The Batman Reboot

I remember when Tim Burton’s Batman came out. I saw it on the big screen, and I was blown away. It was so dark, and so decidedly different from the only Batman I was familiar with — the Adam West series — that I couldn’t help but enjoy it. And then the years passed, and when I watched it later, after Batman Begins, I realized how decidedly campy Tim Burton’s film actually was.

See: to an extent, I’m one of these assholes who can’t watch a film without thinking, “Okay, so, the bat cave’s cool, but did he hire contractors to pour all the concrete and stuff? Or did he do it himself?”

In any case, Batman Begins was a welcome change from the absolutely stupidity that became of Warner Brother’s Batman films. Batman Forever was so terrible I think I hated myself for actually watching it. For one thing, Batman Begins was grounded in the notion, “What if some guy actually wanted to become Batman? How would he do it?” Okay, granted, not everyone’s going to be super brilliant, have a gigantic family wealth to draw on, and own a huge tech development corp with cool toys left over from government contracts … but there were actually plausible explanations left for how the Bat Cave might come to be.

And thank GOD nobody called Batman’s anything “the Bat ____.” His ride wasn’t “the Bat Mobile” rather, “…it’s a tank!” Heck, I’m pretty sure Bruce Wayne never even called himself “The Batman”, it was all the press.

And then The Dark Knight. Which I didn’t like a whole lot. Mostly because it got kind of ridiculous with the “how would Batman do something in the real world?” because I had a hard time believing Joker could wire a shit ton of explosives through a hospital in the real world without someone noticing (among other faults). In any case, I enjoyed it enough that I’ll certainly be in the audience for the next Nolan/Bail Batman flick, The Dark Knight Rises, due sometime in the future (let’s say May 2012).

And The Dark Knight Rises is that, as they say. Not that in far as “no more Batman movies”, but that as far as “no more Batman movies set in this Batman universe.

Which is the nice thing about TV. We can have the 1960s Batman universe, where he runs around in tights in broad daylight and always gets captured by the bad guys thirty-minutes in and somehow outsmarts them because they’re too fucking dumb to just shoot him. We can have the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher universe, where Bruce Wayne keeps getting cosmetic surgery and conducting massive exterior renovations to Wayne Manor and upgrading the Batmobile every few months and adding Bat Nipples to his Bat Armor because, hey, why not?

And then we can have Nolan’s nice three-movie series which envisions a Batman (mostly) grounded in reality. A trilogy. And when it’s over, it’s over. And the Batman reboot can then take Batman in a more comedic tone, or a darker tone, or a whatever tone.

Yes: reboot. It’s happening:

“We have the third Batman, but then we’ll have to reinvent Batman…” says WB president Jeff Robinov. “Chris Nolan and [producing partner and wife] Emma Thomas will be producing it, so it will be a conversation with them about what the next phase is.”

Whether that means the WB will jump straight into a new Batman film, or re-launch him with the Justice League movie, remains to be seen.

But to reboot Batman on-screen for the third time in 30 years is surely going to result in serious audience fatigue – especially if they insist on retelling Bruce Wayne’s origins story all over again.

There are two reasons I think this reboot is a good idea:

1.) Bruce Nolan’s Batman does not exist in a world where Superman exists. If they’re going to insist on shoe-horning Batman into a Justice League movie, might as well do a Batman reboot where the Caped Crusader carries kryptonite around in his utility belt on the off-chance Superman’s gone bat-shit insane and the Dark Knight has to put wrong to right.

Particularly since both Nolan and Bail are done with the series as director and actor after TDKR, another film set in Nolan’s Batverse with a new lead as Bruce Wayne/Batman (and who can say for the rest of the supporting cast?), hitting theaters as about the same time as a Justice League movie with yet another actor as Bruce Wayne/Batman, might confuse the hell out of some people. Probably the same people who were confused about Superman Returns.

2.) Who wants to see what happened to Burton’s films happen to Nolan’s? A devolution into garbage writing and performance. No thanks.