Titans’ season 3 take on Bruce Wayne is unlike every Batman movie so far

Among the more discouraging elements of Titans, the HBO Max drama based upon DC Comics’ Teenager Titans, is its sluggish improvement into a Batman story in whatever however name. Its 3rd season is even embeded in Gotham City, by means of adjusted performances of the Batman stories A Death in the Household and Under the Hood, in which Jason Todd, the 2nd Robin, passes away, and is reanimated much later on as the violent vigilante Red Hood. Titans’ pivot towards the Batman canon isn’t all bad, though. While it’s irritating that Titans has actually worked so difficult to squeeze a Batman-less Batman story into its Teenager Titans story, it hasn’t chosen to inform that story without Bruce Wayne. And Titans has the most enjoyably odd take on Bruce Wayne we may ever get in live action.

In Titans, Bruce Wayne is played by Iain Glen, best understood for his representation of Jorah Mormont in HBO’s Video Game of Thrones. Glen is among the earliest guys to handle the Bruce Wayne function, which is normally taken by guys in their early to mid-30s. (Robert Pattinson, the latest Batman, is 35. Glen is 60.) Like Ben Affleck’s variation of the character, Glen’s Bruce Wayne is a grizzled guy, heavy with the toll his war on criminal offense has actually handled his body and mind. Unlike Affleck, nevertheless, Glen’s Bruce isn’t a barrel-chested bruiser burning with anger. This Bruce is lean, twitchy, and a bit off. It’s an efficiency that welcomes audiences to question what his Batman must resemble: Does he stumble upon simply as oddly as his Bruce? Or is he picking to play a Bruce who’s extremely various from the guy he remains in a Batsuit?

And Titans does have a Batsuit, which primarily appears in a problem alternate truth where Cock Grayson is tortured with a vision of a Batman turned homicidal. In these scenes, which all occur in the very first season, prior to Glen was cast, Batman is played by stuntmen Alain Moussi and Max Sevaria in fast, ruthless battle scenes that just provide short lived looks of the hero, with none of his face exposed. By the time Glen signs up with the program in season 2, the program is done with Batman (in the meantime), and just worried with Bruce.

Bruce Wayne, Barbara Gordon, and Dick Grayson lounge together in Wayne Manor in Titans season 3.

Image: Ben Mark Holzberg / HBO Max

This Bruce is still combating criminal offense, however because Titans remains in big part the story of his embraced kids Cock Grayson and Jason Todd, he just appears on this program out of outfit, as an inefficient daddy figure. Often he’s an impression created by their subconsciouses when they’re pestered with insecurity. At other times, the erstwhile coach is in fact present, in scenes where he motivates his previous wards. However in every look, he’s tinged with an air of failure, the concept being that if he’d done a much better job, Cock wouldn’t have actually avoided town, and Jason wouldn’t be so maladjusted. This Bruce sucks, in a way that is immediately felt by the characters who are actively working through or witnessing the repercussions of a life under his tutelage.

Glen plays Bruce with the edgy sobriety of a former addict — at least in scenes where the character is meant to be real and present. Other scenes call for an illusion of Bruce, and in those, Glen is unpredictable: sometimes mean, sometimes wry, and sometimes downright goofy. He’s Bruce Wayne as he’s received by the young men he broke down in his heavy-handed efforts to build them up — not the stoic legend of comics and cinema, but a broken man who can’t help but rub everyone the wrong way.

It’s a daring choice, both for Titans’ writers, and in Glen’s performance. Most takes on an older Bruce Wayne — from Batman Beyond to Batman v. Superman — aren’t afraid to show that Batman has gone astray. But creators normally want to stress that Batman is still cool, even if Bruce Wayne has lost sight of a few things. The Bruce of Titans isn’t particularly cool. He barely seems to have actually any good ideas, and if Titans is set on an Earth where he works with the Justice League, they’d probably all think he was a deluded zealot. But while Batman is superfluous to Titans, Bruce is proving to be essential. Bruce Wayne built a found family that was miserable. So with that poor example in arm’s reach, can two former Robins develop one that succeeds? The series appears to be concentrating on enjoying them attempt.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.