After my previous post about Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, I’ve been thinking about how I would do a Batman movie (or series of movies). Buckle up, here we go…
First of all, the movies would look very much like a German Expressionist movie, with long shadows and twisted, creepy sets. Gotham City would be heavily stylized, very Art Deco and Bauhaus. At the same time, the actors would play everything straight, not campy. This is a world that believes its own internal logic. It doesn’t need to wink at the audience or play up that it’s unrealistic. It simply is what it is.
Batman, I feel, has had too much emphasis put on “rich guy with gadgets” and not nearly enough on “world’s greatest detective and martial artist.” Batman wouldn’t wear body armor or a heavy, rubber outfit. Batman’s costume would be tight, but flexible, allowing him to do lots of acrobatics and martial arts moves. Does this make Batman more vulnerable in fights? Realistically, yes. But again, this world believe its own internal logic, where a man can dress in a spooky bat costume and fight crime without getting crippled or killed. The story itself would revolve around Batman using his incredible detective skills to solve a real mystery and to plot and plan against his opponents. Think Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes mixed with Douglas Fairbanks as Zorro and Jet Li as…well, whoever Jet Li plays.
Yes, Batman would be pretty grim and humorless (although he’d be the opposite as Bruce Wayne). But he wouldn’t be completely obsessed with eliminating crime–that is, he’d also be looking out for ordinary citizens, especially children threatened by crime or random bad circumstances. He’s the Dark Knight, but I see that as an honorable, caring knight who dresses in dark colors and lurks in the shadows. He’s not morally grey, he’s simply chosen to appear spooky to scare the bejeezus out of criminals.
The villains (the Scarecrow, the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman and, yes, the Joker would all be my top picks) would be flamboyant, but not campy. (Well, the Joker’s pretty inherently camp.) They’d be sinister and villainous, colorful and surreal, the flip side of Batman, who would be dark and mysterious but heroic.
And that, my friends, is how I would do Batman movies.