Riddle me this, riddle me that.
Who wants to be the one to fight the big, bad, bat?
As you’ve probably heard pretty much everywhere, Christopher Nolan dropped some info on the next installment of his Batman trilogy. The first of which is the title, which will officially be “The Dark Knight Rises.” The other tidbit of important info will that the film will not be in 3D… and that the villain will not be the Riddler. And thank God.
Personally, I’m glad this is the route Nolan is taking. Unlike most hardcore Batman fans, I am a huge fan of the Nolan films, as well as Nolan in general (I’m pushing for Inception as movie of the year). Anyone you speak to that knows me will tell you I’m not digging 3D. While it is a booming industry and is helping to assist ticket sales against the rising renting market, it is still a cheap way to get an extra $4 or $5 out of your pocket. It does not make movies look more “realistic” as some have claimed, and it becomes more of a novelty than an everlasting work of entertainment.
As far as the title of the film, I’m on the fence. To me, I like simplicity. Iron Man, then Iron Man 2. That’s perfectly fine. Transformers, then Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Not as great, but I can deal — there’s at least continuity in the title. Then you run into cases that are just all over the place (such as the First Blood/Rambo films). To me, it just feels sort of odd with a franchise that starts with Batman Begins, then The Dark Knight, then ends it with The Dark Knight Rises. It’s like Bruce Kalish was coming up with these titles (obscure Power Rangers jokes ahoy!).
But at the end of the day, title does not mean much as substance, which I’m confident the films won’t fail on. But the elephant in the room that everybody is, in fact, questioning is who will be the villain?
Earlier in the year some people began throwing actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a possible candidate as the Riddler. He’s worked with Nolan before as well as having the acting chops to pull off the role of a bad guy despite the pretty boy face. I’m still getting over the fact that he was Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. The same dude that shower-bopped Zooey Deschanel was Cobra Commander! For real!
But now that rumors about the Riddler being the next villain are laid to rest, it’s time to speculate who the villain will be. I have some ideas below, but who do you think should be the big bad for the big bat? Share with us your thoughts!
Oh, yeah, and spoilers. Maybe. You’ve been warned.
Villain Option 1: Black Mask
Roman Sionis had a similar upbringing to Bruce Wayne. He came from an affluent family that made their fortune from a cosmetics company, and knew Bruce Wayne since childhood. His parents were, to put it lightly, not as nice as the Wayne family, and were completely self-absorbed, even forcing friendship upon his son and Bruce to elevate their own status. Eventually, Roman burned his family’s mansion to the ground and inherited the Sionis fortune. After burning that to the ground as well, Wayne buys out the cosmetics company and Sionis turns to a life of crime.
It’s a simple story that plays more into Wayne’s own family than does other villains, but there’s plenty of potential to be had. We’ve all heard or seen our own parents act like high school girls when it comes to other parents, and this story could resonate rather well with the audience. It touches upon our own desire for status by association, especially now with social media (OMG I GOT A TWEET FROM ________ ).
I’d personally like to see a Christopher Nolan take on the Black Mask, someone who could potentially take over the criminal underworld in the absence of The Joker, who was last seen going into Gotham City Police custody at the end of The Dark Knight.
Possible actor: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Despite not being the Riddler, I can definitely see him in the shoes of Roman Sionis.
Villain Option 2: Harley Quinn
One of the legacies the critically-acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series left was the character of Harley Quinn, a psychiatrist of the Joker who fell madly in love with him, later becoming her frightfully attractive accomplice. Bordering on sexual as well as insane, she left quite the lasting impression on all who grew up watching the cartoon. Director Kevin Smith named his own daughter after her.
Her lack of presence in the films, however, have left plenty of fanboys and even fangirls disappointed. She was the primary antagonist in WB’s short-lived and kind of terrible Birds of Prey, but since that show lasted only twelve or so episodes, her appearances have left much to be desired.
Fortunately, the films are doable to introduce the character. While it will be kind of shoved in, it’s at least a suitable replacement for the missing Joker, whom Nolan confirmed will not be in the third film. If there had to be a “replacement,” it would certainly make sense to have his accomplice, the one who we have all wished for years to see on film, be the successor.
Possible actress: Hard to say. Brittany Murphy would have been great. I would say Amy Adams if only for her ability as an actress, but I have a hard time imagining her in the role.
Villain Option 3: Scarecrow
Well why the hell not.
Christopher Nolan wants to finish what he’s started. One of the villains that he started the franchise with, by golly gee I think he should finish it with Scarecrow. Cillian Murphy did an excellent job as the Scarecrow, putting reason to madness in a man of power and intelligence. His incredibly small screen time in The Dark Knight is almost a crime in and of itself, although it would make his appearance in Rises all the more sweeter. Murphy is an excellent actor, and he brought the Scarecrow to life, and was arguably much more interesting than Ra’s Al Ghul. There’s still much to find out about him, and his two-minute cameo in The Dark Knight did nothing to satisfy our thirst. Truly, if Nolan wants to have his story come to an end, bring an end to the guy who is still surviving since the first movie.
Possible actor: Cillian Murphy. Duh.