Like most of America, I’m going to see The Dark Knight Rises this evening and am quite excited about that prospect. Given that Batman is an intellectual property that basically prints money, it’s inevitable that Warner Brothers is going to reboot the series in a few years in some way, shape, or form. Retreading the Nolan movies would be a mistake- if they try to out-Nolan Nolan, it’s just going to be embarrassing for everyone involved. If they try to go all Adam West on us, fans will rebel. If they rehash Batman’s origins, that will just be boring.
What to do?
My wholly and completely unsolicited idea: Make it all about the Batman/Robin dynamic.
We’ve already seen Batman become Batman, fight dudes, brood, all that other Bat-stuff. One thing we haven’t seen him do yet is be the Bat-dad of the Bat Family. Seeing an actually good movie where Batman has to deal with having a partner, working with people, etc., would be a something new. Here’s the pitch-
Dick Grayson grows out of his role as Robin, and takes up the Mantle of Nightwing. Grayson goes out on his own, punches some dudes, and has a great time being a vigilante without any help from Dad/Batman. Meanwhile, Bats is still in Gotham, feeling kind of like an empty nester and, despite his insistence otherwise, isn’t dealing with the loneliness well. Meanwhile, a young photojournalist/hacker/Robin wannabe named Tim Drake is spying on Bats.
A villain (someone uncomplicated- let’s say Killer Croc) messes up some stuff in Gotham. Bats gets clobbered, but is saved at the last minute by Tim Drake. Who insists that he’s the new Robin. Batman grumbles and makes lots of cantankerous old man sounds, but eventually gives in accepts the new kid. He’s also secretly relieved, because he knows that he actually needs a partner in crime(fighting).
Meanwhile, Nightwing uncovers an Evil Plan and realizes that he alone can’t stop it. He contacts Bats, and they make a plan to stop whatever evil MacGuffin is about to happen.
Batman, Robin, and Nightwing get together and punch evil.
I’d love to see a movie like this. It would be necessarily different in tone from the Nolan movies (sort of a necessity when you have Robin), wouldn’t be about Batman’s origins or lonely struggle against evil-ness, and the plot wouldn’t be villain-driven. Like The Avengers, the central conflict would be about the heroes negotiating their relationships, overcoming their own conflicts, and then coming together. It would be fresh, new, and would potentially make up for that other horrible Batman and Robin movie. It could be great. (And yes, I know it doesn’t have Jason Todd. Let’s just stick to the actually good Robins.)
So there’s my idea. If anyone at Warner Brother is reading this, you now owe me five million dollars. You’re welcome.