Some comic book movie fans may still hold a grudge over Superman being passed up for a solo sequel, instead forced to share the screen with DC's other heavyweight in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. The sting may have worn off after Warner Bros. announced that their entire movie universe would be an ensemble enterprise, but the benefits of introducing a new Batman in Ben Affleck are becoming clearer with each week (assuming it's a strong successor to Nolan's take).
One of the more intriguing updates of late isn't focused on the Dark Knight himself, but his trusted butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons). After Jeremy Irons promised "a different Alfred" than in previous Batman films, the actor has offered yet another enticing tease of just what Bruce Wayne's right hand man will be capable of.
In an interview with Indiewire, Irons offered a description of the trusted servant that few ever expected: in short, "the perfect husband."
"Oh he'll be quite different. He has an interesting history. He's a very competent man. He's the sort of man I think anyone would like to be married to. He can sort of do everything: change light bulbs, blow up bridges if he has to."
Given the responsibilities heaped upon Bruce Wayne's accomplice and confidant in nearly every comic book and film incarnation, "competent" is the least to be hoped for; but the rest of Irons' comment implies much, much more about the kind of Alfred Zack Snyder is after. For a start, it confirms that this more experienced Alfred will be as much of a 'man of action' as the former Royal Marine seen in Gotham - but likely nowhere near as rough (we can't see anyone pushing Affleck around in the Batsuit).
Of course, it isn't the size of Alfred's muscles that make him the kind of friend any hero would want in a fight.
Changes to even established characters are to be expected from Snyder's new vision of a big screen Justice League, but Irons' choice of words will have special meaning for those familiar with Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" (a comic series confirmed to have a major influence on Dawn of Justice's caped crusader). One might say that Pennyworth's role in that comic is also a small one - as Irons has claimed his Dawn of Justice one will be - but it's certainly a pivotal one.
Although Miller's comic doesn't feature many memorable instances of Alfred changing the light bulbs of Wayne Manor, it does include a fairly notable use of explosives - detonated by the butler directly. We won't go into specifics, but with the rumors swirling of what version of Commissioner Gordon may appear in the film, anything is possible.
What do you think of Iron's continued teasing of an Alfred Pennyworth who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty? Is it a welcome change to make Alfred a more willing sidekick, or is the usual dynamic between the two something you might miss? Sound off in the comments.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters on May 6, 2016.
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