1. To All Good Things And End Must Come
By keeping good on his stated intention of ending his Batman story with The Dark Knight Rises then letting WB relaunch the series with another new continuity, Chris Nolan might end up starting a trend in super hero movies far more vital than the “Gritty and Realistic” vibe that everyone else in the game has been trying to copy. Nolan might show Hollywood that a multi-movie series with a planned and definitive end can be a hugely successful endeavor.
For an example of why this would be a really good thing, just look back on the previous Batman movies. When judged on their own merits, Joel Schumacher’s two flicks aren’t nearly as bad as their reputation might lead one to believe. It’s fairly obvious that Schumacher was attempting to pay homage to the quirky camp style of the Adam West/Burt Ward show of the 1960′s. With that in mind, it’s not hard to declare Joel victorious in what he was aiming for. The problem is that this kitchy throw back was an addition to a series that had already started off as a backlash against the goofiness of the West/Ward version of the characters. Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns had established a darker and edgier style that felt more at home with the grimmer and more negative world view of the late 80′s and early nineties. The approaches taken by Burton and Schumacher are both valid ways to portray Batman, but they don’t really mix well together. This is plain to see when you watch either of the latter two after seeing either of the former.
If Burton had been able to do a third Bat movie ending his series and Schumacher’s first Bat movie had been a reboot, each set would have been better for. Burton could have had his dark revenge tale with Billy D Williams as Harvey Dent turned Two-Face and Schumacher could have cast a different actor to play a different version of the Joker, or Catwoman. Whichever actors filled in those roles would almost certainly have been closer in performances to Caesar Romero and Julie Newmar than to Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfiefer, but that would have been okay it would have fit in much better with the Jim Carrey’s and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s of the later movies.
If Nolan really does close the book on his set of Bat flicks, it could inspire other studios to consider doing the same with their own franchises. I think most of us can agree that Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series would have been better served if he’d been able to do a 4th movie redeeming the mistakes of Spidey 3. What would make things even better than that, would have been a movie that wrapped up the story for the Tobey Macguire version of the character and paved the way for a proper reboot, as opposed to The Amazing Spider-Man which is a rather clearly rewritten version of what was supposed to be Spider-Man 4. The biggest and saddest loss here is that after two movies of giving us brilliant character actor Dylan Baker as Curt Connors and setting him up to become The Lizard, fans now have to suffer through this “Rhys Ifans” guy coming in out of nowhere with his goofy name and ugly pug throwing everything off kilter. If Sony looks to the success of The Dark Knight Rises and decide to someday do a proper send off for the Andrew Garfield version of Spidey before their inevitable 2nd reboot of the franchise when those actors get too old for the roles, then it will be a better world for all of us.
A really attractive aspect of this being a trend is imagining how this could affect non super hero franchises. How great would it be if Daniel Craigs final movie as James Bond went out with a bang that was planned to be epicly conclusive because everyone on board knew it was the last Craig movie before eventually finding another actor to be James Bond?
Speaking of finding other actors…