Off the starboard bow, the first legitimate casting news for the next and last Batman movie on Christopher Nolan's slate has broken, and like Bruce Wayne - the bloody lunatic - I'm in two minds. What we know thus far, in concrete terms, amounts to these three things.
Presumably to capitalise on the box office inherent in having The Dark Knight in your title, Batman 3 will henceforth be known as The Dark Knight Rises, and not, as I'd have liked - being a sucker for symmetry and all - Batman Ends.
As of the latest reports, Anne Hathaway is set to play Selina Kyle. For those of you who haven't read a decade's worth of dodgy Batman comic books to tide you over through the dark days between Tim Burton's take on the Caped Crusader and Christopher Nolan's time bearing the mantle, Selina Kyle's alter ego is Catwoman. Rrrrr. And now Katie Holmes/Maggie Gylenhaal's character - whose name I think it says a great deal I can't for the life of me remember - is out of the picture, courtesy of Harvey Dent (thank you very much), it's likely Selina Kyle will also act as a new love interest for our gruff-voiced vigilante.
The other little titbit to have come out this past week is that Tom Hardy, who the world raved about stealing scenes in Nolan's somewhat underwhelming last effort Inception, will be playing Bane. Bane being the brute who broke Batman's back in the Knightfall event, leading to months - nay, years - of a foppish half-wit running around pretending to be Batman while Bruce Wayne recovered from his injuries.
Knightfall seemed to me the obvious place to take the film continuity, having been blown away by The Dark Knight in theatres a couple of years ago, and having - as aforementioned - a mind intent of describing circles in everything, but I'm much less certain it's the right thing for this story, and frankly I'm a touch taken aback to see Nolan going down such an unsurprising path.
Of course there's no guarantee that is what Nolan's doing. Two bits of early casting news are hardly the ingredients entire for such a conclusion. The one director to rule them all probably has something much more worthwhile up his sleeve, and I can do patience. I can.
However. Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway? I didn't even notice Tom Hardy in Inception, and sure, he's a bit buff, but short a metric tonne of prosthetic muscles, he hardly seems the type to be playing a villain the sheer steroid-ridden strength of whom is enough to overcome all Batman's wiles. And Anne Hathaway, the Ice Queen from last year's Alice in Wonderland? That Anne Hathaway?
Not exactly an actress known for her edge, if you know what I mean. Easy on the eye, I duly agree - though I'd love to see a properly bedraggled, crazy-cat-lady take on Catwoman now that you mention it - but she's no Michelle Pfeiffer, is she?
I wasn't so exhilarated by Inception last Summer as many were, but I have a lot of faith in Christopher Nolan: however much trouble he might have embellishing warmth, connection and emotion on his ideas, his ideas alone have always been worth the price of entry. Recall the folding city of Inception; the backwards-forwards narrative of Memento; the tricks and traps of The Prestige; and the horrifying bent on Scarecrow and the Joker he's given us in his incredible Batman movies.
So I trust the man to make a hell of a film. I just don't know that this - this thing I can't help but imagine now - is it.
Then again, what do I know? For the Batwatch has only just begun...