Sunday, April 26, 2009

Top 10 Choices for next Batman Characters

*Posted July 24, 2008*
by Herb (with help from Dave in Red)
With Dark Knight in the books, we need a plot for the third and final Batman of the Nolan trilogy (if Nolan signs on). Among other things, this is what I want to see. Someone important has to find out who Bruce Wayne really is (so far, Vicky Vale, Catwoman, the Riddler, Lucius Fox, Rachel Dawes, and Mr. Reese have discovered it). I want Gordon to know the secret. Also, we need a shocking death (I'm looking your way, Alfred). Finally, the new characters... The writers have said how there are tons of criminals in the Rogues Gallery to use (plus one birdbrain) in the third movie, but chances are they are going to include a big name from the list below. Along with why and how they could be incorporated into Batman 3, we have included our casting decisions with some concept art. My choices are on the left, while fellow contributor Dave's choices are on the right. Who do you think made the better decision?

10. Dr. Hugo Strange
A criminal mastermind who was a psychiatrist and consultant for Gotham's "Vigilante Task Force." He's a guy whose fascinated with the mind of Batman. He wants to prove that he is intellectually superior to Batman, and eventually deduces his true identity. But Strange won't tell anyone because he guards it like a treasure. This is a guy who would be easy to create and hasn't been done before. He doesn't have to be the chief villain, just someone who causes problems for Bruce and Batman. Dave doesn't care for the character, so only I have a casting choice...Jeremy Irons.

9. Catwoman
Thanks for putting us in this hole Halle Berry. A new Catwoman would be a fresh chance to wipe the shit taste out of your mouth left by Halle. Also, Rachel Dawes is kaput so a new female love interest is in order. I am really not a big fan of Catwoman because all she is is a petty burglar. She's hardly a threat to the city, and hardly much of an ally for Batman. Besides, the best villains on this list could wear what the best villains (Ra's al Ghul, Scarecrow, and Joker) always wear: a tailored suit. Catwoman would have to wear some skin tight outfit with ears on top and maybe even a tail, and that's just unusual. Batman wears the armor and cape and cowl to scare people, but why does Catwoman wear tight with ears and a tail? We're better off just leaving her out of Batman 3. Our choices: Anne Hathaway and Angelina Jolie. I give Catwoman a little more credit that Herb does. She has a solid base (a master cat burglar/jewel thief fits perfect in Gotham. The Joker's reign of chaos left everything up in the air, so having an independent criminal who may or may not work for a mastermind seems in order. The ears and tail I could do without, so a simple tight black burglar outfit is all it needs to be. You don't actually need her to be too catlike since her name comes from being a cat burglar. And as for Angie, she's everybody's first choice in kick ass woman who are sexy as hell. She'd be an easy fit for the role unlike the idiot from Devil Wears Prada. Yea, great resume.

8. Robin
It's crazy right? Why would I want to introduce a punk kid who would just be a thorn in Bruce's side? And while we're at it, why not go after the kid who's cornering the sidekick market these days! MUTT LABEOUF! POTENTIAL! Right now, Batman has all the help he needs from guys like Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman, guys that take up a lot of screentime. Eventually, whenever they continue the franchise without these great actors, it may fall on a more conventional character to help out. Robin represents what Batman wanted in Dark Knight. He can't fight crime forever, but failed to put DA Harvey Dent in his place as hero of the people. Plan B would logically be to train an apprentice. With all the old father figures running around (Alfred and Lucius), and the mighty shoes of Thomas Wayne to fill, Bruce as a father figure type would be a good fit. But the biggest reason for this? MONEY. A well handled (easier said than done) Robin story would be a good springboard to eventually introduce the much cooler Nightwing, the crime fighter that Dick Grayson turns into when he is older. That could be a franchise all on it's own. Maybe the best bet would be to kind of introduce Robin now to make way for is own spinoff. Or, to be a jerk, introduce Robin at the end of the third movie to force the next director to deal with the problem of writing a Robin story that is not annoying. Who cares who plays him, he's just some punk kid. But if they don't use a kid, and go the Chris O'Donnell route again, he could be old enough to help out Bruce if.....

7. Bane
....if someone takes the Bat out of commission. The only one who ever did that in the comics is Bane. A giant of a man with superintelligence and superstrength, Bane broke Batman's back and forced one of his allies (Azrael) to wear the mask and bring down Bane. This goes along with what Alfred and Bruce talked about in Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne can't afford to know his limits if he is to succeed as Batman, but someday (like when someone breaks his back) he may reach the limit. WIth Batman down, a well-trained Robin could save the day with the help of Commissioner Gordon and maybe even Catwoman if she decides to help. Bane was handled terribly in Batman and Robin, so here would be in an easy opportunity to get it right.
6. Black Mask
Why Black Mask? Mostly because he is someone that has never been given the film treatment. Who is he? Here's what my book says. Janus Cosmetics heir Roman Sionis harbors a bizzare fascination with masks, a fixation that resulted in financial ruin when his company marketed a line of ill-conceived, toxic "Facepaint." When Waynecorp bailed out the floundering company, Sionis resigned in defeat. Later, he carved a deathmask from the lid of his late father's ebony coffin and established the "False Face Society of Gotham," a gang of masquerading thugs with Sionis as its "Black Mask" figurehead. He's one of the only villains to have a conflict with Bruce Wayne as well as Batman. That gives the film a chance to go in a new direction. To cast him, just hire a big thug and use a cool voiceover. It doesn't matter whose behind it.
5. Mr. Freeze
A tough one because Freeze's character has always been a guy who has to wear a mechanical suit to stay cold so his blood and lungs won't boil and burst. Some versions of Mr. Freeze in the comics have him as a massive guy with his robot suit, but thanks to Arnold, he was just a massive douchebag. The other, better version of Freeze is this tall, gaunt, stern looking guy with no emotion because of what happened to his wife. To Nolanize him, we cast someone who actually could pull of being a scientist/villain and then maybe bring his illness down a notch. Instead of the dumb suit, he just needs to be in cold places. He takes his meetings in a cooler. He's transported in a refrigerated truck. The movie would have to be set in winter (no problem in Chicago, right ER?) and he could walk around in cool stylish suits while everyone else has parkas and what not. Maybe to show how "cold" he is emotionally, he could interrogate some traitor in a meat freezer. To torture him, he has his goons slowly dump more and more water on him, causing him to freeze to death in an especially brutal manner. The best part of Freeze's character has always been that his is so detached from the world that he has no regard for the pain he causes others. Oh, and sorry Schumacher, but in this version, she has to die to create the villain. My choice: The chilling Stanley Tucci. Daves: Eric Bana. I don't know why I picked Bana in particular. For this top ten i was supposed to turn actors into their respective roles using microsoft paint, so I just googled 'bald actors' and Bana was the only cool one who came up. Everything else was Bruce Willis, and no thank you on that one.

4. the Penguin
Nolan has already said that he won't touch the Penguin because he is not believable enough for his universe. However, the Penguin is still an awesome character and could be made believable. First, just like the comics, we lose the flippers. In most stories, the Penguin is a shrewd businessman and night club owner, which could both apply to this guy. But instead of ratty long hair and dark circles under eyes, he's a suave, well kept, short and fat guy. His connection to the story could be that he's an up and coming player in the crime underworld now that Maroni, the Spaniard, and Gambol are out of the picture. The jury is still out on how he would sound like. He could get the name Penguin just because he's a stubby guy who wears nice tuxes and eats fish. It's that simple. For your viewing pleasure: Oscar Winners Phillip S. Hoffman and Anthony Hopkins. Christopher Nolan can't resist the brits. Hell, he even cast a Welshman as Bruce Wayne. Scarecrow, R'as al Ghu'l, Alfred (of course), Commissioner Gordon, the Joker (Australian is close enough to british dialect)...ALL BRITS. So Anthony Hopkins would fall right in line with that rather than Pansy Capote on the left. All the Penguin needs to be is a scary crimeboss. And who else can pull that off better than Hannibal Lecter? See, I knew you'd see it my way.

3. the Joker
After first watching the Dark Knight, I immediately said that they have to bring back this character. It would be so much fun to hear and see him cause trouble again, especially because of his interactions with Batman. Now, after seeing it again, I think it should be left alone. Firstly, nobody would want to touch what Heath Ledger did, and if they did it wouldn't be as good. So how do we strike a compromise? I suggest we find a lookalike (see below) and get him into costume. The important thing is that we only see the Joker in a limited role to tie up the story. He could be in a dark cell (maybe suggestively manipulating a cellmate or friend next door (see number 1 for the perfect choice)). He'd be sitting back against the wall and the only thing we can see is the vague makeup on his face. Then do the voice, which anyone can learn to do, and you'll have a way to end his story. You don't have to kill him, but if there's a breakout at Arkham, somehow he can't be apart of it. Since the main crew will only be on for one more movie, and they may spend most of it on Two-Face, there's a good chance we won't be hearing from the Joker any time soon. Below is the closest thing to a look-a-like, that kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun (plus our views of him as the joker.)

2. the Riddler

Every villain boils down to some psychological disorder that Nolan can sink his teeth into. Two-Face is a schizo, the Joker is a sociopath (among other things), and the Riddler is a narcissist. After being Nolanized, my story for the Riddler would start him off as a serial killer that leaves little clues and messages for the cops. In his crazy mind, he wants to get caught. He wants to see if the cops are up to the challenge, mentally. So far, not even close. But because Batman is supposed to be a master detective, now the Riddler has a chance to really test his genius. Instead of murdering people, he can plan mass disasters that threaten the whole city but eventually Batman cracks him. The problem with the Riddler is that he can't tread too close to the Joker's territory. Jim Carrey played him over the top like Ledger did the Joker, so we can't have the Riddler being fidgety, twitchy, and goofy. He has to be calm and cool; pure logic. Also, his crimes can't be similar to the Dark Knight's plot. The Joker progressed from killing people to blowing up warehouses, police stations, hospitals, and almost two ferries. The Riddler has to be on a grander scale. If anyone can figure this out, it has to be Christopher Nolan and his writing team. So who's better: Nolan alum Guy Pierce or Sexiest Man Alive Fatt Damon? Don't laugh at the pick, either. Matt Damon was thisclose to getting cast as Harvey Dent for The Dark Knight. In fact, he was Christopher Nolan's first pick for him. In addition, Matt Damon has worked with Heath before in The Brothers Grimm, and you know the next villain is going to get compared to Heath's perfomance, so it seems more likely for a friend of his to take up the mantle as the next big villain so there isn't as much pressure on his performance. Yea, it makes sense, and Bourne can pull it off.

1. Harvey "Two-Face" Dent
Played by: Aaron Eckhart
Face it folks, Harvey Dent ain't dead. It didn't look like he was alive after that fall, and the public funeral sure didn't help. Plus, why would Batman take the blame for those 5 or 6 Two-Face deaths (thinking that Harvey was dead) if he could just blame them on some psycho villain? Here's the answer. They can say that Dent was unconscious and moved to Arkham where maybe he gets some skin grafts and doesn't look totally CG, and then comes storming out for the third film. He's the second best baddie in the Batman universe, he derserves a chance to complete the Two-Face story arc (Dark Knight was only Dent's story arc. Let Two-Face go crazy insane for the third).

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