The Batman: 8 Ways Jeffrey Wright Is The Best Jim Gordon Yet - Screen Rant

With dry humor, incorruptible heroism, and “buddy cop” banter with Batman, Jeffrey Wright’s Jim Gordon is one of the MVPs in Matt Reeves’ The Batman.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Batman (2022).
Jim Gordon’s role in Batman movies doesn’t always get the discussion it deserves. He’s Gotham’s best cop, one of the Bat’s closest allies, and a poignant symbol of good in an otherwise bleak, corrupt city. There have been many great performances as Gordon over the years, from Gary Oldman to Ben McKenzie, but Jeffrey Wright has arguably blown them all out of the water with his nuanced turn in The Batman.
RELATED: 10 Best Jim Gordon Scenes In The Batman
As a “buddy cop” partner in the Dark Knight’s latest investigation, Gordon has a much larger role than usual in The Batman – and Wright uses the extra screen time to round out the greatest live-action portrayal of Gordon yet.
In traditional Batman movies, Gordon is usually relegated to delivering exposition on the roof of the police station. So, it’s refreshing to see Gordon in such a significant supporting role this time around. Wright’s Gordon fights alongside the Dark Knight in almost all of the film’s major action scenes.
The Batman’s hard-boiled detective story partners up Gordon and the Bat, examining crime scenes, investigating clues, and fighting bad guys side-by-side.
The G.C.P.D.’s disdain for Batman’s vigilante crusade has been covered in a few previous Batman movies, but The Batman puts the tensions between Batman and the cops front and center for the first time. Gordon faces tensions head-on when he brings the Bat to a crime scene or stops a fellow officer from unmasking him.
Gordon is the only cop who’s willing to work with Batman, and the fact that he has to act as a mediator between the Bat and his G.C.P.D. colleagues creates an interesting conflict for the character.
Some fans and critics have complained that The Batman is lacking in humor. It’s certainly a bleak, gloomy, cynical movie, but it has plenty of great moments of dark humor – largely courtesy of Colin Farrell’s dry wit as the Penguin and Wright’s deadpan one-liners as Gordon.
RELATED: 8 Ways The Batman Is A Great Batman Movie (& 2 Drawbacks)
Gordon always has a well-timed quip when he’s investigating with the Dark Knight. When they find a severed thumb attached to a thumb drive, Gordon cracks, “Oh, this guy’s hilarious.” After Batman punches Gordon to keep up the facade of tensions between them, Gordon later jokes, “You could’ve at least pulled that punch, man.”
In The Batman, Gordon isn’t just the police commissioner that Batman reports back to. He has yet to be promoted to commissioner, so he’s out in the field, solving cases. He and Batman develop a sort of “buddy cop” dynamic in their pursuit of the Riddler.
As they follow leads and analyze evidence and try to decipher the Riddler’s clues, Batman and Gordon share a biting back-and-forth. When they enter a terrifying, dark, abandoned orphanage and Gordon draws his weapon, Batman says, “No guns,” and Gordon dryly quips, “Yeah… that’s your thing, man.”
Most of the G.C.P.D.’s officers are shown to be on Falcone’s payroll in The Batman. But, unlike his co-workers, Gordon is wholly incorruptible. He’s a straight arrow who would never consider taking a bribe.
Gordon bends the law ever so slightly to get results, but only in endorsing the Bat’s vigilante crusade. When he brings Falcone to justice, Gordon unites all the non-corrupt cops in Gotham against the corrupt ones.
Reeves was inspired by many existing works when he was envisioning The Batman, from Hitchcockian classics to Nirvana songs to iconic Batman comics, but his biggest influence was the edgy, boundary-pushing cinema of the New Hollywood movement.
RELATED: 8 Best Nods To 1970s Movies In The Batman
Wright’s nuanced, grizzled, conflicted portrayal of a bitter but ultimately noble cop surrounded by corruption evokes the grit and authenticity of ‘70s classics like The French Connection and All the President’s Men more closely than any other performance in the film.
The Batman has been compared to Se7en. It’s a gloomy “buddy cop” movie about a hotshot young detective and a veteran lawman teaming up to track down a grisly serial killer who ultimately turns himself in. Wright’s portrayal of Gordon embodies Morgan Freeman’s poignant final line from that movie: “Ernest Hemingway once wrote, ‘The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.’ I agree with the second part.”
This Gordon knows that Gotham is teeming with crime and corruption that isn’t going away any time soon. But, similarly, he’s not going to give up on it like Catwoman does at the end of the film. He’ll keep fighting even if he’s the last good cop in the police department and the Bat’s entire rogues’ gallery is on the loose.
The Batman’s portrayal of Gordon highlights what makes the character so great. He’s just as fearless and unwaveringly heroic as Batman himself, except Gordon doesn’t have the safety net of high-tech gadgets and bulletproof armor.
Gordon demonstrates his fearlessness in the final battle when he instinctively throws himself between Bella Reál and the gunfire of the Riddler’s sniper-wielding henchmen. He spots the army of online followers up in the rafters and immediately asks how he can get up there. This Gordon doesn’t hesitate to spring into action.
NEXT: 7 Ways The Batman’s Zoë Kravitz Is The Best Catwoman Yet
Ben Sherlock is a writer, comedian, independent filmmaker, and Burt Reynolds enthusiast. He writes lists for Screen Rant and features and reviews for Game Rant. He’s currently in pre-production on his first feature (and has been for a while, because filmmaking is expensive). You can catch him performing standup at odd pubs around the UK that will give him stage time. Previously, he wrote for Taste of Cinema, Comic Book Resources, and BabbleTop.


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