Imagine ALL the unproduced Batman films were made. How would they be regarded today?

kewlmatto

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For reference, though most people know them already.

Batman (1983)
Batman 3
Batman: Triumphant
Batman: DarKnight
Batman Beyond
Batman: Year One
Batman vs. Superman.

Assuming they all got made and we still managed to get all the films we have already (unrealistic I know, but hey, as a Batfan I just want more movies..simple as that), a few questions...

- Which do you think would have been the most successful? The biggest failures? (Not just fans and critics, think about box office as well)

- Which would you have liked the most?

- Which ones would have aged the best? How do you think they would rank alongside the films we have?

- What could they have provided which the films we have didn't?

- Do you think Schumacher might have been able to redeem himself somewhat?

Now that we have more definitive takes on Batman, I don't hold any real grudge against any of the old movies, which makes me curious...
 
Judging by Schumacher's own movies, which tend to lean to the dark side of things, and by him actually liking the character of Batman (Year One is his favourite comic book) I think he would've been able to redeem himself. Of course only if the studio had allow him to do a serious / dark Batman film like they let Nolan.
 
Okay, I'm in a mood to play "what if," so I'll have a go at answering these questions about which I can't have actual opinions in this reality.

- Which do you think would have been the most successful? The biggest failures?

Ideally, Batman vs. Superman would have been the most successful of these because it would have killed two birds with one stone...or resurrected two birds with one stone...whatever, you know what I mean. WB was trying to do then what they're trying to do currently with Justice League: introduce or reintroduce multiple heroes in the hope that audiences will want to then see them in their own solo adventures. The idea of Batman vs. Superman rebooting (before we were all using that word way too much) the Batman and Superman movie franchises sounded more plausible than JL does now, and out of these options WB probably hoped that would be the most successful. More realistically, out of all these projects, I can see either Batman: Dark Knight being the most successful. Tom Mankiewicz's The Batman could have worked, but I think it's too close to Superman and people were ready for an edgier Batman at that time. I'm having a hard time imagining the others working.

- Which would you have liked the most?

In Burton I trust. The one we know the least about - because it probably had the least development - is his mysterious Batman 3; I don't know if I believe that it would have featured The Riddler, branded question mark skull and all (although I kind of dig that idea), but whatever it was, I probably would have loved it, based on how much I love the two he did make. I'll always be fascinated by thinking of what that would have been.

To correct that IFC article (and I don't know why I'm doing that here), Marlon Wayans was cast for Batman Returns, not Batman Forever, and had to be paid for that later despite his Robin being cut, and Rene Russo was not cast for Burton's third Batman, but for Batman Forever, once Schumacher was onboard.

I remember reading about Batman vs. Superman in 2002-ish, and I was actually hopig it would happen. I didn't love the idea of Colin Farrell as Batman, but I was kind of excited about that project; I don't think I thought about whether it was really a good idea then or not, but I was hopeful and disappointed when it disappeared. Andas I remember, it did disappear; it seemed close to happening, but it was put on hold for rewrites, Wolfgang Petersen went to do Troy, I thought it was going to happen after that...and then it didn't. But then they got this Christopher Nolan guy, and all was well.

I'd still rather see a Batman/Superman movie before a Justice League movie.

- Which ones would have aged the best? How do you think they would rank alongside the films we have?

The ones that were developed on the strength of their gimmicks - Batman Beyond and Batman vs. Superman - would likely not have turned out so well. Beyond had Dini attached, so it could have been great, but I don't know, I don't think the timing would have been right for that. I think Burton's movies, particularly Returns, have aged remarkably well (where it counts), and so I'm going to have to go with Burton's third Batman.

- What could they have provided which the films we have didn't?

Until Batman Begins, Mankiewicz's The Batman was most interesting for its through rendition of the origin story, but now we have a great version of that. The Dark Knight took on the guise of a gritty crime drama, much better than Batman: Year One was going to do it (and we also have the animated Year One, which is a straight-up translation of the comic). The Dark Knight Rises does, in its way, show us a Bruce who's getting too old for this (Murtaugh-style!) and decides to pass the mantle onto someone else who needs it themselves. So my answer is that this Batman: Dark Knight project would apparently have done something that's really interesting to me: exploring a Batman who's lost his ability to scare the life out of his prey. Without that, what is he doing? That would have really cool to dig into after Batman & Robin, but it was not to be.

- Do you think Schumacher might have been able to redeem himself somewhat?

If he proved that he gave a damn and actually took Batman seriously, maybe. And when I say "took Batman seriously," I don't mean did what Burton did or did what Nolan did; Batman Forever actually takes the character of Batman himself seriously for the most part, even though it gives him the short end of the narrative stick. Batman & Robin...not so much. I'm still terrified at the idea of Schumacher taking on The Scarecrow, and Harley Quinn, and it's 2012!
 
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Judging by Schumacher's own movies, which tend to lean to the dark side of things, and by him actually liking the character of Batman (Year One is his favourite comic book) I think he would've been able to redeem himself. Of course only if the studio had allow him to do a serious / dark Batman film like they let Nolan.

I agree. Schumacher has made some strong thrillers in his time, I don't think the blame can rest solely on him for WB wanting a 'toy printing franchise'.

Ideally, Batman vs. Superman would have been the most successful of these because it would have killed two birds with one stone...or resurrected two birds with one stone...whatever, you know what I mean. WB was trying to do then what they're trying to do currently with Justice League: introduce or reintroduce multiple heroes in the hope that audiences will want to then see them in their own solo adventures. The idea of Batman vs. Superman rebooting (before we were all using that word way too much) the Batman and Superman movie franchises sounded more plausible than JL does now, and out of these options WB probably hoped that would be the most successful. I'd still rather see a Batman/Superman movie before a Justice League movie.

I was staunchly against Batman vs. Superman when it was in development, but now I completely agree with you. It would be a better strategy than a Justice League movie at this point. Of course the 'vs.' thing can only be taken so far. If WB used Henry Cavill's Superman and introduced a new Batman, this could be a quick way to reestablish a Batman that exists in a more 'meta' world. Of course, I don't know if Petersen was the man for the job.

I think as it stood it would have turned out to be a good action popcorn film, though not up there with the greatest Batman movies.



So my answer is that this Batman: Dark Knight project would apparently have done something that's really interesting to me: exploring a Batman who's lost his ability to scare the life out of his prey. Without that, what is he doing? That would have really cool to dig into after Batman & Robin, but it was not to be.

Yep, I agree - it would have been a great premise. It would have had to completely disregard Forever and & Robin though, because Batman did not use an ounce of fear there - but they've done that before (Forever, using today's lingo, would be called a 'reboot' anyway).

I've co-opted this premise and meshed it with a fan-fic third Burton film, because the Burton films used fear fairly well. Batman is the first person to use fear toxin (not Scarecrow) in this film because he cannot instil fear anymore. Until it gets out of control of course. Link to first two parts.
 
Yep, I agree - it would have been a great premise. It would have had to completely disregard Forever and & Robin though, because Batman did not use an ounce of fear there - but they've done that before (Forever, using today's lingo, would be called a 'reboot' anyway).

I thought of that idea as a kind of reaction to Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, to a Batman who apparently forgot that his whole point was to use fear as his biggest weapon, so I don't know that Batman: Dark Knight would have had to disregard those movies because it seemed like a response to those two. However, it probably would have been a revamp like Batman Forever (and, to a lesser extent, Batman Returns).
 
I think Arronofsky's Year One would have been like the dark mirror version of Batman & Robin and killed the franchise for a while. It would have a cult following, I think.
 
Joel could have made a serious batman film if warner brothers weren't idiots back then. Batman Forver comes close. Idiots at warner brothers wanted to lighten his second film even more.
 
Joel could have made a serious batman film if warner brothers weren't idiots back then. Batman Forver comes close. Idiots at warner brothers wanted to lighten his second film even more.

Yep, it really seems like much of it was the studio and not Joel (though of course he has a share of the blame).

From the many interviews I've read Joel actually knows a lot about Batman.

The kneejerk reaction to the 'darkness' of Batman Returns seems like such an overreaction in retrospect. If only they could have been a bit more level-headed.
 
I would have liked to see Batman Triumphant and Tim Burton's Batman 3.

I think Burton would have made Batman 3 lighter due to studio reaction, but it still would have been good.

Batman Triumphant was supposed to feature a cameo by Jack Nicholson as Joker which would have been awesome to see. It was also most likely going to be darker than Batman & Robin because of the negative critical reaction.

Both would have been interesting to see.

I think Arronofsky's Year One would have been like the dark mirror version of Batman & Robin and killed the franchise for a while. It would have a cult following, I think.

I doubt it, as Aronofsky is overrated as a filmmaker. I think Pi and Requiem are ok but his films are pretentious crap.
 
Schumacher said Triumphant would have been closer to Batman89 in tone. So I'm guessing Burtons third and that one.
 
Schumacher said Triumphant would have been closer to Batman89 in tone. So I'm guessing Burtons third and that one.

Yep. I do like this fancover for Triumphant...

1211821329.jpg


Clooney probably could have been decent as Batman with the right tone. Although, some of the things he says in the interviews when he made Batman & Robin are a little bit :doh:, like 'Bruce Wayne just needs to get over his parents' death.' Still, I think that's more him reflecting the feeling of WB/the cast/crew at the time.
 
I doubt it, as Aronofsky is overrated as a filmmaker. I think Pi and Requiem are ok but his films are pretentious crap.

You not liking Aronofsky doesn't really have any bearing on whether the flick would have a cult following or not.
 
Was Batman: The Dark Knight the one they wanted to make based on the Dark Knight Returns with Clint Eastwood?

Batman vs Superman - I read the script it had some problems stuff that could been ironed out. I remember hearing they wanted Colin Farrell for Batman and Jude Law for Superman which I think would've been awful, I also heard they wanted Josh Hartnett for this as he didn't want to do a trilogy of Superman films (yet we know he auditioned for those and his audition was supposed to be amazing) and I'd have loved Hartnett as Superman think he'd have been near perfect.
 
Was Batman: The Dark Knight the one they wanted to make based on the Dark Knight Returns with Clint Eastwood?

No, from Batman wiki...

"Bruce Wayne is in self-imposed seclusion from life, because he feels he has lost his greatest weapons in the fight against crime: his mystique and his enemies' fear. Dick Grayson attends Gotham University, trying to discover who he is apart from his guardian and unwilling to return as Robin without him. Meanwhile, Dr. Jonathan Crane uses his position as professor of psychology at Gotham University and as resident psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum to conduct his experiments in fear. During a vengeful confrontation with a colleague, Dr. Kirk Langstrom, Jonathan Crane unknowingly initiates Kirk's transformation into the creature known as Man-Bat. The unsuspecting denizens of Gotham scream for Batman's head, believing that Man-Bat's nightly hunts is the Dark Knight's bloodthirsty return to action. Bruce dons cape and cowl once more to clear his name and solve the mystery behind these attacks. Eventually, Dick ends up in Arkham Asylum under Crane's unsympathetic watch, and Kirk struggles with his "man vs. monster" syndrome as he longs to both reunite with his wife and get revenge on Crane.
 
Yep. I do like this fancover for Triumphant...

1211821329.jpg


Clooney probably could have been decent as Batman with the right tone. Although, some of the things he says in the interviews when he made Batman & Robin are a little bit :doh:, like 'Bruce Wayne just needs to get over his parents' death.' Still, I think that's more him reflecting the feeling of WB/the cast/crew at the time.
Technically, Christopher Nolan's whole point with Bruce Wayne was that he just needed to get over his parents' death. :o
 

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