Let me just get this out-of-the-way early: I did not like The Dark Knight Rises. Upon first viewing I found myself mostly satisfied with the movie as it served to close out a trilogy. Every single time I have viewed the film after I bought the trilogy as a Christmas gift to myself, I want to melt the disc.
A plot hole that disturbs me to no end is how Bane knew the exact location of Applied Sciences. This could have been easily remedied by having him capture, torture and kill Coleman Reese once he arrived in Gotham – after the airplane stunt – in the beginning of the film. (This scene wouldn’t need to be filmed; it could have been featured in the Gotham Gazette. Hole filled.)
Other issues that make the movie painful to sit through include how the illegal trades that bankrupted Bruce Wayne were allowed to stand as a group of gun-wielding men terrorized the trading floor, John Blake knowing Wayne’s identity because of a “look,” the final fight between Batman and Bane which was deplorable when you compare it to their first encounter which happened to be elemental, brutal, desperate (for Batman), clever and an all-encompassing confrontation that raised the bar for hero versus villain face-offs; and the fact that Batman quit once Miranda Tate revealed her true self and then stabbed him. (He quit! He allowed Bane to string him up and his head would have been soup had Selina Kyle arrived a second later.)
Stay with me guys because this isn’t about that movie it’s about the casting of the next Batman to be featured in the Superman/Batman movie who will then go into the Justice League blockbuster that Warner Bros. is crying – well, rushing – to make already. (Side note: I do not like the idea of having Batman introduced into Superman’s sequel. He just returned, strong, in Man of Steel. Build the character singularly before bringing in such a dominant presence like Batman to pull focus.)
There are rumors of Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Joe Manganiello – and others – being the next man to don the cape and cowl. All fine choices but the man for the job is Christian Bale. He’s been quoted as saying he “won’t return” unless Christopher Nolan was in charge and approached him with a fresh idea. I have one. (I’ll get to it.)
Early information about the upcoming film has Batman already being a seasoned crime fighter, which leads credence to Brolin being among the handful of leading men up for the part. Okay….
Fresh idea alert! From this point on any mention of Batman/Bruce Wayne is with Bale playing the character.
Here we go, ready? For Superman/Batman we could have Wayne return once he gets a view from Florence about what’s going on in Metropolis and the emergence of an alien invasion (Zod) and a possible threat to humanity (Superman). He decides to arrive in Metropolis to talk to old business competitor, Lex Luthor, about all the damage done in lieu of the battle between Zod and Superman.
At night he dons the suit to gather as much information on Superman that he can until the two inevitably cross paths. To avoid the whole Wayne-shows-up-in-Metropolis-and-then-Batman-is-suddenly-in-town thing, Blake would still be “Batman”in Gotham so no one would attempt to find a link between the events. (Maybe that would give Lois Lane something to do.) Our heroes work together against Luthor and Brainiac to make the team-up seem legit.
BUT Superman/Clark Kent should dominate the movie along with the villains in terms of screen time because it should not be a vehicle to fawn over Batman again…his trilogy just wrapped. I would have him in the batsuit twice – at most – but mainly trying to outfox Luthor in the boardroom to regain control of the once-mighty Wayne Enterprises (which Luthor would acquire after Lucius Fox steps away from the company sometime after TDKR and has Applied Sciences SEPARATED and MOVED to its own facility under his name and control in hopes that Bruce Wayne would return after the events of Man of Steel).
Bruce Wayne would also aim to stop Luthor’s newfound influence, in business and organized crime, in Gotham that has made the city almost too much for Blake to handle. In a montage reminiscent of TDKR last two minutes we would see Superman earn the trust of humanity and the residents of Metropolis after decimating the city and endangering their lives after the Zod battle, Wayne moving the orphans to another mansion while returning to live in Wayne Manor (since the batcave is ON THE PREMISES), taking back control of his company and the mantle of the Bat while sending Blake to protect Bludhaven as Nightwing. Maybe in the end we would have a signal going off in the batcave alerting Wayne and a visiting Superman to the emergence of a galactic threat looming…Darkseid. Remember Wayne Enterprises already had a satellite in orbit that Superman and Zod destroyed so he and Fox would develop one that could journey deep into outer space to search out other powerful aliens.
The idea is to keep Bale engaged with the character while not beating him over the head with him and making it feel boring. So have him appear only in Justice League (and its sure swarm of sequels) while avoiding standalone Batman stories for a good while.
But since the powers that be just need to have a Batman series living and breathing they should jump it into the future with Batman Beyond. Wait for about 5 years – they won’t – and cast Michael Keaton (my personal favorite Batman) as the now-retired crime fighter with Terry McGinnis ready to take up the mantle in a futuristic Gotham City. They could basically make a live-action version of the animated film that they ALREADY maaaaaaade. This shouldn’t be that difficult. More importantly, they avoid annoying the hell out of their core fanbase (who they don’t care much for as they favor the broad audience) while introducing another facet of Batman’s mythology.