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Things Fans Want To See In The Batman

The release of The Batman marks the thirteenth time that the Dark Knight has hit the big screen for a feature-length adventure, and that's a baker's dozen that contains a wide variety of interpretations. There's been the campy action of 1966, the gothic weirdness Tim Burton brought to the table in 1989, the neon-drenched excess of Joel Schumacher, and even the brick-based blockiness of The LEGO Batman Movie, along with a couple of other takes besides.

For now, though, The Batman remains a bit of a mystery. That hasn't stopped plenty of fans from speculating, hoping for, and outright demanding that the new film bring in exactly what they want from a superhero who truly contains multitudes. As for whether they'll get it, well, no movie has ever satisfied everyone, but that hasn't stopped us from wanting one that will. Here are a few of the things that the fans already want from The Batman.

The Batman should skip the origin

If you're someone who likes superhero movies, then you've seen Thomas and Martha Wayne get shot more times than Boromir did at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, and frankly, it's gotten a little boring. That's probably not the feeling that you want to evoke from a scene where a traumatized ten-year-old watches as his parents are murdered in front of him, but after a full 30 years of seeing Martha's pearls fall to the ground in Crime Alley, it's hard to care. Besides, real pearl necklaces don't fall apart like that, even if it looks good in slow motion.

The thing is, as important as Batman's backstory might be to the character, it's not actually something that we need to see again when the Dark Knight returns to the screen, and we know that for a couple of reasons. First, there's the simple fact that you don't really need to show it in order to tell a good Batman story. In the entirety of the Adam West TV series, the Wayne murders are only even mentioned once — briefly, in the very first episode, as Bruce is making a donation to fund Gotham City's social programs to attack the root causes of crime. Even if you don't like the campiness of the 1960s show, most Bat-fans would agree that Batman: The Animated Series is as close to the ideal version of Batman as you can get, and there are plenty of great episodes where the murders never come up.

Second, and perhaps more compelling, is that we've already seen that when a character is so iconic, whose origin story is so well-known, you can actually get a lot out of being more subtle with it. Spider-Man's defining tragedy is every bit as important for his character as Batman's is, but we saw Uncle Ben get shot so many times since 2002 that when it came time to reintroduce the wall-crawler in Captain America: Civil War, we didn't need to see it again. It's very clear that it still happened — Tom Holland's Peter Parker makes a reference to blaming himself for something bad that happened in the past as his reason for fighting crime — but there's an understanding that the audience is going in knowing about it. Giving Batman's origin that same kind of subtlety could actually add something to the new film and also help get to the action faster without getting bogged down in insisting that Batman is just a sad boy.

Fans are excited to see a bold new Batmobile

When it comes to the movies, there's no element of the entire Batman saga that's as iconic as the Batmobile. Every film in the franchise has included its own unique version of the car, from Tim Burton's phallic street rocket to the Dark Knight trilogy's armor-plated dune buggy to the classic George Barris custom car of the Adam West film. For some fans, the reveal of a new Batmobile is as exciting as seeing the costume or getting a peek at the designs for villains.

We've already gotten a small glimpse of what director Matt Reeves has in store for the streets of Gotham CIty through images released on Twitter, and while everyone is going to have a personal preference for Batmobile design, things are looking pretty promising. After 12 films, the biggest question about the Batmobile was undoubtedly the same one hanging over the artists of the Batman comics: Where do you go after you've seen everything from customized concept cars to heavily armored tanks? Rather than looking to those artists for an answer and lifting a design from the page, however, The Batman seems to be scaling things back to a more "realistic" ride, and that makes a lot of sense.

For one thing, it's actually true to the comics. Long before it was a signature element, the first "Batmobile" in the early days of Detective Comics was just a regular car. If The Batman is focusing on the Caped Crusader's early years, having him start off with a modified muscle car rather than a military prototype or something built from scratch could be a good visual signifier of those first days fighting crime. Also, as anyone who's ever been to New York will tell you, trying to navigate a 20-foot Art Deco rocket through busy city streets would probably leave Batman stuck in traffic, which wouldn't exactly make for an exciting chase sequence. A Batmobile that's more in line with standard-issue cars could be at least a little more nimble without having to hop across rooftops like we saw in Batman Begins.

Of course, that's just going off a single image, and if we're all honest with each other, looking cool is a way more important function of the car than being able to get back to the Batcave at rush hour. It's almost certain that we'll get some touches of Batman flair, whether it's the visuals or some Bond-style gadgets. They're already on the right path of giving us something new rather than a retread, but the devil's definitely in those details.

The Batman needs some hard-hitting fights

For a character who's renowned for his skill in the martial arts, Batman hasn't exactly had the best luck when it comes to big-screen fight scenes. The Burton movies had some memorable moments, including the no-look backhand that's become one of Batman's signature moves in the decades since, but for all its good parts, the Nolan trilogy didn't exactly deliver when it came to the action. The fight scenes in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were often intentionally poorly lit and disorienting, and while that worked thematically to show how Batman preyed on his enemies' fear, it wasn't the action spectacle that fans really wanted.

The one thing that even the people who hated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice can agree on, though, is that the big fight scene between Batman and the KGBeast's goons in the part where he rescues Superman's mom — what was her name again? — is pretty great. It might be a little too lethal for fans who care about Batman's code against killing, but the action is hard-hitting and easy to follow. In fact, in a lot of ways, it captures on film the same things that people like about the fight scenes in the Arkham games, where just completely wrecking dudes was the primary element that made you feel like Batman.

Fans are hoping that trend continues into the next film, at least in terms of being able to tell what's going on, and that we actually get to see Batman fight with some kind of style. A nice thing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that most of the more martial characters have their own distinct fighting style. Captain America and Black Panther, for instance, have essentially the same powers, but they move and fight in very different ways. Doing something similar for Robert Pattinson in The Batman could really help distinguish him in the part, especially since his leaner build lends itself to a very different style than Ben Affleck's bulked-up battering ram.

Fans want to see a deep bench of villains

Listen, we all love the Joker. He's easily one of the best villains in comics and arguably one of the best villains in modern fiction, period, and he's been the source of some great performances on the screen. That said, Batman has a deep bench of villains that are probably the most compelling bad guys in superhero comics. Could we maybe dig a little deeper this time and give the fans someone they haven't already seen on the big screen?

There have, after all, been six different versions of the Joker in the big-screen Batman movies — seven if you count Joaquin Phoenix in Joker. So far, The Batman is avoiding stepping on that particular set of toes, but the credits already include the fifth cinematic Catwoman, with Zoe Kravitz joining Lee Meriwether, Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, and Anne Hathaway. Plus, we're getting the third big-screen versions of the Penguin and Riddler. These are all great characters, but are we really just going to stop at using the same handful of villains over and over again? Say what you will about 1998's much-maligned Batman & Robin, but it was the first Batman movie since 1966 to feature all villains who hadn't been used in film before.

We're not saying that The Batman and its inevitable sequels need to go for the deep cuts that The LEGO Batman Movie pulled out, although it would be pretty fascinating to see a live-action blockbuster that pit Batman against Orca the Whale Woman and Gentleman Ghost. It's pretty weird, however, that Orca has been in exactly as many movies as Ra's al-Ghul, and that she's even been in one movie when, say, the Mad Hatter and Prometheus haven't been in any. If the filmmakers really want to give fans something new, they could even go real wild and dig deep for someone like Nocturna, the vampire who sued Bruce Wayne for custody of Robin. You can't say you wouldn't be surprised by that one.

Also, just in case they're planning the sequels right now, it should be noted that if you don't count Harvey Dent's appearance in Batman '89 or the cameo in LEGO Batman, Two-Face has been a featured antagonist in two movies, and therefore, he should never be used in a movie again.

Let's meet the entire Bat-family

While some fans prefer Batman to be a grim avenger who stalks the night alone, waging a solitary war on crime, one of the most enduring aspects of the character has been the family of sidekicks and allies that aid him in his mission. After all, Robin has been around since 1940, first appearing less than a year after Batman himself, and the decades since have only seen more characters join him. In addition to the Robins, there's Alfred and Batgirl who round out the more long-standing members, and then there are headliners like Batwoman and the Huntress and lesser-known (but still important) characters like Signal, Bluebird, and Spoiler, who was both a Robin and a Batgirl at various points of her crime-fighting career.

Despite the enduring popularity of these characters, though, the movies haven't been all that kind to the Batman Family, when they bother to include them at all. Alfred has the distinction of being the only member to appear in every iteration of the Batman franchise who's actually a good character in all of his appearances. You'd think being around for 80 years would give Robin a head start, but he's consistently been one of the clumsiest aspects of the franchise for decades. There's Chris O'Donnell showing up in the Schumacher movies and being adopted by Bruce Wayne despite the fact that he's clearly a grown-ass man. There's the bizarre and confusing subplot in The Dark Knight Rises about John Blake, whose real name is Robin but who's apparently the second Batman? Batman v Superman even went as far as killing Robin before the movie even started, turning the Boy Wonder into a prefab sadness corpse.

The Batman, however, has the opportunity to finally do these characters right, something that would undoubtedly thrill the fans who grew up with the actually good portrayals of characters like Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon in the comics and on TV. It would give this Batman someone other than Alfred and Lucius Fox to talk to, and as we've learned from CW shows like Batwoman, there are plenty of areas of the Batman franchise that have a ton of untapped potential.

The Batman needs to do right by Gotham

Ask anyone who loves Batman about Gotham City, and you'll almost always hear them say that Gotham itself is pretty much a character in its own right. It's more than just a location — it's crafted to be the perfect environment for a guy who stalks the night dressed up as Dracula, saving lives by doing karate at murderous clowns, snowman robots, and the occasional criminal whale-woman. Legendary Batman editor Dennis O'Neil probably summed it up best in his afterword to his novelization of Knightfall, when he wrote that Gotham City is "Manhattan below Fourteenth Street at eleven minutes past midnight on the coldest night in November."

The movies, however, haven't always done a great job with getting that across. The best version of Gotham is probably the one that we see in Batman '89, where Tim Burton and designer Anton Furst tried to capture the feeling Sam Hamm wrote into his original script for the film, with Gotham appearing as though "Hell erupted through the pavement and built a city." The result was a fantastically weird, industrial Gothic cityscape, where exposed pipes were jammed up next to Art Deco statues, and where rickety haunted house cathedrals existed alongside grimy urban streets. For Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, director Joel Schumacher took that idea to its extreme, recasting Gotham as a neon fever dream built on top of towering statues that held up buildings and highways. Christopher Nolan's Gotham in the Dark Knight trilogy swung the other way and was literally just regular, real-world Chicago. Neither of those really worked.

So if it's going to work as Batman's hometown, Gotham can't just be a regular city, and if the movie isn't going to descend into being a campy cartoon, it can't be Schumacher's Whoville, either. It has to have its own character, its own style, loaded up with deep shadows and ominous gargoyles, a place that feels like a big city you could actually go to but far more threatening and scary than your typical town. In other words, it has to be a city where becoming Batman seems like the only way to save it.

Fans would love to see an actual mystery

Batman is the World's Greatest Detective ... in theory, at least. While he's claimed that title for decades and has been the undisputed star of a magazine called Detective Comics since 1939, most of his mysteries tend to have solutions like "it's probably the guy named Dr. Killnyfe who's killing everyone with knives." Still, every now and then, you get a solid mystery story that shows off his intelligence as much as his fighting skills.

But in the movies ... not so much. Batman '66 might be the worst offender, but its portrayal of crime-solving — in which Robin realizes who one of the villains is because "it happened at sea ... "C!" For Catwoman!" — is at least played for comedy. The extremely serious scene in The Dark Knight where Batman pulls a fingerprint off a shattered bullet by shooting a bunch of walls and then reassembling the pieces based on which bullet hole looks right is almost nonsensical enough to be parody. Batman '89 made a halfhearted attempt at a mystery by having Batman figure out that the Joker was distributing his poison through multiple products, but most of that detective work happens off-screen.

Considering that Batman's greatest feat of deduction in films up to this point was figuring out that "P.N. Gwynne" might be an alias, it's about time that we saw a Dark Knight who succeeds with his fists and his wits. We've already seen him as an unstoppable physical force, so letting him figure out a few things along the way would be a great way to add something that the other 12 films haven't. Plus, it would play up to Robert Pattinson's strengths as an actor who could pull off an introspective genius.

Show us the whites of his eyes

We got our first glimpse at The Batman's black-on-black costume back in February, when Matt Reeves posted an ominously lit first look and set off a raging debate over whether Batman was actually wearing a logo made out of gun parts. A few weeks later, a leaked set photo revealed something that Reeves' camera test hinted at. Unlike previous Batman costumes, Pattinson's version of the Caped Crusader's cowl will cover his eyes.

That brings him a little more in line with how Batman has always looked in the comics. From day one, Batman has been drawn with blank white eyes in the cowl, giving him a dramatic look that's been mirrored in animated versions. The only time the live-action movies have adopted this look, though, came in Batman v Superman, when Batman's bulky armor — a design that was mostly lifted from Frank Miller's classic comic, The Dark Knight Returns — had glowing headlight eyes. A weird choice for a character that you'd think would want a little stealth, but it was striking nonetheless.

In what we've seen so far, the eyes of The Batman's cowl are dark and look more like goggles than anything else. Of course, they might still be tweaking the look or adding changes like that in post-production, so there's no reason why they couldn't get those classic white eyes, especially since we've already seen how good that can look in the Deadpool and Spider-Man movies.