Few comic book writers have maintained a consistent influence on the silver screen incarnation of Batman quite like Frank Miller. His dark, brooding take on The Dark Knight's mythos became the standard interpretation of Bruce Wayne and his moody alter ego for an entire generation. To put it bluntly: the guy knows the character inside and out. Now he seems to have advice regarding how to make a proper Batman movie, and it all boils down to simplifying the story. Miller explained:
My dream would be to make it much smaller. To lose the toys and to focus more on the mission, and to use the city a great deal more. Because he's got a loving relationship with the city he's protecting. And unlike Superman his connection to crime is intimate; it has been ever since his parents were murdered. And he defeats criminals with his hands. So it would be a different take. But it will never be in my hands, because it would not be a good place to make toys from. There wouldn't be a line of toys.
Frank Miller recently talked to Variety about his career as a comic book writer, and addressed what a proper Batman movie really needs. By his own estimation, the trick to a good Batman story is to scale things down in order to focus on Bruce Wayne's intimate connection with crime, criminals, and Gotham City itself. Rather than revolving around the spectacle of his "toys" like the Batwing or Batmobile, a good Batman movie should level its focus on the man under the cowl, and the trauma that drives him as a hero.
Miller goes on to draw comparisons to Batman's opposite number in DC Comics, Superman. While the Man of Steel often finds himself taking on potentially apocalyptic threats, The Caped Crusader feels more driven to take on average street crimes because that's what made him Batman in the first place.
Few scenes in comic book history encapsulate Bruce Wayne's dark, personal attitude towards crime quite like his return to the cape and cowl in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Check out one of the coolest sequences in the animated version of the story to get a better sense of that small-scale, dark atmosphere.
Our collective hope is that the creative forces behind the DCEU take statements like this to heart. Spectacle will obviously play a major role in future DC films (that's pretty much a given with comic book movies), but they shouldn't lose sight of the personal nature of a character like Batman. Even if Batfleck takes on Steppenwolf and an enormous alien threat in Justice League, the core themes of Affleck's solo Batman movie should really simplify the character to his most basic elements.
What do you think of Frank Miller's advice? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. CinemaBlend will bring you any and all relevant DC updates as more information becomes available to us.