Christopher Nolan is going to do in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES what Frank Miller did when he was on DAREDEVIL: he’s going to tip that sumbitch over and LEAVE.
After making two perfect (or near perfect, depending on your contrarian point of view) Bat films, he’ll be making a Towering Conclusion, and then leaving the franchise. He’ll most likely end it in such a way that no one can do a fourth film in the universe he’s created, which means Warner Bros will bring in someone new to make yet another reboot. This is already the plan, oddly enough with Nolan on board to “godfather” in the new franchise.
You know what else he’s “godfather”ing? Zack Snyder’s Superman. Yeah. Exactly.
I propose we get some REAL new blood in on the bat films, and what better place to look for source material than Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s brilliant run on BATMAN & ROBIN?
Now. the point could be made that this run, though bold and inventive and exciting, is not new reader (or viewer) friendly, and it’d be a good point to make. However, imagine this: a ten minute opener that quickly, and in ALL STAR SUPERMAN fashion, brings us up to speed on a mainstream viewpoint of the Batman & Robin mythos. Everyone understands the generalities. They just need the information given to them in a fresh and fun way.
Modern filmgoers already have origin fatigue from constant reboots, preboots and reimaginings, so give them a quick cliff notes version of Bruce and Dick going on adventures, Dick growing up, Bruce being lonely without a surrogate son, and having his true biological son foisted upon him, only to die before he can become a positive role model for him. Dick returns to fill his mentor’s shoes and is paired with his rambunctious, rebellious, sometimes murderous son. The chemistry is off the charts. It’s Brian and Stewie from FAMILY GUY fighting technicolor super crime, with considerably fewer dick and fart jokes. Also, less show tunes.
Joseph Gordon Levitt is the perfect choice to play the grown up Dick Grayson. He has the charm and the intensity. I think SUPER 8 showed that there are still talented child actors out there, so I don’t doubt that there is an unknown who can give Damien Wayne the bite and verve he needs to shine on screen. Audiences loved Hit-Girl, so of course they’ll love this new Robin.
As far as the villains go, I think a modified version of Grant’s run would make for a fun array of villains, particularly Paul Giamatti hamming it up as Mr. Pyg, Toby Kebbell pumping enough iron to bring The Flamingo to life, and I’d love to see someone like Benedict Cumberbatch bring Dr. Simon Hurt to the bring screen as the man who “killed” the Bat. Imagine someone doing a sad imitation of Heath Ledger’s Joker in a third act cameo; a spectre of his former self in the absence of his better half? People would be okay with a Joker this broken and empty, because that’s who he’d become without his nemesis.
I think the script could feature a lot of the big points of the arc, but could deviate from the necessity of having 60 years of bat continuity fueling the minutiae. It’d have to have the rollicking, adventurous but fiercely modern feel of Steven Moffat’s run on DOCTOR WHO, so why not get The Moff to write it?
As for a director, I say Michel Gondry. Obviously, anyone who has ever seen THE GREEN HORNET will disagree, but I think if given this rich source material, Gondry would have a blast making a vibrant, colorful, high octane action film supported on the strong structure of two brothers (of a sort) finding their way in the world without their father. It’s exactly the sort of nostalgic subject matter Gondry loves to make films about, and without a horrible faux-comedic script from Seth Rogen, Gondry could actually focus on making the film visually exciting and stick to the well written words of someone used to creating evocative adventure storytelling.