Coming down after The Dark Knight Rises
Words: Rory Cashin
It’s late 1997, and despite the critical lashing that Batman & Robin has received, director Joel Schumacher has been given the reigns once again, this time to direct Batman Triumphant. George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell and Alicia Silverstone are all due to return, this time facing off against The Scarecrow (to be played by either Nicholas Cage or Jeff Goldblum), Harley Quinn (to be played by Madonna) and the return of The Joker himself (with Jack Nicholson once again in the white make-up). But at the last minute, Warner Brothers decide to pull the plug on the whole thing, and take the franchise in a new direction…
It’s late 2012, and The Dark Knight Rises is finally on its way out of most cinemas around the world. After taking over the franchise with Batman Begins in 2005, director Christopher Nolan hasn’t just revitalized the Batman movie franchise, but his approach has made Hollywood take notice and reassess how they make their comic book movies. After the camp, day-glo feel of Schumacher’s Batman, Nolan showed that comic book movies could be taken seriously, could be made to feel real. Despite some depressing influences like 9/11 and the current global economic crisis, The Dark Knight Trilogy still had audiences coming back for return visits to Gotham, and between the three movies, managed to make almost $2.5 billion worldwide. Nolan managed one of the rarest feats in Hollywood; a quality trilogy of movies, and now that he has finished telling his story about a man dressed as a bat who beats up bad guys, there seems to be an overwhelming sense of “Now what?” It would appear that failure can leave more options open.
Whatever Warner Brothers decides to do next is going to be met with derision from the fans. If they decide to continue on Nolan’s story of (SPOILER!) Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robin/the new Batman, but under a new director, people will lose their minds for tarnishing Nolan's perfect trilogy. If they decide to start from scratch, they’ll get the same reaction everyone had to The Amazing Spiderman, the feeling that they’re just trying to make money by rebooting and telling the same story they’d heard less than a decade ago. While literally any other option will be likely met with claims of stupidity, that they had such a great thing with The Dark Knight formula of realism, why change that? Nothing can bottleneck creativity quite like success.
For the first time, the decision of who Warner get to direct the movies is almost, if not more important than who they get to wear the mask and cowl. Christopher Nolan was an inspired choice, with only three relatively tiny films under his (utility) belt when he took on Batman Begins. But now, after his trilogy and Inception and producing the upcoming Man Of Steel, he's one of the most powerful directors in Hollywood. The rumours circulating about who should take over- Duncan Jones (Moon), Rian Johnson (Looper), Ben Affleck (The Town), Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive)- show that people are expecting The Next Nolan, instead of looking for something different and new.
Batman stories have been told in comics since 1939, he's been in the movies since 1943, on TV since 1966 and in video games since 1986. His origin and the origin of his friends and foes have been told and retold countless times, he’s been killed and reborn over and over again. He’s been an old school detective, a camp 60’s-set spandex wearer, a 60 year old man brought out of retirement, and in 2011 DC Comics scrapped everything and started from scratch again. In my opinion, Christopher Nolan’s Batman stories have been told, and they don’t need to be told again. As any video game fan will tell you, recent games Arkham Asylum and Arkham City have been of equal importance and of equal greatness as the recent movies, and they did it without narrowing down the potential of Gotham. The realism of Nolan’s movies wouldn’t have allowed the existence of great Batman villains like Clayface, ManBat, Killer Croc or The Penguin, and that’s where the future of the Batman movies should lie, in a more sci-fi friendly universe.
What Nolan achieved with his movies is something to be immensely proud of, but now it’s time to move on. It’s time Batman had a little fun.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Wednesday 26th September 2012 | Movie