Dear Christopher Nolan,
Please don’t screw up Batman 3. You’re two for two, buddy. The first Batman movie (which was technically the fourth first Batman movie) was a nice jaunt into a darker Batman story that gave us a hint of where comic book films would head in the future. The Dark Knight showed us that future, and it was glorious and powerful. It even killed Heath Ledger. That brings us to today: post-future. We’re here, baby!
Now that your film Inception is over and a huge hit, the rumors are swirling about Batman 3. Will Catwoman be in it? Who will play the Riddler? Replace Heath Ledger? Don’t worry, Chris. I’ve been watching movies and playing Batman in one form or another for over 27 years and put together a handy top 10 list to make sure your next Batman film is as successful as the first two.
1 Batman 3-D
Look at that title. It makes a lot of sense for the third movie to be in 3-D because “3? is already in the name. Don’t wait until Batman 4 to add 3-D, because the title Batman 4: 3-D is cheesy. SHIVERS go down my spine when I think of Batman kicking and punching into the camera and, ultimately, my own freaking face, via the genius of 3-D. As everyone knows, 3-D is awesome and makes you more money. How else are you going to beat Avatar?
2 Kenan Thompson Is the Riddler
Look, I know Kenan is busy with SNL and has an intimidating and powerful resume, including classic films like Good Burger and D2: The Mighty Ducks, but I think you should reach out to him for the role of The Riddler. The villain is the most important part of the movie, and Kenan would really give you the best shot at another Oscar.
3 Include the Boy Wonder
I know a lot of fans are split on this, but come on…Batman and Robin are American classics. Like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Roy Hobbs and Wonderboy, and Abraham Lincoln and whoever was his vice president. It isn’t creepy or preposterous that Bruce Wayne adopts an orphan circus boy and takes him on adventures every night; it’s AWESOME. Imagine you were, say, ten years old and a billionaire adopted you and put you in tights and made you climb buildings and fight crime every night. You’d really say “no”? Put Robin in the film.
4 Replace Heath Ledger
Sort of. Heath Ledger was Ledgern-dary (HA!) as the Joker, and he definitely didn’t die in the end of the last film. So it’s probable that he’s still alive. I think it’s definitely a tough call here, and the decision should really be based on what the story deserves. Does Joker add to the plot? Of course he does! That’s like asking if the Borg make a Star Trek movie better. Add them in, while you’re at it. Some Klingons, too. It’s 2010, there’s no need to replace Heath; just CG his shit into Batman 3-D. The Riddler’s the main bad guy, and you don’t wanna steal Kenan’s thunder, but put the Joker in the movie.
5 Make Azrael Central to the Plot
Remember in the comics when Bruce Wayne has his back broken by Bane and then is replaced by this crazy Frenchy asshole, who basically just beats people to a bloody pulp as a poor excuse for Batman? Let’s explore that a bit. Give Christian Bale a break; let him sit this one out. Find a fresh young French actor and really let him internationalize the role. Superman is an American icon, but Batman belongs to the world. Plus, you have to think of the bottom line. There’s a lot of tickets to be sold outside of the USA. This might be a good place to challenge Russell Brand to stretch his acting muscles and play a Frenchman.
6 Prince-ify the Soundtrack
Prince. Don’t bring him back or anything, the dude is past his prime. But Tim Burton had the right idea. A Batman soundtrack without some original tunes that don’t involve an orchestra is like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film without a rap song. Spice it up with songs from a modern weirdo who everyone likes and have an all-Ke$ha soundtrack.
7 Catwoman Caveats
Catwoman is stupid. I’m tired of all these superheroes and villains with names that are simply “type of animal”-plus gender. Also, Bruce Wayne doesn’t need another love interest, but if he has to have one, let’s go all out with their romance and get some boobs in the film. It’ll trigger an R rating, but the Mona Lisa is proof that the greatest art isn’t always of people fully clothed. Heidi Montag would be a bold choice for Catwoman, because she would fill out the costume well, she apparently loves pussy and she REALLY wants to be an actress, even going as far as to audition for Transformers without being asked to. That’s dedication to the craft.
8 Add some color.
I’m not talking about adding some more fluorescent lights to the Batmobile or making the costumes brighter and, again, more fluorescent. Those were glaring omissions from the first films and I can’t imagine Batman 3-D not upping the florescent color and lighting. Your Batman films are too white. Tim Burton boldly gave the role of Harvey Dent to character actor and Colt 45 pitchman Billy Dee Williams, and that shot his Batman movie to the clouds in terms of diversity. Why not replace Michael Caine (who is both old and white) as butler Alfred Pennyworth with someone like Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin or Danny Glover? Diversity is key, both in keeping things from being too boring, but also for making more money. It’s not just white people who buy tickets to movies.
9 Relinquish the Director’s Chair
Consider letting someone else direct the film. First two films were great. You’ve certainly earned another big paycheck and ego massage, but this is a real chance to let someone else make their mark. I recommend Brett Ratner. After Bryan Singer crafted two terrific X-Men films did he stay for a third? No, he left to make a follow-up to the ’80s film Superman II. That can only be described as bold. Brett stepped in and managed to shoehorn every mutant in the X-Men universe into one movie, proving that character motivation and backstory aren’t as important as quantity of characters in the film. His X-Men finale was so good that there was no reason (or possible way) to bother to continue the storyline. This is Batman 3-D. It deserves a lot of villains and cameos. Assault my senses and sensibilities. It deserves a director with no reverence to the source material.
10 Increase the Cameos
This is the biggest movie franchise on the planet. Don’t cool people want to guest star in your movie? Stan Lee appears in every Marvel film. Bruce Campbell is in every Spiderman movie. Why not get creative and work some notable celebs into the film. Off the top of my head I can see the cast of Jersey Shore as a wise-cracking street gang that Batman defeats, Justin Bieber as Robin’s BFF, Kelsey Grammar as Bruce’s incorrigible shrink, and Robert Downey Jr. as a rival business tycoon! Get creative here! Adam West! Michael Keaton! Robert Wuhl! Some of these people aren’t doing anything with their careers and might even do it for free.
I think that’s just the short list of basic ideas that will guarantee Batman 3-D lives up to the promise of the first films and give it a fighting chance at taking in more money than any film ever made. If you would like more advice, don’t hesitate to shoot me an e-mail.