Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

So, The Dark Knight came out on DVD this week. You probably know this by now. It’s tough to talk about much else besides Batman at the moment- kind of the same way it felt when the movie was out in theaters, right? I’ve been musing about a third, Christopher Nolan directed, film. As a rule, third movies have sucked of late- or at least, they often fail to be as inspiring as the first two films that proceed it. That is to say, I actually like bits and pieces of X3 and Spider-man 3. In fact, maybe I’m totally wrong but I think Marvel was sort of intentionally leaving their third movies vague- like, raise a lot of complicated questions without answers. Like you watch these first two movies where you’re with these characters every step of the way and then suddenly- wham, they start making all of these choices you really didn’t expect. It makes for a movie that doesn’t feel good as you watch it- but it doesn’t mean that it’s actually a bad movie. It’s a good move, too- that is, if you’re really interested in making a fourth movie and beyond. I heard Sam Raimi wanted to direct six Spider-Man films (it’s anybody’s guess whether this will actually happen or want). Obviously, this a nod towards the Sinister Six- the thought of which, in a film, is both kind of appealing to me and totally appalling. Well, actually, I always kind of thought the idea of the Sinister Six was a little ridiculous- I mean, at some point, wouldn’t there just be too many bad guys for Spidey to take on alone? Of course, the villains have a habit of breaking down and getting in each other’s way- but still. But I’ve wondered if that was kind of Marvel’s “gameplan” to keep making movies. I mean, if you keep “upping the ante” every film, eventually, even by the third film, you’ll have hit so many climaxes that your audience will just be exhausted. Hell, for that matter, by the time you’re watching Spider-man 5, the audience is likely to be thinking “My God, Peter and Mary-Jane are going to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the &*$% they’re going through!” So, yeah, there were lots of action in those third films- but in this weird way, it’s almost like they took it down a notch with the characterization. Left you wondering, told you less about them. So what does a sequel to The Dark Knight look like, really? I have trouble picturing it- not that I don’t want it. It’s just that The Dark Knight is probably the quintessential Batman movie. I mean, I’m pretty sure Pilley and I really had the same reaction when we walked out of that theater- will you ever see, a better Batman film, than the one you just saw? In your lifetime? Unlikely. Now, that doesn’t mean you won’t see a good, even dynamic Batman film. It’s just a really tough act to follow. And again, I think the trick is to make it something like this- take it down a notch, but don’t make it boring. Show us something different, but not weak. We just watched a movie with *(*$ blowing up everywhere- give Wayne something different to tackle. I’ve heard rumors- stuff about Phillip Seymour Hoffman playing the Penguin and Johnny Depp playing the Riddler. Before you get all worked up- pretty sure these have both been denied, vehemently. A Riddler movie, directed by Nolan, writes itself- think sort of Saw meets The Dark Knight. Like you’ve got ten minutes to solve this riddle before (insert horrible deathtrap). A Penguin movie would be a harder trick to pull off- but totally cool, if done right. I’m a big fan of taking really obscure, lamer concepts in comics and revamping them, making them work. If it isn’t going to be Hoffman, I don’t know who it would be though. Of course, I’d be into more Harvey Dent- but Nolan, surprisingly, closed the book on this one. I think the character deserved a little more screen time. But alas. Editor's note: I'm still not convinced that Two-Face is actually dead. I mean, this is the comics right? He can come back can't he? Still, ALL of these options would have likely been filled with explosions galore. And I’m just not sure if that’s what the next movie needs. I think the next best bet- and really, the most iconic villain in line for Batman following Mr. Ledger’s Joker would be Catwoman. I mean, I challenge you to try the following experiment- ask people to name Batman villains, off the top of their heads. The first one out of their mouth is always Joker- but most of the time, the second or third is Catwoman. Proof that little Ms. Hello-Kitty-meets-Lara-Croft’s persona is entrenched in the psyche of the public, in regards to Batman lore. Also, I think it makes for a good movie. Batman is (kinda-sorta) on the wrong side of the law. So the question will be- where does he go from here? Do you break the law, more and more, to preserve the law? For that matter, do you keep trying and fighting to protect people who can’t even appreciate what you’re doing for them? See, there are these two different interpretations of Selina Kyle. One I love, and the other I hate. In the latter, she’s essentially a heartless &*$% who will use anyone to get what she wants. She almost has no feelings, about anything, ever. So all she really has to offer Batman is a quick roll in the hay and a knife in the back. For my money, Jeph Loeb (among others) writes the character right. For starters, her life has been hard- really hard. In fact, I’d go so far as to say Selina’s childhood makes Bruce’s look like a walk through the park. Now, the story has been rewritten a couple of times- but essentially it boils down to a mother who committed suicide, an alcoholic, abusive father, a tour of duty as a prostitute/ conwoman and then finally on to cat-burglar/ eccentric, rich philanthropist status. Despite all of this, Selina still looks out for the people that she cares about. So, in Loeb’s rendition, she’s this kind of antihero- nobody’s role-model for virtue, per se, but someone who’s been hurt, a lot, and looks out for the few people that she lets get close to her (and that’s few). I mean, it’s cliché, I know- a stereotype: The Hooker with a Heart of Gold. But it works. Why? Because, in Loeb’s version- she really does have a thing for Batman. That isn’t just pretend. Maybe even loves the guy. Don’t believe me? Read Hush or, more recently, Batman R.I.P. In the latter, Bruce Wayne confesses that Selena may be the only woman he’s “ever loved” to her face. It’s just that she’s jaded- she has trouble believing that anyone, even him, can really make the world a better place. So really, she’s kind of scared to really trust that people will do the right thing and that the world is a place worth fighting for. So you can see the kind of movie I’m envisioning here- the temptation to just leave everything behind and, well, save yourself. Stop fighting for the world, start fighting for you. But to really make the movie tragic? Selena can really think she’s doing the right thing by helping Wayne let go and forget about everything else. And, vice-versa, Bruce can think he’s doing the right thing It can be the Gone With the Wind of superhero movies. Ha. Okay, that was asinine. But I actually laughed out loud when I wrote that. Now, who’s going to play this part? Tough call, although actually I was thinking about Kate Beckinsdale- she’s got the right look and I think she has the right antihero vulnerability/ badassness. Just throwing out an idea.


  1. (Full disclosure, I thought the Dark Knight film was very over-rated)

    I am probably alone in feeling this way, but Nolan would probably be better off walking away from the franchise now...He has nothing left to prove to the fans and though I am not sure the film will get many AA nominations past Ledger (a lot of the Oscar voters are old guys like Tony Curtis, and Michael Douglas ) which was possibly foreshadowed by the lack of GG noms this week, he has made, to paraphrase Ted, "The Gone with the Wind" of superhero movies with DK-Third films are usually the weak link in a successful movie franchise (Star Wars, Godfather, The Reeve Superman series, Spider Man) and Nolan seems savvy enough to know when to walk away...Having said that, a new director might energize the series and take it in a new interesting direction since it seems that Nolan brought some closure to the film (the gratuitous smashing of the Bat-Signal seemed to me to be a personal statement by Nolan that he is finished with the Bat...Maybe Fincher (who is apparently a difficult guy) or Aronofsky-


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