The Justice League “Rises”
WARNING: Spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises are in this article! If you somehow still haven’t seen it, get the blu ray, watch it, and then read this!
It’s no secret that Marvel’s cinematic success has caught Warner Bros. with their pants down. Having owned the license for the DC universe’s stable of characters for years, they could’ve done what Marvel has in their films years before Iron Man, Thor, and The Avengers were even dreamed of. But they didn’t, and are now scrambling to catch up and create their own rival series to Marvel’s box office behemoths. How will they create their own universe? Will they start with Man Of Steel? Or create a Justice League film that stands on its own and branch characters off of that (kind of like a reverse of what Marvel Studios has accomplished)?
Well, if the rumors circulating on the Internet are true, the Justice League movies won’t start with Man Of Steel. It’ll start with something we’ve already seen. In fact, you could argue it’s already begun. According to Hitflix, Warner Bros. has decided to continue on with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and include that version of Batman in Justice League. “But wait,” you say, “I thought Dark Knight Rises ended with Bruce Wayne faking his death, and alluded to John Blake finding the Batcave, presumably to become the new Batman?” Why yes, yes it did.
This rumor fills me with a lot of mixed emotions. For one, the Nolan Batman films are very much rooted in reality. It’s a “hyper reality” yes, but there’s a ton of things in the Nolan trilogy that could conceivably happen in real life if someone had the resources to fight crime on a nightly basis. Throwing the Nolanverse Batman into a world that features a flying Kryptonian, an Amazonian princess, and a (badass) guy who can talk to fish is too sudden of a change for a character that has had three movies establishing a realistic tone and world. Now, you can argue that since there’s never been any mention of Superman, Wonder Woman, or Aquaman (or even other DC characters for that matter) that this argument is moot, but at the same time, if someone like Superman was around at the same time that a crazy masked terrorist blew up a football field and took over a major city, don’t you think he would’ve taken time out of his schedule to swing by and lend a hand? (Unless, of course, we find out Superman didn’t make his presence known until after the events of TDKR.)
Yet another feeling of uneasiness over this rumor is the role Batman will play in it. Well, not so much Batman, as who will be the man behind the cowl. Now here’s where we get into major, super duper SPOILER territory. I warned you at the beginning of this column, and I’m warning you again here. If you still (somehow) haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises, go no further.
Bruce Wayne isn’t Batman at the end of TDKR. If Warner Bros. rumor is true, they have Joseph Gordon Leavitt signed up to presumably be the new Batman. So, we would have a Justice League film with Batman, but without Bruce Wayne behind the cowl.
Now, I really enjoyed the ending to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. It tied up his version of the character wonderfully, as well as handled the themes he wanted to handle really well. As a Batman fan, I like seeing the legacy of the character, and the different ways the mantle is handed down, whether it’s in Batman Beyond, Dick Grayson taking over like in the past few years of the comic, or even at the end of this recent trilogy. But, Bruce Wayne IS Batman. The creation of the Batman originates from a horrific tragedy that happened to him, and only him. Yes, characters like Terry McGinnis and Dick Grayson also suffer personal tragedies that would justify their reasons for becoming Batman, but to honest, I don’t feel that John Blake had that in Rises. Bruce Wayne dedicated his life to the extreme for this idea, traveling the world, honing his mind and body to absolute human perfection, whereas if you want to get really technical about it, Blake has next to zero training to be able to do what Batman is expected to do.
Perhaps I’m reading too much into this rumor (which, for the record, has already been refuted by Joseph Gordon Leavitt’s representatives). There are interesting aspects to Blake being Batman (like possibly Blake’s death forcing Bruce out his retirement?), but I would rather that not be focused on in a Justice League film. I completely understand why DC would want to connect their previous films (especially with how profitable the Dark Knight trilogy has been), but lets face it, even after Rises, an overwhelming amount of the general public views Bruce Wayne as Batman. Besides, Marvel had their Avengers plan laid out back with Iron Man, it’s not like they just suddenly decided to make Avengers after they had Iron Man 1 and 2 and Thor released. So Warners cut your losses and create a new Batman to put in Justice League. You’ll save yourself and Batman fans like me a big headache.