The much hyped Nolan helmed Batman movies have come to a close. The director says he's done with that particular franchise and Warner Brothers and DC have already tapped his input for the new Superman movie. The last movie of The Dark Knight trilogy was probably the most polarizing of any. Some loved it. Some hated it. Some seemed to think indifferently. It still made a boat load of money no matter which one of those categories you may fall into and that means you can expect to see more of the caped crusader in theaters before too long. However, word has it that outside of the new Superman movie coming out later this year, the studio wants to focus on the team movie for the super group, the justice league, before cranking out another Bat flick. The wisdom of this may be a bit suspect. It seems that they want for whatever the next take on Batman will be to be seen for the first time by audiences in the context of the team movie. This is the opposite of course of what Marvel did with the Avengers. And since they apparently want their team movie to come out at roughly the same time as the next Avengers movie (2015), you'll be waiting at least a few more years. I say at least, because these things are getting moved back and forth all the time and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of set direction or at least not that's been made public for not only Batman, but the justice league itself. So, who knows? I could conceivably be 2017 or later before we see Batman in theaters again. It still won't equal the wait between the movie that nearly ended the franchise and "Batman Begins", but it may be a bit longer than some of us are hoping for.
Still, we've seen the campy Batman, the goth Batman, the just plain ridiculous Batman (looking at you Clooney), and the supposedly uber realistic Batman of the most recent movies. So, what's next? And what do we as fans want to see next? In this article, I'm going to explore a few different possible takes on Batman that we haven't seen much of yet, some possible new vilains, and plots from the comics which haven't yet been explored in the movies and might make for some good entertainment.
First up, I want to point out what I believe was an underrated movie DC did a few years back, "The Watchmen". This movie was based on the extremely popular mini series in the comics which first came out in the 80s. I think a lot of people got lost with this one, because of certain details being cut from the theatrical version of the film most likely due to time constraints and I highly suggest watching the extended version of the movie. Which ever version you see though, it seems to me that it would be impossible to miss the obvious parallels between NiteOwl and Batman. As was a lot of the things with The Watchmen, the fights were stylized and over the top, but still extremely entertaining. You got the impression that these were people who did not operate on the same level physically as normal people. They didn't fight like it either and when they took on average thugs or prison convicts, it didn't take a long time to take them out. I think we need to go back to that kind of Batman. The guy who can get away with doing a full on traditional Karate roundhouse and make it work against his opponent, because he's just that good. But at the same time, he's not Superman. So, he'd still be able to be hurt, just not so easily by just anybody.
The next thing that would be nice to see in the movies is a bigger focus on Batman's detecive skills. He's not just supposed to be a good detective. He's supposed to be the BEST detective in the world. That has certainly not been done justice in the movies thus far. He's also supposed to be a master strategist and that's a particular trait which I felt the most recent movie failed in. I'm assuming that most people reading this have already seen "The Dark Knight Rises" by now. And in case you haven't, I've got a review of it here. And in it, probably the most uncharacteristic for part in the whole movie for Batman/Bruce Wayne in my mind was when he got first cheated out of essentially his entire fortune and then, didn't even try to get it back. It's not that Batman wants to be rich. Its he uses his fortune as a tool to both help him fight crime and to help his community. It would make absolutely no sense for him to be that sloppy and just let it all go that easily without a fight. Batman from the comics would have taken measures on top of other measures to ensure that nobody could do such a thing to him. Also, I don't see Bruce Wayne hosting any kind of public event in his mansion... Especially when he's been away from the public for years at this point. It was really just cheap and sloppy writing in my opinion. We need to see Batman be smarter than that.
Now, let's move on to different villains we haven't seen in the movies so far. Now, depending on how realistic the next creative team wants to be, some of these will be more likely than others. The thing we have to remember when looking at villains is that although Batman has one of the biggest and richest of all comic book rogues galleries, they're not all top tier and thus could not all present the kind of dramatic and movie worthy threat you would want to see in the theater. So, that limits our options. Sure other enemies could always take a secondary role, but we're going to focus on the main villain here. So, with that in mind, we haven't see the mob world psychopath, Black Mask yet who in the comics took over the entire Gotham underworld for a time. We also could see Clayface, who due to an accident involving certain chemicals becomes a shape shifting monster capable of taking on the appearance of pretty much anyone he chooses and of creating weapons from his own body such as giant maces or shooting spikes. This would require the movie to be less realistic than the previous batch by far, but it could still be pretty cool. Another villain which I never cared too much for myself, but which had a strong personal connection to Bruce Wayne and his past was Hush. Hush was a seriously mentally ill doctor who somehow got himself to a similar physical and fighting level to that of Batman apparently and was perhaps more importantly a match for him in terms of strategy. He caused a lot of problems for Batman. Another potential enemy is actually a group of enemies known as the Black Glove. The Black Glove was a criminal organization which became obsessed with destroying all that there was to Batman and actually driving the hero to insanity in the process while attempting to crush Bruce Wayne's reputation, take Wayne Manor, and kill Batman/Bruce Wayne as their finale.
Now, to go with these new potential villains, we can look at some possible story lines from the comics. The character of Hush was introduced by a story line of the same name and this story had Batman traveling everywhere from Gotham to Metropolis to Ra's Al Ghul's hideout on some island. And he came up against pretty much all of his most famous enemies throughout the process. There was even a cool fight against Superman while he was under the control of Poison Ivy courtesy of some Kryptonite laced hypnotic lip stick. It might not be as realistic to try and put all of that into one movie, but I'm sure a satisfactory compromise could be reached to make a good story and movie out of it. In terms of Clayface, I don't know the story line specifically off the top of my head, but I'm sure they could do some reworking of his origin story. Black Mask would probably fit best in a story line involving Earth quakes in Gotham causing so much damage and chaos that the US government actually cuts off the city from the rest of the country. It would be pretty epic in a lot of ways. The comics called the story line "No Man's Land" and I think that would make a darn good title for the movie.... "Batman: No Man's Land". Even has a nice ring to it. The final story line I already went into some detail about when I mentioned the organization the Black Glove.... It was Batman RIP. Despite the name, Batman does not die at the end, but he comes close enough. The best thing about the whole story line to me is that we get to see just how awesome Batman is and that he even somehow had a backup plan for if he lost his mind, creating an alternate persona to STILL fight crime. And even after being pushed to the brink of insanity, being drugged, beaten, and litteraly burried alive in a casket, he manages to push his body even further, escape, and pursue his enemies.
I don't honestly know which if any of these ideas Warner Brothers and DC will go with for their next take on Batman in the movies, but I do think its obvious there is a lot in there to choose from. We still haven't seen the best of Batman in the movies in my opinion. I just hope that the studios will take a good look at their source material and do the character justice. And I suppose our first indication will come in the Justice League movie in a few years. So, I'll see you there.