Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rebooting Batman and Liberace

Now that the Dark Knight trilogy has come to an end, it's time to start thinking about the next movie iteration of the Batman. Naturally, the focus has been on how Warner Brothers should proceed and who should be the next actor to don the cape and cowl. Add in the growing buzz about a possible Justice League movie or perhaps World's Finest team-up between Batman and Superman and we have full blown bat-mania on our hands.

(Note, spoilers lie ahead. If you have not seen the Dark Knight trilogy, you have been warned.) 

Most of the questions surrounding the Dark Knight's future are directly related to a Justice League movie. Should they reboot Batman and establish a different actor as the Caped Crusader or should they set the Justice League in the Dark Knight universe and bring Christian Bale back in the role that he has owned for the past decade? Or should they proceed with John Blake as Batman, and have Joseph Gordon Levitt continue his role from The Dark Knight Rises?

These two options are troubling to me for several reasons. First, if Batman is going to be fighting along side the Super-Friends for the first time in a live action movie, it really ought to be Bruce Wayne and not some other guy who recently took over the job... and who's real name happens to be Robin. And if you recall, at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce Wayne faked his death and retired, so even if Bale is back as Batman, Bruce Wayne would have way too much 'splaining to do. (As Ricky Riccardo might say.)

The Dark Knight trilogy was great as a stand alone story. I think they should leave well-enough alone and move on. Plus, Heath Ledger had such an impact on the role of the Joker that they might not want to recast that part. Heck, they did not even mention him in The Dark Knight Rises. The Joker is way too important to the Batman legend to be permanently retired. Rebooting Batman solves that problem.

Another benefit of rebooting the Batman franchise is that you can pick up the character at whatever point in his career you want. Batman (1989) started the story just a few weeks into Batman's career. The Dark Knight trilogy takes us all the way back to the beginning in Batman Begins. I'd like to see them go the route of the New Frontier comic book and have us meet Batman early in his career, but after he has already established himself in Gotham City. We don't need another origin story, for god-sakes. A reboot like this will also enable the filmmakers to establish a Batman that exists in a world with super-powered beings. The Dark Knight trilogy was clearly set in a world without superpowers.

Finally, a reboot of Batman means we get to see more villains from his rouges gallery come to life, and none are really off limits, no matter how fantastic they might be. Villains like Clayface, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze and Killer Croc don't really fit in the more grounded Dark Knight world and were therefore out-of-play. Now all bets are off. Before the The Dark Knight Rises came out, the rumor mill was burning with talk of Johnny Depp as The Riddler or Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Penguin. Sure, those guys would be great, but I prefer to think bigger. 

Bigger and brighter. 

I say the villain in the next Batman movie should be a resurrection of one of the most unique bad guys from the 60's TV show. Now that Michael Douglas has portrayed Liberace in Behind the Candelabra, why not cast him as The Great Chandell? 

The Great Chandell was a villain portrayed by the famous, flamboyant showman in 1966. He was a pianist who was blackmailed into a life of crime by his twin brother Harry. 

If we are starting over with Batman, why not reboot The Great Chandell while we are at it? And think what an actor of this caliber could do with the duel role of Harry, Chandell's evil twin brother. The possibilities are endless. 

Okay, maybe Chandell will never make it to the silver screen, but you gotta admit, it would be funny. I may be letting my imagination run a little wild, but I've got to do something to keep me busy until we get a new Batman movie. Luckily, we've got the Man of Steel, Thor and Captain America to entertain us in the meantime. It's just too bad none of them fight such fabulous bad guys as the Dark Knight.

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