Hit the play button first, and then we'll discuss...
So, what did we learn?
Big Circles = Space, Aliens, and Superpowered Beings.
Small Circle = Christian Bale’s Batman from Chris Nolan’s “Dark Knight Trilogy.”
If you picked the small circle, you won. Yea!
I don’t care if Mr. Nolan is “Godfathering” DC on film for Warner Bros. or not – that’s a non-issue. If it happens it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. Either way, Christian Bale should not play Batman again and the continuity from “The Dark Knight Trilogy” should not be used in any DC-based film going forward.
It’s time to leave the past in the past (GREEN LANTERN, obviously, and yes, even “The Dark Knight Trilogy”), wipe the damn slate clean, and start building DC on film with this Summer’s MAN OF STEEL.
From a business standpoint, I totally get why Warner Bros. would be so keen to see Bale don the classic cape and cowl again. He’s played The Dark Knight more times in live-action movies than any other actor in the most successful cinematic Batman film series, and is – for all intents and purposes – “Batman” to a lot of movie-going people nowadays.
Thus, I’m sure that my friends at Warner Bros. have, literally, a BILLION reasons for wanting Bale to return. However, there are simply too many problems when it comes actually making that happen. For one thing…
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES WAS THE END OF THAT BATMAN’S FRIGGIN’ STORY!
He saved Gotham from the League of Shadows, faked his death, passed the Mantle of the Bat to John Blake, and ran off to live “happily ever after” with Selina Kyle in Europe.
Oh yeah, the Batman of “The Dark Knight Trilogy” exists in a world where there are no heroes or villains with superpowers. If Ra’s Al Ghul couldn’t be truly immortal, The Joker couldn’t be permawhite, and Robin couldn’t be a masked and caped teenage crime fighter, how in the hell can this Batman now exist with Superman and the rest of the DC Universe?
There’s no point in trying to put a square peg into a round hole here. Move on and let the “Trilogy” be.
Batman on film, at some point, needs to be rebooted. And no, we don’t need Bale coming back as Batman in some half-assed retcon/reboot endeavor either. Can you imagine the confusion?!
“Christian Bale is playing Batman again?”
“Uh, yeah, he’s still playing Batman, but he’s not the 'same Batman'.”
“Not the ‘same Batman?’ WTF are you talking about?”
“Well, he’s still Batman, but not that Batman. You’ve got to forget about all the stuff that happened in his other Batman movies.”
Sound ridiculous? Well, that’s because it IS!
If my good friends at Warner Bros. asked me what to do with both Batman and DC on film, here’s what I’d tell ‘em…
#1 Leave “The Dark Knight Trilogy” alone and move on. No to Christian Bale returning as Batman, and HELL NO to Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a “John Blake Batman.”
#2MAN OF STEEL is going to be a HUGE hit. Hitch your horse to that franchise for the next six or seven years and enjoy the ride.
#3 Develop some solo films based on DC Comics characters for crissakes! Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and others should be given a cinematic opportunity. Hire a filmmaker with a passion and vision and let them do their thing. You’ve done this before WB, you know? Remember when you hired that chap named Christopher Nolan for your Batman film series? That worked out pretty good for y’all, don’t you think?
#4 Greenlight that Guillermo del Toro “Justice League Dark” project, like, yesterday!
#5 Batman on film MUST be rebooted – especially if you want a Batman that can be a part of a shared DC cinematic universe. Not that I’m advocating a shared DC cinematic universe, but you sure as hell can’t have one with the Batman from “The Dark Knight Trilogy.” Plus, I’m sure there are many fans who’d like to see another filmmaker’s take on the movie Batman and his world. I’d let Batman on film sit for a while, like at least five years, and then reboot. And I’d definitely reboot in a new solo film and NOT in a damn Justice League/team-up movie. Speaking of which…
#6 Really Warner Bros., you’ve got to get that “Justice League Jones” under control! Just because THE AVENGERS was such a huge success, that doesn’t mean a JL film will too. TA was the result of a carefully crafted plan based on the investment in films that wouldn’t be box office blockbusters (CAPTAIN AMERICA, THOR, THE INCREDIBLE HULK). And frankly, THE ANVENGERS’ success was more happenstance than anything else. It was the comic book movie equivalent of a “perfect storm” – a storm that very likely won’t be duplicated.
#7 Speaking as a lifelong “DC Guy,” do you really want to come off as simply imitating what Marvel did for a cash grab? You know, no matter how you slice or PR it, a Justice League film coming out this close on the heels of THE AVENGERS is going to reek of desperation. If you really want a JL film, then be patient. Be a leader and not a follower. By the way...
You own BATMAN and SUPERMAN! They are, without a doubt, the two most iconic and revered comic book characters ever. And hell, Batman is the most popular comic book superhero amongst the mainstream – and y’all have the box office history to prove it!
#8 – To hell what fanboys think! (FYI: Yes, I hate fanboys. That’s a term I used to wear proudly as a badge of honor. Sadly, it’s now become associated with the worst of fandom.)
They are a piss in the ocean when it comes to these films’ overall audience. If you had listened to that bunch, every comic book film would require both heroes and villains to sport spandex costumes and they'd all look like fan films posted on YouTube.com.
Remember all the nonsense over The Joker not being “permawhite?” Ra's Al Ghul not being immortal? Bane not being CGI? Anne Hathaway wasn't "hot enough" to play Catwoman?
Plus, this lot is going to bitch and complain no matter what, and STILL see these films anyway!
So sum all of this up and all that stuff, it’s really very simple….
Leave “The Dark Knight Trilogy” alone, hitch your wagon to the MAN OF STEEL train for the next few years, have a little more faith in your other DC Comics character’s cinematic potential, and start planning Batman on film’s reboot. And remember...
Even Grover could figure that out. - Bill "Jett" Ramey
A life-long Batman fan, Bill "Jett" Ramey
is the founder of BATMAN-ON-FILM.COM.
He digs Elvis, The University of Texas,
Dallas Cowboys Football, and of course...
He resides in the GREAT state of TEXAS with his hot wife, three kids, and two Boston Terriers.