So I’m a big fan of Christopher Nolan’s films. I’m particularly a fan of his collaboration with his brother Jonathan, because his brother is a prose writer, primarily, and lends a really interesting literary undercurrent to the films. People who hated the end of Dark Knight tend to hate it because it wasn’t a very cinematic ending, which is true, it wasn’t. It was a literary ending. The ending brought the thesis to a close, the analogy. I loved it, because it did so while still maintaining its cinematic sensibilities, but had the courage (and baffling skill) to try something daring and quiet for a finale.
I am, however, growing insane from the mounting tension – he just keeps making really, really good, interesting films, one after another. When is he going to mess up? When is his ego going to sabotage him? When does he disappear in an orgy of self-confidence? Maybe never (hah!), but preferably soon, so he can fall, recover, grow and make great films again. Odds, of course, are on the third Batman film being awful, which would just be a shame. First, it’s time. Second, he’s just released a few details about the third Batman film – that it won’t have the The Riddler in it (fine), the he won’t use unused footage of Heath Ledger to insert the Joker into it (well, thank heaven for that), and that the title is The Dark Knight Rises (uh, really?). That’s not a good sign. The Dark Knight, as a title, reflected the tone and undercurrent of the film – it worked on both a literal level, and as a metaphoric reference of his “dark night of the soul” when his sense of self gets tested to the limits.
This is taking something that worked and adding a word – a very Hollywood sequel move. It’s not in the same league as the grand champions of awful sequel titles (like Highlander 2: The Quickening and Die hard 2: Die Harder), but it has the distinctive scent of “perfunctory.”
After the success of DK, he can do damn near anything he wants, and people will be asking, begging to throw money at the film – the kiss of death for so many films. Sequels are always bigger, and part 3’s always are BIGGER. MORE CROWDED. TERRIBLE. Which brings me to the biggest “uh oh” of the film. – it’s a part 3.
Godfather 3. Halloween 3. Alien 3. Scream 3. And this, dear God, is part 3 of a superhero series. Superman 3. Batman Forever. X-Men 3. Spiderman 3 (shudder). In fact, let’s us rattle off a list of great third installments, shall we…? Um… Well, Toy Story 3. Okay, Army of Darkness, but that only sort of counts, since it’s only sort of a sequel, and Evil Dead 2 was more like a remake of Evil Dead than a sequel. Uhhhh….
So, what I’m proposing, is that Nolan intentionally tank “Batman 3.” Make it so awful that he laughs all the way to the bank, and people forget the whole thing and don’t include it in with the first two. Better that than something done in earnest that ruins the memory of the others. Think about it – when people talk about the Godfather films, they basically pretend that part 3 didn’t happen. It’s so awful you just sort of squint it out.
With that in mind, I offer my own script: Batman 3: Knight Darker. Here’s an excerpt.
EXTERIOR – GOTHAM CITY – EVENING
A crowd has gathered on the street as, up on a raised platform, the President of the United States (Ian McKellan) is about to declare The Penguin (Mel Gibson) mayor of Gotham City.
From the back of the crowd, Batman (Christian Bale) and Robin (Paul Rudd) watch.
Batman: Well, boy wonder, as soon as The Penguin is sworn in, we can grab him with the Bat-net and find out if the Riddler was telling the truth about my parents still being alive.
Robin: And then we’ll know the password to override the hijacked plane’s controls!
Suddenly, an explosion rips through the crowd, causing tremendous destruction but not killing anyone. People begin to flee.
Penguin: Waaah! Curses! My inauguration has been ruined!
The Penguin sprays the president with gas hidden in his sleeve and drags him, unconscious, toward a helicopter.
Penguin (cont.): Time for this bird to fly!
The helicopter takes off.
From out of the smoke and flames strides The Jokester (Ben Affleck), The Joker’s long-lost brother.
Robin: Holy double-images, Batman!
Jokester: Surprised, Batman? Don’t you know that a deck of cards always comes with TWO jokers?? Hahahahahaaa – what the??
A bat-arang goes swooping past the Jokester’s head, and loops back where it is caught by the gloved hand of Batgirl (Meryl Streep), sitting on her stylish Bat-cycle.
Batgirl: Joker’s aren’t the only thing that comes in packs, Jokester. Although, bat’s prefer to… SWARM!
From behind her, the Bat Friends emerge from the shadows, clad in uniforms tailored to fit their diminutive sizes. They are, in fact, the orphans whose Rec Center was closed in Scene 4 after Penguin rigged the big dance-off: Justin, Brittany, Kwan-Li, Shaneequa, Felipe, and Goober.
Jokester: Oh no! This isn’t over, caped-crusader! See you in the funny papers! Hahahahahahaha!
Jokester runs away, but no one pursues. Instead, the Bat friends cheer and high-five one another.
Kwan-Li: We did it!
Justin: Let’s celebrate!
They being dancing in the streets, joined by Batman and Robin, and assorted bystanders. Someone turns on a stereo, somewhere, which is playing the single “Dance Your Bat Off” (Artist To Be Determined).
Voice (O.S.): Me-ow. Mind if we join you?
Everyone stops dancing. The voice belongs to Tabby Cat (Kristen Stewart). The nine catwomen are sashaying down the street, dressed in cat-themed lingerie.
Tabby Cat: Yes, and we love to dance.
Siamese Cat (Emma Watson): We sure do, don’t you think it sound purr-fect, Persian Cat?
Persian Cat (CGI): That’s right. Wouldn’t you agree, Sassy Cat? Sassy Cat? Sassy cat?!
Sassy Cat (Eddie Murphy in a fat suit) is having difficulty seeing because her outfit has become tangled up, and her mask is crooked, blocking her eyes.
Sassy Cat: What’s going on? I can’t see! Are your outfits riding up? I got a camel-toe so bad I swear I just saw Aladdin go by! What’s happening?
Catwomen (all, except Sassy Cat): Oh, Sassycat!
Mr. Nolan, I await your call.