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Zifnab25 said on July 27th, 2012 at 6:53 pm

So I have to say, I really like this idea if only because going into a new franchise with “Batman Loses” as the anti-climax would be hilarious. But I’m just not feeling it. If we’ve established one thing in Superhero comics and movies, it seems to be that grim and gritty is in and jovial action-adventure is out. I feel like you just described the movie National Treasure, and slotted in Batman as the lead. And I agree, that kind of movie would be highly entertaining to any one of us. But for the public at large? Total flop.

Now, make this a mini-series cartoon and throw it up on a Saturday morning or package it as a DVD, and you’d be in business.

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Counterarguments to the first comment’s points:

The Avengers is hugely successful and essentially a comedy.

Alias (the TV show) was a darker take on the seeking artifacts and assembling them trope.

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I think you’re going to light and putting in to much stuff.

My thought for a complete reboot is that you skip Batman’s origin. Seriously you can cover the entire thing before or during the beginning credits (parents murdered, travel the world to learn, wonderful toys, etc.). The movie is still an origin story, but it’s Robin’s origin story. Come with me on this it works. Black Mask is taking over organized crime in Gotham City, at the same time his men are being hunted and found badly wounded with crossbow bolts sticking out of them, at benefit on the Wayne Manor grounds two thirds of the Flying Graysons are killed by men working for Black Mask, Richard refuses to leave his family’s trailer, Wayne lets him stay on the property, and a social worker named Helena shows up assigned to the Grayson case. Richard tries to get vengeance on his own making Bruce realize that the kid will die in the attempt or become a killer himself. Which leads to some non-costume training and mentoring. Meanwhile Huntress is still tearing through town getting revenge on one of Black Mask’s men for killing her family. The climax is Richard embracing the idea of justice (Batman) or vengeance (Huntress) against Black Mask. Richard spares Black Mask while setting him up for Gordon, becomes Robin, and Helena leaves Gotham to go hunting in Sicily.

You get some grit, some detective work, and some Bat-Family in the movie is lighter than Dark Knight, but not so light that people who liked Dark Knight will avoid it.

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I’m down with it.

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SilverHammerMan said on July 27th, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I like it, the only thing I would recommend is to pull back on the use of other supervillains as the Riddler’s pawns, it wastes them as potential primary villains in sequels as the general public will mentally file them away as lackeys. I think that some generic lackeys or maybe streamlined 3 stringers would suffice without wasting perfectly good villains.
I think the ending could use some tweaking too, Zifnab might find the idea of a Batman loses movie to be amusing, but no one wants to spent an hour and a half in the theater for a supposedly light hearted movie only for the hero to not really win. With that in mind I would change it so that the thefts aren’t entirely one sided in the Riddler’s favor, but rather a back and forth with the Riddler stealing one, then Batman stopping him from getting the next one, Riddler stealing one, etc. Then at the end the Riddler seemingly stages a real coup and seemingly steals the artifacts away from their protective custody in GCPD headquarters, only for Batman to reveal to Robin that that was actually his plan, since the Riddler will want his victory to be public, thus causing him to expose himself/become vulnerable to Batman. Then once Riddler has snapped the device together (Both he and Batman realize that it’s just a toy and do a sort of “Do you want to tell him or shall I?” towards Robin, who is bewildered as to why Batman isn’t trying to the Riddler assembling this dastardly device)Batman of course takes him down, though in such a fashion that the Riddler feels he’s one the intellectual battle, only for Batman to wryly admit the Robin that he only let the Riddler think that so he’s go into custody quietly.
We end with a classic “The Adventure Continues….” scene, and maybe a quick credits gag as we see the smugly satisfied Riddler reclining in his Arkham cell, only to suddenly put together the subtle hints in Batman’s last conversation with him and realize that he was the one who was outsmarted.
Overall though, I love your concept.

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What you have just described is an episode of The Brave and the Bold or a decent single issue of Silver Age Batman.

It is not a movie. Batman is a tentpole franchise for DC and with Marvel kicking their asses movie-wise I can’t see them being this risky. It’s also just not all that compelling.

Riddler can anchor a movie, no question, but he has to really sell his obsession with being the smartest guy in the room, and that means higher stakes and more seriousness. It doesn’t necessarily have to be dark, but it does need to be SERIOUS.

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Interesting. I can see something like this happening in Batman TAS (well, minus the whole “origin/reboot” bit).

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Was it you, Seavey, who once upon a time suggested a way to give Killer Croc back his villain cred? If I recall correctly, it would be to play down his mutation a bit (he’s a human bruiser with a scaly skin condition, not the Lizard) and play up his carnival freak origins by having him be a crooked carny from Haley’s circus. In this version, he’s the one payed off by the mob to cut the Graysons’ wires. I could see a good “origin of Robin” movie panning out of using this version of Croc as the brawny villain with Riddler as the brains. Robin’s personal vendetta (and eventual choice of justice over vengeance) towards Riddler’s henchman Croc would play out as a subplot to Batman’s intellectual duel with Riddler.

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Travesty said on July 28th, 2012 at 4:05 am

@Alexi That’d be an interesting take on it, and I definitely agree that Croc needs to be less of, if I may be permitted to use the parlance of wrestling, a ‘Jobber’ villain.

But honestly I think Warner would be better off devoting energy to another DC property for a while, see if they can’t make someone other than Batman or [rather debatably] Superman stick as far as movies are concerned.

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I do think the possibility of Gordon-Levitt anchoring a Nightwing franchise is doable. Retooling Batman at this point is not a good idea. The best use of Batman right now is being part of a Justice League movie!

SO LETS GET THAT WONDER WOMAN MOVIE MADE NOW so we can get JL up and running DAMMIT! DAMN YOU HOLLYWOOD!

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MonkeyWithTypewriter said on July 28th, 2012 at 10:02 am

http://heatona.deviantart.com/gallery/28570552

I don’t have any story ideas, per se, but I thought these fan-made posters might spark some.

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@Alexi: Nice idea, wish I could take credit for it, but I don’t think it was me. :) Personally, I’d like the next Batman movie to dwell about 95% less on “parents are dead”, because I think that you can make that a part of Batman and Robin’s backstory without relentlessly foregrounding it as the key to their every word, deed and thought, and it’s hard to tell a light-hearted, witty, action-heavy Batman movie (which again, you’re going to need for the next one because any “dark” or “serious” Batman movie will inevitably be seen as a weak Nolan imitation) when you’re constantly talking about the hero’s parents being murdered in an alley…but maybe that’s just me.

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JCHandsom said on July 28th, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I’d watch it, and probably enjoy it. But more importantly, does Superman/Martian Manhunter/whoever come in at the end and ask Batman to join their little club.

This movie has to address that and, like the Marvel movies, ultimately feel like the movie takes place in a shared universe. Would you have little cameos, like a scene in Keystone where a red blur races by during a fight scene, or Clark Kent reporting on the Riddler thefts?

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Travesty said on July 28th, 2012 at 3:29 pm

You know, I think at this point maybe DC should just admit defeat here. I mean, they’re just getting lapped by Marvel on the movie front, and the more I think about it the more it feels to me like a Justice League movie would smack of desperate ‘me too’-ism at this point, even to filmgoers who were casually aware of the existence of the team.

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@Travesty: I’d agree, honestly. Say what you will about the Avengers franchise, but it’s made an effort to be tight and consistent as possible. I’ve actually seen a cut of the pre-Avengers films that strung them all together, and it worked surprisingly well. Meanwhile, we’ve got DC in a situation where they need to redo universes that people still remember (the Donner Superman, the Nolan Batman) while incorporating the likes of Green Lantern and That Wonder Woman Film That Will Never Be.
Man of Steel is gonna be the make-it-or-break-it, I think. You can’t have a good Justice League without a good Superman. Even then, though, they’ll still be pretty shaky.

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If I saw a Batman movie that ended with the macguffin being a useless toy and the villain just deciding he’s going to NOT fight Batman, I’d demand my money back.

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I’m totally interested in a lighter pulp-noir Batman movie, but I agree this is a bit too light. I mean, Riddler’s initial plot is what I’m really not buying. Batman versus Riddler? I’m down with that. Globe-spanning story? sounds good. All based around museum heists? Ehhh…

I mean, if Gotham is a war zone like you described, I’d think Batman would have bigger priorities then chasing down some glorified thief, especially if that thief is leaving Gotham to steal stuff in other cities. Batman would think “Good riddance” and make a note to keep tabs on the guy’s movements should he come back.

You just need higher stakes. Indiana Jones is great, but the stakes in that are Nazis using supernatural power to advance their goals of domination. That’s a little more urgent than “Oh no, he took the things that we-don’t-know-what-they-do to do we-don’t-know-what.” I expect a Batman villain to be a bit more threatening, and I know the Riddler can be threatening if he wants to be.

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I’ve actually seen a cut of the pre-Avengers films that strung them all together, and it worked surprisingly well.

Dammit, you can’t just hold out on us like that. Where is this miraculous supercut?

I’m assuming you don’t just mean you watched all the pre-Avengers films back to back, but that someone took the time to intercut them all together so you have one coherent story about Iron Man, Cap, Thor, and the Hulk leading up to them joining the Avengers. And I would watch that. I would spend ten hours watching that.

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philippos42 said on July 29th, 2012 at 4:07 am

Here’s why you’re wrong (he says not entirely jokingly):

Justify to me why you’re doing another Batman movie so soon. If I stipulate that you want to do another Warner/DC character, still, we’ve done Batman, we’ve done Batman lots! Is that all you’ve got? All DC’s properties, and they always go back to Batman and Superman?

Why not the Crimson Avenger, or the Manhunter from Mars, or Nemesis? Or maybe Katana, or Black Lightning? Heck, it might be better to do a bad Dr Thirteen than to do a mediocre Batman (and thus be mocked for both lack of imagination and for not being Nolan).

That said, for a Batman movie, yes, moving the character forward to the leader Bats becomes is a good call.

But, one costumed villain is enough. If I were doing a Batman movie, I’d get away from the multiple villains nonsense and go the other direction. Have a big Batman family (or “Inc.”) going against one villain. Doesn’t even have to be a big cult leader like Kobra, could just be a dangerous crime lord. But have lots of boots on the ground doing detective work and gaining tactical advantage.

You could have Bruce, Tim, Cass, Steph, maybe even Jean-Paul, Tatsu, and one of the foreign Batman Inc. guys, all closing the noose around one would-be crime boss, using their numbers to take him down strategically and non-lethally.

That’s a complete subversion of the “one hero, many villains” Hollywood trope, and it’s totally Batman.

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JesseBaker said on July 29th, 2012 at 4:48 am

If you are going to reboot it, you need to do a hard reboot and basically tell Nolan to fucking die in a fire as far as scorch earthing everything he did.

The best way to do it is to tell Nolan to fuck off and die and out fucking purge TDKR from canon. Batman 4 instead is The Dark Knight 3 Take 2.

We start Batman 3 Take 2 with Joker vs Batman round two and basically a prologue where everything Nolan did in TDKR is PURGED wholesale. Joker escapes jail outs Dent’s crimes at his funeral and TDKR’s cliffhanger gets negated outright and we let Nolan know that him walking away means we can fucking kick him in the nuts and then in the head until he’s got permanent brain damage.

Joker gets busted again, Batman and Commissioner Gordan are in deep shit, and here comes the Riddler, inspired to put Joker into his place and fucking be the new alpha dog. Batman is forced to fight a Riddler who is the Gorshin version (evil and maniacle but utterly in control) while Joker (escaping from jail the second time in the film, with Harley Quinn’s help) tries to find and kill the Riddler, because no one upstages the Joker and treats him like shit.

Which in turn leads to Joker getting a make-over thanks to Harley and morphing into a “proper” Joker and not the raggedy HL version.

Ending has Joker nad Riddler fighting to a draw while Batman stops Riddler’s deadly plans for the city and both villains go to jail (Harley escapes though and is last seen driving off with her lesbian lover Pamela).

Gordon is fired from the GCPD for the Batman cover-up (setting up the next film having Batman vs a corrupt Commissioner), Dent’s convictions of the underworld stand for the most part, and Batman gets a PR boost for stopping Riddler/Joker. Final teaser is Batman leaving town as we see him introducing Gordon to Aquaman and Wonder Woman, who have invited Batman to join a new “Justice League” they have formed.

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… so you’re saying WB, who like Nolan, should do something that’s a ‘fuck you’ to the guy who’s Batman trilogy sold 2 billions worth of tickets worlwide?

Not sure if serious…

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JCHandsom said on July 29th, 2012 at 12:38 pm

JesseBaker, who could possibly fill the Joker role so soon after Heath Ledgers passing?

Like the Mayor said in TDK, “You’re gonna set a new record in appeals for quickest kick in the ass.”

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JesseBaker, you are sort of crazy.

No offense.

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@Murc: Google ‘avengers assemble fanedit’. It does do a fair bit of editing, especially around Hulk and Iron Man 2 (since they took place at the same time and botg weren’t very good). It is nine hours long, so you may want to stock up on popcorn.

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Found it. Thanks.

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Alexi Sargeant said on July 29th, 2012 at 5:45 pm

@Jesse Baker: It’s not actually a hard reboot if it’s a sequel to The Dark Knight, though, is it?

I think the Incredible Hulk here got reboots right. DON’T retread the origin, DO start the character off at their most well-known status quo, then try to tell an interesting story from there. For Bruce (Banner) the status quo is “turns into Hulk when angry, hunted by government.” For Bruce (Wayne” the status quo is “is Batman, works in uneasy alliance with police, protects Gotham from rogues’ gallery of recurring supercriminals.” Interestingly, we never reached that status quo at all in the Nolan movies, so just starting from there already distances us from them.

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Walter Kovacs said on July 30th, 2012 at 1:31 am

The Justice League movie is the perfect tie-in for rebooting Batman. Having Batman in a world with superheroes in it automatically changes the tone.

Batman is someone that can easily skip ahead after the origin. Batman Begins isn’t as much about the origin, as it is about ‘year zero/year one’ of his super hero career. A Batman reboot, similar to the first Burton movie, could be a “joined in progress” film, where Batman is just there.

So, here is the pitch:

We start things off with Batman taking down Killer Croc, or Clayface, or Solomon Grundy. Immediately show off how different this Batman is AND show off that this is a world where super powered people exist. Also inserts a Bond/Jones feel with the “start the movie with the end of the last adventure” feel. You go into the credits sequence that does a silent flashback recap of the origin, showing his parents death, the bat decending on Batman, and sort of a montage/news thing of Batman cleaning up the streets etc.

As for the main movie, I do like the idea of Riddler as the villain, he is a ‘name’ villain that hasn’t been used in a while, and fits tonally. He also gives an opportunity for Batman to show off his brain which the most recent Bats didn’t really do as much. The introduction of Robin would probably be a good thing to do. Going with a sidekick introduction could also be helpful. One thing from DKR I liked was how Blake came across, in telling his “origin” as a mix of Jason and Tim, with the angry street upbringing, and the deductive reasoning to figure out Batman’s identity (even if it wasn’t detective work so much as just reading a person). I don’t know if they can (or should) do another Dick Grayson introduction into the films, or how they should approach that.

Other options, if they don’t go the Robin route, are Batgirl (depends on how they want to play the Batman/Gordon relationship, considering how pivital it was to the Nolan movies). They could also bring in Spoiler (no chance, since DC apparently hates Steph, and I won’t even bring up Cassandra, since they hate her too, and they aren’t going to bring in the League of Assassins again). Still, Spoiler, with her ‘daughter of a bat-villain’ origin is a possible way to go. Actually, if the end game is a Justice League film, they could use the ‘sidekick’ role as a way of getting someone else introduced for the League movie ahead of time. Of course, I can’t really think of who that would be … Green Arrow and/or Black Canary?

Not sure entirely, but the important thing would be getting across Batman in a world with super powered beings in it, so that when he’s suddenly on screen with Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, etc … he doesn’t seem out of place.

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The general concept of a round-the-world trip with Batman fighting Riddler is a strong one, but my version would probably go a bit differently.
I say, if we’re gonna go through with this, then hold Bats off for a while. The Nolan films are gonna be ingrained in public consciousness, and he’s honestly a bit tapped-out these days. Use him as an intermittent Nick Fury-type guy if you must (though old J’onn J’honzz has a lock on that role), but we’re gonna have to sell it as a superhero universe first and a Batman universe second. Unless you wait until, at the very least, two successful JLA starter flicks have hit the table, Batman is going to look silly.
Once you’ve hidden Ryan Reynolds’s body and somehow sold people on shortless Superman, you can start printing out Bat-shirts again. Ideally, Batman should be fleetingly winked at or glimpsed in other films – graffitied logos on sidewalks and in alleys, “don’t be like that nut in Gotham City”, chastises Ma Kent after a disastrous outing, whispers of a shadowy protector who defeats the monsters of the world by matching them blow for blow.
But enough about setup, let’s talk about Caped Crusader. (Working title and stuff.)
Gotham’s state should be, effectively, old-school warzone. Shapeshifting assassins, bioterrorists, walking weapons, that sort of thing. Play up the superpowered half of the rogues.
One of the things that has generally set Batman apart from other heroes is that he leaves an impression. You’re either shitting yourself in terror or with glee when he’s around, which is something that the Nolan films explored somewhat, but didn’t really emphasize. It ought to be clear in the film; Batman is the people’s last hope, and the only thing holding it together is the hope that he’s keeping them safe.
Then along comes ol’ Eddy Nygma. Riddler is at his best when he’s the Sir Edmund Hillary of criminals, with a terrorist bent to him. He ought to be played as the guy who grabs the bottom block in Jenga. He knows that there’s something important under Batman’s mask, and he’s gonna find it. And when he does, that’s gonna tell the whole world he’s better. Who cares if one city falls into chaos? When they go to Hell, they’ll be saying he sent ‘em there.
So, Riddler’s search is driven by not a MacGuffin, but by the ultimate secret: who’s Batman? Now, obviously, Bruce Wayne’s covered his tracks pretty well in the city itself, but in his reckless youth, he traveled the Earth uncaring of the mask, learning from whoever’d take him. So, he gets himself some cronies from the local mobs who like his tune (my personal choices would be Killer Croc, Deadshot, Mr. Freeze, and Harley Quin), and sets off to follow an anonymous tip planted by a mysterious figure. Batman realizes that the gangs are quieting down, and realizes that he’s going to have to leave the city to hunt down the Riddler’s team.
What follows is a romp through the places that made Batman Batman: the monastaries where he learned to fight, the underground labs where he engineered his technology, that sort of thing. Along the way, Riddler finds himself further assisted by the League of Assassins, who have risen under a new leader, seeming to be an un-deceased Ra’s Al’Ghul, who died in events loosely based on “The Demon Lives Again” before the story. Ra’s’s reasoning for helping Riddler is that he wants to see the people’s symbol of hope fall, leaving them in despair. Batman is looking outmatched, but he is given support by a superhero named Nightwing, who has taken up a batlike emblem to help keep the peace in the city of Bludhaven, a largely unseen hacker only named Oracle, who lost her legs to one of the crime raids in Gotham, and a mute League experiment-turned-traitor, who goes by the moniker “Black Bat.” (because fuck you it’s my movie and Black Bat is in my movie)
The movie would be going for a sort of wire-fu style of fighting. Not Brave and the Bold lightsabers and mecha (sadly), but the battlers would be doing stuff that’s more or less impossible. Battling up along mountainsides with cold-cannons and giant hammers ought to be pretty standard. In effect, we need to sell an audience on the idea that a guy who works out a lot and carries around ropes and knives is a legit threat to Superman. That’s part of the reason why I picked Nightwing (who plays up spectacular acrobatics a lot in fighting) and Black Bat (who was once misfiled as a superhuman), the other part being that everyone could use more of them.
The climax of the movie takes place in a pitched battle in Gotham, where the gangs of the city, goaded by the League and the Riddler, enter a full uprising. However, with Oracle to coordinate, the city fights back, its citizens taking the symbol in force. Riddler has narrowed down the potential candidates to a very short list, but it’s only at the final battle when he figures it out: he stumbles into an alleyway, and notices the small monument to – you guessed it – the killing of the Waynes. He’s prepared right then and there to just spit it out where the whole city can hear, but the family stops him, with Oracle disabling the mike and Batman cold-cocking him. He looks to his benefactor, but “Ra’s” just laughs, calls him a failure, and vanishes in a flash of light.
Now, Riddler is well and truly pissed. He calls in all his favors, but he’s exhausted them; the League is leaderless, the gangs are finally outnumbered, and his bodyguards are nursing injuries from Batman’s own allies. So he does what any insensible man would do; he rushes in with cane a-flailing, and gets his arse handed to him. But at the end of the fight, he accidentally pitches himself over the railing, and Batman grabs him, saving his life. This is what finally makes the Riddler stop. He gives up and turns himself in. “Why?” asks Batman. “Because”, says the Riddler, “only an idiot would have rescued me. What’s the point of proving myself to an idiot?”
Now, most of the criminals have been locked up or worse, the League has been exposed and is currently being gutted, and the whole city loves Batman (despite Riddler’s regular claims that he’s a moron). Bruce Wayne offers a public endorsement of the cause, and starts up what is clearly meant to be Batman Inc.
Post-credits, cut to a fiery, distant world. “Ra’s” appears, and kneels before a terrifyingly tall throne, his facial features changing to match those of New God Kanto.
(We won’t see Darkseid himself until the post-credits for Man of Steel 2: Steel Harder.)
Okay, it’d probably be about six hours long and appeal to the same number of people, but I’d be one of those people.

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Do you think we could get Mark Hamill to play the Riddler? I think he could do an aging Nygma justice.

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SilverHammerMan said on July 30th, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Walter Kovacs has got me fantasizing about a Nond-style Batman title sequence. It’s glorious.

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Jamiekyrin said on July 30th, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I could see a Riddler-based trailer like one of those “Most Interesting Man in the World” commercials, except in first-person, as the camera pans over various paraphenalia that becomes more Riddler-esque as things proceed:

“I am the smartest man in the world. Not a brag, just a fact. I hold 6 advanced degrees, and 2,465 patents. I made my first million before age 12. I stole my first million before age 14. I won the World Chess Championship 4 times, under three different names. I have hacked into the security systems of every military installation, scientific research facility and corporate headquarters in the world. Twice. I am Edward Nigma, and I am the smartest man in the world. And I am bored. The biggest riddle to me is: How can I live in a world that offers me no real challenge?” The camera stops on a gun sitting beside a keyboard. Then a website, “Batfan.com,” appears on the screen. The top story: “Caped Crusader outwits another Gotham criminal! Batman too clever for Lewis Carroll-inspired villain!” The Voiceover continues: “Well, well, well. What’s black, wears a cape, and is just what the doctor ordered?”

I also think it would be cool if the after-credits sequences in a series of DC movies would be Lex Luthor gathering villains in a manner aping Nick Fury, to provide the threat in the JL movie. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery in comics! Hey, he’s even bald!

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kingderella said on July 30th, 2012 at 4:26 pm

agree that the tone of the next batman movie should be more whimsical, and bat’s origin should be skipped. but i also think joseph gordon levitt should be cast as batman. a sort-of-not-really continuation of nolans films, like buffy the tv series is a sort-of-not-really continuation to buffy the movie. also, JGL is awesome.

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I agree with the majority sentiment here that the next Batman films will probably be, if not lighter in tone, then more fantastical, for two reasons (both of which are basically the same): $ and $$.

One: Batman is a cash cow, regardless of the “take” on him. We all cringe at Batman and Robin, but even it made more than its money back. Nolans films’ BO take stands for itself… there’s no way WB lets bats get cold.

Two: the competition made a BILLION DOLLARS on one film, doing the very thing the WB has been trying to do for years, without using it’s first tier characters. B-B-B-BILLION.
Regardless of any logic that you or I can produce to the contrary, the suits at Warners are planning a Justice League film. I wouldn’t be surprised if the title was $$$Justice$$$League$$$. And you cannot have a Justice League movie without Superman and Batman.
Nolan’s Batman could not work in a universe with Supes and Wondy (or Aquaman); therefore the film(s) tone will have to reflect the larger shared universe.

I agree with possibly eschewing completely the “supervillain” for the first movie, and going the organized crime route, but if that isn’t possible I would love to see a cerebral Riddler similar to TAS’ John Glover version. Either way, I want more detective Batman. In my mind this is a necessity, as his smarts are going to be the defining characteristic when placed into a movie with Superman and other god-like heroes. Maybe we dont need to go full-on Morrison “Bat-God,” but there needs to be more.

Also, NO ORIGIN STORY. Steal a page right from The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man 2 and do a stylized credits sequence instead. Then get right to the action.

Just my two cents. Love these columns, John.

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I see your plans and raise you some original music!

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