Where to Take Batman Next

All right, so we’ve got a new Batman movie. And it’s pretty good! Better than the last solo Bat outing of “The Dark Knight Rises” and more well-received than Batffleck has been, undoubtedly. People are excited for Batman once again? OK, great!

So, what’s next?

Just no.

Everyone’s speculating as to what villains will be in the next film, but is that all there is to Batman? Also, no one seemed particularly excited about the Joker tease that was featured in The Batman. I think we might all have sadistic clown fatigue, especially after Leto’s poor showing.

So we might get a cool villain next, maybe a Clayface or a proper Poison Ivy, but what I’m more interested in is how these villains will change Gotham and, more importantly, how they will affect Batman’s crusade to save Gotham.

Really, I don’t want this new Batman series to just have a villain of the week, I want to see Batman, over the course of three movies, actually save Gotham. I want to see him change and adapt as he goes, realize his mistakes and course correct, learn how to best navigate the criminal underworld and the corrupt leadership in order to subvert them and ultimately, eliminate them. I want to watch Batman improve on his Bat-persona to not only strike fear into the hearts of your average mugger, but make the shady alderman quiver in his shoes.

We got some hints of this in Nolan’s trilogy, but it did not commit to the concept. In “The Dark Knight,” Bruce Wayne realized that Batman couldn’t save the city, but a brave and just person like Harvey Dent could. It was then ruined by the Joker and Batman had to become the pariah so that Dent’s image wasn’t sullied and could still be a beacon for the city to follow. But did he save Gotham by doing that?

Watching “The Dark Knight Rises,” makes one think that, no, Batman failed. But, really, Nolan’s Batman lost its way. I think that losing Heath Ledger really disrupted whatever the third movie could have been and that made things get really messy. I’m speculating, but the quality of the third film makes me think that plot wasn’t the original intention. I mean, that film was just a mess, in general.

Then remember how Catwoman shot Bane and then Batman shot Talia and that’s how the good guys won? Real quality film there.

We’ve seen “The Batman” touch upon the concept of corrupt bureaucracy being the real villain. It’s off to a great start, really. We saw how the Wayne fund was mismanaged and used to line the pockets of officials and crime lords. We saw how the police were working to maintain that system. We had Catwoman point out how privilege can warp the view of systemic problems. We had Gordon begin to root out corruption in the police department.

All of these are great set-ups for monumental change in Gotham, if Batman and Gordon keep pulling that thread. The problem is that the comics don’t ever let this happen. Gotham has to continue to be corrupt in order to have Batman be necessary. But the movies don’t have this problem. They can finish after three films and then reboot, so it would make sense for Batman to actually save Gotham. And not just from a nuclear bomb. From itself.

Will it be hard to do this? Yes, of course. Would I be happy to write a treatment for Warner Brothers? Twist my arm, why don’t ya?

But let’s be bold. Let’s have Batman do the work. Let’s have Gotham change and grow along with our hero. We have a chance to see what Batman can really do here. He is more than just a specter of fear, he’s a symbol of hope now. Let’s find out if he can rally the people of Gotham to radically change the city and how he can do so.

Make my Batman be the hero Gotham needs and deserves.

Cue the piano.

Also, give us a proper Robin, you cowards.

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