Neil Hamilton, Pat Hingle, Gary Oldman, and now J.K. Simmons. These are the actors who have portrayed on film (or will portray in the case of Simmons) one of Batman’s most important allies in his war on crime, Commissioner Jim Gordon, Batman’s first ally in the Gotham P.D. and one of the few people he considers a friend. Appearing in the very same issue that introduced us to the Batman in Detective Comics #27, Jim Gordon has been an important cog in Batman stories for 77 years now.
While all of the actors that have portrayed Jim Gordon have done a fine job, they have all played very different versions of the character. Neil Hamilton’s version of the character was more there for show and to call on Batman for help. Pat Hingle’s Gordon was off to a great start in 1989’s Batman, having been shown leading his men into action on a couple of occasions but seemed to grow more and more incompetent as the Burton/Schumacher series went on.
Gary Oldman’s take on the character has been the strongest live action version to date. We saw him as a beat cop trying to comfort a young Bruce Wayne, a Sergeant trying to do the right thing in a corrupt city, a Lieutenant not afraid to go head to head with a psychopathic terrorist, and a Commissioner who played a crucial part in stopping a nuclear bomb from incinerating Gotham. Oldman looked and walked the role as Gordon and was one of the strongest parts of The Dark Knight Trilogy.
J.K. Simmons will be our next onscreen Jim Gordon in next year’s Justice League. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, here’s what he had to say about his take on the character:
“People of my generation remember Commissioner Gordon as this jolly, ineffectual Santa Claus type, and I think over the years in the comics there’s definitely much more of a badass side to him. One of the things that’s interesting to me is investigating hopefully a little bit more of that badass [side]…You’re living in a universe where it’s pretty tough to be a badass compared to somebody like Batman, but in the universe of non-superheroes I like the idea of Commissioner Gordon as a guy that can take care of himself, a guy that’s a real partner to Batman, not just a guy that turns on the bat signal and goes, ‘Help! Help, Batman!”
It seems like we’ll see a Gordon more akin to the Gary Oldman take on the character, rather than Pat Hingle or Neil Hamilton, which seems appropriate with the dark and ruthless version of the Batman that we saw in Batman v Superman. Simmons has already stated his buff frame is for personal reasons and not for the film, but maybe we’ll see his Gordon get in a fist fight or two during his cinematic run. Fans will be able to see their newest cinematic Commissioner Jim Gordon when Justice League hits theaters on November 17th, 2017.