Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice writer/producer David Goyer was recently asked by Cinemablend in an interview if Batman being an older character will present problems for the DCEU as it evolves. Goyer answered that he did not believe that to be the case, and that in fact it offers the opportunity to give fans a Batman they have not seen before. Said Goyer,
I don’t think it’s a restriction. It’s a choice, you know, and there’s a different choice than some of the previous cinematic iterations, and it comes with its own restrictions, but it’s its own opportunity to do something different.
In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Bruce Wayne/Batman will be in his mid-40s.
(Addendum: I'm aware that BvS's Batman is based in large part on Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, in which Batman is 55. Where I'm coming from is wondering how a more mature Batman will play out in terms of mass audience acceptance. Most of the ticket-buying public knows nothing about comic books, has no idea who Frank Miller is, and has never seen a graphic novel. But also, even for more knowledgeable fans it remains an interesting question as to how we'll appreciate a Batman in his mid 40s to early 50's in film versus on the pages of a comic book.)
Ben Affleck is now 43. He is rumored to have gotten a deal to make a trilogy of Batman films in addition to at least two Justice League film appearances (and there will presumably be a couple more JL films to follow those after 2020). So assuming that Ben has, let's say, an approximately 10 year run at his version of Batman, he'll be around 53 when he passes the cape and cowl to a younger actor.
This got me thinking about some other action stars who continued to make some pretty good action films from their mid 40s on into their early 50s, and in some cases beyond. Each of the following were enjoyable and well received films (click the links to view Tomato-meter score). A couple of these are fight films but I consider those a sub-genre of action film:
Harrison Ford - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - 46 years old
Harrison Ford was around 46 for the filming of his last good Indiana Jones film. Granted, in the final film of the series he just looked tired and uncomfortable (he was then about 66). But in this one he still had his full Indy mojo going on.
Arnold Schwartzeneger - True Lies - 46 years old
Arnold was in his prime, really, in True Lies, one of his best action films. After Conan the Barbarian I think it might be my favorite Arnie action movie, actually.
Vin Diesel - Furious 7 - 47 years old
I haven't see this one yet but it was a box office smash and well received by the critics. (I'm still going to see The Last Witch Hunter this weekend, I don't care what the critics say! (Addendum: saw it. :-\))
Brad Pitt - World War Z - 49 years old
I'm not particularly a fan of zombie apocalypse films but I did enjoy this film. Brad Pitt gives a mostly physical performance (body language, facial expression, physical reactions, etc.) that is very convincing. He did a great job with it.
Bruce Willis - Live Free or Die Hard - 51 years old
One of the best Die Hard flicks, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes. I have to agree that it might actually be my favorite of the lot.
Mickey Rourke - Sin City - 51 years old
Mickey Rourke didn't headline Sin City, but he might as well have since he stole the show in a tour d' force comeback as one of the baddest tough guys ever to cross the silver screen.
Charles Bronson - Hard Times - 52 years old
Charles Bronson was amazing as a street cage fighter still in his prime in his early 50's. He reportedly smoked so he got winded easily for the shoots for the fight scenes. Didn't affect the final product, though. This is a truly great fight film (and my personal favorite of all time for that action sub-genre). But anyway, he is to me the iconic older dude badass in this flick.
Tom Cruise - Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation - 52 years old
I still haven't gotten around to seeing this one, but it was a big hit at the box office and the critics loved it. Tom Cruise seems to be holding up well in his early 50s.
Sylvester Stallone - Rocky Balboa - 59 years old
What can I say.
I think it's a safe bet that we'll be able to add Daniel Craig to the list of 46 year-olds when Spectre is released in just about 2 weeks.
Anyway, I think there is reason for optimism that an actor playing Batman into his late 40s or early 50s doesn't pose any real problem. I think it will be kind of fun to see an aging Batman. As long as he still kicks the bad guys' asses of course.
What do you think? Please weigh in with your thoughts! Do any advantages or downsides of an older Batman come to mind? Are there other examples of (good!) films you feel should be added to the short list I came up with?