First off, congratulations for pulling off a successful, both critically and commercially, trilogy. I wholeheartedly recommend Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies to everyone. Linked together, they are a masterpiece of storytelling that not many creators could pull off.
Which brings us to the point of this article, following up that work. You must be thinking about it. Marvel is raking up profits with not only their own studio but with their licensed properties as well. THE AVENGERS is the biggest movie of the year. Third of all time. And if any DC character can match that success, it’s Batman. Everyone loves Batman. How to start over though? Another dramatic take that could very well be hurt by people’s fondness for Nolan’s? A more “superhero” take to lead to a Justice League movie? All an out homage to Batman ’66? I’m suggesting the unconventional option. An Elseworlds movie.
Red Rain. Gotham By Gaslight. In Darkest Knight. All great stories that would make incredible movies. Batman’s origin can basically happen the same way in any time period without losing an ounce of resonance. With only a few frames of screentime and the public awareness of Batman his origin can be alluded to quickly and not obtrusively. Placing Batman in a different setting gives you a way to separate the new film from the trilogy. It’d be hard for someone to think about the Nolanverse while seeing Batman facing vampires or racing though cobblestone streets in a horse-drawn carriage. And the most important factor: you can do these movies almost concurrently. Why wait three, five years between movies when you can have a whole different cast and crew working on the next while the first is still being filmed?
What my suggestion boils down to is to not let convention dictate what your next step should be. You’ll get a lot of people saying “audiences will be confused” and “everyone is expecting blah blah,” but that’s the old way. There are three viable interpretations of Sherlock Holmes active on TV and in theaters. You have a character that can function on so many levels and you control every way it could be presented. Why not exploit it?
Let Batman fly.
Scene: Seen from a helicopter above – an office building surrounded by SWAT teams, police cars and then news vans. Suddenly something crashes into the roof of the building from the sky, we hear a loud explosion and then thick smoke starts to pour out of the hole. From the outside of the building a few people run out – the hostages are free – the camera zooms in and then a song starts. A techno anthem seeming to come from the room, the camera pans back and we see there are now fireworks shooting from the hole as a mysterious blue and gold figure rises from it holding a group of four burly men tied up with chains. The camera zooms in on the mysterious man and a group of corporate logo holograms appear off of his suit like an augmented reality reader. The music in the background turns up and we hear who this is – “The one and only world’s best hero Booster Gold.” (maybe play a remix of the Adam Warrock song Booster Gold). As Booster delivers the bandits to the police he salutes them and then starts talking to camera crews on the ground. End scene.
Read the rest of my Booster Gold film pitch below the fold.
When the atomic bomb has destroyed the world – the atomic man will be our hero! ATOM SMASHER!
I am mentally picturing this movie as a sort of a retro-futurist Doc Savage-y piece. The world got bombed to hell with atomic power – but it was the retro ideal of atomics so instead of killing things, they just got big and mutated. Society really segmented itself into tribes (as opposed to the greater societies of the Fallout setting). There was no government plan for this scenario and so we have these people going native more or less 100 years after the bombs fell (somewhere after 2000). They worship fading images of gods – the men in suites are the angels so the priests wear things similar to suits and they have this weird society that isn’t right.
A member of one of these tribes ends up getting exiled and wanders into a nuclear plant where the computer intelligence mixed with the radiation grants him powers – as opposed to a god or a magic spell and with this knowledge and power he becomes the Atom Smasher.
Through his access of the information lay lines (satellites that are still running and beaming him signals, he discovers that the hyper evolved apes who are fewer in number but are strong are planning to attack and kill the human tribe and it is up to Atom Smash to stop them. This I guess is sort of like Kamandi/OMAC vs Gorilla Grodd or the Ultra-Humanite but I think doing this with a straight and earnest face would be a cool thing to do and Atom Smasher is a character who never really “got made.” He’s originally a descendent of the Atom, he grows big and he is Jewish is not much of a characterization so I think tossing this magi-techno hero into this destroyed world would be fun.
Scott Lang just made the world’s greatest scientific discovery – the Lang Particle! Capable of reshaping the world around you in incredible ways! The problem is Scott isn’t who he said he is and the people around him around going to be in a lot of trouble unless Hank Pym, the Incredible Ant-Man can save them.
The description there is a bit muddled but I want to see a 60′s era Ant-Man movie about science but also about people. A sort of rom-com action movie set to the background of drugs and general trippiness while also dealing with social change. Hank Pym (under the pseudonym of Scott Lang) has been hiding out in England after he stole a bunch of information and money when he discovered Williams Industrial planned to fire him.
The problem is now since he’s had the greatest scientific breakthrough – those people he owes money to know where he is. Meanwhile Janet, the boss’ daughter has taken an interest in him as well as Simon Williams the head of the company Hank is trying to hide from. With drugs, subcultures and science distracting him – will Hank be able to avoid the assassin that is out for his blood?
Luckily utilizing the powers of the Particles, Hank can now grow and shrink but will it be enough to save those he loves?
It takes the story in a new direction, gives it a fresh coat of paint (in deco styles) and adds in enough references. With the Grim Reaper as the assassin it also sets up a sequel with Simon Williams becoming Wonder Man.
I am really tired of most superhero movies – do we need each hero to have an origin film? Why not show that we can use these characters to tell different stories? To build a universe that goes beyond being every other film? So every week I’ll post a pitch for a different kind of hero film.
Demons And Spectres
Jason Blood and Jim Corrigan are detectives hundreds of years of history together. They fight for justice but even that term has many sides and as the Demon and the Spectre, they can only keep so much of a peace. When something big enough to tip the scales of good and evil enters Civic City, Heaven and Hell’s detectives are going to throw all of Civic City and even the world … into Limbo.
Set the film in the 1920′s but give it heavy shadows and a dark setting. While these two detectives are have a history, they’ve muddied each other. They aren’t white and black – they’re shades of gray and most of the time they’d rather just pay their rent.
Also Method Man voices a CGI Etrigan.