Batman is one of the most iconic superheroes of all times. To date, there have been 10 live-action films starring the Dark Knight. But when it comes to the adaptation of specific storylines, these films have barely scratched the surface. There are many Batman stories from the comics itching for adaptation. With the Caped Crusader’s inevitable first solo outing in the DCEU on the horizon, here are seven classic Batman storylines that deserve the live-action movie treatment.
Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity (2003)
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice missed an opportunity to add a layer of depth when the two heroes meet Wonder Woman. She just shows up and after a brief awkward moment, the trio goes to work in taking down Doomsday. In the comics, Batman’s style of heroics often clashes with that of Superman, Wonder Woman, and his other colleagues and the DCEU would benefit from a film that bears this conflict out.
There’s not a better story for this than Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity, which recounts the first time the heroes team up. Thwarting an alliance between of some of their greatest adversaries requires them to first work through their own biases and differing philosophies on superhero-ing. The Justice League TV series and other DC animated endeavors have excelled in illustrating this conflict and it would be good to see this in the DCEU.
Keeping a well-established superhero like Batman interesting requires upping the ante when it comes to his villains. Villains in previous Batman films have provided the Dark Knight with challenges of varying degrees. As he becomes established in the DCEU, the filmmakers would benefit from finding villains who pose unique and ever-increasing challenges to Batman.
Batman: Hush provides an epic opportunity to accomplish this. In this story, Batman is pitted against the titular powerful enemy, who works to sabotage the Caped Crusader from afar by forcing some of his most famous adversaries to act out of character. Batman has never faced a challenge like this before on-screen. Adapting this story would illustrate why Batman’s rogues are so compelling and how this makes him an interesting character.
The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul
The DCEU would be well served in delving deep into the Batman mythos by introducing his extended family. The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul opens the door for this while reintroducing one of his greatest foes. Thanks in large part to Batman Begins, Ra’s al Ghul is one of Batman’s most popular adversaries. Not only is Ra’s the main adversary here, this story breaks the lone wolf trope that previous films have subjected Batman to.
Casual Batman fans may not be aware of the concept of the Bat Family, but in this story, they’re out in full force. Alfred, Robin (Timothy Drake), Nightwing, Talia Al Ghul, and even Bruce’s son, Damian, all join the Dark Knight in a thrilling showdown against Ra’s. This would be an epic entry in Batman’s live-action film catalog.
Legends of the Dark Knight #201-203: Cold Case
Rarely does the subject of Batman’s parents come up outside of their untimely demise, but this is a perfect reason for a film based on Legends of the Dark Knight: Cold Case. Bruce is determined to clear his late father’s name when Thomas Wayne is named as the infamous Gotham Ripper. In his investigation, Bruce discovers a startling truth regarding his old archnemesis Victor Fries (aka Mr. Freeze) and Victor’s late wife, Nora.
This story illustrates the importance of family to both Bruce and Victor. It may be jarring to contemplate Batman having something in common with one of his adversaries, but that’s exactly why this would be an interesting new perspective of Batman to explore.
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
It’s surprising that so far, we’ve yet to see a Batman movie set in the infamous Arkham Asylum. Given its importance to Gotham and Batman mythos, it’s time the DCEU gave the mental institution its due in a movie. Filmmakers should look no further than Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.
Here, Batman must battle his way through Arkham to thwart a hostage situation. In doing so, he’s forced to confront his inner demons and is nearly driven mad. This story illustrates a darker and more mature side of Batman that would make The Dark Knight look relatively tame by comparison. A movie based on this story would brilliantly illustrate the level of sheer madness housed within Arkham’s walls.
Superman/Batman: Absolute Power
The next time Batman and Superman team up, there should be more to the story than just them working to vanquish a powerful foe. And you’d be hard-pressed to find as unique a story as Superman/Batman: Absolute Power. This very out-of-left-field story is ripe for adaptation, opening the door for exploring a different side to their relationship.
In an alternate timeline, the Legion of Super-Villains raises the duo to become dictators of Earth. The heroes transverse several timelines as they work to put the correct timeline back in place. Even though they succeed, the murders their alternate selves committed forever haunt the duo as many of the victims were Justice League members. Given their unwritten rule against killing others, this would be a particularly interesting aspect of both of these heroes’ psychology worth exploring. This story would illustrate a dynamic between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel in a way we’ve never seen before.
Batman & Green Arrow: The Poison Tomorrow
Many fans disproved of Uma Thurman’s performance as Poison Ivy in Batman and Robin. It’s not all Thurman’s fault, however, as the screenwriters are just as culpable for not properly fleshing out the character. It’s time this siren of Gotham City was given a mulligan at being the main adversary in a Batman movie.
In Batman & Green Arrow: The Poison Tomorrow, the Caped Crusader is pitted against the ideal version of Ivy: a perfect amalgam of beauty and brains. Ivy utilizes her seductive feminine wiles and her knowledge of botany to spread poisonous baby food like the plague throughout Gotham, as Batman and Green Arrow team up to stop her. Ivy’s ability to bow other men to her will combined with her impressive knowledge of plants has seen her become one of the Caped Crusader’s most compelling and lethal adversaries. The DCEU version of Batman should have the opportunity to battle this version of Poison Ivy and this story is the ticket.