3 Mar 2016

The Batman Film - Movie

We are a few weeks away from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, staring Henry Cavill returning as Superman and Ben Affleck with the coveted role of playing Batman. We will also see Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, with cameos from Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, and Ezra Miller respectively playing Cyborg, Aquaman, and the Flash. I am looking forward to seeing Alfred done by Jeremy Irons who has owned each scene in the trailer so far.

The script work was done by Chris Terrio and Davis S. Goyer. Goyer is famous for working on movies like the Blade series with Wesley Snipes as the titular character, and the previous trilogy of Batman films done by Christopher Nolan. I’m more interested with Terrio who wrote the film Argo which was directed by Ben Affleck and won three Academy Awards out of the seven nominations it earned; Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing film.

Zack Snyder is helming the film once again. He has hits like Dawn of the Dead, 300, and Watchmen. Even though they were filled with his clever bombastic style and brilliant visuals Man of Steel and Sucker Punch were less well received by critics. No matter what your opinion of the man and his work, Zack Snyder has made some great films and the trailers show that he is very much working to his visual strengths. Hopefully he does not falter with the story. With small tight stories Snyder has done very well. For example Dawn of the Dead, 300, and Watchmen are all tightly plotted stories with a small but powerful cast of characters that each get their time to shine in the story with a cohesive narrative and well arranged plot. Man of Steel and Sucker Punch were more bloated and Snyder was dealing with a less compact story in both cases.

All of this will lead towards the DC Extended Universe. See the comic con trailer below.

Suicide Squad is due out the same year early this August. Wonder Woman was given a June 2017 date followed by the first part of a two part Justice League film for November that year. 2018 has the solo Flash film slotted along side the Aquaman film for March and July. Lastly we have the first Shazam solo film to be out in April of 2019 and the second Justice League film out in June. They’ve also mentioned Cyborg and the Green Lantern Corps to be realised in 2020 but that’s really far off and I’ll believe it when I see it.

My interest will be in the new Batman film who Ben Affleck is expect to direct and repeat his success of his previous three film helm; The Town, Argo, and Gone Baby Gone.

What would be the new Batman film be about?

We've seen the Joker and Harley Quinn in the Suicide Squad trailer along side with Batman on top of the car smashing in the roof. So there is an established history that is being implied.

They already have a dead robin.

So we 'had' a Robin.
Seems like the Joker got to him.
With the vandalized Robin suit clearly put on display it gives us some specific information:

1. We have had a Robin, maybe a few more.
2. The Joker did something to the Robin - hence the spray paint on the suit.
3. Batman was gravely affected by it, hence the longing look and keeping it in view as a reminder.

With the suit we can also make some assumptions:

1. That is Jason Todd's uniform. Jason Todd was the second to be Robin and was seemingly killed by the Joker. He would later return as the anti-hero Red Hood, as an antagonist and later as an ally of Batman and his extended Bat-Family.

2. There is a Dick Grayson if there is a Jason Todd. He was the first to be Robin before leaving, earning his own identity, and making amends with Batman. By this time in the various comic story arcs, Dick Grayson is already running around as Nightwing. Nightwing is all grown up and Batman considers him to a protege and equal. Garyson is the only Robin to ever been accepted as something else as a junior partner or former 'sidekick'. A reason why I like him so much.

3. DC will avoid making movies that look like or use the same major villains as the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Also with the Gotham TV show as a proto-villain showcase for Batman's rogues gallery outside of must haves it can be safe to say that DC will avoid many of those villains. That's my thought.

Maybe not so much, they have two Flash media outputs - the Flash TV show, and the film Flash which looks like to be out at the same time as the TV show. This might cause some confusion with the audience or it will leverage the strength of the brand. It can go either way, season 2 is about alternate universes so why not make a unaccredited cameo of each Flash in the other's medium? The DC multiverse has plenty of room for everyone.

So back to the focus on Batman.

So the largest question to me is: We have a new Joker but do we need to make a new film with Joker?
Jared Leto as the Joker
next to the Joker from Batman: The Killing Joke

Heath Ledger's masterful take on the Joker is almost sacrosanct. Much like Jack Nicholson's take on the character during Time Burtons 1989 Batman film. Jared Leto looks like to be putting on a excellent take as well but he's already in the Sucide Squad and do you want him to come back again?

If the Joker is a good background villain, always in the history but not at the fore, what villan would fit in this new DC universe, more specifically for a Ben Affleck directed Batman movie?

My hope would be the Court of Owls.
Aside: I am a huge fan of the Court of Owls, so I am biased.

The audience is familiar with the villains of the Batman. Pinguin, Mr. Freeze, Bane, Joker, Scarecrow, Ra's al Ghul, Catwoman, Two-Face... this list is long and extensive. Scott Snyder has provided a perfect villain or group for Batman to face. The story was awesome. Since their introduction in 2011 the Court of Owls has become a firm part of the mythos that surrounds Batman.

This group is the boogeyman of Gotham before Batman and crime took over. The nursery rhyme warning shows this pretty well.

Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time,
Ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime.
They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed.
Speak not a whispered word about them, or they'll send the Talon for your head.

I think it would be easy to add them to the cinematic mythos. Their look is simple but also iconic and has been easy to brand.

I envision that the Court would have gone quiet and stuck to the shadows when the Batman arrived. He may have even put down a few Court members but never discovered the connection between them in his early years. Feeling threatened the Court being a long term plan type of group went dark and started gathering quietly and slowly resources to finally meet the Batman.

There is even the idea of Bruce Wayne. In the comics, Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne's father, did not join or side with the Court of Owls. Instead he tried to make Gotham a better place without the need for corrupt societies and organizations. His death caused a vacuum and when Bruce was of age he left to train before the Court was able to approach him.

There is a lot of great story options.

There is also the Nightwing element. In the same first story arc, Batman discovers that the current active Talon is Dick Grayson's biological grandfather. He also discovers that Haley's Circus was a feeder for selecting the agents of the Court of Owls - the Talons.

The current 'new 52' Red Hood
note the modified red Bat-symbol on his chest
This film could present a massive mystery for the Batman and introduce finally the character Nightwing. One of the memorable moments of the story is Batman putting on a power suit to fight off the Talons when they invade the Batcave. With the Frank Miller style power armour seen in the Batman v Superman trailers... this type of technology would not feel out of place.

Another issue is Jason Todd. The Court could be the reason instead of the Superboy reality breaking punch, or Ra's al Ghul Lazarus Pit in his resurrection. The Talon's are semi-immortal frozen agents with major healing powers with some of them living for 300+ years. It's not much of a jump to have Todd be preserved and later revived by the Court. The time gap could even be attributed to the fact that Todd was the first person to go through the augmentation process as a corpse - instead of a living candidate. Batman's defeat of the Court could lead to Jason being freed at the end of the film, ala post credits reveal, leading to a second Batman film that would include Jason as the Red Hood, and maybe a new Robin.

The Court of Owls is a great villain that I think fits well in this new darker DC universe. So DC please reach out and use this new but iconic staple of the Batman mythos.

- Cheers