BATFILMS OF THE FUTURE?
The end is near — when the credits roll on “The Dark Knight Rises” this July, it will mark the close of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the final adventure for Christian Bale as the caped crusader of Gotham City. Warner Bros. executives have made it clear they won’t leave the iconic property sitting on a shelf, however, and a new director and star tandem could be inhabiting Wayne Manor by 2014. But how on earth will any filmmaker follow the work of Nolan and company? Working together, Hero Complex lead writer Geoff Boucher and graphic artist Sean Hartter came up with 15 imaginary Batman reboots — and, yes, they did it with tongue in cheek.
Rob Marshall’s “Gotham!”: Oscar-nominated “Chicago” director Rob Marshall takes the caped crusader into truly new territory: a musical. Yes, that’s right, after Spider-Man’s huge Broadway success, why not give the world another singing superhero. Hugh Jackman, star of stage and screen, will win you over as he saves the day in this stylized, high-energy adventure that also stars “Sweeney Todd’s” Johnny Depp as the Joker, pop diva Beyonce as Catwoman, “Hair Spray” costar Zac Efron as Dick Grayson and “Dick Tracy” costar Mandy Patinkin as Commissioner Gordon. The soundtrack features catchy tunes like ”Crime Alley,” “Batarang, Batarang” and “The Joke’s on Me.”
Brad Bird’s “Mister Freeze’s Icy Revenge”: Christopher Nolan mapped the darkest corners of Bruce Wayne’s psyche and Gotham itself – now Brad Bird bravely goes in a bold, brighter direction with a James Bond-influenced and Pixar-informed adventure, “Mister Freeze’s Icy Revenge.” Bird directed one of the smartest superhero films ever with “The Incredibles” and his first live-action feature film, “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” delivered high-altitude thrills and explosive box office. Bird famously loves old James Bond films so he’s the perfect choice to bring gadgets and a sly wink to the Batcave, especially with star Timothy Olyphant, who on “Justified” has shown that vendetta justice can be done with verve.
Guillermo del Toro’s “Batman”: Bruce Wayne created his fearsome Batman persona to scare criminals (a “superstitious and cowardly lot”) and through the years in the comics he has run into true creatures of the night. That legacy now reaches the screen as Guillermo del Toro ( “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Hellboy”) veers away from Christopher Nolan’s grounded Gotham to present a spooky city where the occult and dark science mix in the shadows. Jonathan Rhys Meyers, with his haunted eyes and dark charisma, is the title character and he’s got all he can handle with Hugo Strange (Ben Kingsley) and Man-Bat (Doug Jones) — not to mention Jim Corrigan (Michael C. Hall), a murdered cop who won’t stay dead.
CHECK BACK FOR THE REST OF THE SERIES
Monday, Feb. 13: Vote for your favorite — and submit your own Batfilm ideas.
— Geoff Boucher and Sean Hartter
RECENT AND RELATED
FIRST LOOK: ‘Dark Knight Rises’ toys