by J.D. Cook
James Bond is currently on his 25th film adaptation. Don’t let the newly titled James Bond 24 mislead you. There have been 2 Bond adaptations not done by Eon Productions but they were still James Bond films! That said James Bond is not the focus of this article instead it is the one and only Batman. You see Batman should be treated in a similar manner to James Bond. He should be given a new standalone adventure for each film where he battles different members of his huge rogue’s gallery! That said I’m getting far ahead of myself let’s start with a bit of background on the Caped Crusader’s movies.
The Dark Knight has had an interesting and convoluted history in film. He first appeared in a serial in 1943 which added the ‘Bat-cave’ to Batman mythology but turned him into a propaganda tool whose enemy was a Japanese scientist. This makes sense considering the time and the fact that all superheroes seemed to be off fighting the Axis of Evil; hell Captain America was invented to be propaganda. He then appeared a few years later in 1949 portrayed by a different actor in a far less war focused film. It then wasn’t until 1966 that Batman would appear in film portrayed as Adam West in a big screen adaptation of the campy television show. After that it took until 1989 for Batman to again grace the big screen in Tim Burton’s film. He then appeared in three sequels that got subsequently worse with each addition to Batman’s film universe. You see each film tried to build off and honor the past films. This meant the Joker had to stay dead and each film had to give us a back story of sorts on each new villain Batman faced. This bogged down the plot and treated audiences as if they were stupid. Eventually Warner Brothers decided to reboot the franchise with Christopher Nolan at the helm. Unfortunately these films served as a self-contained story due especially to the Dark Knight Rises there can really be no continuation of Batman’s story from these films.
Now hear me out here. Batman is a character with far more source material than James Bond. Why do we need constant origin stories or tales that tie directly into Batman’s history!? Why can’t we have high quality good standalone adventures that pit Batman against his various nemeses in a constant war for Gotham City? Hell Batman is the perfect TV series character but he could easily fill out multiple films with his history. You’ve got the Long Halloween, Dark Victory, No Man’s Land , Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, The Court of Owls they would all make amazing standalone stories. Sure you could have some recurring characters like wouldn’t it be great if you had the same Riddler make cameos in every movie? Or Alfred was always the same but Batman could be changed. I honestly believe the perfect Batman has yet to be found as Bale was too stiff as Wayne. Instead of tying Batman down to an arc with a pre-defined beginning or end treat his films like well…COMIC BOOKS! It’s basically the way Marvel is moving except Marvel is constantly working towards their big crossover events involving the Avengers. Now sure you could pepper clues to a Justice League movie within these Batman films but don’t tie Batman’s films into an overarching universe so much that his own tales are tied down. Hell with this idea you could spend a film in his past, or his future. You could do alternate versions of Batman. The sky is really the limit!
Why would this work? I think it would be extremely successful because people are smart! They would understand that each film serves as its own film that could be a bigger part of the continuing adventures of Batman. You could even kill certain villain’s like Ra’s Al Ghul only to show him rise in later films using the Lazarus Pit. There could also be appearances’ by Robin. This would be a fan’s delight and studios would profit as I highly doubt a high quality Batman story would ever not make millions at the box office. Just spread the films out so they don’t overwhelm people and you could have a Batman mythology that spans multiple films, actors and even perhaps generations.