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If you haven’t been paying attention to the always-burbling world of superhero-movie news (can’t blame you, bigger things going on right now!), then let us direct you to stage right of this multibillion-dollar industry, where DC is in the looking-for-a-raft phase of Titanic.
While Marvel has seen unprecedented success by swirling VFX booms, scary purple aliens, and Chris Evans’ ass into a palatable, 23-film-long saga, DC has tried (and failed) and tried (and failed again) to establish its own interconnected universe of films. Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were met with iffy reviews. And DC's big Avengers-type team-up movie, Justice League, was so marred by production issues that the film is getting its own director’s cut on HBO Max next year. That’s not mentioning the smattering of films along the way: Aquaman, Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey, and Wonder Woman, the last of which has been the studio’s only resounding critical and commercial win since Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy. Then there's the polarizing Joker, which takes place in its own universe and the upcoming The Batman, in which Robert Pattinson will play the caped crusader.
Earlier this summer, reports indicated that DC might have a new strategy—lean into the chaos! Michael Keaton is reportedly in talks to appear as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the upcoming standalone Flash movie starring Ezra Miller, which seems to hint that DC is establishing a multiverse that would allow for all kinds of crossovers. Yesterday, Vanity Fair reported that DC will double-down and throw more proverbial shit on the wall, signing on Ben Affleck’s Batman to appear in The Flash. According to the report, DC’s goal is to “create a way for all the competing factions of its fandom to coexist together.”
Oh, really! If that’s the case, may we propose a triple-down for the future of DC: Scrap The Flash. Instead, why not squish every Batman who has ever existed into one single film, and let the Batverse become the franchise’s bold new future?
If you caught the VF story, which quotes The Flash director Andy Muschetti, the filmmaker talks more about Batman than the superhero whose damn name is in the title. From past reports, we already know that The Flash will introduce Keaton’s Caped Crusader as a Nick Fury type who will grandfather the future of DC. Now, it seems like Batfleck will serve as a sort of uncle to Barry Allen, giving him a big hug before he sets the speedster off on his multiversed journey. So, with Keaton and Affleck in the mix, The Flash is already more like The Batmen. Why not go for broke? Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse showed that it’s possible to pull off the ridiculous feat of stuffing a handful of the same hero into one film—while acknowledging that it’s a little ridiculous to stuff a handful of the same hero into one film.
In a Batverse movie, Keaton and Affleck would be the least interesting men on screen. Get LEGO Batman in there to sit on Batfleck’s shoulder to troll each and every one of his mumbling words. You’d have to squeeze Pete Holmes’ Batman in there, if only so he can scream WHO ARE YOU? at the sight of Christian Bale’s Batman. We could finally see Batgirl, or maybe, the Armie Hammer Batman we never got to meet. Plus the Batman who fought alongside the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Batman Beyond. Videogame Batman. Some archival-footage trickery for Adam West's Batman. Andy Samberg’s SNL Batman.
Hell, for the fun of it, throw in me circa the third grade, a shadowy little guy dressed up in a plastic Batman costume for Halloween. That’ll go over well.
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