Most comic book fans are likely excited at the prospect of a Ben Affleck-directed Batman movie -- especially one which, as frequently rumored, is being put together with the involvement of DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns.
Johns's rumored involvement is even more exciting when you consider the current trend of adapting specific comic book stories fairly closely. The man behind some of the best-selling comics of the last fifteen years or so should be a good influence on such a film.
Of course, when you look at most franchises, they've had a fairly limited number of movies in the current milieu. X-Men: Days of Future Past was the first serious attempt to closely imitate a specific comics storyline, even if things like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: The Last Stand did include elements of well-known comics tales. Ditto for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the first time a Superman film had really closely mirrored anything (The Dark Knight Returns and Doomsday: The Death of Superman).
Batman, though? Not so much. Big swaths of a number of his best stories have been adapted to live-action already, with Christopher Nolan taking The Vengeance of Bane, Knightfall, Batman: Year One, and Cataclysm on in the Dark Knight Trilogy.
And while a truer adaptation of some of those stories (particularly Year One) might make for interesting films, it would also be difficult to pull off. The Gotham earthquake thing would feel too familiar given the visibility of The Dark Knight Rises in the recent past, and Year One would be a hard sell given Ben Affleck's age.
So...what stories would we like to see Affleck's Dark Knight take on? Read on...!
A LONELY PLACE OF DYING
We've already seen evidence that at least one Robin has died under Bruce's watch -- something that haunts him.
We've also seen a movie where Bruce is clearly detached from humanity, increasingly angry and violent, and uncompromising. Superman has started to pull him out of that nosedive, and the Justice League films will likely explore a little of that territory as well, but as we've seen with Robert Downey, Jr.'s Iron Man, it's the solo films where you get to really explore your hero's psyche.
In the comics, Batman was in a similar headspace after Jason Todd died, and the thing that brought him out of it was the emergence of a new Robin -- Tim Drake, who basically took the job by force, figuring out who Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were and showing up at Wayne Manor to say that The Batman needed someone around who would keep hiim stable.
Doing this in a film would not only introduce Tim Drake -- familiar to people who read comics or watched the animated series in the '90s and 2000s -- but also provide ample opportunities to flash back to the movie versions of Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, establishing who they are and what they mean(t) to Bruce in the new cinematic world order.prevnext
This one is an interesting choice for the cinematic universe. Certainly, it's dark and gritty enough to give Batman an edge even by comparison to Batman V Superman and Man of Steel.
The story starts with Batman filing to save a little girl from drowning. Cursing himself and looking for a way to continue to excel beyond even his insane training regimen, Batman discovers Venom -- the same drug that would later fuel the villain Bane -- and starts taking it.
It makes him incredibly efficient, but it's highly addictive. Ultimately he realizes that he can't do this, and Alfred has to lock him down to come down from the addiction.
Also, Batman fights a shark.
It would be a small-scale, personal story, which is an interesting choice for a movie set in a shared cinematic universe...but it would easily sidestep that issue that the Avengers films are often faced with: as world-threatening events loom over you, why not call your teammates? In this case, because only Batman can conquer his own demons.prevnext
BATMAN: HUSH/UNDER THE RED HOOD
It seems likely that Hush and Under the Red Hood could be combined in a feature film, giving fans a bit of a cooler ending to the Hush storyline, which is one of the better IDEAS in recent Batman history but sort of fell flat in the execution.
When a serial killer starts making his way through Batman's rogues, the Dark Knight's life starts to unravel and he has to quickly figure out what's going on and what the motivation is for the killings. Written by Jeph Loeb and featuring art by Jim Lee, it's one of the best-selling Batman stories of the last twenty years and sets up a deeply personal nemesis for Bruce Wayne.
Meanwhile, Under the Red Hood puts Bruce through the psychological ringer as Jason Todd -- the dead Robin -- returns as a brutal antihero using the name of the Red Hood -- Joker's pre-Joker criminal identity.
Again, these could be fairly small-scale cases that affect Gotham more than the world, and give Ben Affleck plenty of dramatic stuff to sink his teeth into while not demanding too many Justice League cameos.prevnext
BLACK MIRROR/COURT OF OWLS
It's not likely we're going to see Dick Grayson taking over as Batman anytime soon, so Black Mirror would have to take some pretty substantial changes, but the idea of Gotham City being suddenly alien to Batman is something that would be really fascinating to explore in a seasoned Batman who says things like "how many good guys are left? How many stayed that way?" in Batman V Superman.
Scott Snyder has become one of the all-time classic Batman writers even in a context where the New 52 has left many writers feeling somewhat limited by editorial constraints. To see some of his material brought to life as a major motion picture would almost certainly result in a pretty badass movie.prevnext
This one's a pipe dream, not least of all because it would render the whole point of having a Ben Affleck Batman moot. But we'd love to see some version of Batman Beyond, and maybe that's something we can build toward if Affleck gets his own trilogy to headline or something.
After all, by 2025, do you really think Affleck is still going to want to be jumping rooftops?prev