The TV series Gotham has finally delivered on its promise to bring Cyrus Gold into the fold, in order to help us understand how his role as villain came about, and helping to unpick the somewhat murky stories that have previously hinted at how he became a zombie.
Hardcore fans of Batman may well already be fairly clued up on the Solomon Grundy/Cyrus Gold backstory, but there’s no denying that his is not usually the name that comes instantly to most people’s lips when it comes to naming the characters who make up the vividly imagined Batman Universe of Gotham City.
Do Villains Need to Make an Impact?
To work out how Cyrus Gold holds up in comparison to other Batman villains, you must first decide who the ultimate villain has been. Competition is fierce, there’s no getting away from it; we’ve got the likes of Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and the first incarnation of Bane, a character who has been horribly over-acted in the more recent Dark Knight outings, although he is a character who has clearly retained quite some influence after apparently influencing Donald Trump’s famous (or should that be infamous) inauguration speech earlier this year!
If we consider these film villains for a moment and accept that there will always be some discussion as to who comes out best and worst, you can see that only a few have managed to emerge as stand-out characters who have become a serious part of popular culture. One good example of a villain who has passed that particular test is Heath Ledger and his portrayal of the Joker. From his opening gambit of spectacularly robbing a bank to the memorable scene where he burns mobsters’ money, his performance is iconic and rightly remembered as one of the defining roles of the last couple of decades in Hollywood cinema.
We don’t expect Solomon Grundy to be as well acted in the Gotham series, but he will attempt to emulate the way in which the Joker makes you see Batman in a new light as he struggles and fights to defeat him, therefore helping to expose his vulnerabilities. It was this trend that really helped to make the Dark Knight franchise so successful, to the point that it expanded beyond the confines of the big screen, to our laptop screens – the Joker has made it into various slot games as a starring character – as well as our console screens, thanks to games such as Batman: Arkham Knight for Xbox. You can still buy that Xbox game online for less than $20 on the Microsoft website, and you can still play Batman-related games with Sun Bingo and various other operators for far less of an investment than before thanks to WDW Bingo’s “Deposit £10 Play with £40” offer, proving the franchise’s enduring appeal across all sectors of the entertainment industry.
Don’t Ignore the Villainous Blasts from the Past
Heath Ledger’s Joker may well have shown everyone how to create a standout villain, but let’s not forget some other familiar faces from further back. You may remember the performance of Danny DeVito, who managed to create perhaps the darkest impression as a villain in Batman Returns. Should Gotham seek to cast Grundy in a more Danny DeVito-inspired light, it would mark a complete return of Batman to the darker strand of the movie franchise that was shied away from slightly in a bid to become more family-friendly.
Whatever the decision taken by the Gotham writers and producers in terms of the intended direction and backstory of the Grundy character, the fact that they are exploring his past and his character in a pre-Batman era is certainly something to get our pulses racing. The Gotham series may not reach the sort of audience that a successful film might (with Gotham experiencing a ratings drop last season), but the show could well help to boost interest in Grundy significantly, therefore helping to elevate him to the sort of level that can make him a serious contender for appearing in a future film, competing with the likes of Mr. Freeze, the Joker, and Bane as a serious villain who helps to bring out the best (or worst) of Batman. Watch this space, Batman fans!