Monday, July 13, 2015

10 Things I Want in a New Batman Movie

So I'm not excited about Superman v. Batman: The Dawn of Grittiness, like, at all.

After this weekend, however, I am potentially excited about the next Batman movie.


Well, Ben Affleck is directing it, and while he's a mediocre actor at best, the last few years have shown that he's actually a pretty good director.

Also, Geoff Johns is writing it. Yup- the same guy who made the Justice Society a thing again and wrote my all-time favorite run (ha) on the Flash is writing a Batman movie.

What I'm saying is this movie might be good. I know, I know. There have been too many Batman movies. Do we really need to see another movie where Batman mopes around and then punches the Joker or Two-Face a few times before retreating to the Bat Cave to glower some more? Well, probably not. Here's the thing though: Batman has been around since 1939. There have been dozens of different, really neat takes on the character. The movies, on the other hand, have almost all been slight variations on Frank Miller's version of the character.

What I'm getting at here is if they play their cards right, we might get a really neat movie with a really fresh take on Batman. Here are 10 things I'd like to see in an Affleck/Johns Batman joint.

1. Detective Work. If you're a fan of the comics and not the movies, you might not know that one of Batman's nicknames is "the world's greatest detective." Batman is an expert martial artist, an inventor, and a master of criminal psychology, but his best skill is his deeply analytical mind. In (many) of his comics and on shows like Batman the Animated Series and even Adam West's Batman to an extent, Batman is portrayed as a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. I'd love to see a movie where Batman needs to use his detective skills to solve a problem. I'd love it even more if that was the central focus of the whole movie.

2. No origin story. Batman Begins is probably going to end up as the definitive take on Batman's origin story. Christopher Nolan took half the film to show how Batman went from a rich kid whose parents got shot in an alley to a terrifying symbol of vigilante justice. We don't need to see that again because A) Batman Begins and B) everybody knows that story. Everybody knows Batman's origin. We don't need it rehashed in a movie for the umptee-bajillionth time. Just get on with the action/mystery.

3. Bruce Wayne: Superhero. Speaking of great takes on Batman that we seldom see in films- from time to time comic book writers (like Grant Morrison in the brilliant "Batman Inc.) remember that "crime is caused by systemic disenfranchisement and poverty and lack of access to job opportunities." What Batman does as a vigilante is essentially a bandaid on the issue of crime. What Bruce Wayne CAN do is use his billions to create industry in Gotham to provide jobs, donate to charities that help the poor, and help develop the sort of urban infrastructure that makes the lives of regular people better- stopping crime before it happens. Let's see THAT Bruce Wayne instead of the "pretend idiot playboy" that the movies normally give us.

4. Barbara Gordon. Barbara Gordon is the single most awesome, most important character in the bat-mythos who has barely been in the movies. What's that? Alicia Silverstone? From Clueless? I don't know what you're talking about. I want to see the goddamned Batgirl. We know Affleck is playing an older Batman which means it makes sense that he's had time to assemble some partners-in-crime-fighting and whether she appears as Batgirl or Oracle, Barbara Gordon would be a welcome addition to any bat-film.

5. Superpowers. One of the neat things about the DC movie-verse version of Batman- this is a guy who exists in the same world as Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. This means that you can forgo the street-level, real worldish Bat-world that Christopher Nolan used and do a bunch of crazy comic book shit. Batman can fight robots! Batman can encounter space aliens! Batman can fight dark gods from the other side of the galaxy! Or you know, Batman could fight super-powered villains from his own Rogues Gallery like Mr. Freeze or Clayface.

6. Batboat. Batspaceship. Bat shark repellent. So speaking of different takes on Batman, Batman hasn't always been a guy who just relied on batarangs and the Batmobile. We know from the film trailers that Batman wears some crazy souped up armor in Batman v. Superman to fight the Man of Steel. This means that, potentially, this is a Batman who has all kinds of crazy cool scifi gadgets. I want to see crazy Batman vehicles! Like a submarine! Or a spaceship! I want cool bat-gadgets like a bola launcher or bat shark repellent! Batman is supposed to be an ingenious guy with a limitless budget who is more than a little crazy. Let's see that guy and all of his wonderful toys. 

7. Other Superheroes. The neat thing about a shared superhero universe is that other superheroes might show up, even in solo superhero films. Like, how fun was it in "Captain America the Winter Soldier" to see Black Widow and Falcon along with Cap? I'll answer that question: it was the most fun. Let's see Batman team up with Wonder Woman. Or Hawkman. Or even a Batman/Vibe film team up. And no, I am not kidding about that last one. 

8. Ace the Bat-Hound. I'm a sucker for superhero pets. Let's see Batman's loyal dog Ace guarding the Bat Cave. 

9. Prometheus.  So most of these have been "things that I think would make a great Batman movie that everyone could enjoy." This one is just for me. My all time favorite DC Comics villain is Prometheus, who's essentially the anti-Batman. Prometheus's parents were Bonnie and Clyde style bank robbers who were killed by the police. Prometheus responded by swearing to fight justice wherever he found it. That's right, Prometheus is the anti-Batman. In addition to that, he has a headquarters (the Crooked House) that exists in another dimension, and he can download skills directly into his brain like Neo from the Matrix. Prometheus is not a universally loved villain like the Joker. But he is loved by me. So put him in the movie, Affleck because Batman versus an antiBatman would be a frakking awesome movie (for me.)

10. Bat-smiles. Bat-hugs. Look, we all know that Batman is a super-serious, grim and gritty character who eats nighttime for breakfast and shits out controlled anger. We see that guy all the time. But you know what else Batman is? He's a guy who's sworn never to use lethal force. He's a guy who's more than a little obsessed with taking care of kids. He's a guy who can smile, and laugh, and enjoy himself. He's defined by his personal tragedy, but he's not JUST defined by his personal tragedy. I want to see Batman smile. I want to see him hug people he cares about. Remember that beneath the facade, Batman is a human being. This may actually be the thing I want to see most in a Batman movie. 

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