How does Jack Bannon's Alfred in 'Pennyworth' size up against Micheal Caine and Jeremy Irons' versions?
When we saw the versatile Michael Caine play Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne aka Batman's butler in 'The Dark Knight' trilogy, we saw a man who was unnerved, witty, tech-savvy, and had an air of confidence around him. The first time we hear a bit about Alfred's past is in 'The Dark Knight' when he narrates a story about a mission in Burma to Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale).
Next, we saw Jeremy Irons take over the role of the genius Butler in Zack Snyder's 'Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice' and 'Justice League'. Irons was more military in approach and less of a wise-cracking persona than Caine was. That said, Irons too gained positive acclaim for his role.
Moving on, Jack Bannon raised a few eyebrows when he was cast in 'Pennyworth.' Bannon portrays an earlier Alfred Pennyworth in his 20s, as he returns to England after serving in the SAS. He aims to start his own security business, but he is recruited by a then young billionaire, Thomas Wayne.
Going by the trailers, we see Bannon comes across as a more fitter, suave and a James Bond-like character in the upcoming prequel. If we were to size him up, he would probably come close to Caine's Alfred rather than Irons'. But before we get into the similarities, let's compare Bannon with Irons.
To start with, it's hard to imagine Bannon in combat boots and a green marine jumper. Irons was the sort of a butler who could push Affleck and support him with this tech-know hows. He painted the picture of the butler who is much more pro-active than other versions and can take action when needed.
Bannon, on the other hand, comes across as a man who would probably not go on and push Bruce to even take up the vigilante role. Supporting this theory is the sole fact that he returned from the SAS for a reason and it's fair to assume he probably doesn't want any more bloodshed. Now, this may come across as Pennyworth being a bit of a softie, but again, Caine and Bannon's versions looked like they are the sort of people who preferred brains over brawn.
And there are ample references to it. For instance, in 'The Dark Knight Rises', Caine advises Wayne to beat Bane (Tom Hardy) using his resources and his mind as Bruce Wayne rather than the Bat. It wouldn't come as a surprise that Bannon would probably advise Wayne Sr. along the same lines. One trait that stood out in 'Pennyworth' from what we have seen so far, was Bannon's quick presence of mind and his ability to ward off trouble by just talking rather than put up his fists.
At the moment, Bannon's Pennyworth leans more towards Caine's version rather than Irons'. Only time will tell how he pans out eventually.
'Pennyworth' premiers on Epix July 28.