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Saturday, February 24, 2024

The Future of the Bat: How two filmmakers and a Warner Bros. executive can make or break the Batman series

imageAny of the writers at Geek Pride can tell you that my specialty is movies. What they can’t tell you is that my specialty, more specifically, is film adaptations. Classic literature, contemporary novels, comic books, video games, things of this nature. It goes back to when my uncle Rusch showed me the Batman Animated Series at age four. I’ve worshiped Batman ever since, and few filmmakers have affected the franchise more than Christopher Nolan.

Nolan doesn’t write his own work. He never has. His primary writer is usually his brother, Jonathan. His first three films, the ones that got him the job on Batman, were psychological thrillers. “Following” deals with obsessions, “Memento” deals with memory, and “Insomnia” deals with, well, insomnia. Between “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises”, he did “Inception”, dealing with dreams. One would think that he had a degree in psychology. Interestingly, the project that got him involved was written by an unknown writer of a well known series.

David Goyer is best known for his work as the writer of the Dark Knight Trilogy, but before that he wrote the Blade trilogy, even directing the much-despised “Blade Trinity”. Blade tells the story of a Marvel antihero, a human-vampire hybrid, that was introduced in the “House of Dracula” series. Yes, Blade was a Marvel character. Goyer chose to recover from “Blade Trinity” with “Batman Begins”, his reboot of the Batman franchise. Warner Bros. wanted to reboot it, as they had messed it up oh, so terribly.

taken from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000318/

“Batman and Robin” came out in 1997, while “Batman Begins” came out in 2005. With “Batman Begins”, we saw an edgier version of Batman. We saw the Batman of today’s comics on the screen, and people loved it. It was dark, it was creepy, it was mean. What Warner Bros. loved- it was edgy. It sold like hot cakes, so they knew they had something good, and it showed even more so five years later with 2008’s “The Dark Knight”. “Batman Begins” earned its PG-13 status, but “The Dark Knight” bordered on an R. It was everything that we saw before, and so much more. We saw evil fighting back, and we loved it. Nolan and Goyer did too, but they had no idea where to go with it. Because of this, Nolan worked on “Inception” while Goyer wrote the script for the final film of the trilogy, “The Dark Knight Rises”.

What Goyer was able to do was combine the events of the first film, in which Batman single handedly takes down Ra’s Al-Ghul and his League of Shadows, with the comic arc “Knightfall”, doing what Goyer did best, and fixing Burton’s mistakes with great characters. The Joker that Goyer and Nolan used in “The Dark Knight” was a vast improvement from Jack Nicholson’s in 1989’s “Batman”, and the dynamic duo did the same thing with Bane. In “Batman & Robin”, Bane was nothing more than a goon of Poison Ivy. In every other medium, Bane is the most vicious and calculating enemy that Batman had ever faced.

In “Knightfall”, Bane sets loose the inmates of Arkham Asylum to wear out Batman, in an attempt to prove his superiority, ultimately succeeding.. Goyer was able to tie this with the events of the first film, making Bane a League of Shadows reject, teaming up with Ra’s’ daughter, Talia, in a successful attempt to take over the city. This combination allows for one last hurrah, and a neat way to wrap up the series.

In the final moments of the film, you see Bruce Wayne “die” (not really. He fakes his death so that he and Selina Kyle can have a life in Italy), turning his mansion into a Boys’ Home and handing the Batcave (logically, the cape and cowl as well) to former GCPD cop Jonathan Robin Blake. Yes, Robin. He’s more or less a combination of the three main Robins (Dick Grayson was an orphan that would later become a cop in Bludhaven, Jason Todd grew up on the streets and Tim Drake found out Bruce’s secret using his remarkable gut instinct), and we never know what he does with the Cave. This is where things get interesting.

Warner-Bros-Pictures-postWarner Bros. has talked about rebooting the series (again) since before “The Dark Knight Rises” hit theaters, and there are a couple of ways they could go about this. Based on the fact that Christopher Nolan is producing the upcoming “Man of Steel” (clearly the reboot of Superman), WB obviously wants it to be in the same vein, yet stay fun. This is Superman, after all. Hence why Nolan is merely producing. The director is none other than Zack fucking Snyder.

Snyder is a household name, with only 4 films under his belt. His feature film debut was the remake of “Dawn of the Dead”, followed by his adaptation of Frank Miller’s Graphic Novel “300”. After learning from the mistakes of “300”, he adapted his all-time favorite, “Watchmen”. He required every member of the cast and crew to read it, and there were so many copies on set that you can find a copy in two scenes- Hollis Mason’s Bookshelf when he gets beaten to death, and Nite Owl’s desk when he first has sex with Silk Spectre. It was after this that he made his first original piece, “Sucker Punch”, and then onto the original superhero.

Given what we know, Snyder is a bona fide nerd. Nolan isn’t a whole lot less of one. Snyder fits the bill perfectly for the directors chair, and Nolan has as much experience with superheroes, but why involve him? Realism is nice, logic is better, but Nolan is typically dark and brooding, not fun and energetic, unlike Snyder. Why combine these two? Simple- competition.

An aspiring filmmaker coming from a military family, my solitary life allowed me to gain an intimate knowledge of geekdom. I specialize on horror and military, but I am also knowledgeable on science fiction, fantasy, comic books and classic cartoons.

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