Zack Snyder’s Justice League resurrects a dead cop and lands an Oscar winner.

J.K. Simmons was recently announced as having been cast in The Justice League as Gotham’s Commissioner Gordon- a role previously held by Gary Oldman in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. Up until recently, Gordon was deceased in the early drafts of the screenplay, but has now been brought back from the dead.

This is a considerable gain for the film, with Simmons hot off his Oscar win last year for Whiplash. Simmons is a perfect fit for the weary commissioner, overwhelmingly tasked with keeping Gotham’s underworld from boiling over. In the comics he has often been pulled in just as deep as the dark knight himself, and never unscathed. In fact it’s believed that Jenna Malone, despite being cut from the theatrical release, plays his daughter Barbara Gordon- also known as Oracle, bound to a wheel-chair after a horrific run-in with the Joker.

Despite a great casting choice, the justification for Commissioner Gordon being dead speaks to the chaos that seems to plague the DC cinematic universe. So many choices have already been made to cast this franchise in a specifically grim light. Eliminating Batman’s ensemble and forcing him to bear the full weight of Gotham seems like a misguided attempt at making things as dire as possible. Darkness without its relationship with light is far less interesting- but the crippling stakes narrative is what Snyder’s franchise seems to be fixated on.

Hopefully this change is the first of many to reorganize and reorient the DCEU as a more accessible platform for future films and filmmakers.

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