Dark Knight trilogy star Christian Bale has stated he hasn’t seen any modern superhero movies beyond the ones he’s made. By the end of the 1990s, coming off the box office and critical failure of Batman & Robin, the prospects of Warner Bros. making another live-action Batman film were the lowest they had ever been. Many assumed that it’d be a long time before they ever got to see Bruce Wayne saving the streets of Gotham City on the big screen again, and they were right. But little did they know that through the careful hands of writer and director Christopher Nolan, when The Dark Knight did indeed return to cinemas around the world almost a decade later, it’d be in some of the best comic book movies ever made.
But that’s exactly what Nolan and DC did in their Dark Knight film trilogy, with Christian Bale taking on the iconic role after already being played previously by well-known actors like Michael Keaton, Adam West, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney. At the time, many called Bale’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne to be the best yet, though some reflection on Michael Keaton’s iteration and the addition of Ben Affleck’s take on the character in the DCEU have called that status into question.
While it’s been almost five full years since he hung up the cowl once and for all in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, Bale is still being asked on a fairly regular basis about what he thinks of the current state of superhero movies. And during a recent interview with Collider for his newest film, The Promise, Bale revealed that he hasn’t seen nearly as many comic book films as some fans might think, and doesn’t have much of an interest or desire to venture back into the genre again either, say with a Marvel or new DC film:
“No, I’m not interested in doing that. I’ve never seen — I’m trying to think if that’s correct, I think I’m actually correct, I can’t remember a single superhero film that I’ve ever watched. Apart from the ones I made and like, the Christopher Reeve Superman films… I love those. Other than that, no I’ve never seen anything.”
This is definitely an interesting standpoint for Bale to have, especially when looking at the timeline of his involvement in the comic book genre. Starting in 2005 with Batman Begins, he made his debut as Bruce Wayne during a time when there were still only one or two superhero movies released each year. But in 2008 when The Dark Knight came out, the Marvel boom was just beginning, with Iron Man hitting theaters just a few months before it. Then in 2012, both The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers came out within a few months of each other, when everything in the industry regarding superhero movies basically changed.
At the same time, however, Bale has remained adamant this entire time that he wouldn’t ever reprise his role as Bruce Wayne on the big screen again, and that his time in the superhero genre was effectively over when The Dark Knight Rises came out. Now, if he ever did come back, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that an iconic character played more than one role in the genre, since after all, even Bale’s Dark Knight predecessor, Michael Keaton is making his return to the world as The Vulture in this year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. But for the time being, Bale appears to be content to stay out of it all, and when looking back at the legacy he and Nolan made with their three films together, it’s not hard to understand why.