Should Nolan’s Batman be allowed to return?
I write this hesitantly as I’m aware that the Geek Pride Daddy, Matt, is an enormous fan of The Dark Knight Rises, but I’m going to stick my neck out here and ask the question: should Nolan’s Batman be allowed into the supposedly upcoming Justice League movie?
The Dark Knight Rises was a much-anticipated film following the immensely successful, Oscar-winning and all-round heavenly The Dark Knight. There were enormous expectations of a very high-budget film from an amazing director and writing team. I booked my own ticket for the release day months in advance and even took the day off. That’s how much I loved (and continue to love) The Dark Knight.
As I watched The Dark Knight Rises, I somewhat enjoyed it. There were a few moments that immediately confused me and I thought the plot was needlessly complex, but I went with it and came out singing its praises.
But TDKR is quite a Fridge Logic film and the more I thought about it the more it annoyed me. The faults with the film have been covered far better than I could here and here, but there are a hell of a lot of faults with the film- even enough that I don’t know if I could enjoy watching it again. In hindsight, there should have been some warnings from The Dark Knight with one of its closing premises, the whole “Boatful of Civilians vs. Boatful of Prisoners” version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. It was needlessly complex, a strange premise and had quite a contrived conclusion. It’s one of the weakest points of that stellar, stellar film and yet is a key point in the plot. In The Dark Knight, you kind of go with it because it’s been surrounded with so much nigh-on perfect writing. But the same writing didn’t surround The Dark Knight Rises, giving us a hodge-podge of poor ideas.
One of the big problems from TDKR is that iteration of Batman. Until then, he’d been perfect. But then he just gave up for years and years. There were certainly crimes happening during that time, people who were mugged or murdered that he probably could have saved, but he gave up and didn’t bother helping them. Despite, y’know, his parents being killed by a mugger. He’s not a real Batman as far as I’m concerned because of this; he is not a vigilante driven by tragedy to save others, a gritty and determined person who will not give up under any circumstances. He even sodding retired, despite Bane having released an entire prison into Gotham, leaving a battered and beleaguered police force who will have been reduced by engaging in an actual battle to deal with increased crime levels. Do we want to see a Batman so prone to throwing in the towel facing someone like Darkseid?
Then there is the dodgy writing that could come with this Batman. It sounds silly but the Nolan Batman brings with it the Nolan brothers, who seemingly crumbled under the pressure of their own brilliance, aware that everyone was expecting bigger and better, and produced what I feel was a mess. An absolute mess of questions like “Why did Talia Al Ghul not just bite Bruce Wayne’s genitals off? Wouldn’t that be far better revenge?” Could this Batman be well-written enough to fit into the Justice League film?
Another problem for both The Dark Knight Rises and Nolan’s Batman is whether the Joker should be mentioned. It was a nice thought to pay tribute to Heath Ledger by not mentioning the Joker but it created an awkwardness and artificial feel. If he were brought back, would that embargo on mentioning Batman’s greatest enemy be continued? Or, if not, would the topic be handled sensitively?
So should Nolan’s Batman be allowed to return? I’m going to say no. There’s too much baggage and awkwardness attached to the character, who doesn’t feel like a real Batman following the latest film. I’m not going so far as to say that Nolan shouldn’t be involved, at least not until I’ve seen Man of Steel, but I think a break from the Nolan trilogy would help set the Justice League film up in the correct manner. And ensure that some fricking ten-year-old wouldn’t magically work out he was Bruce Wayne…