Posted on 11/01/13 05:27 AM | Last edited on 11/01/13 05:27 AM
For the most part, I love Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies just as much as the next guy. If it wasn’t for the incredibly weak third entry, The Dark Knight Rises, the trilogy would easily be the greatest superhero series ever. With Zach Snyder moving forward with his own take on Batman, I began to think about what I would do if I were in charge of making a Batman movie. While I do think there should be a healthy break between Nolan’s work and the next incarnation, I still can’t help but ponder the possibilities.
Changing the tone from Nolan’s previous Batman movies is essential. Two words that can best describe Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are gritty and realistic. For my take on the character, you must keep the gritty but jettison the realistic. The closest examples I can provide are the Batman: Arkham games. Still gritty, still dark, still dramatic, but not strictly speaking realistic. The movies would live in a world where implausible villains could exist, while still keeping a serious tone. Another example would be Batman: The Animated Series. Even though my take would obviously be less geared towards kids, I would hope the same level of excellence in storytelling would remain.
The visual style of my Batman movies would be incredibly gothic and deliciously dark! Not unlike the Gotham shown in Arkham City. Closer to what Christopher Nolan did in Batman Begins … a style he lost in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. The visuals would be highly stylized and not quite as grounded in reality as Nolan’s Batman. The action would be shot clearly, no shaky cam, and no quick cuts in editing. I certainly wouldn’t skimp on action either, no Bruce Wayne sitting in a hole with a broken back for half the movie. There would be lots of Batman doing his thing. Also, it would not be in 3D, because Gotham is dark enough as it is.
Batman/Bruce Wayne: Joe Manganiello
I don’t believe there is a more perfect “up and comer” to play Batman. It goes without saying that Manganiello could play a billionaire playboy … I mean, just look at the guy. But I also think it’s pretty obvious that he could play the physical side of Batman to the hilt! At over 6 foot 5 inches, with muscle on top of muscle, I think he is also perfect for playing Batman himself. Easily the one and only choice.
Robin/Dick Grayson: Dave Franco
Yes, Robin would be in my incarnation of a Batman movie. Because you know what? Robin could be pretty stinkin cool! Obviously, with Franco playing him he would be older, in his early to mid 20s. He would be a much more troubled character than the Robin most are used to. Sure he could keep his sarcasm, but I would tone down on the obnoxious immaturity. Franco could definitely pull off the cynical, wise-cracking boy wonder. He’s continued to prove himself in bigger and bigger roles. If I were to go a bit younger and more annoying, Miles Teller would be the clear choice. But Franco is the one for the part, in my opinion.
Alfred Pennyworth: Jeremy Irons
This version of Alfred would not have as big a part as the Michael Caine rendition. He would subtly provide some emotional heft here and there. He just wouldn’t move the majority of the emotional side of the movie along. With Irons playing the character, it would be more along the lines of the Alfred seen in Batman: The Animated Series. I think he could play the dry sarcasm of Alfred wonderfully.
Commissioner Jim Gordon: Bryan Cranston
I’ll admit it, not my most original choice, but it’s just so obvious! I know that there are a lot of people harboring for Cranston as Lex Luther in Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel movies, but forget that! Cranston was born to play Jim Gordon! Filling Gary Oldman’s shoes is a tall order, but if anyone can do it, Bryan Cranston is it.
Barbara Gordon/Batgirl: Adrianne Palicki
Barbara Gordon is definitely a character that could work well on screen … Mostly because it provides Commissioner Gordon with some personal motivation (something he didn’t have in Nolan’s take). I doubt that I would actually have her transition to Batgirl, but if I did, I have no doubts that Palicki could handle it. Still, I would probably just leave the character alone as Barbara. She provides an interesting aspect as Commissioner Gordon’s daughter and Dick Grayson’s love interest. She would eventually go more down the path of “The Oracle.”
Catwoman/Selina Kyle: Amber Heard
Catwoman would be a huge part of my Batman series. She would always be there, not just appearing in one movie. At the start, she would be the brilliant burglar we all know her to be. But as Catwoman does, she falls for Batman. The parallels are fun once Selina Kyle becomes Bruce Wayne’s main love interest. But at any rate, Catwoman eventually (around the end of the second movie in the series) begins fighting side by side with Batman. As for the character herself, I believe that there is an ideal balance somewhere between Anne Hathaway and Michelle Pfeiffer. Not as cold and practical as Hathaway, but not as recklessly crazy as Pfeiffer. I also believe that Amber Heard could find this balance. She definitely has the looks to play Selina Kyle, but I completely believe that she could also play a pretty fantastic Catwoman. Maybe not the immediately clear choice, but still a great one!
The Riddler: Jesse Eisenberg
Call me crazy, but I think Jesse Eisenberg would absolutely kill (pun … no pun?) this part! Let’s not forget, he is an Academy Award nominee. He can definitely handle an intelligent, fast talking role. I think he has an excellent voice for the part. I would love to see him play a mentally unstable super-villain. Eisenberg could do it, I have no doubts. He would be the main villain of the first movie, mostly because I’m disappointed by how little The Riddler has been shown on screen. Also, I would arrange the villains from least interesting to most (even if they are all pretty fascinating).
Harvey Dent/Two Face: Dwayne Johnson
Yet another choice somewhat out of left field, but hear me out. Number 1: I would wait an entire movie without having Harvey turn into Two Face. Throughout the first movie in the series, Harvey is introduced as the DA, a close friend of Bruce Wayne, and a troubled man with bipolar. It’s not unreasonable to admit that Johnson is becoming a legitimately good actor. He could play every facet of the character: the friend, the DA, and the mentally unstable. The biggest challenge would be having Johnson in the court room. But I have faith. He would also have to slim down for the role, because while Harvey is big and powerful, he’s not like Hercules big. Number 2: Near the beginning of the second movie of the series, Harvey’s life is on a downward path when he has his “accident.” Becoming Two Face pushes him over the edge, and he becomes the villain we all know. What makes Dwayne Johnson so perfect is that he can play the nice side and the fearsome side. The second movie would be totally devoted to Two Face as the villain. One of the main problems I had with The Dark Knight was how little Two Face was explored. I would not make that mistake. The best villains are ones that have a personal attachment to the hero, and the Harvey/Bruce friendship makes Harvey’s turn that much more emotional.
The Joker: Christoph Waltz
To follow in Heath Ledger’s shoes, you need an actor capable of not only giving a terrific performance, but also capable of handling a lot of pressure. Hello Christoph Waltz! Once again, not my most original idea, but hey, is there a better possibility? Waltz can play crazy, and he already has the laugh. Done and done. He would be the villain of movie three. Save the best for last right!?
I’m a huge fan of the music within movies. Hans Zimmer provided appropriate and trend setting scores for Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. But I would go in a different direction. Christopher Young, composer of many darker films would be my choice. He is not a stranger to superhero movies, as he scored Spider-Man 3. Most importantly, he can write big, bold, and darkly gothic music. Here’s an example of his work on the movie Priest:
Ok, I’ll admit it, I haven’t thought out every detail of every part of this story! But I have the general idea of what comics I would like the movies to (loosely) follow. Here are the titles, the plot lines somewhat reflect in the names.
Batman: Riddle Me That
Batman: Eye of the Beholder
Batman: The Killing Joke
How to end a Batman trilogy? Christopher Nolan is the only director who has had that chance on the big screen, and he muffed it. Does Bruce get a happy ending? Well, yes and no. He wouldn’t die in my version; neither would he leave crime fighting. I would show how never-ending the fight is. At the end, Batman is still battling crime with the help of Catwoman. Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle can never live normal lives, and they don’t try. The series would end in a frame of mind that Bruce is constantly in: Onward through the fog.
So those are my hypothetical thoughts. Hope you enjoyed my ramblings. Do you agree with some of what I said? Are my casting choices reasonable? How and what would you do with Batman? Leave a comment if you wish, and thanks for reading!