As promised, MONDOFilm returns again with more Batman-riddled fantasies, all in the name of eluding any further dalliances with all the harsh, non-Batman filled parts of our lives. Last week saw members of the MONDO staff considering Tony Zucco, Bane, and the Riddler as possible villains for the next Batman film. So, who’s left?
The Case for Clayface
I’d like to propose Clayface as a potential villain. Many discount him, saying he doesn’t fit in a Nolan/realistic Bat-verse, but I imagine those same legions forget there have been several versions of Clayface in the past. Given how much focus has been given to the question of who can be trusted in Gotham, a Chameleon type character could really wreak havoc, and there could also be excellent questions raised about identity- always a concern for these “secret identity” characters.
My brother raised the interesting possibility of Maxi Zeus on account of all the references to a “New Rome” in Batman Begins and “Caesar” in The Dark Knight, but that’s mostly a joke.
What’s not a joke is this fellow Rod Taylor’s idea of Talia al Ghul, which would tie together with Begins so that not a lot would need to be explained about her, and would add the romantic interest thing, which is always important.
- Isaac Mills
The Case for Catwoman
There are a lot of places where further Nolan-directed Batman films could go (though I have a bad feeling that after this movie he may bow out). Nolan has intelligently stayed away from science fiction elements of Batman (the closest they’ve strayed is Scarecrow’s fear gas) and kept it closer to the mob element. The next film should probably continue with this trend. Luckily, there are a lot of smart characters who could be brought in, and who would hopefully live up to high expectations.
At the end of this film the Gotham Police chases after Batman. A pretty logical extension of this would be to have the mob exploit the situation in order to maximize the distrust between Gordon and Batman to the point where they might even become serious enemies.
The villain I most want to see tied into this is Catwoman. First of all, Catwoman is the only interesting potential love interest for Batman. It’s good that Rachel Dawes is out of the way, because not even the amazing talent of Maggie Gyllenhaal could save that character – she was just such a pill. I don’t think an enamoured Batman would be a compelling character unless the object of his love was Catwoman. She’s his equal in many ways: she lives the double life, she has background trauma, she can physically do the kinds of things that Batman can, and she also looks really good in black. The problem for both of them is that her moral compass is a lot looser than Bruce’s. The smartest way to depict Catwoman to make this plot turn credible would be to have her “Robin Hooding” from the mob. Her legal shadiness could also factor into Batman’s tensions with the police. I think it could work.
So it is either this or having all the mob bosses usurped by a half-dozen Joker knockoffs (e.g., Riddler, Penguin, Firefly, Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, and the Ventriloquist), who would spread their brand of terror and greed throughout Gotham. All of them are characters with gimmicks that don’t stray too far into science fiction. You’d have to weave an incredibly tight narrative to get them all in, and they’d have to work as secondary characters that the viewer doesn’t need to bother to explain. It would also be neat to see a movie where Bruce is constantly beat down and loses even more ground than he already has.
- Miles Baker
The Case for Robin
I’ll admit, I’m going to cheat a little. First off, Robin is probably the least likely Batman character to appear in a third film. Bale has proclaimed total aversion to the idea, essentially saying he’d do anything possible to escape his contract. In fact, I believe that’s what the argument with his mother was about. But really, such strong aversion is understandable. On a comic book page a young boy keeping up with Batman may seem a little odd, but to actually see it played out on a screen has historically proved very difficult to swallow. Teenage angst just doesn’t combine with leaping across buildings in a believable way. And especially not in Christopher Nolan’s gritty, grounded take on Gotham, right?
Well, here I posit for you the only way I think a Robin film could be carried out effectively, and it builds off themes Nolan has woven quite steadfastly into his characterization of Batman: that only by being completely mentally unbalanced can Batman be unyielding enough to carry out his task. Unlike Harvey Dent, or Jim Gordon, Batman doesn’t feel the need to balance out a normal life with a family. To him, the mere concept is nothing more than a weakness his enemies could use against him. Now mix this with Bruce Wayne’s twisted sense of inadequacy compared to his own iconic father, and imagine this man realistically raising a boy. Bruce Wayne would be the worst father imaginable.
So, imagine a flashback by a mid-20s Dick Grayson recalling events from his childhood. When he’s younger he just remembers the thrill of developing his skills in hopes of earning Wayne’s approval. As he follows in Batman’s footsteps, he yearns to see the hero proud of him. But as he grows older, Grayson begins to understand just how incapable of love Wayne really is, being unable to sacrifice his own quest for anybody at all. And thus Robin strikes out in his own to become Nightwing.
As I said, I cheated a little. I suggest this not as the direction in which the next Batman film should go, but as the only way I could see the Robin character working within Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City.
- Doug Nayler