Well, this was certainly surprising.
Earlier this week, DC and Warner Bros. announced that not only was Commissioner Jim Gordon, easily Batman’s best friend and biggest supporting character who doesn’t also wear a cowl or domino mask, was going to be in their upcoming superhero movie Justice League: Part 1, he’d already been cast. And the casting definitely drew some more attention than usual. They got JK Simmons of Spider-Man fame to take the badge of Gotham’s most honest cop.
It’s a choice I don’t think anyone was really expecting, and part of that is due to the baggage that Simmons comes with. Remember, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies helped kick off the return of superhero movies alongside Blade and X-Men. Simmons gained a lot of goodwill during his tenure as J. Jonah Jameson in the first three movies, after all. In the same way that Ryan Reynolds is so perfect for Deadpool that it makes you forget about his failed tenure as Green Lantern, Simmons was perfect for Jameson. The quality of those movies may be debatable these days, but it can’t be denied that he was a consistently entertaining presence throughout. Is there anyone who wasn’t taken in by his performance, that’s also still regarded as a rational human being?
What’s more, Simmons himself said fairly recently that he wouldn’t entirely turn down the prospect of being Jameson again now that Spider-Man’s getting a third reboot that’ll put him in line with the MCU. That seemed a sign to many, myself included, that Sony and Marvel would snag him up for that and announce that within a few months for their solo Spider films. It wouldn’t have been a huge shocker if that had happened; in fact, I think that would’ve boosted the upcoming film in my eyes and that of many others. Also, not to sound like one of those people, but everyone associates him with Team Marvel. So hearing this news would be like if suddenly, Marvel up and announced that they’d decided to nab Grant Gustin to play Iceman in a new series of X-Men films. It’s a futile wish, especially now that we’ve seen that DC is about to reverse that decision in a few months, but wouldn’t it be great if the movies decided to throw up their hands and went “hey, we’re gonna give Jim Gordon some time as the Dark Knight”?
If you haven’t been keeping up with comics lately, Jim Gordon’s been spending the past eight months as Batman after Bruce Wayne kinda disappeared and was presumed dead at the end of that whole Endgame arc. Everyone knows that Gotham needs Batman, so the GCPD decide to take it upon themselves to have a Dark Night of their own that works with the law, eventually choosing Gordon to put on the cowl. To make things even more awesome, he’s got a mech suit that’s locked onto a blimp that always tracks his movement when he’s out in the field. No really, these are things that are happening right now.
All of this sounds like a complete joke that would befit a “What If?” Comic. The idea of Gordon bulking up, shaving his head and mustache, and putting on a cowl to play real life Titanfall feels like things that you’d come up with while completely bored or on a dare and probably was. But like Midnighter, Gotham Academy, and a majority of fellow comics under the DC You banner, it ends up being a lot better than you would expect. The shift from Bruce to Jim takes the tone from psychological horror to summer action movie, while still also having plenty of creepy laced in courtesy of Gordon’s enemy in the main book, Mr. Bloom. Without the crazy emotional baggage that Gotham and Batman provide, Jim is more mentally healthy than Bruce, but that’s not saying much, given the stuff he’s had to go through in the comics. It makes for a look at things that’s both familiar and completely new, and it never gets old watching Gordon be both completely prepared for this and really out of his depth.
Given that Bruce is already going back to normal in the comics, this obviously isn’t going to happen in the movies. At the very least, it won’t happen beyond maybe a scene where he does something Batman esque, like maybe take control of a Batbot during Darkseid’s invasion. But it’s nice to dream that after Affleck’s trilogy has ran its course, DC and WB decided to tap Simmons for some Bat Gordon fun for a film or two. It’d give them some time to find a new actor for Batman if/when they decide to reboot again (and they definitely will). He’s already got a Joker of his own in Mr. Bloom, who’s so creepy and unnerving just off his appearance alone. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see J. Jonah Jameson with a mohawk inside a robot that looks like a bunny rabbit?
Just also get him pictures of Spider-Man while you’re at it.