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QuoteIn the summer of 1992, years of pleading and cajoling had finally brought reluctant director, Tim Burton, back for the sequel to 1989's mega-hit, Batman. Warners upped the budget and granted their filmmaker "carte blanche" in creating the movie, anticipating another smash. What they got was Batman Returns – still a moneymaker, but a significant comedown from 1989, and a film scorned by parents' groups and merchandising partners. The response so unnerved Warners that, when Burton merely entertained the idea of doing a third Batman, they were quick to dissuade him from inflicting any more damage on the youth of America – and more importantly, their franchise. Screenwriter Daniel Waters was told by a friend that Batman Returns was "a great movie for people who don't like Batman." That seems harsh to me; if only by coincidence, the film does reflect elements of the comics throughout their history. Plenty of Batman fans like the flick, too. It might be more accurate to say that Batman Returns is a great movie for people who don't like blockbusters, or at least have become exhausted and cynical toward them. There have been other thrill ride films that subvert expectations or poke fun at the concept of tentpole movies, but Batman Returns goes so far as to be an anti-blockbuster.
Misc Comics / Tim Sale interviews
Sat, 24 Jul 2021, 02:13
Does anyone happen to know where one can find an interview with Tim Sale where he discusses how he sees Batman as a character, and his preferred take on Batman?

Back when he had his own website, he had a section where he gave his thoughts on all the major characters he worked with, and I remember his take on Batman said something to the effect of him being "the most immature superhero of all," in the sense that he was still very much an 8-year old dealing with his dead parents. But that website no longer exists, and the only interview I can remember where he touches on that subject was for BOF, which no longer has it on the site.
Came across this today - interesting read:

I think the best bit is the way he distinguishes between Burton's approach and Nolan's: "Christopher Nolan's work is prose, Tim's is poetry, but they can co-exist in the same stratosphere..."
Anyone else caught this documentary?

It was clearly made on a budget, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I don't know how good a film Superman Lives would have been, but it would certainly have been interesting, and it would have been a much sharper break from the "established" cinematic Superman than anything done on film and TV since has been.
Does anyone know how many, and which episodes made use of Elfman's theme within the show itself, rather than just in the credits?
Borrowed this from davebgray of Batman-on-Film.

Be it from comics, serials, TV, animation, movies, newspaper strips, video games, or otherwise - pick one (or meld several) that represent your definitive takes on the following characters:

- Batman (either in combat or as detective)
- Bruce Wayne (playboy)
- Robin (all of 'em)
- Alfred
- Gordon
- Batgirl/woman/assorted female sidekicks
- Joker
- Catwoman
- Riddler
- Penguin
- Scarecrow
- Freeze
- Poison Ivy
- Bane
- Two-Face
- Ra's al Ghul/Talia
- Killer Croc
- Mad Hatter
- Batmobile
- Wayne Manor/Batcave

And I'll start:

- Batman (either in combat or as detective): Give me the costume from Returns (with improved mobility), Keaton's voice (and minimalist use of it), the detective skills and overall consistency of character from TAS (and, from the larger DCAU, the way his relationships end and where he is in life as an old man), and the menace of Tim Sale's artwork. Speaking of Sale, he describes Batman on his website as "...just eight years old. I think in some ways he's the least mature character of them all." I think having just a touch of that quality helps the character.

- Bruce Wayne (playboy): I don't like the playboy Bruce. I honestly think the Burton/Keaton take is an improvement on the character. The playboy whose face is plastered all over town would IMO always have to contend with tabloids and gossip rags alluding (at the least) to the possibility that he's Batman. Hell, in Year One, Gordon and partner pretty much figure the whole thing out. A Bruce Wayne who is physically unremarkable, socially awkward and withdrawn, and rarely thought of by the press or townsfolk seems much more likely to get away with what he gets away with. And I think the fact that it's not all an act in the Burton films is an improvement too. I would say that, if the Burton/Keaton take had caught on in other media, I would have liked a gradual evolution into a more confident figure who's comfortable being in public, and carrying on the family's philanthropic legacy.

- Robin: Eh...I just don't get Robin, especially not in the Post-Crisis Batman. When he was introduced in the 40s, Batman had no one to talk to at all, so it at least made sense in technical, storytelling terms; having someone around to talk to gives Batman a probable reason to explain what's going on. But Post-Crisis, Alfred's always been there, so Batman has someone to talk to; why on Earth would he endanger a kid like that? Dark Victory came the closest to making sense, but "closest" isn't very close here. I loved the Teen Titans animated series when it was on, so I guess that counts as my "definitive" take on Robin. I could appreciate the character of Dick Grayson there without stopping to wonder how he fits in to Batman's world.
That said - if I were to have a Robin in there, I would combine the three main ones: he would have Dick Grayson's name and overall personality from the 70s (and a future as Nightwing and leader of the Teen Titans), the youth and optimism of Tim Drake from TAS, and an end to his career as Robin that would combine Jason Todd's fate with Tim Drake's from Return of the Joker.

- Alfred: The design of TAS, the personality of Gough, and a background including both medical training and some sort of role in Mi6.

- Gordon: Hmm...I do like Gary Oldman's performance, but I also like the older Gordon of TAS. Maybe something that fills the middle ground between them.

- Batgirl/woman/assorted female sidekicks: These characters make even less sense to me than Robin. If Barbara (Gordon's biological, only child) were wheelchair-bound from the start, and spent her whole career by Batman's side as Oracle, that could be interesting.

- Joker: I really don't think there's been a bad version of the Joker in film or TV. Aesthetically, I like Alex Ross's Joker with Nicholson's fashion sense, but in terms of personality: I like a Joker who's funny and scary. Someone who uses the gag weapons, but you're never sure if they're just gags or truly deadly. I like the "super sanity" concept of Arkham Asylum, I like how frightening Ledger could get, I like how amusing Jack and Caesar could get, and I love Mark Hammil's ability to do both. If I read certain comics from the 70s, I more or less get all of that, so I suppose the 70s Joker is my pick.

- Catwoman: Another tough one. I like the sense of fun Julie Newmar brought to the role (you get some of that in the early seasons of "The Batman," too). Michelle Pfeiffer turned in an amazing performance, I love her costume, and I like that she's blonde. Her relationship with Batman is my favourite part of Hush. I liked the handle Nolan had on her morality. Her social status in the early episodes of TAS was interesting. So give me a blonde Selina with the TAS social standing, a Catwoman with a Pfeiffer-esque costume and whose standard mode is a more light-hearted, playful one, like Newmar or the Tim Sale comic "Date Knight," but with the ability to make the dark turns seen in Returns or Rises. And a Selina/Cat who eventually moves into Hush territory with Bruce/Bat.

- Riddler: I kind of like "The Batman's" take on Riddler. Give that Riddler the first TAS costume and we're pretty close.

- Penguin: TAS struck a good balance between the earlier "gentleman of crime" with a bird fetish of the comics with the "outcast freak" elements Burton brought in. The first TAS design, Paul Williams' voice (and the overall personality he brought to it), with the mob boss angle worked in would be my definitive take.

- Scarecrow: I like the final TAS design, but I also like Loeb's penchant for having the character speak in nursury rhymes. Put those two together and we're in business.

- Freeze: TAS. Though I do find Ah-nohld quite entertaining :)

- Poison Ivy: Loeb/Sale. A great take on the character; the only one I find genuinely creepy.

- Bane: Not a big Bane fan. I suppose I'd say Nolan's take, as it was an improvement IMO, but that's relative here.

- Two-Face: I liked the "Big Bad Harv" concept from TAS. The cause of his split personality may need to be made more severe than a scuffle with a childhood bully to work outside a "kid's" show, but I really do think that's an improvement on the comics. The transition from Harvey to Two-Face in Dark Knight is actually a relative weak spot in that film IMO. Once he becomes Two-Face, I'd say my favourite take is The Long Halloween.

- Ra's/Talia: The original Ra's al Ghul story is fantastic. He's a character who I think may be a tad overused now. I imagine him in that original story with Neeson's voice. I don't like Talia at all.

- Killer Croc: Meh...the idiot looked down on by the rest of the villains from TAS was kind of fun.

- Mad Hatter: His initial appearance in TAS was nice, but that characterisation didn't really hold up in later episodes. The Loeb/Sale take had some menace to him, but was underdeveloped. This guy could use some work.

- Batmobile: Burton's.

- Wayne Manor/Batcave: Batman Returns.
Fan Fiction / Hypothetical new Bat-series
Fri, 31 Aug 2012, 02:12
I suppose this is the best place to put this...

On another forum, when we were asked what we wanted to see in Batman's future, most posted brief descriptions of the next hypothetical film, or the next trilogy. I'd prefer the future of Batman to be in high-budget, hour-long dramatic television, and I got a little carried away putting my thoughts together ;D Here they are.

OK, so this may seem repetitive, but - I think TAS got it right with "Dark Deco." 30s dress and cars mixed with modern computers and TVs (which all have black and white screens) just worked for Batman's world, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I would push the architecture into a more overtly Gothic/Victorian style, with interiors taken from the late 50s/early 60s. I wouldn't mind a more "cartoony" character design either; I think a clean, simple, retro look to the characters mixed with very dark backgrounds and stories would make an interesting clash. As I said, the format would be hour-long, with 20 episodes a season and a TV-14 rating.


On a foggy, drizzly, miserable evening, Bruce Wayne slips back into Gotham unnoticed after his many years away. Alfred picks him up, takes him to his parents' graves, and the obligatory flashback to the death of his parents is shown. This is as much of his origins as we'll ever see; Bruce's past, his travels, his training are to be left a mystery.

The Gotham Bruce has returned to has, for years, been under the total control of the Gotham Hold (an equivalent to the Five Families of New York), an alliance of the five major organized crime groups in town - the Falcone Empire, the Maroni Family, The Penguin's Flock, The Grissom Syndicate, and the Thorne Gang. The heads of these gangs are all public figures - Carmine Falcone and Carl Grissom relish their notoreity - but while Gothamites of all stripes have some awareness that the game is rigged, the true extent of the Hold's power and its true make-up is a complete mystery to the public and to most of law enforcement. Harvey Dent, fresh off his election victory, and Captain Gordon have put forward the most determined team trying to bust the Hold, but their efforts have been in vain. The judges and police commissioner they work with are openly corrupt. Of the three largest private companies headquartered in Gotham - Wayne Enterprises, Daggett Pharmaceuticals, and Shreck's Entertainment - two are in league with the Hold. Bruce and Dent have been friends since childhood, but while the friendship has survived Bruce's long absence, Dent doesn't turn to Bruce for support. Upon his return, Bruce Wayne comes off as a "goody goody," completely incorruptible, but with no social skills, no public presence, and no business sense. No one in Gotham notices or cares that he's back. But while some of that persona is unintentional and genuine, Bruce does get more serious behind closed doors. While he leaves Lucius Fox in the CEO chair that Fox has held since Thomas Wayne's death, Bruce asks him to do more for the city and to ramp up competition with their crooked rivals. He also starts pilfering various cancelled and untested technology projects, which Fox turns a blind eye to.

Batman makes his first appearance on the docks, making short work of some small-time drug dealers. They are associates of the Falcone Empire; applying his detective skills, Batman is able to trace them to the Empire's largest narcotics crew and takes down the whole lot of them as they attempt a big score. On a Halloween later dubbed "Nosferatu Night," he tracks down and assaults the bosses of all the Hold gangs and uses sonar technology to sick thousands of bats on each of them. This strike throws Gotham upside down and emboldens Dent and Gordon, who succeed in forcing out the corrupt commissioner and finding a judge to prosecute the captured Falcone crew. It is Dent who Batman first contacts in this series, though Gordon is soon brought in, and the trio concot a plan to expose the extent of the Hold's power and take down the biggest and most public of its gangs - the Falcones. Batman's methods let him uncover more than his legitimate partners ever could, and Gordon makes a turncoat of one of the captured Falcone soldiers. In a televised event analogous to the Valachi hearings, Dent uses the soldier as a mouthpiece to make public all of Batman's intel: each gang has its own primary racket, and various systems are set up to interconnect their interests. The Falcones make their living through narcotics and arms smuggling. The Maronis, once the one and only powerhouse in Gotham organized crime, have been cut down by their younger partners over the years and are now headed by a man, "Don Salvatore," who had hoped to escape his family's criminal past and reluctantly oversees his organization's gambling interests. The Penguin's Flock is a loose cabal of eight upper-crust figures who dabble in white collar crime, primarily counterfeiting, fencing of valuable antiques and artifacts, and high level political corruption. Their true leader is unknown, but Batman has observed all its members coming and going from the supposedly ruined Cobblepot estate. The Grissom Syndicate handles prostitution, with waste management as a very strong "front," and oversees the Red Hood, the Hold's murder squad so named for the unique outfit its members wear to avoid detection. Not even Batman could learn the names of the Red Hood's members. The Thornes control the unions of Gotham. Each gang has a set number of seats on the Hold's "board of directors," and they meet monthly to coordinate and plot new illicit business. The public notoreity drives the Hold underground, and Batman makes a spectacular raid on Carmine Falcone's home, making off with "The Roman's" ledger. Dent is able to use it to secure arrest warrants for the top administration of the Empire, and in the biggest trial Gotham has seen in decades, manages to put Carmine Falcone away for life.

The victory is short-lived, however. The soldier-turncoat is gunned down by the Red Hood as he is brought in to testify at a new trial. The first of the radical criminals make their appearance: Catwoman, who seems more interested in playing cat and mouse with Batman than in any of the things she steals. While Batman hunts down the Cat, Bruce meets Selina Kyle. They immediately form a bond, though Selina seems more interested in a flirtatious friendship than anything serious. When Batman finally catches Catwoman, she proves gracious in defeat, revealing where everything she stole is, though she eludes actual arrest. Selina abruptly stops seeing Bruce around the same time. Next is Ivy, who seduces Dent with a mind to kill him for prosecuting eco-terrorists. Batman stops her, but the affair strains Dent's relationship with his wife Gilda. Finally, Mr. Freeze assaults Daggett Pharmaceuticals, hoping to take revenge on the underlings who caused his condition and to force Roland Daggett to pay for research to save his wife. When Batman stops Freeze, he is able to convince him to put vengeance aside, orders Fox to set up a research lab for Freeze in prison, and for the rest of the series, Freeze is an ally to Batman.

The affair with Ivy is kept hidden from the public and the Hold, but it shakes up Dent's mental state. He begins to see a psychologist - none other than Jonathan Crane, who sees Dent on the side from his duties at Arkham Asylum. Dent is revealed to have a split personality, born from his efforts to suppress his rage after he accidentally killed his alcoholic father while trying to defend himself and his mother. Crane has lately cut deals with the Thorne Gang to get their men out of jailtime, and also engages in many twisted experiments concerning fear. He now wants to see what would happen if Gotham's greatest hero became its greatest public menace. He approaches the Thornes for aid, and without the approval of the Hold, they agree. Dent and Gilda are kidnapped; restrained, Dent sees Gilda murdered before his eyes. As The Scarecrow, Crane tortures Dent with fear toxins, what he knows about his past, and a faceful of corrosive bleach (I have Dent down as black; Burton's "black/white" concept was a good idea). Batman of course learns of the kidnapping and rushes to the rescue, but is too late to save Dent or capture Scarecrow. When Dent recovers physically, his mind is gone. He becomes "Two-Face Dent," and with a flip of the coin, vows to take down the Hold by killing off all its members. He goes on a mass shooting spree, sending Gotham into a panic. Rupert Thorne manages to escape Two-Face's wrath, but is killed by the Red Hood for helping to bring this menace upon the Hold. Crane delights in his "experiment's" success, and Gordon and Bruce are left to deal with the loss of their friend.


A few months have passed. Two-Face has continued his shooting spree, driving all of organized crime further underground. He has claimed several Thorne soldiers, an entire Falcone crew, and the Falcone acting boss. The next in line for that job, Angelo Falcone, finds the Hold falling apart. He and the Penguin (who finally reveals himself to his fellow mobsters via speaker phone) both conclude that the strongest Hold gang could take advantage of their situation and absorb the others, and so the two begin a race to conquest. Their most visible battlefield is in their support for competing factions in the Thorne Gang; underboss Lew Moxon is backed by the Falcones, while lieutenant Vasily Kosov has the support of the Penguins. Angelo also adopts the guise of Holiday and starts killing off the biggest threats to his Empire in the other gangs. The Holiday guise is a risk; after the Two-Face fiasco, the Hold has voted to cut all ties to the "freaks." Not only has Angelo become a freak, he has kept in contact with Crane. And while he and the Penguin duke it out, sister Sofia and aunt Carla work to undermine his reign within the Empire.

Meanwhile, Gordon and Batman have soldiered on without Dent. The new DA, Janice Holder, is unfriendly towards Batman (and, as a social friend of Angelo Falcone, is lax if not openly corrupt when it comes to the Hold). Nevertheless, Gordon and Bats do have their successes. Gordon has put together a loyal team (Bullock, Montoya, John Blake, O' Hara). Selina abruptly reappears, and she and Bruce start casually dating. And Batman has an ace in the hole - Salvatore Maroni. After the Two-Face fiasco, the reluctant godfather has had enough. He won't testify for the police or the law, but he will talk to Batman. Among the nuggets he gives up is the identity of all the Red Hood assassins, as well as the leaders of the hit squad - Joe Chill and "Glasgow Jack," who have only been seen before this as Grissom's chauffers and, in Jack's case, a popular stand-up at Underworld nightclubs. Based on Maroni's tips and Batman's own work, the Grissom Syndicate becomes the next prime target in the Hold. Tipped off by a mole, Grissom tries to avoid Carmine Falcone's fate. He resigns as head of his Syndicate, names Jack as his successor, and goes into hiding. Jack is unpopular as a boss in the Syndicate and in the entire Hold, not because he is too greedy, but because he frightens them. Ever since Batman first appeared, Jack has grown more and more wild - and he was barely in control to begin with. Since the Red Hood will not betray their boss, the Hold recruits gunmen from each gang to take Jack and his crew out as they inspect a chemical plant they operate as a front, Axis. Tipped off, the Red Hood all don their standard disguise and ambush their attackers. Batman and the police try to break up the fight and bring Jack to justice, but in the end, some of the Red Hood are killed, most are captured, two slip out, and another is accidentally knocked into a vat of chemicals by Batman. Jack and Joe Chill are not accounted for.

While Maroni's testimony is helpful, Batman has no respect for him. He is horrified when Maroni turns up at a Wayne fundraiser as a guest of Leslie Thompkins. It is revealed  that Salvatore's father Luigi was a patient of Thompkins, was also a reluctant mobster who tried to reform before the Falcones started a mob war, and had his life saved by Thomas Wayne. Dr. Wayne and Luigi became friends in spite of themselves. Salvatore is also Thompkins' patient and has kept a correspondence with Alfred started by his father. Bruce develops a reluctant respect for the godfather, and just in time. The Hold has found out that Maroni talked to the Batman, and kidnapped his two sons to try and force him to come forward and admit what he said. Instead, Batman and Maroni blaze into where the boys are being kept and save them. Maroni officially cooperates with law enforcement, convinces several of his top men to do the same, and is deported to Sicily, where he takes up his dream job as a writer.

The testimony of the Maroni defectors opens up the entire Hold to prosecution, and Batman and Gordon are hopeful for a successful strike against them, despite distractions from new "freaks" (Man-Bat) and Catwoman's return. But a few weeks after the incident at Axis, a radio message announces that Grissom will meet his death at the hands of the Joker. The prediction comes true, down to the minute. Several more members of the Syndicate meet a similar end before the targets become random civilians. The deaths are all caused by "the Joker's Patented Smylex Venom," which Batman is able to synthesise an antidote for, but no one can predict or stop the deaths. The Joker makes his first public appearance in a deadly parade that leaves one of the busiest streets of Gotham in ruins, courtesy of Mr. J and his Red Triangle Circus Gang. It is implied (but never confirmed) that the Joker is either Jack or Joe Chill, and whichever he isn't is the Ringleader character of the Circus Gang. The Ringleader is the Number 3 man in  the group; Number 2 is Harley Quinn, who has Dini's origin but met Joker outside of an institution.

The Joker keeps up his reign of terror, always evading the law and Batman. His antics are destroying organized crime. After Grissom's death, what remains of his gang is absorbed by the Penguins; what was left of the Maronis was absorbed by the Falcones. They continue to fight each other through the Thornes. Angelo Falcone hires Crane to take out the Joker. Crane gets his chance when the Joker breaks into Arkham. As Scarecrow, Crane tries his fear gas on the Joker; it has no effect. In response, the Joker gases Scarecrow, and all of Arkham, with a laughing gas, and sets them all loose on Gotham. When Sofia Gigante gets wind of her brother's failed plan and Holiday guise, she puts a contract on his head; on the 4th of July, Angelo takes them both out in a suicide strike, leaving his top man as the boss of the Empire. In the Thorne Gang, Kosov kills Moxon and agrees to serve under the Penguin. Batman exposes the Penguin as Oswald Cobblepot at some point in the season, but he is able to remain an obscure figure. Two-Face, with a flip of the coin, plans a bombing of the Cobblepot estate, but the Penguin escapes to an underground lair. He and the new Falcone boss make peace, and the streamlined Hold plots its future in a Gotham where the criminal scene is dominated by the freaks.

Batman and Gordon rush to control this situation. Batman targets the Joker himself, getting unexpected help from Catwoman. In the end, the Joker falls from a building and his body can't be found (the Joker's appearances would follow in the vein of his earliest comics; he appears to have died, but you're never sure). While most of the inmates of Arkham (and Scarecrow) remain loose, Gordon manages to scatter them, capture most of the Circus Gang (Harley and the Ringleader get away), and Two-Face. He is promoted to commissioner.


The most episodic season, featuring encounters with classic Batman foes. A proper confrontation with Scarecrow, a proper confrontation with Penguin, Riddler, Harley and Ivy, Mad Hatter (with Tweedledee and Tweedledum as henchmen, naturally), two more rounds with the Joker, King Tut (who is more Catwoman's foe than Batman's), Clayface, Two-Face's escape from Arkham, and Croc. Catwoman gets into hijinks throughout, and we (but not Batman) are privy to her darker side. I've always wanted to see a Batman story that went something like this: Gotham hits a calm spell, and while Gordon spends the extra time with his family, Bruce has no clue what to do with himself. Throughout, Bruce and Selina get more serious. Eventually, her identity is revealed, with the twist that it's Bruce instead of Batman who discovers it; he doesn't take her in right away, but he doesn't know how to take it. The season finale is an adaptation of the Mad Monk story, forcing Batman to accept the existence of the truly supernatural.
I thought, after a few weeks, it was time to have a thread for full reviews by board members. Mine is taken, word for word, from my post on BOF, so references to my being tired and it being late can be explained thus.

QuoteI really tried to avoid spoilers for Rises. After the first trailer hit, I went into lock-down; I didn't watch any of the other trailers, I didn't follow news on the film, I didn't go to this section of the forum (or really to the forum in general) - I had it out of my mind. When the film finally premiered, I still kept away; I'm the kind of guy who'd rather wait for the crowds to die down than rush out on opening day, and I didn't want to run into spoilers while I waited. But sadly, this was not to be. I stumbled upon a thread in another forum, and all the major surprises were blown for me, though the details were still to be discovered by a proper viewing. I can't say that I had a positive reaction to all that I read in that thread, but I tried to keep an open mind going into Rises.

And with that open mind, and having seen the film once (I will see it again, though that may not be possible for a while), I'd give the picture a "C-" grade. It falls somewhere between Begins, which I don't really care for anymore, and Dark Knight, which I like very much despite some (often overlooked IMO) weaknesses. The following review may be harsh at times, and may give the impression that I'm less impressed by the film than I actually was; I think it's fair to say that the praises of Rises have been sung plenty and loudly by others, so I'm trying to offer a different look at it.

The Bruce Wayne/Batman of the Nolan trilogy has never been "my" Batman. If you want to know "my" Batman, look at the Burton films, TAS, and the Loeb/Sale collaborations, and find the point on the graph where they all meet. I've mentioned this in past discussions about the Nolan films, Begins especially. But this is the first time - in any Batman film - where the portrayal of Batman himself is my chief complaint against it. This is in part a simple matter of preferring a different take on the character, but I do think there are inconsistencies within the film and the trilogy with the Batman they chose to depict.

Throughout the Nolan films, we have characters stating, through dialogue, that Bruce is consumed by Batman, that Batman is his true face, and that the day will never come when Bruce won't need the mask. Most of these lines are said by Rachel, and let's set aside for a moment the fact that Rachel is never privvy to any incident or conversation that would provide evidence to support this opinion of hers. Whoever was saying the lines, I never felt that the films supported them. The Bruce Wayne of the Nolan films, upon his return to Gotham, has IMO always come off as a rational, sane, idealistic person who has come to terms with the deaths of his parents (if not right away, then by the end of Begins), and simply defends his city and honours his family's legacy in his own way. Batman is not who he truly is; it's a disguise, it's a choice, and something he could hang up whenever he wanted to, in fact makes plans to do just that. As Batman, he keeps a sense of humour while on the job. While I don't prefer the character this way (why not become an activist instead? You can become a symbol without creating a disguise), I don't consider it invalid and I don't hate it. Unfortunately, there's all that dialogue claiming that this isn't the case, and there are also statements from the filmmakers. From Christian Bale: "He's a messed-up individual, as well. He's got all sorts of issues. He's just as twisted and messed-up as the villains he's fighting, and that's part of the beauty of the whole story." "You couldn't pull it off unless you became a beast inside that suit." From Christopher Nolan: "Batman is a marvelously complex character-somebody who has absolute charm and then, just like that, can turn it into ice-cold ruthlessness (emphasis mine)." If this was the type of Batman they wanted to portray, then I'm afraid to say that I think they failed. I've rarely felt the beast in Bale's Batman, nor has his Bruce ever seemed as disturbed as Ra's, or Joker, or Bane. And I don't get any sense that these sorts of contradictions between the dialogue and the performance are intentional; they just seem like contradictions.

This makes it very hard to know whether or not it's believeable that Bruce would hang up the cape and cowl for eight years. If this Bruce is the sane man who does this by choice, it's more believeable (if not acceptable, but more on that in a minute); if he's the man lost inside his monster who can't cope without the suit, it's not believeable at all. But either way, I just cannot accept this premise. The only story told thus far that has Bruce hanging up the cowl that I've bought is the one told in Batman Beyond - in his old age, with his allies all gone and his heart very bitter, he's left with the choice of retiring or resorting to measures he despises. Giving up the mask because he made himself a public enemy doesn't cut it IMO. Even with the Dent Act taking care of the Mob - after Scarecrow, after Ra's, after the Joker, why on Earth would Bruce assume that some other threat like that wouldn't rear its head one day? But that's what the plot says has happened, and it also says that, after the loss of Rachel, Bruce felt that there was no hope for him to lead a normal life and so withdrew from the world into his manor. This is rather hard to reconcile with Batman's comic history, full of dead and tortured friends and loved ones, but we're not talking comics, we're talking films. I never got into the romance between Bruce and Rachel. I felt it was very poorly established in Begins, which affected how much weight it carried in Dark Knight. I've never liked Rachel as a character, and I don't think Bale had much chemistry with either actress who played her. So this notion fell like a lead balloon in my eyes. Though I will say that Bale's performance as the Howard Hughes-type Bruce was very good, and it did a fine job of selling Bruce's broken-down state (making Alfred's exposition rather unnecessary.)

The decision to pick back up the mantle - strange goings-on and the pleas of Blake and Gordon and the prodding of Fox - was alright, but Alfred's fear that Bruce wanted to fail seemed to come out of nowhere. If I may shift gears for a minute to Alfred, the decision to have him leave was a bit of a sticky spot for me as well. I realise that there is some precedent for Alfred leaving Bruce in the comics (in Knightfall no less), but the decision in the comics to have Alfred leave Bruce after he's crippled and still continuing to push himself made much more sense IMO. Alfred's attitude toward Bruce's life has varied considerably throughout this series. In Begins, he's concerned that Bruce is losing himself in Batman and damaging his father's name while helping him create Batman. In Dark Knight, he encourages Bruce not to give in to the Joker's demands to reveal himself, defends Bruce to Rachel, and advises Bruce to remember what "we" stand for. Some time has passed between Begins and Dark Knight; I don't consider this change in outlook a flaw or an inconsistency. But in this film, Alfred seems to view Gotham as a place of misery, without a chance of rising above its checkered past. I'm not sure why he thinks bringing up Rachel would deter Bruce from what he thinks is a suicidal course. I won't go so far as to say it rang false, but his decision to leave did not feel entirely earned.

Back to Batman - I hate the notion that "anyone can be Batman," and I'm rather surprised at some of the support and defences this concept has gotten. If the symbol is what matters, if anyone can be the man inside the suit, then why didn't Bruce recruit the imitators from Dark Knight, train them, instill in them the rejection of firearms (more on that later), and enhance the mystique of the symbol by spreading this army throughout the city? This whole notion of interchangeable mantle-bearers seems not unlike Batman, Inc., or the decision to have Dick in the cowl for such a long time. This notion is strikingly at odds with the fact that Batman came into being through a very specific set of circumstances happening to a very specific person. Saying that this is a more realistic take on the world, that realistically this Bruce would have to retire at some point, doesn't cover the flaw in this line of thinking. Bruce is Batman; the latter isn't just a costume to be passed along to another person. I don't think this is a case of me projecting my preferences; any version of this character must inherit this notion or lose a huge piece of his core. This is why I cannot accept Bruce's retirement at the end either. On this issue we go back to the contradictions in this trilogy's depiction of Bruce - it's more believeable one way, if not enjoyable. But I don't understand why Bruce lies about the auto-pilot in the Bat. Why not fill Lucius, Alfred, and Gordon in? Lucius especially - as important as Fox has been to Batman in this series, why wouldn't Bruce at least leave word that Fox should work with Blake? How's Blake supposed to maintain all that equipment? Why leave Gotham at all? It's his home, and he's saved it, brought it back like he planned in Begins; couldn't he stick around to enjoy it?

On the subject of Blake - I'm sorry, but "Robin" was corny IMO. I hesitate to say that they should have named him after one of the Robins, as that would mean a drastic re-working of the origins of any of them. Maybe "Terry McGinnis" could have worked as his moniker. Hell, Jean Paul Valley could have worked. But for all the reasons listed above, I couldn't get behind the ending to his arc. And I'm not sure his disgust and rejection of institutions like the police is entirely earned. His anger at the Dent cover-up and the idiot army guy are palpable, but I just don't know if it was enough. I'll have to look for that thread again next time I see the film.

(Speaking of that idiot army guy: this is more of a nitpick, but after the exhibition of goodness by the people on the boats in Dark Knight, I kind of wish we would have seen the army display such morality when it came time to decide whether to blow up a bridge full of children.)

Not much I can say about Gordon, except that I wish he had a bit more to do. Had the Blake character not been in the film, he could have. And I don't know why they needed to lose his family.

Bane. I don't really agree with the complaints that he was hard to understand; in a few spots, maybe, but I found his voice pretty clear and more intelligible than Bale's Bat-voice. I did think his accent sounded like a bad Sean Connery impression at times, and this led to my laughing at inappropriate moments in the film. One of those moments was the first Bat/Bane fight, which I have to say I found underwhelming. The image of Bane breaking Batman was powerful (and a pleasant surprise, that Nolan would choose that staging), but as a whole the battle wasn't all that impressive IMO. Part of that was due to the music, and part of that was the lack of visible damage to either combatant. I wasn't expecting or wanting a bloodbath, but we could have at least seen some scuff marks and grime get on the suit or Bane's arms. The second fight was an improvement. This Bane is rather prone to megalomaniac-type speeches, which sometimes are quite eloquent and entertaining and sometimes hammy and hokey. With the changes made to his origin story and the absence of Venom, I'm tempted to say that Bane could have been swapped for an original villain. However, I'm not a huge fan of Bane in the comics, and in many ways I'd call this version of the character a step up. It makes it all the more disappointing, then, to learn that, for the second time, Bane is ultimately the henchman of the villainess in live action, albeit a much, much, MUCH better henchman this time 'round.

I am actually surprised that Miranda ended up being Talia, but not because the film did a great job in setting up a shock. I'm surprised by it because, as soon as that character was annnounced, so many people guessed who she was, and it seemed so obvious, that I figured she had to be someone else. Turns out, she wasn't, and I agree with anyone who's objected to the way the legend of "The Child" was told and to the length of time it took to get the secret out.

The villains' plan, if I remember right, was this: first, break the Bat and leave him in prison. From prison, he would watch as the League siezes control of Gotham. They would instill a false hope of liberation in the people, encouraging them to commit lawlessness and therefore prove Batman's failure. At the end of the five months, that hope would amount to naught as the bomb would detonate, destroying Gotham. Then it becomes Bruce's turn to die. This is fine, except for the fact that we never see the general populace buying into Bane's deception. The whole "class" issue of the film has very flimsy support. The only Gothamite who expresses a distrust and hatred for the rich is Selina, and she does this at a charity hosted by Miranda, who paid for it out-of-pocket. The only poor that we see suffering are the kids whose orphanage isn't getting the funds it needs - from Bruce Wayne, who doesn't have the money because of something started by Miranda. We see some rich jerks, but we also see Bruce, Lucius, and that one Wayne board member who was also in Begins. Given that a big part of the plan was breaking Bruce's spirit, it's really shocking that Nolan devoted no time to showing the populace accepting or rejecting Bane's temptation. We're just left with the League, a bunch of criminals, and the cops. And I do wonder why Bane would've kept Lucius and the cops alive, given the danger they could pose.

Now, on to some positives. Anne Hathaway was wonderful as Selina. At the end of the day I might still prefer Pfeiffer, but Hathaway was tough, charming, dangerous, sexy, and compassionate, and even I'll concede that her interpretation has more comic support than her predecessor's did. The relationship between Selina and Bruce in this film had echoes of Hush, and while I think that story as a whole is a mixed bag, the Bat/Cat stuff was fantastic IMO, so I'm always happy to see that side of their relationship. I like the Newmar-esque costume, though seeing her alongside the very armoured Batman made for an odd mixture of looks. I can't fault anything in her performance, I thought she got her fair share of screentime, and for the first time, I think Bale has chemistry with his leading lady. I don't know that the story really provides a reason or a moment where Selina falls for Bruce. Romance is Nolan's great weak spot as a director IMO. The Stephen King criticism of Kubrick - that he thought too much and felt to little - I feel can be applied to Nolan, or at least to his films and to his handling of anything heartfelt and emotional in particular. His is a very cerebral style, and it doesn't handle love well. The way she casually disregards Batman's "no guns, no killing" rule - without reprimand - seemed a bit iffy to me as well (and for a guy who doesn't like guns, Bats sure has no qualms about letting Fox stick them on every single vehicle he uses.) And, as a minor nitpick - couldn't someone have said "Catwoman" in the movie? You could have just had it as a throwaway comment by a cop or a news reporter. You said "Two-Face" aloud in the last film!

(Another nitpick: the abundance of daytime scenes in Dark Knight was disappointing, but it just doesn't feel right to see Batman himself spend so much time in the daylight.)

The production design this time around is more interesting than previous Nolan entries, and the more "epic" plot and such elements as the Bat gave this film a touch of that wild, lavish, ludicrous fantasy that permeates so much of the comic. I was happy to see that. The music never really struck me at any point in the film; Hans Zimmer is just not my guy. The film throughout suffered from a tendency to explain too much in chunks of exposition, and the actors couldn't always deliver it without sounding stiff, but when they weren't reciting explanations for everything, they did very well. If you lost a lot of the dialogue, the final third of the film could have been the best climax out of any of the Batman films (aside from the ending). And for a good-as three hours' film, it moves along at a brisk pace.

I'm sure I've forgotten to mention certain things, but this has taken me two hours to write as it is, and I have an appointment in the morning. I may expand further, but for now, I repeat: a C-. Not bad, but I had a lot of problems with it, chiefly the depiction of the main character.
Some time ago, an artist posting on BOF mentioned that he was working on a fan comic of "Burton's Batman III," and I was brought on to write the script. I haven't heard from him about the project in months, but I'm not wasting all my work. So here it is.

Terror of the Batman

Written by

William Fischer

Story by

William Fischer and Jason Gonzalez

Draft 3



(ARKHAM ASYLUM: sneering gargoyles, aged and cracking masonry, the grounds still lit by gaslight?in a city that is Hell bursting through the surface, this is the devil?s palace. The nightmarish building sits behind iron gates and atop a barren hill, with fog and low clouds billowing about, occasionally allowing for the sickly yellow appearance of the full moon.)

(As we get closer to ARKHAM, we see Jack-o?-lanterns around the door and in some of the first-floor windows; the only windows without bars. It is one week before All Hallows Eve.)

(One Jack-o?-lantern stands out. Carved into the gourd is not some demonic face, but the glowing silhouette of a bat. It grows as we approach, nearly engulfing the frame until, shattering the silence, a cry of terror echoes from within the asylum.)


(A row of dark wooden doors in a stone corridor, names crudely carved into every one. The anguished screams come from behind one bearing the name ?JERVIS TETCH.?)


(JERVIS TETCH, wrapped in a straightjacket, lies on the floor, frantically kicking back towards the corner. He is an incredibly short man of average build and a long face, with unruly blonde hair and large teeth. He would be something from Lewis Carroll if not for the terror-stricken look in his eyes. Beads of sweat race down his forehead and his jaw quivers in fright. A SHADOW falls over the cowering man, and from that shadow we hear a voice, dark and oily:)

SHADOW (off)
?Where is Thumpkin? Where is Thumpkin?/Here I am! Here I am!?


(The SHADOW begins to take shape. It is a silhouette, tall and lean, but terrifying nonetheless. Ragged and loose-fitting garments hang from its frame, bits of straw sticking through here and there. An enormous wide-brimmed hat sits atop a face which, though shrouded in shadow, seems inhuman. It is, menacing, terrifying ? a SCARECROW.)


(The SCARECROW?s oily voice deepens, shrinking TETCH?s eyes to mere dots and leaving his face drenched in sweat.)

?How are you today, sir?/Very well, I thank you.?


(TETCH?s eye sees the SCARECROW?s face emerging from the darkness; it is a hideous and decaying burlap sack, with a mouth sewn shut and blazing cruel eyes. From SCARECROW?s mouth comes a dripping liquid ? blood, which soon becomes a set of bloody ?Queen of Hearts? cards.)

?Run and hide! Run and hide!?


(TETCH can bear the horror no longer: he screams again. He does not stop as we go back to:)


(The scream echoes down the corridor and carries out to:)


(The horrible sound carries into the landscape and up towards the fat moon, now shining clearly through a break in the clouds?)



(The room is filled to capacity; beyond the participants in the trial, the press flood the building. Camera flashes and murmuring into microphones and recording devices penetrate the silence. Half of them have their gaze ? and cameras ? turned towards HARVEY DENT, DA. Well-groomed, a flower pinned to his three-piece suit, he pays no mind to the press, maintaining an aura of calm, save for his constant flipping of a two-headed silver dollar. He occasionally glances over his shoulder ? not to the press, but to COMISSIONER GORDON, who stands stoically in the back, towards the doors.)

(The other half of the cameras are pointed at the defendant ? CARMINE ?THE ROMAN? FALCONE, a mobster in the old-school vein. Tall and slim, with silver hair and well-groomed mustache, his body is as calm as DENT?s, but his eyes carry a look both concerned and murderous, often thrown DENT?s way.)

(JUDGE HAMM sits at his podium, clearly resentful of the media?s presence in his domain. Ignoring them, he turns to the JURY.)

Has the jury reached a verdict?

(A JUROR rises.)

Yes, Your Honor. We find the defendant guilty on all charges ? 12 murders, conspiracy to commit murder, extortion, racketeering, obstruction of justice, hijacking, tax evasion, loansharking, and illegal gambling.

(Shouts of joy begin sounding in the courtroom, along with cries of ?Harvey!? and ?Re-elect Dent!? JUDGE HAMM angrily slams down the gavel.)

(Turning to THE ROMAN)
Carmine Falcone: your family ? both your families ? have been a scourge on Gotham City for over 50 years. I regard you and your father as being chief culprits in making ?Gotham? into nothing more than another word for ?crime.? The lengths to which our police force and our district attorney have gone to bring you here today are to be commended.
(The crowd begins to act up again; HAMMM pounds the gavel down.)
That was not an invitation for comment from the press!

(HARVEY gives a light chuckle at that; in the back, so does GORDON.)


(HARVEY emerges, a big topcoat and fine scarf now covering his suit and a cigar in hand. Following him from behind and waiting for him on the steps are press and admirers, some of them holding signs reading ?I Believe in Harvey Dent? or sporting campaign buttons simply reading ?DENT.? The non-press have begun a chant of ?Apollo!? HARVEY takes it all in well, and even enjoys it slightly; it?s rare for a lawyer to be the ?golden boy? of any city, let alone Gotham.)

Mr. Dent? Silver St. Cloud, ?GothamNews 5.? The Roman is the third mob boss you?ve helped put behind bars just in this year. Are you planning any time off as the election comes up?

Not while ?The Boss? Maroni?s still loose on the streets of Gotham.

Harvey? Knox, ?Gotham Globe.? Are you and Commissioner Gordon still working with Batman?

No comment, Knox.

Goth TV. Even with your approval ratings through the roof, there?s still some concern with Gotham?s older, more conservative voters about your lifestyle. Some people are saying you?re more of a playboy than Bruce Wayne.

I think Bruce has me licked there.

Speaking of Bruce Wayne, is it true he?s provided the largest single contribution to your campaign?

I can always count on Bruce for ? 

VOICE (out-of-frame)

(The DA looks over his shoulder. GORDON has also emerged from the courthouse, his hat pulled low and his hands busy getting his gloves on. HARVEY nods and turns back to his admirers)

Thank you, everyone, but Commissioner Gordon and I have work to do. There?s still one big crime boss left in this city.

(As GORDON comes down to HARVEY, the DA puts his arm around the commissioner?s shoulders, and they head down the stairs and down the street. The press and supporters remain behind, but questions are still shouted and the chant of ?Apollo? still goes on. GORDON and HARVEY pay it no mind as they round the corner and head down:)


(Good-natured huff)

Good ol? Bruce. Hired some big campaign manager from Metropolis. He?s been selling that name since June. But how are we doing?

How are we doing? Thorne, Moxom, and now the Roman put away in less than a year?I?m starting to wonder if I?m still in Gotham. People actually seem happy they live here.
(Both men laugh.)
I?ve just got a tip on Maroni from ?

Our mutual friend in black?

You?d better be careful. People are so happy with you, they want me to take him in. And he?s not interested. The tip is, Maroni?s been stockpiling cash down at the docks; Pier 41.

Anything solid?
(GORDON remains silent.)
Jim, you?ve got to tell him ? I can?t get the warrants unless he brings me something tangible. Records, documents, marked bills, someone who will testify?

(As HARVEY explains this problem, GORDON glances behind them. An old-time roadster is speeding towards them, and a dark figure is leaning out the passenger window, a Tommy gun in hand.)


(He tackles the DA to the ground just in time for them to both avoid being torn up by the hail of gunfire. The car roars on by as the two men begin staggering to their feet, shaken but breathing.)

(But A noticeable change has come over HARVEY. No longer cool and good-natured, a murderous gleam rests in his eyes and he trembles as he rises to his feet.)

Lousy sons of?get back here, you bastards! I?ll kill ya! You hear me? I?ll rip your goddamned head off, you slimy ?


(GORDON is clearly in shock. Not only has he never seen his friend HARVEY act that way before, but that voice wasn?t HARVEY?s. It was as if someone else had taken his place.)

(But the commissioner?s voice brings back the DA. Shaking his head, he turns back to GORDON.)


My god, Harvey, what was that?

I?stress, Jim. Just?just stress. I?m fine. Come on ? let?s get out of here.

(And so the two men turn and head out the alley the way they came. But GORDON knows ? and can see that HARVEY does too ? that the DA?s temper tantrum was more than nerves, and that he is not fine.)


(The roadster emerges from Chryme Alley and comes screeching to a stop.)


Did he get it?

Turn us around. He?s not done yet. You think you can shoot and drive?



(The roadster spins around 180 degrees in the street, facing back down Chryme Alley.)


(The DRIVER shifts gears.)

(Blazing up from Phillips Street comes the BATMOBILE. It rams right into the roadster and keeps on going. The gangsters? car rolls over the top of it and comes crashing down behind it, upside down and the right side of the car completely decimated.)


(The GUNMAN is unconscious, a trail of blood running down his head and his gun on the roof of the car. The DRIVER is also bleeding, on his arm, and cannot stop himself from shaking. With a grunt ? something in his body is broken ? he grasps for the handle of the door.)

(A pair of black, finned gloves comes crashing through what remains of the front windshield. The terrified DRIVER is hauled out from his seatbelt and up into the grasp of the BATMAN.)

Who?s after Dent?
For those who aren't members of Batman-on-Film, it appears that Chris Nolan has not committed to doing a third Batman film, and the wait may be longer than 2012.

This is NOT news that Nolan won't be back; just that he's not on-board yet and he may or may not be doing the next film, no one knows yet.