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

Published 3 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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  1. I want the Batman from Justice League: Doom please. Now that guy was a detective/strategizer.

  2. When it comes to Batman’s costume, i miss the costume with the yellow emblem. Everything Batman related has that emblem & gets me thinkin they should have the next batsuit somewhat simliar to Batman Return’s costume. One of my co-workers & i even drew a design of a costume,only the costume is made outta spandax, same material as Cavill’s Superman costume. To make the actor more agile purposes in action scenes. Wished i could show it. But still it’s only one picture & we’re drawing more.

      • Yeah, but Batman is agile, uses the dark to his advantage. In previous films we see Batman wearing bullet-proof rubber suits that stopped bullets, but not earrings used as cat-claws, dog bites, knifes. Plus it make him more human compared to the other heroes. Imo, if he wore something like TDK costume, his costume stands out compared to others like Superman, Flash, Green Lantern,etc. For many years Batman didn’t wear armor in the comics as he does in the films. Why not see him actually get shot in the arm & still carry on? Flash would look dumb in armor costume aswell as Superman imo.

        • It’d be hard for him to use the dark to his advantage with a big yellow target on his chest.

          • @ Randy B

            I don’t see that being a problem. Even in Batman:TAS, Batman’s emblem & belt were unseen whenever he stood still. Im sure the can do the same in live-action as Keaton’s yellow belt was mostly under his cape when he stood still. Batman moves quick in the dark that bad guys don’t notice the yellow emblem till he’s up in their face. Plus other than it being a target for them to shoot at, they could easily shoot at his mouth when confronting him, especially in numbers. Heck they could shoot him in the head as his cowl would be the best place to shoot at in the first place.

  3. I think it would pretty rad if the villain Black Mask was introduced in the next batman film.

  4. I have been talking about the absence of his detective side in just about every article about the Nolan Batman movies… I’m glad I’m not just completely crazy and out of my mind that I find that aspect too important for them to ignore…

  5. You could introduce a dark version of Robin and have him still be a young child. Frank Miller illustrated that the mere existence of Robin, as a thirteen year old kid, indicates something darker and more morally questionable about Bruce Wayne himself, that this supposed do-gooder would be so psychotically impassioned as to take a young boy with a similar tragic past along with him on his dangerous vigilante crusade. If a director wanted to outdo Christopher Nolan in moral ambiguity they could try that approach.

  6. One thing Nolan’s series did was make Batman more set in the real world so instead the next series could focus on the supernatural elements. I want to see a Batman film series that is based in the Batman: Arkham Asylum and City games universe with villains that have never been used before in movies like Clayface, Hush, Hugo Strange, Harley Quinn, Solomon Grundy, Victor Zsasz, Calendar Man, Deadpool etc and it could have Nightwing, Robin and Oracle.

    • @andy

      I agree, and for that, they need to find someone who is physically commanding like Batman/Bruce Wayne is in the game, comics, and animated series…

    • Zsasz made a cameo in Batman Begins

      • I didn’t realize that until a few years later. I didn’t even notice Crane saying his name in court. Then when I played Arkham Asylum, I was like “wait a minute!”

    • Deadpool??

      • he probably meant Deadshot bro

  7. how about the Justice League movie takes its superhero character development bits from New Frontier where it is about Wonder woman, Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter with Batman and Superman in supporting roles and a cameo from Aquaman.

    • I have been saying that since they started talking about a Justice League movie!

  8. I may get laughed at, but outside the Nolanverse, and I will not, nor will I ever accept the New 52 Version of anything. I feel the best Batman is the one from the Arkham Games, 50-50 for fighting and detective. Use that Batman as a basis.

    If anyone base it on the New 52…I will just wait for DVD.

    • The new 52 Batman is pretty much the same Batman that’s been around for the last 10-15 years. They didnt really touch his continuity, just made him a bit younger.

    • The new 52 Batman is pretty much the same Batman that’s been around for the last 10-15 years.

    • I know the darker tone of a movie is different from the Darker Tone of the character. But, given the rate that DC with their New 52, I am hoping that they do not create a dark Superman. They need to do it right for Man of Steel, and lets face it last good Superman Movie was Superman II and I was a freaking kid when that came out, hell my Kids think Supermn Returns is a good Superman Movie…
      … Zack Snyder is a good director, but I still have issues with his remake of Dawn of the Dead (Running Zombies. So I will wait and see what he does with Man of Steel (The Throwing of the steel girders strikes me as wanting to see.)

  9. I think WB/DC should be wise and analyze what worked for the Nolan’s trilogy. I am not asking for carbon-copy, cheap rip-off or continuation but there is a reason why The Dark Knight Trilogy is in my opinion a masterful trilogy.

    I think by the way how Man of Steel is shaping up, a grounded (not overly realistic) take on the mythos is the route WB/DC should take if the film is successful. With the Dark Knight Trilogy, if Man of Steel is able to convey the essence and epicness of the Superman mythos while providing a grounded emotional and exciting take on the character then it would be a great stratergy for WB/DC to take to not only differentiate its universe from Marvel but focus on the actual characters and their roles in the world than the outlandish elements that DC has from the comics or past film attempts.

    A grounded take with earnest storytelling will go along way for these films. One may argue that then it would be difficult to adapt certain of a character’s mythos. Such as Batman. After watching The Dark Knight Rises I felt that elements such as Ra’s still being alive could be deemed possible. Its all about introducing these elements in a way that seems organic and natural. Based on the Man of Steel footage and the tone I got from it along with the visuals, I could actually imagine Nolan’s Batman appearing on screen. Green Lantern did not work for a number of reasons but I feel it mainly lost me for the most part in the sense that I was watching a lightshow rather than a human story.

    I believe Batman should be fully formed and a legend in the Justice League film. Here they can take certain elements of Nolan’s trilogy without actually continuing the storyline ala Incredible Hulk. In that film, Bruce Banner was away in Brazil just as the Ang Lee’s Hulk left him but it was not really connected to one another in a concrete way. (I still feel the first Hulk had a better story while the latter was visually better and better made overall).

    Have Gotham going under expansion, structural changes in terms of architecture and politically hinting the end of TDKR but not needing to be established entirely. The Batman is a legend and myth that only the City of Gotham has really known. Then we introduce Batman as an absolute character, always under the mask. There is no clear point of Bruce being Batman until the end of the film. Batman is not in Gotham but investigating an occurence in Europe while leaving an “inside man”- Robin-in Gotham. Batman only reappeared in concrete form because this occurence is something in which he felt as the Batman could handle.

    Its a bit out there and I am not saying it should exactly be as such. But its a good way to reintroduce the character without so much heavy exposition to who is or where is from such as the same way as Hulk was introduced

    • Nightwing, well put. I have to add that Green Lantern, to me atleast seemed a bit force, try to put to much in the movie and not enough into the development of Hal Jordan.

      As with the Hulk, I have to differ with you on certain aspects of Hulk. Ang Lee, did not go into the back story of Bruce Banner/Hulk for reasons that, as a fan of the Hulk, was just not there for me. The Incredible Hulk however fill certain void left by Hulk, but like you said, it connected the two yet each was in its own way A Hulk Movie. Time will tell if a third Hulk Movie, based on The Avengers Hulk, which to me was the most complete and understanding of any and all Hulk, either comic, TV or Movies…IMHO

  10. Batman Beyond- that’s it.

  11. I don’t see a Batman reboot working out at all. As much as I am a Batman fan I am no longer interested in seeing the character further diluted in film. Every film to date has failed to capture Who and What Batman truly is. They’ve ether gone radically in one direction or the other without finding a middle ground.

    I think it’s time to Reboot Hollywood!

  12. To me, the best or at least coolest way to set up a batman reboot through the justice league universe would be to first have the solo superman movie which they are doing. From there have a superman/ batman tandem movie where it follows both characters in different ways. have the superman story take place after the man of still and have the batman side of the story show his as somewhat of a side character who is studying superman from a far for he doesn’t like the idea of basically a god controlling our fate. And at the end of the movie have batman go over his bio that he has created for superman as well as his desire to build bios for other fellow heroes. This will allow them to do a quick cameo for all the characters they want to include in the justice league movie. They can have that during the credits or something by showing batman’s cameras playing footage of them one by one from a far. And after that make the justice league movie take place and once again have batman start off as someone watching them all from a far but as time goes on he is forced to join the team to help defeat a threat so large that requires all of their talents to overcome it. After that they can start solo movies not just for a batman rebot but also solo movies for all they characters. Just my simple to cents on how id like to see it play out :/

  13. As people have already stated, I definitely agree that they need to emphasise his detective skills more and hopefully some of his strategic brilliance, perhaps with him coming up with the plan of attack in the final battle? After all, it’s said that Batman is unbeatable if he is prepared. Also the one thing that annoyed me with the other movies (actually all of them) is the way he fights, Batman is a martial artist but also an Olympic level gymnast and acrobatic…he shouldn’t be standing trading blows.

    Also I hope they finally give the cowl some lenses, I think it will help make Batman less ‘human’ if that makes any sense. The scene in TDK when he has the sonar lenses is without a doubt one of my favourite scenes.

    I think one of the hardest bits about a Justice League movie is going to portray Batman, who is/should be a loner, as someone who wants to be a founding member… don’t get me wrong, I know how/why he does it, it’s just I don’t think it should be an easy/quick decision for him to make. Hopefully they won’t try and make him seem friendly (even with Superman).

    I just really hope they have a scene or something after the credits which shows Batman at the Batcomputer with all the data on each of the other members and analysing them for their weaknesses…that would probably be one of the best possible scenes in the entire movie in my opinion…

    Oh and PLEASE no gravely/grumbling speech…

    • GREAT point on having him analyzing each of them – still not able to not think of worst case scenarios.

      In the Relaunch of JLA (not New 52, just years ago) they showed a ‘Yesterday’ segment where all the heroes were saying “let’s all form the Justice League, and be Super Friends” or whatever the case. Batman stood apart from them, and when Superman asked why, his reply was simply “this doesn’t feel like my fight.” He wants to fight humanity’s worst elements, not aliens from another dimension. I always loved the bit and would love to see it worked in, which I think fits with your line of thinking too.

  14. I’ve always wanted to see Batman’s more intellectual side come out I think the next director should be Darren Aronofsky. I’d like to see his take on the dark knight. As for villains I’d lie to see Killer Croc, Clayface, the Riddler, and Deadshot

  15. I still prefer my Batman films grounded more in fantasty like the tim burton films. Nolan’s films did nothing for me and I found them all to talky talky. Period. Robin, I’ve always liked the character and Batman needs Robin to reel him back in when he’s about to go to the edge. I see nothing wrong with the original robin costume. It’s a homage after all to his days with the flying graysons. With a reboot they can mute the colors darker. I would actually like to see them cast a 13-16 year old as Robin for a change. The animated Batman series got it right. Don’t know why live action is having so many issues adapting.
    If we can watch films like star wars, indiania Jones, a stranded alien who rides who loves reeses piecies, why can’t viewers suspend belief in a Batman film.
    Nolan’s films…in my opinion are overrated, and the last thing I want to see when I go into the the movies, is to be smacked with reality.
    Give me fantasty any day.

    • @Al I agree with you 100% about the robin point and I did love the Burton films but seeing the villains as realistic psychos just drove it home for me

  16. The problem they have is that this could easily go down an unbearable cheesy root if they introduce Batman in the JL movie.

    The ‘heroes’ get together,everyone agrees to fight…except Batman,he goes home in a grump.

    Then all the other heroes fight…somehow lose…all hope is lost..


    Saves the day by doing something simple, destroys a Super villain…making everything the other characters did for the past 2 hours obsolete, then the cheesy moment when the Superheroes adore Batmans ‘Human Qualities’

    Then he joins the justice league…

    Im sorry, I do not want that. Its corny and sh*t.

    Hopefully they dont do that!

    • LOL!!!! someone knows there comics pretty well!!!!

  17. I see no need for another origin story. The only exception would be for a television series, but it would be a waste of time in a film adaptation. I agree with the points made here, and I think these concepts have been overlooked in previous installments. As far as the Justice League movie goes, I say the Wachowski Brothers should direct it, with David Fincher doing a Batman film after. Both should be gritty, but there needs to be room for humor nonetheless. Acting wise, Nathan Fillion would be awesome as the Dark Knight. If we avoid an origin story, we wouldn’t have to worry about making him younger. And yeah, Robin would be a nice aspect if the character’s done right. There’s a lot of potential here, I’m just hoping whoever takes up the mantle of writer/director will have a vision that is consistent with fans and everyone at DC.

  18. For an ensemble film the Strategist angle works best. It’s the best way to give a sudden, awesome surprise/reveal for the audience.

    While the other heroes are trying to solve the Great Problem with their fists, and things begin to look hopeless, it’s revealed that Bruce (who seems outclassed, physically) has already thought several moves ahead, and prepared. Just having him continually be shown to be _smarter_ than the other heroes in a shared DC world would be a thrill.

  19. If you hardly Bruce Wayne…you need someone who is in physical shape as an actor, already has a fairly good look and could do a deeper voice…Guy Pearce?

  20. If they’re looking to establish some continuity, why not have Gordon-Levitt reprise his role having assumed the Dark Knight mantle? It’s a compelling idea and would establish more of the shared world feel that Marvel was able to accomplish with The Avengers (provided they do as assumed and use Henry Cavill as Superman ). They could do worse — far worse.

  21. Imo, id like to say Batman:TAS is the best example of how the next Batman reboot should be like & how that Batman should fit into the Justice League. Imo, no live-action film could be as faithful to what Batman:TAS was. Not just to Batman, but to many characters from within the comics.

  22. This site is slowly becoming one of my favorites, and it’s because of articles like this one.

    If Man of Steel is indeed the lead in to an the expanded universe, it is without a doubt my most anticipated movie between now and then.

    Nolan’s take on Batman was pretty cool… but it’s still not a PROPER BATMAN. I for one am sick of getting a “directors take” on a character rather than the director staying loyal to the source material. Trying to make a comic book movie “real” completely defeats the purpose, IMO.

    • @DR Mindbender glad to hear you enjoyed the read, sir! And agreed: if Man of Steel has this much riding on it, then that is a terrifying amount of pressure. But if the film is a complete success, I won’t be able to keep from being optimistic about just how many doors it opened.

  23. Just watched Karl Urban as Dredd – excellent film – and couldnt help thinking he’d be a brilliant Batman: 1. he looked excellent in the Dredd helmet, woule look good in the cowl; 2. he’d be good as a flamboyant, charming, humerous bruce wayne (he was excellent as Bones in star trek) 3. His voice + tone in dredd was so similar to clint eastwood’s, which would suit batman (especially when he’s arguing with the flash etc) 4. He’s an excellent actor – he’s played so many different roles, and i can t think of anything in which he’s been bad (the heroic shakesperean exile in Lord of the Rings; the relentless villain in Bourne; comedic element in Star Trek, riddick… the list goes on!) The man’s got it all – including the charisma needed for the Bat

  24. They could always make Dick Grayson 15-16 and when he goes off to college he comes back and splits into Nightwing! Then they could introduce Jason Todd and the Death in the Family Storyline and later movies go into the Tim Drake Robin.

  25. IMO: I think that the most vital things to incorporate into this Batman reboot is of course the strategist, that’s the most important one. And then the fear. Yes, you should make Batman as a character even more darker than the Nolan trilogy, because if I saw a 6’2 230 man dressed in a Batsuit I would be scared shitless. As far as an actor is concerned Joe Manganiello; Hands down. He’s the only actor right now that has the acting capability and surpasses the stature needed to be Batman.