We live in a golden age of comic book films. This year alone, moviegoers will flock to the theaters again and again to see our costumed heroes do battle against villains and, several times, against each other. Never before have there been so many superhero films and never before have they had such a huge audience. Most importantly, never before have they been so good.
Yet, there is always room for something a bit different. Take Batman for example. Coming off of the massive success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, the Caped Crusader is about to swing back on screen in a big way with Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. You might have heard of it. This time Ben Affleck is playing Gotham’s savior and, so far, things look pretty good if not a bit packed to the gills. But what type of Batman are we getting? And, in the inevitable sequels, what areas of Batman mythology will we explore?
With that in mind, here are some things that we would like to see from Batman in Dawn of Justice and any other upcoming Bat flicks.
This is something we saw a good deal of in Nolan’s films and it was fantastic. However, Batman mostly used technology to solve his crimes. Not that you can blame him, who wouldn’t want to use a computer to find fingerprints on a shattered bullet? But it’s time for Batman to do some old-school work, busting his hump on the streets of Gotham with interrogations (remember the great one in Batman Begins? More of that, please!) and piecing things together with some wise counsel from Alfred. Many fans have a vivid image of a disheveled Batman, cowl removed, working at his computer late into the night. Not every film can lend itself to such a time-consuming process but hopefully future Batman movies allow us the pleasure of seeing the world’s greatest detective detect.
A Sense of Humor
We all know that Ben Affleck is a funny guy and it’s high time we get some – some! – humor in a Batman film. After the latest trailer, it seems that Snyder will attempt to inject some lightness into the affair so maybe it’s time for Batman to cut loose just a bit. He doesn’t have to be like Chris Rock in a cape but certainly poking fun at the situation would be welcome after years and years of dark and dour. Batman has never been a full-on laugh riot but sometimes his brooding, tortured nature can seem smothering. Maybe make fun of Superman’s suit, maybe a one-liner here and there. Of course the flip side of this would be the far, far too light nature of Schumacher’s Batman movies so treading lightly is important. There should a middle ground. Nothing is more effective than a serious, quiet guy nailing a great joke. Let’s hear it, Bats.
A Cool Batcave
The Batcave is Batman’s center of activity, of course. This is where he puts his clues together and refills his tank and never, ever gets enough sleep. It’s a damn cool place but, sadly, it’s been pretty bare bones for ages. Filled with cavernous darkness and very little else, we haven’t seen too much of the Batcave in a long while. But there’s so much to explore. The Batcave of the comics is a kooky place, filled with mementos from his time in the streets of Gotham. There is a giant penny, a life-sized T-Rex replica, Mr. Freeze’s first freeze gun and even some spare Kryptonite (just in case).
Batman’s super computer is the best feature though. It’s always mammoth, always bright, multi-screen and capable of anything. As I mentioned before, many iconic moments in Batman lore have been with him in front of his computer, trying to put some bad guys away. Let’s spend some more time here and see what he comes up with.
A Grappling Hook
A cape that makes you glide is cool but nothing is more Batman than a grappling hook, attached to Batman’s utility belt and ready to fly the Dark Knight from building top to building top. The problem with the grappling gun is it’s fairly unrealistic in a lot of ways so Chris Nolan used it sparingly in his films. However, with a slight loosening of simple physics, the grappling gun can become a cinematic treat for viewers. Imagine Ben Affleck shooting his hook gun at a stone gargoyle high atop Gotham and zipping away to look down upon his desperate city. Lately, Batman films have gotten a little carried away with making Batman’s gadgets more and more fantastical (I’m looking at you, computer program that can spy on the entire city!) so it would be refreshing to go back to basics. Along with a grappling hook, it would be great to see Bats use more smoke pellets and batarangs and straightfoward gizmos.
Scale Things Down
This one is a long shot, especially as blockbuster movies become bigger and bigger and louder and louder. The last few Batman films have concluded with an almost-apocalyptic threat looming over Gotham City. There was the Scarecrow fear gas at the end of Batman Begins, the Joker causing a mass evacuation in The Dark Knight and Bane planting an atomic bomb and cutting the city off the from the rest of the world in The Dark Knight Rises. How about Batman takes on a foe who isn’t trying to destroy all of Gotham? I’m not saying citizens shouldn’t be in peril – that’s Batman bread and butter after all – but maybe make things a bit more minor. Maybe it’s a smaller hostage situation. Maybe it’s a less destructive bomb. Maybe the bridges to the city aren’t blown up. It would allow more time to focus on the characters and the drama of being Batman, not so much on the Michael Bay-sized mayhem.
As I said at the beginning, this an exciting time for fans of comic book films – especially Batman fans. We just received three fantastic Batman films and it feels like nothing could top them. That’s probably true, it’ll be awhile a film about Gotham City blows us away like Christopher Nolan’s movies did. So maybe it’s time to try new things and slightly break the mold. Hopefully Zack Snyder and the filmmakers who follow him will take risks and give us something refreshingly new but also familiar. There is no better time to mix things up with Batman.
Just don’t give us Bat-Mite.