How I’d Reboot DC Films, Starting with 'Batman'


The DC cinematic universe is a bit of a mess. I get it. You get it. The last thing the world needs is another disgruntled nerd writing a pseudo think piece about why Superman snapping Zod's neck was a bad idea. What the world could use, however, is a tactful proposition to quell the growing North Korea Crisis. I'm working on it. Until then, here's my pitch for the all new reboot of DC FILMS.

You gotta start with Batman. I'm as exasperated with this country's fetishism of Batman as you (probably) are, but the guy sells tickets. It just makes sense for DC Films to start and end with the most human element on the team.

We’ll make him brooding and stoic so the fanboys have something to jerk off to, but honestly I imagine it's gonna be hard to lean on the whole “My parents are dead, wah” trope following the release of 2017’s Lego Batman – a film that served both as a hilarious homage to the Caped Crusader as well as a long overdue send off  of his moody bullshit.

Batman is complex, but that doesn't have to mean tormented. Think Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven. Let the pain manifest in the way he does things as opposed to endless flashbacks and dream sequences. Speaking of Clint Eastwood, I think a near perfect choice to convey “I've been through some shit, but don't I look good in a three piece suit” is none other than the son of the legend himself, Scott Eastwood. He's perfect for a five-years-into-the-job Batman and he's just the right level of stardom as to be a moderate draw, but not enough to be distracting. Give him the classic gray and black suit, 86 the undies over the pants (I’m thinking the threads from Earth One ) and set the first film in the late 1950’s.

This makes sense for several reasons. In terms of marketing, it draws a definitive line between DC films and The MCU, slackening the itch to mimic their every step. And in terms of just pure aesthetics, nothing compliments a vigilante detective quite like trench coats and Tommy guns. He'll still have his gadgets, but they'll be just that: gadgets, not slick, beeping pocket-sized deus ex machinas.

The first film plays as an almost buddy cop crime noir thriller following Dick Grayson on his first days on the job. I think Jacob Tremblay would nail it as a throwback version of Dick. I'd have the opening sequence feature the two taking down someone fun like Penguin or Riddler, then sprinkle a few Easter eggs and a dash of tasteful references throughout the film to imply that a lot of the famous stories from the comics ( Year One, Long Halloween ) took place sometime in the years before we’re introduced to this Batman. This way, this world can feel lived in sans the pressure to adapt every issue of the Dark Knight’s long and complicated history.

This Bruce is all about justice, but has a serious ax to grind with the lack of aggression with which the GPD handles crime. This doesn't mean he's going around bashing people skulls in, it simply means to get things done, he has to work outside of the law that he feels failed his parents, a sentiment he shares with James Gordon (played by Sean Bean, because wouldn't that be fun?)

We also introduce the Joker in the first film, who’s currently in Arkham planning something big. We had gangster Joker and sadistic Joker – how about witches nose, not-quite-human, but straight up bad comedian Joker? I'm thinking Willem Dafoe, but I'm not exactly married to the idea.

Movie two would be another Batman film with increasingly less subtle hints to the larger world Gotham lives in, particularly the existence of Barry Allen, a small time vigilante from Central City still learning to use his powers while apprehending the occasional jewel thief or two. Point is, superheroes exist but only to those in the know.

The third Batman film would be a loose adaptation of Knightfall, in so much as the “something big” The Joker was planning is a massive prison break of many of Batman's famous rogues' gallery, resulting in his metaphorical/physical defeat. Maybe we won't go so far as breaking his back, but the major idea at play here is Bruce is forced to drastically rethink the way he's been doing things up until this point, primarily the whole it's my way or the highway routine.

And that’s where I’ll leave it for now. Stay tuned if you're curious as to how this ties into everybody’s favorite blue boy scout and The Justice League.

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