Tuesday, August 12, 2008
The Dark Huntress?
I know that as of late, I seem to be a little Bat-obsessed, but I had a crazy idea while watching The Dark Knight for the second time.
People everywhere are already talking about which villains they'll use in the sequel to The Dark Knight. My thought is this - what if they don't use villains? Not in the strictest sense of the word, that is. What if the next film is mostly about Batman butting heads with Catwoman and The Huntress?
I know, I know - neither of them are as vicious as Heath Ledger's Joker and it sidesteps the whole "Batman Vs. The Terrorists" dynamic they've established in both films (Ra's Al Ghul and his cult of fanatics versus Joker and his cult of personality). But, my God - wouldn't that be the point? They can't return to the themes of this movie without rehashing a certain amount of ground. So why not go to a fresh place?
The most interesting part of the film for me are the BatWannabes, the various guys at the start in homemade costumes who are trying to be like their hero. Despite a working BatSignal and admiration for Batman in the comics, no such movement has existed in the comic books themselves, to my knowledge. It's a testimony to the world that Christopher Nolan has created that the existence of such men feel organic; a natural response by fed-up people to the basic idea of one man making a difference. While I think it's implied that the Batman imitators are flash in the pan and scared off by The Joker, I can only wonder if a similar "Year One"-esque motivation will be used in the third film for not just Catwoman, but perhaps Huntress as well.
As it's implied by the ending of DK, everyone now assumes Batman will and does kill. I feel like the placement of Catwoman in the next film feels almost inevitable, given what happens between Bruce and Rachel in this film, but what if we replace that dynamic with Huntress? Or Selina Kyle also assumes the hype about Batman the murderous vigilante? How does Batman deal with taking down the mob while dealing with one or even two women who are as motivated - albeit not quite as well-armed - as he is? More dangerous than him, even, given their moral flexibility? How tempting would it be for him to fudge his moral code so he can be with a partner who understands him? The crushing loneliness of his existence was hammered home in every frame of Dark Knight, to the point where I do feel like a lack of a love interest in the next film would be unforgivable (and please not, Talia Al Ghul - while she would give the trilogy symmetry, she just doesn't interest me nearly as much as a character).
Now, before anyone freaks out, I'm not saying that a total lack of a more straightforward Batvillain is going to happen or that a lack of a straightforward mustache-twirling bad guy would even be a good thing. But The Penguin? The Riddler? No and no. Too silly in Penguin's case and I honestly can't imagine a Riddler who could stand up to Ledger's Joker.
But Black Mask? Absolutely. Hugo Strange? God, yes. In a mob city as violently destabilized by Batman and the Joker's antics, the idea of a mobster like Black Mask adopting their tactics just makes sense. And Hugo Strange? Seriously, what 'real world' psychiatrist wouldn't be trying to figure out Batman and The Joker at this point? Yes, I know a Harley Quinn appearance would be the most logical thing in the world from that set-up but, in the wake of Mr. Ledger's tragic death, any callbacks to his Joker would have to be tremendously earned. Maybe it's me, but Hugo Strange just feels like he'd fit in beautifully in Nolan's world. The idea of Strange trying to twist the minds of Batman, Catwoman and/or the Huntress as they dance around Gotham's rooftops intrigues the hell out of me. Such a film would be a delight. I feel that these characters and themes would just lend themselves beautifully to Nolan's spot-on character studies and exploration of morality in a confusing world.
Plus, I just plain like Catwoman and Huntress, dang it. :D
Huh. Sorry, the idea of a more Hugo Strange-esque Harley Quinn (funny, sure, but more sadistic and effective) with Catwoman and/or Huntress just simultaneously gave me goosebumps and a twitchy memory of that unfortunate Birds of Prey TV show (so much wasted potential!).
But in any case, after all that rambling, I suppose I should give out my obligatory casting ideas. Hmmmm. The Angelina Jolie as Catwoman rumor doesn't entirely displease me, even if she feels a little on the nose at this point. Huntress? A lot harder to cast. Monica Bellucci would be perfect but for Helena's relative youth and inexperience. Hell, she might still pull it off, given how much fun she seemed to be having in Shoot 'Em Up. Black Mask needs to have an imposing physical presence and the ability to act through a mask - which could really describe a wealth of large, talented male actors these days. Gerard Butler, just as a for instance, might have a lot of fun portraying a psychopathic mobster. And Hugo Strange? I'd love to see what Steve Buscemi could do with a shaved head and thick glasses. And, should they surprise the hell out of me by going that route, Sarah Michelle Gellar might make for a fine Harley Quinn. Just my two cents, in any case.
What do y'all think? Am I crazy? Or do these ideas sound reasonable to anybody else?