogshit Bruce Wayne. George Clooney made a kick ass Bruce Wayne and a humiliating Batman. Batfans like me are used to disappointment, and Urban might actually do a better job than Billy Graham. I still doubt that Warner Bros. might go that route, but you never know. You can find the original UTF article here:


Keep it classy Junkies.

An aspiring filmmaker coming from a military family, my solitary life allowed me to gain an intimate knowledge of geekdom. I specialize on horror and military, but I am also knowledgeable on science fiction, fantasy, comic books and classic cartoons.

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