Believe it or not, there has yet to be any direct adaptations of a Batman graphic novel or storyline on the big screen. Batman vs. Superman borrowed scenes and designs from The Dark Knight Returns and “The Dark Knight” trilogy took significant cues from Year One, Knightfall, The Long Halloween, Daughter of the Demon and once again Dark Knight Returns.
Scott Snyder and Christopher Nolan are famous for taking legendary comic moments and adapting them for their respective films. Snyder pulls moments of striking imagery and momentous action while Nolan reworks character arcs and plot-lines to great and dramatic effect. Whether you agree or like their methods, DC seems to be avoiding the Civil War’s and Winter Soldier’s of the world by making each film entirely their own. As Matt Reeves steps up to the plate, one wonders what victories or failures of Batman’s past he’ll want to capture.
Will he look to bring more modern, unfamiliar villains and allies to the forefront? Will he capitalize on the nostalgic by revisiting some fan favorites? Literally nothing is known about the film. Even previously cast Deathstroke Joe Manganiello is “unsure” of his inclusion in the simply titled, “The Batman.” We know Reeves loves the noir, and looks to make Ben Affleck into “the detective” we’ve loved for generations. But just what are the best Batman stories to explore? Here we discuss some stories that should and some that shouldn’t be adapted for Batman’s highly anticipated return to Gotham.
What They Should Avoid Like The Plague!
1. Battle for the Cowl
With Bruce Wayne gone, the Batfamily have trouble deciding just who should step up to the cowl. Tony Daniel wrote and drew the story after Grant Morrison moved onto Batman Incorporated from the core Batman title. As Dick Grayson and the usual suspects battle it out for the mantle, Bruce travels through time and space to return to his home and costume. As Ben Affleck rumors abound, many believe the film will replace a Bruce Wayne Batman. In that unlikely case, Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Thomas Wayne could be stepping up to the plate as an Earth 2, Thomas Wayne replacement. If so, it’ll happen in the upcoming Flashpoint and not in Matt Reeves’ stand alone.
A broken and battered Batman falls at the hands and knees of Bane. Recently utilized in The Dark Knight Rises, Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan’s Knightfall arc is another that sets up a new Batman by way of Jean Paul Valley’s Azrael. While it could be used as a way to set up an unlikely Ben Affleck replacement, Bane’s presence seems unlikely. Though he’s the central villain there are a few moments to mine from the famous Detective Comics run. However, most see Azrael’s Batman as much a “one trick pony” as Bane. The famous battle would be glorious but “The Batman” needs a mental villain, a mastermind to challenge Batman’s intelligence and detective skills.
Two Face’s heartbreaking transformation in The Dark Knight from White Knight to menacing murderer is lifted directly from this Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale masterpiece. Once again, Nolan only took snippets of the intricate story to create his Two Face. The masterful, month-themed mafia murder mystery is an intriguing prospect to consider. Unfortunately, there are a few problems that make its’ inclusion unlikely. There are quite a few villains and mob families to introduce and work with in Long Halloween. Reeves would likely want a smaller, personal story to keep Batman busy. Not to mention it takes place over an entire year. One of DKR‘s most scrutinized faults was its’ lengthy timeline that only spanned a few months. A timeline of a year is something DC and Warner Bros are looking to avoid.
4. The Killing Joke
Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s masterpiece is often regarded as the definitive, introspective adventure into what makes the Joker tick. The story involves a gruesome kidnapping, torture, murder, and even sexual assault. Despite the recent R-rated Superhero flick-fad, “The Batman” is unlikely to show that much of Gotham’s seedy underbelly. Truly, the Joker has never been more vile or sinister than in the pages of The Killing Joke. Though Jared Leto’s Joker made his debut in last year’s “Suicide Squad”, the reception was mixed to say the least. At times his performance was inspired; other times the Joker epitomized the movie’s terrible screenplay. He may be ruthless, but Jared Leto’s Joker doesn’t seem capable of the evils Alan Moore’s laughing lunatic commits.
5. Batman Incorporated
Grant Morrison’s legendary run was famous for bringing unfamiliar characters into the modern day. Zur En Arrh was but one of the countless homages Morrison made to the character’s rich and lengthy history. Batman Incorporated was an organization founded by Bruce Wayne as a means to fund the Dark Knight, and those like him, around the world. The group funded and oversaw the Batman’s operations across several other countries around the world. Bruce ultimately used them to help take down Talia’s terrorist group, Leviathon. It would be interesting to see live-action versions of the Tokyo Batman or Knight and Squire. But Reeves wants to depict a personal and intimate look into Batman. The cavalcade of characters here demands too much time for a proper film adaptation. We need to know more about this Batman, this Bruce, before any others should be explored.