If you are a comic book fan or at the very least a fan of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, you might have heard the rumor that Nolan and Bale are going to reunite for the Justice League movie. The story goes that Christian Bale will once again don the cape and cowl, joining Man of Steel’s star Henry Cavill in the Justice League film. Man of Steel director Zack Snyder is the rumored director, with Nolan in the role of series “Godfather.” I am pretty cautious when it comes to the rumor mill, though I suppose it could happen, like the surprise announcement of J.J. Abrams directing with the new Star Wars trilogy.
There are several issues with this possibility. After putting Batman and Gotham City through hell in The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan and co. took the unique route of giving Bruce Wayne a happy ending in a life of retirement with Selina Kyle. After this reward for the tireless champion, would it really make sense for him to give it all up and re-enter the ring? The Justice League movie in question could of course provide a high-stakes explanation that would force Wayne out of retirement to save the world with Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest, but I don’t think it would feel right. Without delving into it heavily, Nolan’s films set up a very finite story for Bruce Wayne and a legacy that will live on through Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake. I don’t want John Blake Batman in the JLA, and it’s been confirmed that that wouldn’t be the case, but I think they should just leave Christian Bale Batman alone altogether and start fresh.
Marvel Studios has obviously been successful in their world-building films, and DC/Warner Brothers is most definitely trying to match wits with the giant, but they lack foresight, and always have. Even though DC Comics gave birth to the popular notion of the superhero (with Superman), they have almost always been behind the curve in relation to Marvel Comics. The 1960s saw the birth of the Marvel superhero and with it a meticulous interwoven universe where Spider-Man regularly ran into The Fantastic Four and everything was interrelated. Conversely, outside of Batman and Superman, the DC superheroes didn’t interact as often, and their universes were frequently inconsistent. Even today, with The New 52, DC Comics massive reboot character depictions don’t really gel among many books. The Wonder Woman of her own title feels vastly different from the one in Justice League, for example.
Iron Man and Iron Man 2 began the trend of laying the groundwork for future Marvel films, without sacrificing its own story (for the most part.) I think that if Batman Begins and its subsequent sequels tried to do this by dropping mentions of “Superman in Metropolis” or “that Wonder Woman person” would’ve changed the nature of those films and probably ruin them altogether. So I hope that DC/Warner Brothers cuts any ties to Nolan’s saga and starts off in a new direction with Man of Steel. They want so desperately to have a presence as big as Marvel’s in the movie business, but they are nowhere near ready for it. I pray that they realize this and take a slow-and-steady approach to an Avengers-style Justice League movie. But I kind of doubt they will. Oh DC, I love you so very much, but sometimes you are crazy man.