We are living in a golden age my friends, a golden age. I am of course referring to being in the midst of Christopher Nolan’s third Batman installment: The Dark Knight Rises. It might seem lame to be so excited about a movie that’s not being released until July 2012, but as lifetime Batman fan it is hard not to think about. Can you blame me? Christopher Nolan has gotten us past the dark days of Joel Schumacher’s freaky Batman nipples, and non-stop puns of the 90’s and created the best adaptation in my opinion since Batman: The Animated Series. Following the pure awesomeness that was The Dark Knight, the internet is overloaded with fanboys spewing their speculations and concerns about casting and possible plots for The Dark Knight Rises. Well here at the Local Q….we’re going to do the same thing. I have recruited two friends and usual Batman conversationalists to help give their ideas for possible villains for TDKR. Tanner Jacobs is an all around comic book expert, while Michael Thompson is a bit of a smart-aleck that enjoys Andy Kaufman-esque stunts.

I wasn't kidding about the bat nipples.

My Input:

Dear Mr. Nolan,

One thing that I would like to see in TDKR, despite numerous reports that it isn’t going to happen is the return of Two Face. I feel like the fall he suffered was a survivable. It would be perfectly reasonable to say that Commissioner Gordon and the Gotham PD decided to cover up Harvey Dent turning to the dark side in order to maintain hope in Gotham City. There is still so much story that could be written from Two Faces turn to a life of crime. Of course, he had better take care of that burn shortly or will most likely die from an infection, then where would we be?I believe that it would be awesome if the main villain was Black Mask. Tom Hardy has already been added to the cast and I believe he would make a fine criminal strategist. They could follow along the story line of Black Mask, a ruthless thug who murdered his parents, and growing up, was forced to be friends with Bruce Wayne. Black Mask has a talent for building an empire through terrorizing, coercion, corruption and brute force. His lack of super powers makes him fit in perfectly with Nolan’s world. I believe that Black Mask and his loyal followers The False Face Society would really put Batman to the test.

One thing that I am fairly confident will be a large point of the movie is Batman learning to assist Gotham City despite being viewed in a negative light…thus The Dark Knight will Rise… get it? Anyway, I cannot wait.

Gotta admit. It would be pretty sweet.

Tanner Jacobs Input:

Dear Christopher Nolan,

As a comic book aficionado, a.k.a a comic book nerd, I have a few suggestions for the next Batman movie. The obvious villains in the new movie, the tried and true, well known, Batman villains: Poison Ivy, Riddler, Penguin, even Mr. Freeze, are overplayed. I do not believe Two Face needs brought back…yet. Instead I believe there are two completely different and I believe underrated villains in the Batman comics which would both present a powerful problem to the Dark Knight, as well as create an interesting tie in to a sequel.
The first is one that many people are likely to throw out…Black Mask. Black Mask is by far and away one of the largest thorns in Batman’s splintered side in recent years. His ability to control large groups of people in an organization much like the Falcone’s makes him a legitimate boss. However, it is his hatred for both Bruce and Batman that make him a formidable foe. Black Mask gives you several other outlets to pursue as well in which you could make use of some of the lesser villains. For example, Firefly, Zsasz (aka Mr. Zsasz), or even Deadshot. It would be more enjoyable to see him use all of them. This would not only put a strain on Batman but on the city of Gotham, which in turn would deal a significant blow to Bruce Wayne the man.

I’ve mentioned two and two I shall provide. There can only be one word, which describes this man. A man more calculated than Two Face and dare I say more disturbed than Joker. A word that even Batman would have to face at an emotional level: HUSH. Hush the long time friend of Batman, Dr. Thomas Elliot. A man so psychotic he hates Bruce Wayne, not because he is rich or because he is Batman but because it was Bruce’s father which allowed his mother to live when he was younger. A man who actually tried killed his own mother and did kill his own father at a young age, and a man who almost gets the best of Batman by pulling at the heart strings of Gotham’s greatest hero.

I realize these are not as unknown as say a Blockbuster or a Calendar Man, also interesting choices in their own right, but these two villains are simply people. People who don’t need super powers to instill fear, but much like Batman himself, people who simply need their cunning and life experiences. I believe these two do incredibly different things and possibly lead in several different directions. They open up parts of the city we rarely see in the movies. Parts of Gotham that even Batman is afraid to delve into. Not to mention that by using both of them we can see more of the Detective that Batman is meant to be. Instead of simply being a pair of fists and a batarang or two, possibly the most underutilized weapon within TV and movies, is Batman’s mind. Allow him a Sherlock Holmes moment or two, and you will not be disappointed in the result. Thank you for your consideration.

That one comics nerd,

Tanner Jacobs

Mike Thompson Input:

Dear Mr. Nolan,

I can already hear the fanboys starting riots.

As the only curmudgeon in this motley crew, it occurred to me that Christopher Nolan has been presented with the opportunity of a lifetime: to orchestrate the single greatest act of cold hearted torture in the history of cinema. And why not, barring Heath Ledger’s resurrection or Christian Bale kicking the bucket, Dark Knight Rises cannot garner as much hype as its predecessor.  Nor can it earn as much money or satisfy the rabid Batman fan boys, so with the deck clearly stacked against him, Christopher Nolan should not even attempt to outdo Dark Knight.  It’s a lose-lose situation. Look what happened to George Lucas.  He tried to reinvent Star Wars with the new trilogy which, despite being wildly successful, still managed to piss off legions of uber geeks across the galaxy while laying three of the biggest turds ever committed to film.  But, Nolan has greater artistic integrity than the greedy and soulless Lucas.  That is why he should intentionally devise one of the biggest pranks ever by turning Dark Knight Rises into a complete and utter farce.  Here are a few ideas to get the rewrites rolling.

First, Nolan should team up with the moral compass of our generation and raging narcissist Tyler Perry.  What would be better than having the opening credits appear and seeing Tyler Perry’s Dark Knight Rises flash across the screen?  Instantly, images of a mad black woman moving the bat mobile with a forklift because the caped crusader double parked it spring to mind, but it’s Nolan’s call if he wants to get Madea involved.

As far as casting goes, obviously Bale needs to play Batman, though if he continues to deliver dialogue while sounding constipated, I might reconsider.  But to spice things up, I think it is time Batman’s faithful sidekick Robin gets reintroduced to the series and who better to play Robin than Judy Garland’s former brainy beau Mickey Rooney.  The antiquated Rooney could really increase the film’s appeal to the nursing home demographic in a way that Michael Caine has not yet been able too.  Also, the sale of prunes and Metamucil tablets at the snack stand would probably sky rocket, and that is good news for everybody.

No superhero movie would be complete without a killer set of villains to stand in the protagonist’s way.  Where Dark Knight had two super villains, I think Dark Knight Rises should up the ante and use three.  According to imdb.com, the first two have already been cast, but their roles have not been specified, so I’ll try and point Christopher Nolan in the right direction.

Inception alum Joseph Gordon-Levitt is perfectly suited to play Catwoman.  After seeing how well he wore finally tailored clothing in the 2010 summer blockbuster, a form fitting leather jumpsuit would be ideal for his turn as Batman’s feline nemesis.  Throw in his catlike features and you’ve got yourself a stew going.

The second villain comes from outside the traditional Batman canon, but it is a no brainer for the new tone of Dark Knight Rises.  Tom Hardy, a fellow cast member of Gordon-Levitt’s on Inception, would be ideal to play Batman’s newest enemy: The Music Man.  As Hardy leads his diabolical 76 trombones on a rampage through the streets of Gotham, Nolan will be able to squeeze in a few musical numbers from CATS for Gordon-Levitt and allow Bale the chance to ponder the existential meaning of Batman’s existence to a revamped soundtrack by Creed.

Finally, Nolan should cast Rosanne Barr as the Penguin.  While pretty similar to Danny Devito, aside from the obvious differences in plumbing, Barr’s acting chops are second to none and she provides another villain in Bale’s weight class.  And if anyone doubts Barr’s singing ability, check her out on YouTube singing the national anthem back in 1990.

It is tempting to lay out the rest of the Dark Knight Rises screenplay, but I don’t think the allotted space is ample enough to do it justice.  But, if I could summarize the overall theme in a work it would be execrable.

– Mike Thompson (A real jokester)