After The “Rise”
This past weekend, a customer came in with speculation of the pre-Nolan “Batman” films. While I can’t vouch for the validity of his reports, it did bring up an interesting tidbit that I started to ponder to myself: who should play Batman once The Dark Knight Rises hits blu-ray shelves and Warner Bros. decides they want more money? The customer in question mentioned the one name that makes me stop dead in my tracks: Michael Fassbender.
For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Fassbender, he’s probably most well known for playing Erik Lensherr in X-Men: First Class and doing an excellent job at it. While he may not be ready to tackle yet another superhero franchise, I personally think he would be an excellent successor to Christian Bale, who in my opinion has been the best Batman to grace the screen so far (with the exception of voice actor Kevin Conroy of course). Other strong contenders could be Armie Hammer(who actually was signed on to play Batman in the abandoned Justice League film), Kit Harrington (Jon Snow from Game Of Thrones), or Jon Hamm (if we’re going for an older Batman).
Thinking about Fassbender as Batman got me thinking even more on the topic of a pre-Nolan Batman movie world. I think the safest bet would be to just adapt the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City videogames into films. They feature all of the Batman villains that you want to see, and are the best mid-way point between Batman: The Animated Series and the grounded Christopher Nolan films. There are many great Batman characters that can’t be featured in Nolan’s films because of the “realistic” setting, whereas in a film similar to the Arkham games one could have Mr. Freeze, Man-Bat, or Clayface running around with little explanation for why they exist.
But it’s not just the villains that could be given the silver screen treatment. With the end of the Nolan films also comes an end to the “no Robin” rule. Batman’s allies in the war on crime are fascinating and could each carry a movie of their own. If Warner Bros. was smart, they could have a Batman film that showed glimpses of Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, and even Azrael (hey, I can dream) and then spin them off into their own franchises. Think of it as a reversal of what Marvel Studios did with Avengers. Everyone and their mother knows the origin of Batman by now, there’s no need to explain yet again in a reboot film. Just hit the ground running with a slightly older Batman and drop hints and clues into his history with the other members of the Bat-family. Hell, there are dozens of Batman storylines that could be turned into stunning movies, like “The Killing Joke”, “Arkham Asylum”, or “No Man’s Land”.
Batman is one of the most well known superheroes of all time. It’s stupid to think that Warner Bros. won’t reboot him and presumably go for a more family-friendly angle this time. While the Nolan films have made them butt loads of cash, they’re not exactly movies that everyone in the family can enjoy. Hopefully Warner’s will learn from their pre-Nolan mistakes and not make us suffer through another Batman and Robin travesty, but if they do, at least we have the Nolan movies to re-watch.