Aside from the Batman movies and the recent Man of Steel, it is generally accepted that DC Comics have fallen behind in the superhero cinema war. However it seems that they are trying to remedy this. Man of Steel was generally well received and sets a nice platform for the company to build on. In 2016 we will see Dawn of Justice. This it seems will be a pre- Justice League movie. In many ways it is a tough movie to pull off because it will be introducing characters we haven’t seen yet, e.g. Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the new (improved and older) Ben Affleck Batman.
This might be a good thing because if they just copy the Avengers formula they will be deemed to have cloned (possibly poorly) and I suspect the box office won’t be quite so positive. So what can they do differently?
1. Make it darker. Batman is a dark character. The minute you start taking out the dark and mysterious undertones, Batman becomes a dude in a suit rather than a master vigilante and detective. Superman is an alien and too powerful for Earth. Batman is going to look at a way to bring him down. A common enemy will bring them together (IMHO).
2. Origins. Don’t spend any time on origins (especially as everyone knows about Batman and Superman). Leave some mystery for the viewer. It also means that you can do standalone movies that pre-date (or happen between) Dawn of Justice and the follow up Justice League movie. If it is true what they are saying about Ben Affleck being an older Batman, then there is a story to be told about his previous adventures (possibly played by another actor at some point in the future?)
3. Death of a character. Kill off a key character. Don’t be afraid to make the hard choices. Whilst I’m a fan of Bruce Wayne as Batman, there is always the story of someone else taking over. Again, if Affleck’s Batman is considerably older, then maybe he passes the mantle onto a younger dude. That younger dude can then play Batman in other films that plug the gaps, as suggested above.
4. Less Clark & Bruce. Spend less time focussing on Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent. Again, there is plenty of time for that in other movies further down the line. I agree that they are integral to the story but too much focus on them and the film will start to feel slow and laboured.
5. Kryptonite. Not too much Kryptonite. We all know what can hurt Superman and I’m sure Batman will utilise this but he needs to have other methods i.e. the suit from The Dark Knight Returns.
6. Recognising and acknowledging other parts of the DC Universe. Knowing nods to other parts of the DC Universe are essential geek boy fodder. When Stephen Strange was mentioned in Captain America 2, I was super exited. I love these little references. Arrow, the TV show is excellent at using names from the broader DC universe. If you are not a fan, you’ll miss them but if you are, it’s geek-out time.
7. Massive ending. There has to be something special at the end. There is a rumour that Darkseid will be in it. That would be awesome. Above that though, there has to be a new character introduced or teased right at the end. In addition there then has to be an after credit scene that will get every fan boy screaming. Something that nobody saw coming.
8. Have a strong female lead. Wonder Woman, whilst secondary to Bats and Supes, must appear on screen as an independent, intelligent lead character. She can’t just be eye candy. She has to be key and if she is deemed as a cool character, then there is an argument to say that she gets her own film.
9. TV Universe. Keep itself separate from the TV universe. Knowing nods are cool, i.e. make some reference to a character that has appeared in Arrow, but ultimately they should be two separate universes, independent of each other.
10. The Batcave. This must be awesome. They should look to the comics for inspiration and go for the whole massive coin and dinosaur. That would be so cool.
11. Fight Fight Fight. Bats and Supes have to have an almighty fight… that is believable (to the extent that these things are in a movie where there are aliens). Batman will need to use resources available to him which will show his ingenuity and his pure intellect. If they take inspiration from the Frank Miller, Dark Knight fight, (which apparently they are) then every DC fan out there is going to be wetting themselves with excitement. Can’t wait.