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5 THINGS WE’D LIKE TO SEE IN THE BATMAN REBOOT

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Posted July 26, 2012 by Jeff Carter in Features

Now that Christopher Nolan is finished with Batman for good (so he says), Warner Bros. and DC will soon be handing off the franchise of their most popular character to a new director and creative team. So, we here at the league had a discussion about some of the things we hope to see in this inevitable reboot:

5.) Ditch The Black Rubber Costume

We’ve now sat through seven Batman films with our hero buried under thick black rubber that rendered him all but immobile. We’ve watched him lumber around awkwardly, unable to turn his head or make quick, smooth reactions in deadly situations. The bulky black suits just don’t lend themselves to jumping, diving, rolling, kicking, dodging, or any of the acrobatic moves Batman has performed in comic books and animation for over 70 years.

Let’s explore a new visual aesthetic for Batman, perhaps one that hearkens back to his classic grey and blue color scheme, something that’s fabric-based and allows for complete free-range of movement. Take Captain America’s costume in The Avengers, for instance. There was no unnecessary bulk at all hindering Chris Evans’ motions; it was a practical, functional battle suit that the audience believed he could move freely in. Artist Gary Frank recently designed a costume for an updated re-telling of Batman’s origin called Earth One that looked functional and dramatic at the same time. Something like this could be perfect for Batman’s next big screen look:

 

4.) Let’s See Batman As A Detective!

There is a reason why Batman is referred to as “The Dark Knight Detective,” and that the flagship title he has been the star of since 1939 is called Detective Comics. It’s because Bruce Wayne spent years learning the art of crime solving from the best deductive minds around the world during his training. If you commit a crime in Gotham, you’d better not leave a trace of your existence and have at least five backup plans, because if you screw up even in the most minute way, Batman will find you.

So far none of the seven modern Batman films have explored this side of the caped crusader beyond a superficial level, choosing instead to focus on the mythic and physical aspects of the character. So now that a reboot of the franchise is inevitable, how about putting Batman’s legendary sleuthing skills to the forefront of the new films? Give The Dark Knight an elaborate mystery to solve, constructed by a fiendish criminal mastermind that challenges Batman’s intellect and is full of twists and turns for the audience.  The only problem with this approach would be Hollywood’s reluctance to eschew spectacle in favor of something more cerebral. In today’s blockbuster climate, where bombast and explosions rule, they might feel the audience is too inattentive or stupid to embrace a summer blockbuster that makes them *gasp* think!

 

3.) How About A Bit More Of The Outlandish Stuff?

Christopher Nolan attempted to ground his films in a gritty, real-world environment, which meant that any villains or supporting characters that had outlandish costumes, physical mutations, super-powers, or any sort of supernatural ability were right out. But all of these types of characters play big roles in the Batman universe, existing right alongside “normal” human characters like Commissioner Gordon or the Joker.

So whoever takes the reigns of the Batman films should probably build a universe that incorporates the serious approach to the characters and tone, but also allows room for a man who shoots people with a freeze ray, a woman who can control and communicate with plant life, a living ventriloquist dummy, or a sentient mass of clay that can shape shift into any form. Get creative with Gotham again! It might be a good idea to bring back some of the gothic elements to the city’s architecture – not as much as the Burton films and certainly none of the insane neon-splashed stuff in the Schumacher films – but a happy medium somewhere in between the Burton/Nolan designs.

 

2.) Give Us A Great Robin Story

Robin is still a hugely popular character in the Batman mythos, so it’s utterly perplexing why Joel Schumacher botched his character so badly in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, and why Christopher Nolan felt he was too silly to  be included in “The Dark Knight” trilogy as anything more than a brief nod and wink to the fans at the very end of the saga. But Robin can absolutely work in a film – and work very well –  if handled properly.

People love Robin – he’s a dynamic, bright, and fun character that juxtaposes perfectly against Batman’s myopic resolve and sometimes overwhelming darkness. The key to Robin is that you’ve got to make him much younger than Batman. Chris O’ Donnel was laughably unbelievable as an 18 year-old, and 18 was already far too old for an orphan to become a ward of a wealthy 30-year-old billionaire anyway. Robin should be a kid, no more than 15 years old. This allows for a much bigger emotional impact when his parents are killed in front of him (a tragedy that mirror’s Batman’s own, and is a huge element of their relationship), and strong age-gap interactions with Batman.

Robin’s origin could be worked into a film where Batman is already established (please, NO MORE BATMAN ORIGINS!), and is dealing with a villain heavily connected to Robin (Mob Boss Tony Zucco or Two-Face), or even better, the film could just kick off with Batman and Robin’s crime-fighting partnership already operating at a high level. Do we really need any more origin stories? Make Batman and Robin’s origin story a five-minute pre-credit sequence: Bruce Wayne’s parents died, he went away for years to train and became Batman. Dick Grayson’s parents died, he was taken in by Bruce Wayne and trained to be Robin and now they fight bad guys together. Bam. Done. On with the movie!

 

1.) Get Another Auteur To Direct

This is probably the most important factor of them all when it comes to The Dark Knight’s new cinematic adventures. While we all want to see Batman go in a different direction from the Nolan films, that certainly doesn’t mean we can allow his legacy to fall into the hands of a hack studio hand like Brett Ratner or Paul W.S. Anderson. The franchise cannot be allowed to revert back into neon-lit, rubber-nippled camp, or empty Summer spectacle. Like Nolan and Tim Burton before him, Batman deserves a director with vision, style, and technical acumen; someone with a great creative mind that can contribute to the screenwriting process and preserve the mythical aspects of The Dark Knight for the next generation.


About the Author

Jeff Carter
Jeff Carter

Jeff is the defining voice of his generation. Sadly, that generation exists only in an alternate dimension where George Lucas became supreme overlord of the Earth in 1979 and replaced every television broadcast and theatrical film on the planet with Star Wars and Godzilla movies. In this dimension, he’s just a guy from New England who likes writing snarky things about superheroes, monsters, and robots.

  • The Hero this Article Deserves

    You must not have paid attention to Nolan’s films. In Batman Begins, it is Fox states that the suit is made of Nomex (a Kevlar like fiber). In The Dark Knight, Wayne complains to Fox about the lack of mobility and Fox replaces the suit with one made of Kevlar with increased mobility but a higher susceptibility to knives and bullets.

    • http://www.geekleagueofamerica.com/ Jeff Carter

      @2a154321a63cfe3ef390187ee7c459fd:disqus Yes, I’m well aware of what Lucius SAYS, but it doesn’t pass the eye test. Visually, both costumes are bulky black rubber, and we still have never seen a Batman that is truly mobile – able to flip, swing, kick, tumble, etc. with the freedom a suit like Cap’s would allow.

  • http://twitter.com/Glides Glides The Man

    They could always just set it in between the last two Batman films. There’s an eight year stretch in which all of the above could occur. And best of all, you wouldn’t need an origin story AGAIN.

    • http://www.geekleagueofamerica.com/ Jeff Carter

      @twitter-67924117:disqus Nah, it’s time to move on from the Nolan-verse. The Batman reboot we will see from Warners (after the JLA film in 2015), is going to be a completely fresh start, with a fresh visual aesthetic, and hopefully without yet another origin story.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnstonfamily Tiana Johnston

    on board completely with the pre-credit notion from #2. done.

  • videojas

    While I like the idea of doing something like CA’s suit in Avengers or the above image, latex rubber is not bulky or immobile on its own (e.g. latex rubber wet suits or CA’s rubber 90′s suit). In fact, I’ve never noticed anyone moving any differently under these newer latex suits. Most of their movements are either still fast paced or natural.

    I believe that a good looking, tight fitting cotton fabric suit would bare little difference to rubber, as rubber is indeed easier to stretch pass its limits without yet ripping. Simple fabrics, like leather, get to that limit where it just restrains limb angle at such form fitting tightness. This places latex closer to spandex than any other material.

    Give its mobility credit. Latex has seen massive use for full body prosthetics and creature suits/robots over the past decades. Latex still factually allows better mobility than any leather suit from X-Men would. Just look at the behind the scenes footage of them reaching the island. The cast would not have such problems in latex suits (or in CA’s Avenger suit).

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