DC has big plans to catch up to Marvel’s box office success with the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the yet unnamed Justice League movie, and now the confirmed relaunch of a Batman series featuring the Bruce Wayne of this new universe: Ben Affleck. I put together a little wish list for Bat-success that DC, Warner Brothers, or the people who might realistically read this can enjoy.
- Use Robin. This Batman is part of a big universe with a large cast of heroic characters. A smaller set of heroic characters should occupy Gotham as well. You can bet viewers aren’t going to want to see Batman’s origin again, we get it, but a story of Robin’s origin could be a great way to sell the new-ness of this potential series. Many people don’t remember the Robin origin of Batman Forever and many others don’t remember it favorably. Emphasize the age gap–Chris O’Donnell was too close to Val Kilmer in age to make the master/apprentice dynamic work. Get a teenage actor. Oh, and save the rebellion for Batman 2 or 3. Let the kid be grateful and more-or-less obedient to this scary guy who just went toe-to-toe with Superman. Dick Grayson can be the light in what will likely be another dark Batman flick.
- Use meta-human villains. We have Atlantis, aliens, and magic rings–Nolan’s realism is null and void. Besides, all the interesting human villains have already been seen on-screen. Think Killer Croc, Man Bat, or Clayface. I’ve already written about why Clayface would be a great choice. That said, don’t make human villains supernatural for the sake of making them supernatural. Catwoman magically having nine lives still bothers me. *Looking at you Mr. Burton.* If you have to go with a villain who’s been done, just go with Joker. He’s unavoidable and a fan favorite.
- Follow Marvel’s lead in sprinkling in aspects of the other movies. Gotham is no place for Aquaman to show up, but Luthor could still interact with Bruce Wayne coming off Batman v. Superman. No matter how that movie ends I’m sure they’ll have a lot to talk about. Since the Justice League will already be together for the most part, DC could do after-credit scenes of Luthor recruiting for the Injustice Gang. He’d be like the evil Nick Fury.
- Be more comic-booky than Nolan, but not too comic-booky. Batman is a Justice League member now, he shouldn’t just have a vigilante cave and gadgets, he should have a superhero cave and gadgets. It’s a hard balance to hit, and you can’t please everyone…but you can please me with a giant coin and a grappling gun.
- Don’t get jokey or use puns. This seems obvious now, but it sure as hell wasn’t for Joel Schumacher. This isn’t going to be Adam West. While I hope the addition of a young Robin can insert some lighthearted perspective, a Batman movie can’t be more “fun” than a Superman movie and The Man of Steel wasn’t much “fun”–and I’m fine with that, by the way. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the minority, but superhero movies don’t have to be fun. Realistic characters reacting to super-stakes aren’t going to be having fun. It’s a very stressful job.