Thursday, September 16, 2010

On A Lighter Note

Yesterday's post generated a lot of reactions and opinions (which I appreciate!), but I feel that one comment above all others requires a post-length response: Dan Krokos' question, "Who do you guys think will be the villain in the new Batman?" (As you might have read, the Batman is my very favorite hero.)

As much as I enjoyed the Michael Keaton Batman films and the mid-90s' super campy Batman Forever and Batman & Robin (1995 and 1997, respectively), I think the new dark, (more) realistic, gritty Batman reboot would benefit from revisiting some of the over-the-top villains from these films. So, mes auteurs, I offer you the following: my choices for the next set of Batman (wo)mantagonists, along with the actors I'd love to see play them.

· Mister Freeze. He's frosty, he's tortured, he's got a mega sweet freeze ray. I think he's got a ton of backstory/developmental potential that weren't fully explored via Arnold Schwarzenegger's relentless ice/snow puns, so I hope they bring him back and give him a fair shake. My pick for the actor: Adrien Brody.

· Poison Ivy. I don't think Uma Thurman did a bad job at all in Batman & Robin, but I'd like to see a new actress take on the role. I'd have to go with Gwyneth Paltrow, whom I loved in Iron Man. Who else could pull off a supervillainess who's also a scientist?

· The Riddler. Jim Carrey played the enigmatic Edward Nigma a little (read: very much) on the crazy/wacky side. I'd like to see a cooler, more controlled Riddler, one more interested in panache and execution than in simply driving Batman up the wall (sort of how Heath played The Joker). My pick is Neil Patrick Harris, hands down.

· Catwoman. I liked Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in Batman Returns; the movie Catwoman (starring Halle Berry, whom I otherwise really like) was so dreadful that it ruined me on the character for years. Who can fix that? Another Aussie, Emilie de Ravin (Claire from lost).

· Two-Face. I'm not going to beat around the bush: Aaron Eckhart did a phenomenal job in the last movie, and yeah, while they sort of closed off Two-Face's potential role in any direct sequels, they didn't make it impossible for him to return. And I really hope he does.

· Clayface. This character hasn't seen a lot of action outside the comic books and animated TV shows, so I'd love to witness his silver screen d├ębut. It could just be an extension of my post-lost heartache, but I'd be beyond amped if they could get Terry O'Quinn (a.k.a. John Locke).

And those are my picks! Feel free to post yours in the comments.

29 comments:

  1. Ooo...I love Batman! I've been wondering about the villain too. Personally, I would love to see Two-Face back. It isn't impossible, and I thought Aaron Eckhart did a phenomenal job as well. I love Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman). I wouldn't be opposed to Poison Ivy, Mister Freeze, or the Riddler either. I really do think that a female villain would be intriguing, since we've already had Scarcrow, the Joker, and Two-Face in the previous two. Whatever happens, I'll be going to see it, though. *grins*

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  2. I think they should tackle a new villian, so Clayface gets my vote. Besides, Michelle will always be Catwoman in my eyes.

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  3. Excellent list. I'd be happy with any of these.

    I think the Riddler especially is perfect for Nolan's universe. Catwoman too.

    Neil Patrick Harris WOULD be perfect for it, but I wouldn't mind seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Leonardo DiCaprio in the part either. I think the intensity they bring to each role would match Bale's Batman perfectly.

    For Catwoman, I want Anna Torv. But that's probably because I want Anna Torv in every role.

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  4. All good calls...and I will spend the next day picturing Neil Patrick Harris as the Riddler - my favorite choice on your entire list.

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  5. Whether or not Nolan directs the third movie makes a substantial difference what villains will be able to appear on the short list. He's steered away from the more fantastic villains to date. The fact that the first movie featured (a non-immortal) Ras-al-ghul and the Scarecrow rather than the more widely known villains set the tone.

    There's also a consideration of where the second movie left off, with Batman on the run. If Nolan doesn't direct the third movie, then all bets are off. The studio will ignore any previous story and make the biggest sensation they can (see any comic book movie that has 3 in the title, a la X-Men or Spider-Man). So we'll just ignore that as there's no rhyme or reason.

    If Nolan directs the third, then I think characters like Mr. Freeze and Clayface are less likely than characters like the Penguin, the Riddler, and a toned down Poison Ivy.

    The greatest sin that needs penance from the last incarnation of movies was the inclusion of a mindless Bane. The only villain to ever break the bat, and instead he was just a mindless thug. I don't think that story works with Batman on the run, though.

    With Batman on the run, amplifying the basic mob element/mob resurgence would be a nice twist. The animated series had a few mob kingpins that were a great foil to all the crazy/masked villains he faced. Throw in the money organized crime would be rolling in without the dark knight and a newly conceived Penguin could be really interesting.

    oOOO, or, you could introduce an Azrael character, a more violent vigilante that fills Batman's shoes...although that seems to split the vigilante gone too far story.

    I loved Eckhart's Two Face, but I'd rather he stay dead. I've never been a fan of the he's dead/he's not flip flop in comics.

    I'd love to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a villain. In my list of top-five favorite actors, he's #2. (I hope those actors that did not make the list don't hold it against me.)

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  6. I like your choice of Adrien Brody for Mr. Freeze -- even though I don't want to see Mr. Freeze in the next movie (I was never that big of a fan).

    Before Heath Ledger died, I would have loved to see Harley Quinn in the third movie. And before she died, I would have loved Brittany Murphy to play her.

    I'm really hoping that Catwoman makes it into this next movie. I loved Michelle Pfieffer's Catwoman and would really like to see Christopher Nolan's take on the character. I'm not sure who should play her though. I like Angelina Jolie, but I think she may be too big of a star -- I would see her and not Selina Kyle. I think she's a great actress though and could do it.

    I think I'm one of the only ones who doesn't want to see the Riddler. He just always seemed like a second rate villain to me. I know that he's not and he's had some great stories, but he just never did it for me. Having said that, I think the Riddler makes the most sense as the next villain given how THE DARK KNIGHT ended.

    Ultimately though, I think any villain Nolan decides to do will turn out great.

    Great Post!

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  7. I'd love to see Clayface or Talia al Ghul. Oh, better yet, both!

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  8. Oh my gosh! Neil Patrick Harris as Riddler - My heart melts :)

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  9. Harley Quinn! I would have LOVED to see Heath Ledger's Joker with an equally talented Harley Quinn. That would have been phenomenal.

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  10. My husband will LOVE this post. Forwarding....forwarding....

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  11. J.L.: What about Michael Emerson (LOST again) as Hush?

    And agreed re: The Joker and Harley. Would have loved to see that.


    E

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  12. I have to say right at the start - Christian Bale IS Batman. I am not, nor have ever been a fan of those past campy versions.

    I don't care which villain they chose, as long as the appropriate actor is chosen to portray them. It will be hard to top Heath.

    Okay, Mr. Freeze: Adrien Brody? Really? I don't think I could see him as a villain even if I met him in a dark alley with long black cloak on and glowing red contacts. My vote is for Timothy Olyphant.

    Poison Ivy: I did like Uma but I'm not feeling Gwenyth. I have to agree with Quinn, I loved, loved, loved, Britney Murphy, but alas, that can't happen. I think Britney would have made a good Ivy or a Catwoman, she knew how to rock the sultry. I'll have to think on this one.

    The Riddler: Neil P.H., sorry, no can do. I'd sooner see Ashton Kutcher play this and I'm NOT a huge Ashton Kutcher fan. The riddler should be a balance between insane and brilliant and Carey did not do that so I think this one will be harder to get right.

    Catwoman: Go de Ravin (fellow Canuck), but I don't think she has the "sass". Beautiful, yes, but something's missing - lIke Britney Murphy.

    Two Face: Ya, Eckhart was good, I'm sure he'll be back.

    Clayface: Hurray! I love Terry O'Qinn, just don't give him hair. He is badass when he's bald.

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  13. I adore your NPH as Riddler suggestion, and raise you John Slattery for Mr. Freeze.

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  14. In a comment in a different entry at this blog I said Poison ivy and Marty.

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  15. i think this is the most important post you've ever written.

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  16. I love NPH, but my riddler would be David Tennant.

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  17. While I love all things LOST, Emilie de Ravin is a pretty awful actress, and I wouldn't want her anywhere near the franchise. Originally, like right after Dark Knight came out, everyone was discussing - would Catwoman be a part of the next movie? And rumors were flying that he was thinking of completely re-doing Catwoman, making her this sort of vampy older woman, a Cher. I really like that idea and think it could be REALLY cool.

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  18. HH: love that "older Catwoman" idea... maybe Helen Mirren would be up for it? She would OWN the Cat.

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  19. @Jael - Helen Mirren would be FABULOUS as Catwoman!

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  20. Wow, Hush! I haven't thought of that story in a long time. If you're going to go all X-Men 3 with the next film, Hush would be a great way to justify the inclusion of so many people. I think Michael Emerson could be better used elsewhere. The whole Hush mysterious person with a wrapped face doesn't take advantage of Emerson's distinctive look.

    You know who he would do well as? The Riddler. This picture is exactly what I imagine Edward Nygma to look like before his transformation.

    And if you're really trying to find a named actor that buts a hardcore "this is a movie and not the comic" twist on things, I say use Dame Judi Dench as the Penguin.

    Bam.

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  21. Batman has a lot of villains, but Two-Face and the Joker are kind of the first tier.

    The sort of mythological nugget that surrounds superheroes tends to be the origin narrative. Beyond that, the stories become less compelling, and this problem is compounded when the franchise has exhausted the first-tier villains.

    What happens when a studio pushes a franchise too far is "Spider-Man 3" or the Joel Schumacher "Batman" films, or "Superman 3". Two movies seems to be the sweet spot for superheroes; you have the compelling origin in the first movie, and then all the pieces in place to really explore the concept in the second movie.

    And then there's nowhere to go but down, but the money always brings everybody back.

    Nolan is a superlative filmmaker, among the finest directors currently working. But I don't know what he can do to follow up "Dark Knight." He pretty much left it all on the table. He can't go much bigger, and he can't go much darker. The central theme of his Batman movies, Batman's quest to redeem Gotham, against the villains' conviction that it's heading toward corruption, is stretched thin. I don't see any way that his third Batman film won't disappoint.

    I hope he surprises me, but he's facing the same problem that tangled up Sam Raimi, who is also kind of a genius. Maybe the only solution is to walk away from the franchise like Tim Burton did on "Batman" and Bryan Singer did on "X-Men."

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  22. By the way, there is a video game called "Batman: Arkham Asylum" that came out last year and is excellent. It has Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hammill as the Joker (the original voices from the animated series). If you have an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3 and you like Batman, I highly recommend it.

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  23. Sam Rockwell as Batman and Verne Troyer as The Riddler and Michael Cera as The Penguin and Betty White as Catwoman and Naomi Campbell as Poison Ivy.

    Go to marjorie-digest.blogspot.com for my list of "dream agents."

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  24. Assuming Nolan stays on as director (please God, make it so), I feel these are the most likely:

    The Riddler - In the context of Nolan's universe, this character has great potential to move beyond the hokey puns and gimmicky heists. My pick: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

    Catwoman or Poison Ivy - Now that the Rachel character has made her exit, it'd be a good time to introduce another strong female lead; one that appeals to both Bruce AND the Batman. My picks: Catwoman - Anna Torv. I'll always consider Michelle Pfeiffer the best Catwoman, but I feel Anna would bring something new to the role. Poison Ivy - Why do I feel like they would choose Scarlett Johansson? She seems to be the go-to girl for the comic book femme fatale role.

    Two-Face - I wouldn't count him out, since the Joker is now off-limits. Aaron Eckhart was brilliant and I wouldn't mind seeing him again.

    Clayface - I think the odds are against him, just because of the sheer amount of special effects required to make the character work.

    Mr. Freeze - I'm on the fence with this one, since the backstory is so rich but I'm not sure how the character would work in Nolan's Gotham. But hey, if Nolan can make the Scarecrow work, he could blow my mind with Mr. Freeze. My pick: ??? Up for grabs, I think. As long as it's not a younger version of Arnold.

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  25. I vote for the Riddler with NPH in the role. How awesome would that be?!

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  26. Riddler with NPH is a fantastic pick.

    The problem is that the new villain has to be (A) realistic and (B) even bigger and scarier than both Raz and the Joker.

    (A) almost (but possibly not!) knocks out Mr. Freeze and Clayface. (B) knocks out Catwoman (while it would be nice to see Batman get all personal, the real tension that's been rising in movies 1 and 2 has been Batman vs. Public Opinion).

    My ONLY problem with NPH as the Riddler (or any villain, for that matter) is I would keep expecting him to bust out in song.

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  27. I think the riddler and cat woman would be really good villains to tackle! Riddler wouldn't be over the top enough for them to portray in the new universe, especially since his tendency for riddles is almost serial killer like in it's quality.

    Catwoman would be a perfect opportunity to explore Bruce's darker outlook and role in society with the absence of Rachel and the events of the last movie. I always did like that couple...

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  28. I remember taking my nephews to see Batman, we were late and got seats in the front row and spent the whole movie looking up Val Kilmar's nose!

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  29. Joseph Gordon-Levitt should be The Riddler. I'm convinced he can do anything.

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