As many of you know, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will hit theaters later this week, and likely change the way we view superhero movies. We’re excited about so many elements from the coming film, but one of the aspects that intrigues us the most is Ben Affleck’s portrayal of an older, more grizzled Batman. He’s the most deeply explored comic book characters in all of cinema, and as a result, Affleck will likely bring something incredibly different than what we have seen before in order to stand out.
That has us wondering about the future of the Batman solo movies. The Dark Knight has an incredibly broad pool of rogues to face off against in his future adventures. Some characters, such as The Joker, are fundamental to the character and will obviously show up at some point; however, there are some Batman villains that Warner Bros. should absolutely steer clear of as they continue to develop the DCEU. With that in mind, we’ve developed a list of the six Batman rogues who should be avoided for the foreseeable future, with reasons why. Without further ado, let’s get the ball rolling:
Ra's Al Ghul / League of Assassins
Prior to the release of Batman Begins in 2005, many casual audiences probably had not even heard of Ra’s Al Ghul or his League of Assassins – or League of Shadows, in the Nolan verse. In the decade since that film’s release, innumerable DC properties have brought the shady organization and its mystical leader back to the forefront of our collective consciousness. Between The Dark Knight trilogy, the Arkham games, the DC animated universe, and the League’s inclusion on The CW’s Arrow, we think it’s safe to say that Ra’s Al Ghul and his League of Assassins should take a brief sabbatical before they wear out their welcome. Ra’s Al Ghul is a great villain, and the League represents a formidable opponent for the Caped Crusader, but it’s time for them to return to the shadows.
Just when we thought no new Batman villains would ever arise, Scott Snyder created the Court of Owls and blew us all away. However, one member of the Court needs to stay far away from a silver screen incarnation of Batman, and that's Lincoln March. As Bruce Wayne’s long-lost brother – real name Thomas Wayne Jr. – Lincoln March turned himself into a Talon and did battle with Batman during the events of the City of Owls story arc. The problem with Lincoln March is that his presence neuters the psychological fear factor associated with the Court of Owls, and his ultimate confrontation with Bruce Wayne turns into a purely physical mech suit brawl, rather than something deeper, and more cerebral.
James Gordon Jr.
Sure, Batman may face off against clay monsters, giant crocodiles, and aliens from far away galaxies, but his most terrifying enemies often seem the most normal. James Gordon Jr. premiered as a villain during the events of Scott Snyder’s Batman: The Black Mirror story arc. He’s a psychotic serial killer, and undeniably scary, but he won’t work in the DCEU because he’s primarily a villain against Dick Grayson’s Batman. Writer Scott Snyder used him as a foil to Grayson because Gordon Jr. can capitalize on Dick’s willingness to trust people and confide in them. If the DCEU seems intent on keeping Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne around as the primary Batman, such a dynamic likely won’t work. In layman’s terms: Gordon Jr. isn’t the sort of villain who poses a threat to Bruce in the same way he does to Dick. If Warner Bros. decides to bequeath the mantle of Batman to Dick Grayson at some point in the future, then we’re on board for James Gordon Jr. to appear. However, right now, it simply wouldn’t work.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice seems to lift quite a bit of wholesale material from Frank Miller’s seminal classic The Dark Knight Returns. However, one of the aspects that Dawn of Justice appears to be steering clear of – as far as we can tell – is the gang of Mutants that cause Bruce Wayne to come out of retirement. While having Batman face off against an army of rebellious kids is undoubtedly a cool prospect, the dystopian Mutants themselves don’t really fit in with the semi-recognizable world of the DCEU. Also, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises applied numerous aspects of the Mutants to Bane’s underground army, so we think it’s time for Batman to go in a new direction.
Look, Batman’s a vigilante, and as such all of his methods go against the law. That being said, we’ve had enough of Batman on the run from the Gotham City Police Department; we saw plenty of that during Christian Bale’s tenure as the character. Let Batfleck and the GCPD work together in the next Batman solo movie. We’re not saying that Batman needs to be making high profile public appearances, but to portray him legitimately working alongside J.K. Simmons’ Commissioner Gordon would drive any self-respecting Bat-fan wild. The insanely popular Arkham games proved that it's possible to depict a dark Batman who still maintains the popular support of Gotham’s citizens and civil services. Now let's see it on screen!
Any of Batman's Allies
Dawn of Justice will see Batman and Superman face off for the very first time on the silver screen, but after they finally make amends with one another, Warner Bros. should consider burying the idea of having their DC heroes fight. Sure, there have been numerous instances of Batman fighting the entire Justice League – and it’s almost always awesome – but any instances of Batman facing off against his fellow heroes will feel like retreading territory covered by Batman V Superman. DC lore is packed with amazing villains and iconic showdowns between good and evil; let the heroes operate as a cohesive unit following the growing pains of Zack Snyder’s latest effort.
Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.
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