5 Ways to Reboot Batman in a ‘Justice League’ Movie Universe

Published 2 years ago by , Updated June 26th, 2014 at 12:41 pm,

Justice League Batman Superman Wonder Woman 5 Ways to Reboot Batman in a Justice League Movie Universe

[NOTE: This post was written prior to the revelation of the Batman vs. Superman movie coming in 2015; however, what we said back then still holds true for how Batman can exist in the same film with Superman. Enjoy! --The Editors]

It’s a bittersweet time to be a Batman fan: The Dark Knight Rises is still fresh in memory, and the cinematic future of the brand is uncertain. Though the truth may not be what fans want to hear, facts are facts: Christopher Nolan has finished his ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’ and confirmed that his time with the character is finally over. With Nolan gone, and Bale claiming to be gone with him, the door is open for a new director and actor to tackle the iconic hero.

Director and star may be finished, but DC and Warner Bros. certainly are not. The Justice League looks to be the next film after Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, and is tasked with both introducing new heroes, and (according to reports) rebooting a new Batman movie franchise. While Nolan loyalists may claim the odds are stacked against the next actor to put on the cape and cowl, we see opportunity.

There are some major elements of the Batman character and comics that Nolan completely avoided, and were largely under-represented in past movies as well. If the next Batman films were to tackle those themes and angles, comic book fans could be in for a treat.

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5. The World’s Greatest Detective

Batman Reboot Worlds Greatest Detective 5 Ways to Reboot Batman in a Justice League Movie Universe
One major aspect of Bruce Wayne’s character that Christopher Nolan’s films never truly explored was his intellect and deduction skills, choosing instead to let his fists and willpower lead the way, with Lucius Fox’s genius making it possible for him to do so safely. Aside from brief scenes in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce Wayne’s detective skills in the Nolanverse begin and end with watching the evening news, not spending hours at a crime scene or behind his Bat-Computer trying to deduce the method to a villain’s madness.

But in a Justice League world full of criminal masterminds and super-powered heroes, Batman can’t rely solely on his strength. As “The World’s Greatest Detective,” the Caped Crusader depends on reasoning and mental acuity to see the things others don’t; to see weakness where others only see strength. Instead of reacting to the grand plans and attacks of eccentric villains, the next Batman could spend his time on the offensive: tracking, investigating, and confronting evil.

A Batman film that was first and foremost a good mystery/detective story – and an actor who could portray the genius-level detection skills of Bruce Wayne – would be a welcome take on the character we’ve yet to see.

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4. The Master Strategist
Batman Reboot Military Strategist 5 Ways to Reboot Batman in a Justice League Movie Universe

As the resident expert in martial arts and military tactics, it makes sense that Batman occupies a leadership role within the Justice League. But his unique morality brings far more than experience to the team. While Flash and Green Lantern (whether played by Ryan Reynolds or not) make jokes at a new enemy being revealed, and Superman remains stoic in the face of overwhelming odds, Batman is thinking. Not just how best to tackle the situation, but what will happen if it all goes wrong. This is the part of the character the Justice League director must do justice to, since Batman’s intelligence and willingness to accept the reality of no-win scenarios are what make him relevant among DC’s greatest super-powered heroes.

It also opens the door to the kind of moral dilemmas and debate that great ensemble films are made of. Joss Whedon’s Avengers showed what’s possible when heroes disagree, but ultimately unite; a Batman who thinks innocent lives must be put on the line would take that same premise to a much more serious place. A genius tactician willing to accept hard truths instead of refusing to believe them, would prove vital to any super-team.

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3. Bruce Wayne vs. Lex Luthor

Batman Reboot Lex Luthor 5 Ways to Reboot Batman in a Justice League Movie Universe
There’s going to have to be some crossover between the Superman and Batman continuity if the pair are ever going to occupy the same movie universe, and Lex Luthor is without a doubt one of the DC Universe’s greatest antagonists. Considering he basically is Bruce Wayne (even if the thought would disgust him), Lex acts as a moral foil to the billionaire genius, each opposing what they deem to be the greatest threat to humanity: for Wayne, the criminal element, and for Luthor, Superman.

Even so, the two entrepreneurs have rarely gone face-to-face, but any attempt by DC to build a movie universe akin to Marvel’s would do well to build it around a common foe. It’s hard to think of a more recognizable villain that fans would enjoy seeing in more than one franchise – but with the right casting, the economic battle of wits between Metropolis and Gotham’s leading men could be just as exciting as a super-powered brawl.

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2. The Boy Wonder

Batman Reboot Robin 5 Ways to Reboot Batman in a Justice League Movie Universe

This one is always a longshot, dismissed by movie fans as too juvenile, with even Nolan explaining his lack of interest in introducing Robin to his trilogy. It isn’t hard to understand why, since merely mentioning the name ‘Robin’ automatically conjures images of red and green spandex (or worse, Chris O’Donnell in the Joel Schumacher Batman films). But in practice, Batman and an adult Robin working together wouldn’t be that much different from Christian Bale and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in TDKR, which offered a unique dynamic to the stereotypical superhero movie. And with an origin story for Batman already told (please, please, don’t let there be a re-tread) introducing Robin could scratch the same itch.

As for the exact incarnation of Robin, well, the film’s creators have a handful of choices. DC’s recently-rebooted New 52 comic book universe features Dick Grayson, Damian Wayne, Tim Drake, and even Jason Todd as in-continuity. Seriously, how many ‘Dynamic Duos’ are there in the comic book genre? Batman and Robin are a package deal, and if the next creative team is looking to get fans excited for some change, then announcing the return of Robin to a darker, mature setting is a guaranteed way to do it.

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1. Striking Fear

Batman Reboot Fear 5 Ways to Reboot Batman in a Justice League Movie Universe

Audiences were never meant to be afraid of Christopher Nolan’s Batman when onscreen, but a take on the character where the Batman is genuinely terrifying to both criminals and moviegoers would be something completely new, and a true treatment of an antihero. Beginning with Batman Begins, the audience was allowed to see that Bale’s Batman was a creation with a purpose: he was trying to be scary. But revealing an imposing figure known to be on the side of justice is not the same as leaving the audience speechless, gripping their armrests when seeing what Bruce Wayne becomes when the cape and cowl are worn.

It’s about time movie fans beheld a Batman that they would walk a righteous path just to avoid. Considering that early word on the Justice League film is of a darker tone, a Batman who isn’t completely devoid of laughs (Bruce Wayne is a shmoozer, after all) but is downright terrifying when in costume, would be a fantastic mix of mood and entertainment.

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What Are Your Ideas?

5 Things Batman Reboot Can Do Differently 5 Ways to Reboot Batman in a Justice League Movie Universe

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight trilogy’ has shown what is possible from comic book films, but to claim it’s the be-all, end-all of the character’s big screen incarnation is selling the source material short.

We’ve stated our ideas concerning aspects of the Batman universe we’ve yet to experience on film – but they certainly aren’t the only ones. So feel free to share your own thoughts:

  • Should the next Batman be more grounded, or less?
  • Is a new origin story necessary, or should it be skipped?
  • Keep the tone the same, or inject a bit more humor?
  • Which villains should appear in the next films?
  • Which writers/directors/actors would you like to see involved?

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TAGS: batman, justice league, the dark knight rises

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  1. Good luck getting Batman to strike fear into the hearts of moviegoers if, like the articles say, Armie Hammer gets the role.

  2. i totally agree with this but i just would like to add that the batman from the arkham video game trailer would be almost perfect. the actor was tall, muscular and very broad shouldered.the next batman actor should be At least 6 foot 2 inches with linebacker shoulders and a square jaw. The costume could be a little bit darker. I really dont like “the big-cheeked” look of nolan’s batman. The mask and cowl of the batman from the video game trailer was spot on!

    • I agree! New Batman should be very much like Arkham game version. That game represents the REAL Batman to me. Im not fond of Nolan’s version.

      • Really, the Arkham Batman has all the realism from Nolan, combined with the *comic book* aspect the fans wanted. Somehow, the Arkham games feel like a total fantasy that is also entirely capable of existing.

      • Armie Hammer is exactly 6 ft 2 inchs…. BRING ON ARMIE HAMMER!

  3. Can DC just… not reboot Batman? Moviegoers aren’t that stupid that they will completely forget about the Dark Knight Trilogy by the time Justice League comes out. Why not just keep Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Batman? Personally, I’m just completely sick of movie reboots.

    • I agree for everything except for having Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the next batman.. Joseph Gordon-Levitts role would be better suited to NightWing as batmans successor I think. It would make more sense as a way to fit Batman in with the Justice League without disturbing Nolans Batman.

    • Well, too bad for you then, cause it’s going to happen regardless of what you think, and DC/Marvel/Sony/Fox/Warner Bros/etc are not going to ask you if they should reboot their cinematic property, they’re just going to do it, because at the end of the day, these characters belong to them, not you.
      Besides, it’s about time we got a more comic-book accurate Batman.

  4. The article bring some good point forward. In my opinion the next movie should setup for the Justice league arc. No origin movie we seen it already and with all incarnation it really stayed the same, he saw his parent killed in-front of him, then he spend a lot of years learning martial arts, escape techniques, and hone his detective skills. They should just jump into the story, make him darker, colder as Batman. Make the story the beginning of the justice league story. Show him discovering the plot, making plans to counter it. After realizing the threat is to big for him, he come to the conclusion he needs help, Bam!! it ends, continue in Justice League….

    • Agreed. Anyone who demands a need for a new introduction to Batman, just throw in an animated DC movie or Batman: TAS episode. As soon as he comes on screen, you know exactly who he was, how he will act, and what motivates him. Even his fighting style at this point is fairly established.

    • Even though Ur idea is a good one, I really think they should start off with the “Trinity” story line with Superman, Batman and wonder woman. Really dont think putting at least five characters at once will cut it.

  5. I would like to see a much darker Batman, i’d like to see them push it til we feel uncomfortable watching. But the reality of superhero films is they have to cater to a younger audience too (toys and the likes). I think if the batman films are going to start the JL arc then at some point the mystical element and Batmans understanding of unworldly beings must be brought it. I think the riddler would be ideal for this. Working alongside/for a ‘being’ he discovered with his intellect. This allows for Supes et al to be intergrated.

    But if we are going to get a standalone film, then i’d want Batman tested, I’d want to see him hurt, and i’d want to see him hurt people, carrying that theme of citizens staying good to avoid the bat makes more sense, because a batman that people believe is above the law and has no rules, is better than the perpetual goody goody!

    • I agree, I’d really like an R-rated Batman film, I want to see them really pushing the bounderies in the end.

  6. I think a Horror film of batman would be brilliant. think of the silhouette scene in the shining. :)

    as the comic generation is getting older, I think the idea of a campy, humerous superhero is a thing of the past. if they want to make goofy films that fail(like green lantern), they should stick to cartoons.

  7. Luthor vs Bruce Wayne would be great. The two are kind of perfect for each other; Luthor’s resources could make the tech and monetary edge Batman normally has moot, and I’m sure Luthor could afford a private army [Maybe some less common villains like Deathstroke the Terminator or Deadshot to really make things fun].

    Then, to further the story line, have a kryptonite-wielding Joker hold Metropolis hostage at the same time. Meteor rock-laced bombs around the city, have Joker wearing a kryptonite studded jacket. (Too bad there’s no Kryptonite in Man of Steel… or maybe Luthor’s hording it all, seeing as how big of a threat to humanity Supes is???)

  8. MOS2 introducing wonder woman and then at the end credits introduce the new batman leading up to a batman and superman film wonder woman cameos here and there and then flas stand alone and BAM!! JL movie

    OR

    MOS2 ending with a batman appearance and then Sprman & Btman movie with them investigating & introducing wonder woman then at the end they hear of a new hero: Flash, which leads to a Flash standalone and at the end of Flash having Batman and Wonderwoman recruit the Flash

  9. IMHO, Warner’s decision to go with a Batman/Superman movie is the best possible choice of the different alternatives available. For one, this is a combination that Marvel does not have. In comics, they have done Captain America and Falcon, Iron Man and Captain America, and so on. But the Batman/Superman combo occupies a unique position in the entire world of Comic Books. They are truly the World’s Finest.

    This is a lower calculated risk move on DC’s part. MOS was a success, and there is no reason why MOS2 should not be a bigger one. So even if the new Batman doesn’t pan out (which is very unlikely), Cavill will carry the movie through. And the most likely outcome is that it will be a big blockbuster, thus kicking off both the Justice League as well as the new Batman franchise.

    Let’s look at the questions raised by Andrew:

    •Should the next Batman be more grounded, or less?
    He should definitely be more grounded. Especially as he is complementing Superman, who is the exact opposite. Batman needs to be very much human, grounded in Gotham and expanding his reach to Metropolis – just like in the comics. He needs to be morally “self-righteous” as the Joker put it in TDK, extremely obsessed, and very confident in his abilities (unlike Superman, who always questions himself and tries to be extremely careful due to the damage that he can cause). He needs to be arrogant and condescending, every bit unlike Superman, who is just trying to fit in. And Batman needs to hold the trump card – he never kills and he has never killed.

    •Is a new origin story necessary, or should it be skipped?
    I think a new origin should be shown in passing, but it should not be detailed. This will leave the mystery alive for the next Batman movie. Hints and mystery should be used to keep the audience guessing. I look at this almost as a Wolverine type of sequence, where Batman is already who he is in MOS2, but the past will be explained later. In fact, a perfect way to reboot Batman following MOS2 would be to leverage the Batman year Zero arc that is currently being done in The New 52.

    •Keep the tone the same, or inject a bit more humor?
    The tone needs to continue to be dark. Unlike Marvel, the biggest DC characters don’t crack wise. However, humor should be introduced through the supporting cast, such as Olsen (I have the fact that Jimmy wasn’t there in MOS), and others. Also, Cavill as Clark could introduce some humor.

    •Which villains should appear in the next films?
    Since this is a Superman film, I’d like to see:

    - In case of a solo villain, Lex Luthor, since he has always been the ideal villain for both the heroes – take the “Superman/Batman Public Enemies” story arc, or “No Man’s Land” or Smallville.
    - the best combo would be Lex and Brainiac. This gives a great 1-1 pairing with the heroes and villains.
    - the next best combo would be Lex and Hush. Hush took on Batman through Superman in the comics.

    •Which writers/directors/actors would you like to see involved?
    Frank Miller, Zack Snyder, Chris Nolan

    In addition, what about the storyline? Some ideas:

    - The Dark Knight Returns is the best fit here, although it would have to be adapted to the current day and age as opposed to the future
    - Leverage the Hush storyline with new material introducing Luthor as the main villain
    - A completely new storyline taking off where MOS left off. Batman could be introduced as someone who has been following the destruction from Gotham, and is probably involved on the periphery in helping contain it. This would introduce him as an antagonist for Superman, trying to make sure that he has what it takes to stop such a powerful being. Of course, Kryptonite needs to be introduced in the movie. Luthor could be introduced in a similar fashion, but obviously with much more sinister motives.

    • I AGREE!!! I think they should inject a similar humor to that of the “Arkham” video games, they are very dark and agressive, tho have that comic book-esque dark humor.

    • I’m so disgusted with all this Batman vs Lex Luthor garbage.
      Leave him for Superman, because that alien doesn’t have much else.

      There are so many better Batman only villains who should be in Batman only movies.

      Red Hood
      Killer Croc
      Harley Quinn
      Riddler (reboot)
      Mr Freeze (reboot)
      Copperhead
      David Cain
      Arkham Knight
      A true Scarecrow
      Nyssa Al Ghul

      PLEASE GO WITH THEM …. and not some boring old suit and tie Lex Luthor.

  10. i feel quite worried about this reboot they ruined spider-man i pray that they don’t ruin batman now as well

  11. “A Batman film that was first and foremost a good mystery/detective story – and an actor who could portray the genius-level detection skills of Bruce Wayne – would be a welcome take on the character we’ve yet to see.”

    That WOULD be nice to see indeed. A genius sit-back and analyse a crime scene or unraveling events type Batman! Definitely worth putting on the big screen.

  12. What’s wrong with Chris O’Donnell’s Robin? Was it his acting or his suit (in Batman Forever, off course)? I thought his suit (without the nipples, batinsignia belt buckle and batfins) was exactly what the new look of Robin was in that decade (introduced through Tim Drake). Neither was he bad as a Jason Todd like Robin though he played Dick Grayson.

  13. Tim Burton already introduced some of the things this article mentions as being new to the silver screen Batman. Whether they worked well or not, that’s something to be discussed.

  14. #5 all the way (detective Batman), including the “point” blue/grey suit that Batman wore for a *long* time, yet has never been shown in the movies. Something that shows Batman is a crime-solving genius and also doesn’t have him dressing in all black, all the time. That is the Batman I knew longest until the Burton movie came out.

  15. Um Noland never left out any of that!!! He did tones of detective work are you blind! Strategy was definitely in play boy wonder was in the dark knight rises and lex wasn’t mentioned because!! Noland wanted it a batman movie!!! Not a superman spinoff that he wasn’t interested in making so THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY STANDS AS THE BEST!!! The writer of this post needs to rewatch the movies and get his facts strait

    • hes not saying hedoesn’t like Nolans version just that we need a less grounded version of him. Your right the dark knight does show glimpses of these sides of batman but they were really toned down to fit in that universe. Batman needs to be closer to his comic book adaptation if he is to be able to compete with supes

  16. ALL of Them. PERIOD.

  17. Batman: Dead End was one of the most perfect examples of how a REAL Batman film should be done.
    His suit was very close to the comic stories, Not a piece of Bat Armor in sight. I’m not a big fan of armor unless he is using a special suit which he has used inthe past.
    The scenes thru out that 8 minute clip were story boarded right from panels out of the comics. Which shows that attention paid to the source material does work in real world film.
    That’s what I will say about the look of a film, though I know it wont happen.

    But as to the whole rebooting issue, I don’t really think they will reboot the series over again completely. They wont waste time on a complete reboot, but they will how ever show a scene of his origin which I would expect.
    I don’t think Warner/DC expects anyone to forget about Nolan’s trilogy, and they shouldn’t. I liked it, but didn’t love it.
    Nolan’s version is something that happened on another Earth, which is a good way to look at it.

    If Batman vs. Superman contains a Batman that has been around for a while and well seasoned, and Affleck is expected to pick up the mantel of the Bat again, in the Justice League movie, then A Batman film will just be a continuation of that universe.
    The Batman will already be around, the movie will start with some action scene, there will be a short origin clip, and then the real story starts up.
    A reboot would not connect with the rest of the DC filmiverse. Rebooting will not work in that case and its not needed. Its only logic.