People Laughed At Christian Bale When He Said He Wanted To Take Batman Seriously

It's hard to remember a time when Batman wasn't the overly serious vigilante of Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder, or Matt Reeves' respective films. But back through the '90s, Batman was pretty much a champion of camp: He sported nipples on his suit, he cracked bad jokes, and he brawled with madcap villains with pink hair and bad catchphrases. He was fun, but his films weren't exactly the pinnacle of cinematic excellence (to some people, anyway; I, for one, am an avid supporter of Camp Batman).

All that changed with Nolan's take on the character, as portrayed by Christian Bale. Nolan flipped the world of Gotham entirely on its head, retrofitting it for our gritty, post-9/11 landscape — and Batman films have never looked back. Today, Nolan's "The Dark Knight" trilogy is one of the most celebrated superhero franchises of all time and possibly one of the greatest trilogies ever — but it wasn't easy to introduce this new version of Batman. Nolan and Bale were certainly confident in their shared vision for the character, but there was a time where his pitch for the new Batman was met with more ridicule than curiosity.

The last laugh

"Serious" comic book flicks are all the rage now — the Batman comics have also dealt in heavy themes for years — but back in 2005, it wasn't easy for fans to wrap their heads around the concept of a more serious Batman. Bale spoke to The Washington Post about the initial response to Nolan's plan: "I would [tell people] we're going to sort of do Batman, but take him seriously. I had tons of people laugh at me and just say, 'Well that's just not going to work at all.'"

Whatever "people" Bale spoke to, it's clear they didn't see the vision. The Dark Knight is a versatile enough character that he can actually be a perfect fit for a dark film, as shown in the success of "Batman Begins" and its two acclaimed sequels. Nolan's trilogy was one of the first superhero films to really add gravity to the world its hero occupied, and Bale can definitely see a connection between their success and the success of Marvel's Cinematic Universe. "I'm not certain if it kick-started [the MCU]," Bale mused, "but it certainly helped along the way."

Bale has since made the jump not just from hero to villain, but from DC to Marvel, starring as Gorr the God Butcher in "Thor: Love and Thunder." The actor's presence in the MCU was apparently a curveball to a lot of franchise fans as well. "People keep saying to me 'surprising to see you here,'" Bale said. "I'm not surprised in the slightest." It just goes to show what can happen when you open your mind to the possibilities. To quote another Nolan masterpiece: You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.