written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
I’m still not totally sold on the idea of Batman/Superman being the sequel to (what I feel) was a disappointing reboot to the Superman film franchise. As I’ve said in tweets and on Facebook, part of this feels like an attempt to get critics and fans back on board with the blue and red Boy Scout and bring Batman (who is a huge cash cow for DC Comics movies) back to the silver screen. While I’m not totally sold on it, I do have some insight in how this can be a successful film both financially and in the hearts of comic book geeks.
Don’t Bother With the Batman Origin
This should be self-explanatory but unless you’ve lived under a rock, you know Batman’s origin story. It was explained in Christopher Nolan’s critically and financially successful reboot Batman Begins. While the setting was more realistic, the circumstances of Thomas and Martha Wayne’s death stay consistently the same, except with the original Tim Burton Batman where The Joker as Jack Napier gunned them down. So why waste precious time on rehashing this origin? If the film-makers insist on covering Batman’s origin in some way/shape/form, perhaps a bad dream or a quick glance at an old newspaper clipping in a scrap book. This whole origin can be executed in a simple scene with Clark Kent (for some reason) researching Bruce Wayne and coming across a Daily Planet article about the death of his parents. I’m sure some of you folks wouldn’t mind seeing another origin scene, but the whole idea of it feels redundant.
Don’t Exclude The Family
If the rumors are true that the studios are looking at an older actor to portray Batman this time around, let’s not forget his Bat-Family. Bruce Wayne has trained some of the best fighters in his time as Batman, notably his sidekicks. If they decided to incorporate the extended family in this story (even if only a cameo or mentioned) seeing Dick Grayson as Nightwing, Tim Drake as Robin (or Red Robin), Barbara Gordon as either Batgirl or Oracle, I’d be delighted if they go so far as to include Jason Todd (former Robin current Red Hood) or Damian Wayne (Bruce’s son he fathered with Talia al Ghul and the current Robin). His support network is integral to his crime fighting operation, while Bruce generally will prefer to do things his own way, when push comes to shove, the family is there by his side to lend support.
The World’s Greatest Detective
Batman is called the world’s greatest detective on many an occasion, and for good measure mind you. With his superior cognitive abilities and a plethora of tech at his disposal, Batman’s battles are won just as much in his head as they are with his fists. He’s trained his protégés to be just as much a detective as a hero, so much as to cultivating the prowess of young men like Tim Drake who discovered Bruce Wayne’s identity on his own. As much as I loved the Nolan-verse Batman series, there wasn’t much “detective” work. Aside from employing the mobile phones of Gotham to become a sort of “sonar” in The Dark Knight, detective work was fairly light. If this movie will be a sort of Superman VS Batman sort of flick, Bruce will have to utilize every bit of his detective prowess to find a way to counteract Superman. Batman has beaten Superman many times during their history, and while Superman may have the superior strength, Batman’s intellect would prevail in the long run. Somehow he’d have to find some kryptonite.
…Speaking of kryptonite
If you watched Man of Steel, you’ll notice how the green rock was notably absent from the entirety of the movie. While I understand since the primary antagonist was General Zod (a Kryptonian). But if Batman is going to have any chance to neutralize Superman, kryptonite will have to be a factor. In the comics, Clark gives Bruce a kryptonite ring. This ring was a symbol of trust, a trust that if Clark was ever to go ballistic, Bruce would have to means to stop him. I don’t know how this trust will be established with this forthcoming film, but kryptonite will have to be present. I hope that Snyder doesn’t attempt to remove Kryptonite from the series; I may just have to throw my hands up and just say “fuck this shit” if they toy around with the mythos more than they already have.
Superman’s cousin, Supergirl, think I’m grasping for straws here? But Kara Zor-El’s existence was confirmed. For those who preordered the Blu-Ray combo pack will get the first chance to check out this digital comic penned by Man of Steel writer David S. Goyer. In the comic, Kara Zor-El was the one in charge of the crashed Kryptonian ship that Superman found in the film and turn into his “Fortress of Solitude.” The fate of his cousin is never outlined and if this is the case and she is now older and long dead, personally I’ll have to throw my hands up and say “fuck this shit” when it comes to all things Man of Steel.
No Christian Bale reprising the role
This should be a given, I mean I really enjoyed Nolan’s trilogy and his super realistic take on the caped crusader. But this Batman has to be someone different, I can understand that the idea of Christian Bale as Batman is still fresh in many people’s minds, so it’s understandable why some folk would want him back. But his Batman would not fit in this world. In this fantastical (though darker) world of Superman, Nolan’s Batman would not have a place. He just would not fit and while I did like Christian Bale as Batman, I would rather have someone else play the role. If you read my Justice League Dream Cast article, my top choice for Batman is Brandon Routh… though if the filmmakers are going the route of an older Dark Knight, my original choice may not fit the bill. Brandon Routh is 33 but the actor still has the looks to play someone more in his mid 20’s. Toping my list is Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield from The Hobbit); rounding out my picks I have Josh Brolin (True Grit, Gangster Squad) and Joe Manganiello (True Blood, How I Met Your Mother).
World's Finest: Take Cues from the Source
By source I'm not asking they read everything (though it couldn't hurt). What I am asking is that they look at some iconic stories where the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight have tea med up/clashed or high five'd. The 90's World's Finest Comics are a great example of a Supe/Bats team up done right. While the New 52 has their bloodlines continuing World's Finest (Power Girl and Huntress) the New 52 also has a team up comic in Batman/Superman featuring a very young Superman and Batman. For a more traditional pre-Flashpoint look at the duo, the Superman/Batman comics from the early 200's is a great jumping off point. While I understand that some plot elements of comics just don't translate to film, I would like to note that the source material must be respected else we get a debacle like how Iron Man 3 tackled the Mandarin (I'm still not liking Shane Black's little twist).
Either way, I will stay optimistic. I don't think that they should be written off completely for one movie. While I did not enjoy Man of Steel and can’t say if I’d buy it (well, at least unless it was on sale), but I did enjoy it more than Iron Man 3. Yeah, I mention that movie a lot because it is the perfect example of why you don’t mess with the mythos. The Superman franchise still has other films to help round out the satisfaction one can get from this franchise… and who knows? Perhaps my favorite DCU character (Batman) can save this franchise and Zack Snyder can be in my good graces again.