Friday, December 17, 2010

Tom Hardy Not Playing Dr. Strange

We can probably safely rule Hardy out as Bane, too.

Looks like Tom Hardy is out as Dr. Hugo Strange, as indicated by batman-on-film:

I can tell you who he [Hardy] is NOT playing: Hugo Strange. This comes to me via a very solid source, so you can at least start heading to the bank with it. Who IS Hardy going to play? We'll know in early 2011...or so I hear.

This opens up several possibilities about what role Hardy might play. It's likely that if he's not someone like Deadshot or Black Mask, he would be Sgt. Max Cort or perhaps even Harvey Bullock. Cort, as you might know, is the rogue cop in the Gotham PD obsessed with Batman. Dr. Strange later manipulates Cort into donning a disguise as a vigilante in order to blame Batman for further crimes.

So, thus far we've got Dr. Strange as a principal villain, and possibly a bad cop in Max Cort to boot. With Nolan scouting locations in Asia, it's becoming increasingly likely Talia al Ghul will join the roster of villains for 'DKR' as well.

Of course, there's still nothing official coming from Nolan or anybody at WB just yet. For all we know, all these rumors are just running interference for the actual story. We should know with certainty who the main villains will be sometime early next year. For now, it's probably a safe bet to go with Dr. Strange and a bad cop as two possible adversaries for the Dark Knight.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Case for Clayface

Clayface in, surprisingly enough, one of his happier moods.

Over the last few weeks I've been running through possible villains for 'DKR' with one common theme: realism. Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, The Clock King, and Bane are all realistic villain choices for a Nolan-style Batman film.

But what about an unconventional, more fantastical villain? Why not one that breaks the mold (literally) previously set by Joker, Two-Face, Ras al Ghul, and Scarecrow?

Why not the former actor turned shape-shifter, Clayface?

Basil Karlo, or Matt Hagen, depending on which version you prefer, has donned the Clayface title since the 50s when he first tangled with the Batman. He, like Mr. Freeze, became one of Batman's reoccurring sci-fi foes.

Perhaps most famously, Clayface appeared in the cleverly titled "Feat of Clay" in Batman: The Animated Series, voiced by 'Hellboy' aka Ron Perlman. BTAS depicted his origin as a B-Movie actor long past his prime who becomes disfigured in an accident. A new chemical called RenuYou allows him to mold his face back to its ruggedly handsome proportions, a feat plastic surgery would take "decades to accomplish." The catch? RenuYou is highly addictive, and its creator, Roland Daggett, makes Hagen commit crimes in exchange for more of the compound. One night, caught stealing RenuYou from the factory, Hagen is doused in the chemical by Daggett's goons. This soaks every cell in his body with the strange chemical, and gives him the power to shape shift at will. Clayface first attempts to kill Daggett with his new powers, but runs afoul of Batman.

While the plot from "Feat of Clay" is probably a little too far-fetched for Nolan's Batman, it still harbors similar themes. Clayface is a sympathetic villain driven mad by his disfigurement who eventually abuses his new powers as a criminal. Batman is also a villain of sorts, often bending the line between good and evil in his quest to thwart Gotham's worst criminals. Both have dual identities, but favor the side of them that involves indulging in violent, dangerous behavior. Most importantly, both are seeking some kind of redemptive solution to their lives. Batman doesn't want to have to continue acting as Gotham's Dark Knight, and Hagen really just wants his old life back. Both are ultimately victims of extraordinary circumstances that have altered their lives completely, and have chosen to react by taking on strange new identities.

"What do you mean my health insurance doesn't cover deformity caused by clay?"

But, could Clayface work in Nolan's Batman? Yes. Very well, actually. It's already established in 'Batman Begins' that strange, sci-fi type chemicals exist in Scarecrow's fear serum. It wouldn't be much a stretch to introduce a new elixir that can turn one's face into puddy. As a matter of fact, odd chemicals seem to be a reoccurring prop in many Batman stories. There's the green sludge that turns an ordinary thief into the Joker, the fear toxin, and the renewing properties of the Lazarus Pit.

Speaking of the Lazarus Pit, this brings me to how Clayface can bring in Talia al Ghul, who is a possible villain in 'DKR.' You could have the chemical that turns Matt Hagen into Clayface as a derivative of the mystic waters of the Pit. Investigating its source could lead Batman full circle back to al Ghul's hideout, where Talia lies in wait to get revenge for her father's death.

But ignoring Talia for now, Clayface could also simply be a criminal who can alter his appearance at will without the ability to turn his arms into giant mace clubs. That would make him more realistic while still keeping with the sci-fi vibe. As the movie progress, Clayface would of course become more addicted to the serum, leading him into bigger crimes, while also gaining more shape-shifting power. Eventually, you'd have a showdown between him and Batman, where Hagen might have to choose between facing justice but saving himself, or continuing on as a powerful freak addicted to the chemical that makes him Clayface.

Or, Clayface could actually be a full-fledged monster as he is shown in the comics and cartoons. We don't often see shape-shifters in movies anymore--the last decent one was probably the T-1000 from 'Terminator 2'--but when they're done right they make for excellent antagonists. It's tempting to dismiss Clayface as too far-fetched, but maybe that's what a third Batman film needs. Ras al Ghul exhibited a kind of supernatural mystique in 'Begins,' while 'Dark Knight' went the route of an action thriller in the mold of 'Heat.' So, this would be a returning to form for 'Dark Knight Rises.'

And besides, I don't know about you, but there's always been something especially creepy about 'Clayface.' The yellow eyes. The cavernous mouth. The dripping appendages. He probably belongs in a horror movie, yet he makes a unique and frightening opponent for the Dark Knight. Could he work as a foe in 'DKR'? It would require a lot of tweaking, but I'd say enthusiastically, yes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

No Ledger for 'DKR'

After the rumor circled the web like a hurled Batarang, it appears Christopher Nolan's wife and producing partner, Emma Thomas, has put the kibosh on whether a Heath Ledger Joker would appear in 'Dark Knight Rises.' According to ReelzChannel, Thomas said curtly:

"I heard the rumor. We're not doing that."

Nolan himself also denied the rumor. I suppose this is as well. Heath Ledger's Joker will forever remain as a special highlight of the great event that was 'The Dark Knight.' It would be nice to see Joker again, but if not Heath, then who?

There's probably only one actor with the gravitas who also kinda resembles Ledger, that could pull off the role. I'm talking about Harry Osborn, er, Mr. James Franco:

I've heard nothing but good things about Franco in his latest film '127 Hours.' While he has already had major roles in blockbuster films like 'Spider-Man,' Franco seems set for a major step up into critical and leading roles. He'd be perfect as a replacement for Joker. I don't necessarily see him fitting in as any other villain, however.

What do you think? James Franco as Joker?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Joker Cameo in 'Dark Knight Rises'?

Joker returns?
So says showbizspy:

“The idea is to use these fragments of cut scenes and use CGI to have The Joker appear one last time,” reveals a movie insider.

According to their sources, Nolan wants to maintain some continuity between 'TDK' and 'Rises' similar to how Scarecrow popped up for a cameo in the latest Batman film. Ledger's death hit Nolan especially hard, and he has said there is no additional footage of the Oscar winner portraying Gotham's Clowned Prince of Crime.

However, with some creative editing, it might be possible to make an "old" scene appear new. It could work, but only in a very limited sense. Perhaps we could see a psychiatrist interviewing the Joker in Arkham Asylum through the grainy black and white lens of a security cam. It would be brief, and might even use footage we've seen before but altered in some way to appear fresh. Or perhaps Nolan does have additional unseen footage of Ledger that could be worked into part of a new scene.

Whatever the case, I'm favorable towards seeing the Joker one last time in 'DKR,' even if it's only a glimpse. We are left, after all, with questions at the end of 'Dark Knight.' After Joker is captured, what becomes of him? Prison? Arkham Asylum? Or did the SWAT team do what had to be done? Seeing Joker ensconced in a "padded cell forever," as Batman says, would help bring closure to the character.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Anne Hathaway Bids Adieu to Batman?

If the new rumor from Zacquisha is correct, it looks as though we can say goodbye to Anne Hathaway as a potential actress for the 'Dark Knight Rises.' The 'Devil Wears Prada' star appears set to possibly play Lois Lane in Zach Snyder's upcoming 'Superman.'

Hathaway, as you'll recall, had been in the running with five other charming young ladies, for a role as either a love interest or villain. If she's the number one pick for Lane, then in all likelihood she was considered mainly as Bruce Wayne's romantic attraction as opposed to a baddie looking to chop him into pieces. Too bad for Batman, as Hathaway appears to be shedding her good girl image in exchange for a little gratuitous nudity in her next film 'Love and Other Drugs.'

This leaves five ladies left on Nolan's shortlist: Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, and Keira Knightley.

My money's on Weisz as the villain, and Watts as the love interest. Knightley could go either way, but she does strike me most vividly as a potential Talia al Ghul.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

'DKR' To Be Based On Graphic Novel 'Prey'?

Helpful psychology tip: Engorged neck veins = evil

So says ComicBookMovie in its latest post about 'Dark Knight Rises.' What does this mean for Nolan's next take on Batman?

Prey features Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) finding his way in his new role as Commissioner following the events of Frank Miller's Year One, whilst trying to maintain his relationship with a Batman who's despised by cops and seen as a criminal (The Dark Knight's ending). Enter Professor Hugo Strange, a police psychiatrist obsessed with Batman.

But here's the biggest bombshell provided the rumor is true: Catwoman will be one of the villains.

Er, OK maybe not that Catwoman.

'Prey' also features another villain that becomes a sort of protege of Dr. Hugo Strange--Night Scourge. Fed up with vigilantes like Batman and Catwoman mucking things up in his city, Sergeant Max Cort of the Gotham City PD decides to become a vigilante himself. He clashes with both anti-heroes, but is eventually shot by his own police squad. Talk about a bad career move.

Wow. If Nolan decides to use the elements from the graphic novel 'Prey,' here's what we may be in store for:
  • A deranged psychologist in Dr. Hugo Strange obsessed with deducing Batman's true identity.
  • A brand new vigilante in Night Scourge who is equally obsessed with finding the Dark Knight, and framing his nemesis with certain crimes.
  • A new female vigilante in Catwoman.
  • Commissioner Gordon acting as a double agent in a new GPD task force trying to capture Batman.
  • The kidnap of the Mayor's daughter by Night Scourge (but orchestrated possibly by Strange).
  • Batman on the run, trying to save his good name and fight the bad guys at the same time.
Yep, sounds like a Nolan film to me. Full of ups and downs, twists and turns, heroes and anti-heroes, questionable moral decisions, and enough subtlety you could package it as an energy source and save the world from Peak Oil. I really hope Nolan was joking when he said he only planned to make 3 Batman films. Why not 7, Nolan? Or a hundred?

Monday, November 15, 2010

5 Reasons 'Dark Knight Rises' Should Feature Bane

Earlier I discussed how Harley Quinn and/or Poison Ivy could work as villains for 'Dark Knight Rises.' Next up in this ongoing series of villainy, is the unstoppable, the muscle-bound and masked "Man who broke the Bat." Bane.

1.) The Brute Model. Nolan has already made use of several kinds of villains, most recently the Utter Madman with Joker and the Fallen Saint with Harvey Dent/Two-Face in 'Dark Knight.' Now it's time for a special kind of model that tends to look the most distinct on screen--The Brute.

The Brute is usually not only known for his strength and ability to fight, but for his intelligence as well. Sometimes The Brute is equipped with special kinds of knowledge or training that give him an upper hand against the hero. A prime example of the Brute is Anton Chigurh, the unstoppable killer from 'No Country for Old Men.' Anton's specialty is not just his keen ability to kill without a thought, but his odd sense of justice and fate which he interprets through the flip of a coin. Really, there's probably no less terrifying a killer who is both physically empowering AND intellectually adroit.

Lesser examples of Brutes in movies are the Kryptonian mute Non, who teams with General Zod and Ursa in 'Superman II,' Sandman from 'Spider-Man 3,' and the big guy who gets chopped up in the propeller blades in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.'

2.) Bane is realistic. While it would be hard to introduce the Venom compound Bane takes to increase his strength, it's certainly not difficult to create a realistic criminal who has taken enough steroids and lifted enough weights to make himself gigantic.

Given Bane's background as the son of a revolutionary who spent most of his young life in prison, this presents the chance for Nolan to step outside Gotham and explore the fictional Caribbean Republic of Santa Prisca. Santa Prisca is based loosely on Cuba's turbulent political history. Thus far, Batman has faced off with various thugs, the mob, and evil masterminds. It would be interesting to see him square off with an actual terrorist branded an enemy by a foreign government. It would be like taking on Che Guevera with muscles.

Justice in Batman is almost never black and white, but shades of gray. Even the Dark Knight himself is an anti-hero at best, who threads the line of what society considers right and wrong. How do so-called Third World politics enter into this comic book netherworld of morality? Perhaps Wayne Enterprises, like many big American corporations, have unfairly exploited labor in small countries, to which Bane is an indirect victim. If anything, it establishes a motive for Bane wanting to kill Bruce Wayne without realizing (yet) that Gotham's prince is also its dark protector.

3.) Fight scenes, fight scenes, fight scenes. If there's one area that's been lacking in what have thus far been masterful Batman films, it's great and memorable fight scenes. I think the best we came to a full-on fist-a-cuffs was the battle between Joker and Bats at the end of 'TDK.' The fight scenes with Ra's al Ghul in 'Begins' were fast and awkward. Bane, on the other hand, represents a chance for a great alternative to al Ghuls's martial arts, Joker's knives, and Harvey Dent's gun, with some good old fashioned hand to hand combat.

4.) Bane is really scary. Let this really sink in for a moment: Bane broke Batman's back and left him a paraplegic. Can you imagine the kind of havoc Bane could wreak on the underworld when he's capable of laying waste to The Batman? Something tells me Joker, Scarecrow, Riddler and pretty much anyone else would have their hands full dealing with Bane fighting to become the new underworld boss.

5.) Bane/Batman. Like two peas in a (bat) pod. For two guys with completely different upbringings, born in different countries, and two clearly different worldviews, Bane and Batman share a lot in common:

a. Both have lives severely impacted by events that happened to their parents. Bane is imprisoned and ordered to serve the prison time originally meant for his father, who escapes justice and a corrupt government he was trying to overthrow. Batman, of course, suffers trauma from the murder of his parents.

b. Both are highly intelligent hunters capable of stealth and up close combat. While Batman is the World's Greatest Detective, Bane uses his smarts to deduce the Dark Knight's true identity as Bruce Wayne.

c. Both overcome a fear of bats. In his childhood, Bane is tormented by a demon-like bat in his dreams. As he grows older and turns to crime, Bane later comes to believe the bat is a representation of Batman himself. He turns to Gotham, which like the prison he spends his young life, is a place ruled by fear.

d. They have the same father. Well, not really. But for awhile, Bane becomes convinced his biological father is Dr. Thomas Wayne. Later, it turns out his real dad is King Snake, a ruthless criminal dubbed "the most dangerous man alive." Talk about having a killer pedigree.

e. They both impress Ra's al Ghul and are members of the League of Assassins. Ra's later makes Bane his heir, an honor he had previously imparted on Bruce Wayne.

Stay tuned for more in this ongoing series of possible Batman villains for the upcoming 'Dark Knight Rises.'

5 Reasons 'DKR' Should Feature Harley Quinn and/or Poison Ivy (or both)

5 Reasons 'DKR' Should Feature The Clock King

Thursday, November 11, 2010

RUMOR: Nolan's Actress Shortlist for 'Dark Knight Rises'

It appears the earlier rumors about Charlize Theron and Vera Farmiga being cast in 'Dark Knight Rises' may have been misplaced. Now there's a new rumor coming from Deadline that Nolan is meeting with six actresses for two female lead roles--one as Bruce Wayne's love interest and the other as a villain.

Those actresses are: Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway and Keira Knightley.

While all six could more than handle whatever Nolan's got up his sleeve, some seem slightly better suited to certain roles. Here's some instant reaction:

Rachel Weisz: Has experience playing in a comic-book inspired movie with her role as Angela Dodson in 'Constantine." For some reason, she reminds of the villain Red Claw who, like Harley Quinn, also made her debut in 'Batman: The Animated Series.'

Naomi Watts: Now this is a puzzle. I could see her playing either a villain or Bruce Wayne's lover. But something makes me lean more toward placing her as Salina Kyle/Catwoman for several reasons. 1.) She has the maturity to handle both roles, 2.) She looks perfect for the role as Kyle, and 3.) She's been in aggressive but well-crafted crime thrillers before like 'Eastern Promises.' You probably can't go wrong with Watts, unless Nolan wants a star with lower wattage.

Blake Lively: Perfect for Poison Ivy and looks like a Selena Kyle. One big problem: She's already playing Green Lantern's love interest this coming summer. I doubt Nolan would want that kind of conflicting cross-over in Batman 3.

Natalie Portman: Same problem as Lively, only Portman is starring as Thor's love interest next summer.

Anna Hathaway: If she's in, she's in only as a love interest. I can't see Hathaway as a villain whatsoever. Yes, no one saw Ledger as Joker before Nolan cast him, sure, but Hathaway has a steep pedigree of playing innocent romantics.

Keira Knightley: Possibly the only actress of this rumored list that has the most to offer without any baggage from prior roles. I could easily see her as almost any villain or as a love interest. However, something tells me she'd be up for the role of Talia Al Ghul, Ra's's daughter.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The 'Dark Knight' Will 'Rise' April in Louisiana

According to backstage, 'Dark Knight Rises' starts shooting this coming April in Louisiana, specifically for interior shots in the Warehouse District. However, batman-news has the additional details about exterior shooting in Chicago:

Aside from the Warehouse District it’s unclear as to what they want to do in New Orleans. They will not be focusing on making the city appear “larger” as previously reported. However, a studio is being specially constructed for the film. My source also confirms that they will be returning to Chicago for the majority of exterior shooting.

Good to know those mammoth, foreboding buildings of Chicago that swept the screen in glorious IMAX will be returning for the third Batman installment. Unlike Superman's Metropolis, which always seemed to just be another generic big modern city, Gotham's a city with character that adds real dimensions to the whole Batman mythos.

Would love to know what Nolan's cooking up in that Warehouse District in Louisiana. My guess is it's some kind of evil lab, or evil criminal lair, or maybe just Bruce Wayne's vacation getaway.

The principle actors from the first two films--Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman are all set to reprise their roles, with the addition of Tom Hardy as an unknown-as-yet new character.

The movie is set to debut in theaters July 20th, 2012.

Monday, November 8, 2010

5 Reasons 'Dark Knight Rises' Should Feature Poison Ivy or Harley Quinn (or both)

Earlier, I published an exceedingly timely piece on why 'DKR' should feature The Clock King as a main villain. This time I'm going to concentrate on two famous female foes who've never quite gotten their due on the big screen. Poison Ivy, of course, has been played on TV, and Uma Thurman gave us the campy version of the eco-terrorist in 1997s 'Batman and Robin.' Harley Quinn first appeared in 'Batman: The Animated Series,' and has seen her popularity grow since.

However, this third installment in the thankfully now realistic Batman franchise, gives us the opportunity to see either a Poison Ivy or Harley Quinn better suited to the times. I'm combining these two into one post because in all likelihood, there would only be room for one in the film were either to become a villain. As nice as it would be to see two hot women slugging it out with Gotham's Dark Knight on the IMAX screen, two of the same kind of antagonist risks becoming redundant.

5 Reasons Poison Ivy or Harley Quinn Works:

1.) The Femme-Fatale model. Thus far, Nolan has employed the use of Mysterious Man from the East with Ra's al Ghul, the Evil Doctor with Scarecrow, the Prototypical Gangster with Falcone, the Saint turns Devil with Harvey Dent, and Utter Madmen with The Joker. What's left? There's many kinds of villains, but one prominent missing piece is the Femme Fatale. The seductress that leads (bat)men to their doom. 'The Odyssey' had The Sirens, 'Fatal Attraction' had Alexandra Forrest, and 'Teeth' had the girl with the razor sharp teeth in her, well let's even go there.

Personally, I've always found than women can be far more sinister than men on screen when it's the right role and the right actress. Glenn Close is more frightening to me as Alex than Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. This is probably the result of ingrained social conditioning that perpetuates the image of women as helpless victims, so that when one appears as a threat it's even more jarring to the senses than seeing the opposite sex as the predator. Or it could just be that there haven't been that many female villains in Hollywood, so the few good ones stand out that much more memorably.

In either case, 'DKR' needs a love interest for the now solitary Bruce Wayne, and it needs a different kind of villain. Why not combine the two? After all, the worst kind of danger the hero can be in is the kind he doesn't see right in front of him. As great as a detective as he is, something tells me Batman could be blinded by the love he desperately needs.

2.) The environmentalist theme. This reason obviously suits Poison Ivy alone. Hollywood has gone to great lengths recently to keep the public aware of the growing threat of global warming and rising CO2 levels, not to mention pollution, strip mining, and a host of other tortures we humans visit upon our planet. This provides an ample opportunity to poke a little fun at the enviro lobby, by having an eccentric green villain obsessed with protecting Mother Earth at any cost.

Wayne Enterprises surely has engaged in destructive behavior to the planet at some point in its past. Poison Ivy could be a wronged scientist or some kind of competing industrialist looking to even the score by hurting both Batman and Bruce Wayne, without being aware she's fighting the same person.

3.) No Joker? No problem. Nolan has made it clear that due to Heath Ledger's tragic death, The Joker will not make an appearance in the third film. Even though it'd be great to see The Clowned Prince one more time, I tend to agree with the director on this one. Joker is too big a character to just do over again with a new actor only four years removed from Ledger's Oscar winning performance.

However, that doesn't mean Joker's influence has waned in Gotham City. While Batman started something for the good guys by the end of 'Batman Begins,' Joker for sure started something for the baddies at the end of 'Dark Knight.' A villain like him would no doubt spawn copy cats the same way Batman "inspired" the "copy bats" in 'TDK.' Harley Quinn could be anything from a psychiatrist who gets sucked into Joker's world and comes out mentally deformed (as her initial origin portrays), an uber passionate fan girl obsessed with Mr. J, or even an ex-lover looking to get back at Batman for imprisoning her beau. All of this could be done without Joker making a full appearance, but would still give us a taste of his insanity in the female form.

Above all, it would give us moviegoers the chance to see this gorgeous monstrosity on screen:

(Source: fanartexhibit)

Now, just try and shake that image out of your head.

4.) Both these ladies have paid their dues. Harley Quinn has built up quite a body of work at DC following her initial debut as a small-time character in 'BTAS' almost 20 years ago. If you ask almost any Batman fan whom he or she'd like to see on the silver screen, Quinn usually comes up among the top three with others like Riddler and Penguin. There's an argument for putting in a villain purely for the fans. It's not as though a Batman film will come out anytime soon after Nolan is done with the character. Following the third installment, it may be many years before someone else takes a crack at Bats. It was 8 years between 'Batman and Robin' and 'Batman Begins.' As a Harley fan, I don't like the idea of waiting that long before having another chance at seeing her outside of a cartoon.

Poison Ivy, meanwhile, has a campy background in one movie and the live-action TV show in the 60s. If any character is due for a modern revamp of Nolan-style realism, it's her. 'Begins' at once vanquished any idea that the new Batman would be similar to his sillier predecessors, and there is something very satisfying in seeing a once ridiculous character made into something serious and foreboding. If an actress like Charlize Theron (who has played a real 'Monster' in the past) or someone of similar stature were to don the green tights, it could make for a memorable and even Oscar-worthy performance.

5.) Women are terrifying. The right role and the right gal can make for chilling magic on screen. Just check out this montage of Glenn Close scaring the pants (literally) off Michael Douglas in 'Fatal Attraction':

Two Possible Drawbacks:

Wait, what? Drawbacks?! Are you kidding? We're talking about putting one, possibly two hot women on screen, in tights or otherwise skimpy outfits, to fight against The Batman. Directed by Christopher Nolan. If there's any drawbacks that could possibly exist there, I don't know what they would be.

Up next in this ongoing series, another villain archetype Nolan has not used yet in Batman: The Brute. You can probably guess who that is, and if not, let the mystery be the bain of your existence.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

5 Reasons 'Dark Knight Rises' Should Feature The Clock King

It's never too early to campaign for various villains in Nolan's upcoming 'Dark Knight Rises.' In this new series, I will devote a post to a plausible villain, and list the reasons why he/she should become the primary villain in 'DKR,' as well as some possible drawbacks.

As we know from earlier reports, The Riddler, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and The Joker are all out as main foes. Given Nolan's insistence on realism, we could probably rule out other enemies like Killer Croc and Clayface, as cool as they are in their own ways.

Up first, one of my personally favorite comic book villains. The punctual, the data-driven, the horrifically anal Clock King.

Five Reasons The Clock King Works:

1.) Brains - Temple Fugate, or William Tockman, depending on which character you prefer, is a genius that has outwitted The Batman on numerous occasions. His photographic memory and slender frame make him unassuming, but his intellect and creativity would make him a formidable enemy against the World's Greatest Detective.

2.) Technology - Part of what gave Batman the advantage in 'Dark Knight' was his ability to track every citizen of Gotham through the super computer he builds towards the end, leading to his eventual capture of The Joker. Well, imagine a villain gets his hands on equipment like that. The Clock King could work as a modern-day hacker of some kind that plays havoc on Gotham's computer systems. Plus, as Fugate is an inventor on the side, Nolan would have the opportunity to showcase all kinds of new weapons for Batman to take on.

3.) A Poor Man's Riddler - Even with the Riddler out of the third Batman film, The Clock King could still enact plots similar in tone and style, but without the baggage and theatrics the major villain represents. Remember, we already had a colorful villain with The Joker in TDK. Fugate represents a more pedestrian, but nonetheless lethal foe.

"You think I'm pissed now? Wait 'till you ask me for my TPS reports!"

4.) Ordinary is Extraordinary - What I always liked about The Clock King is that he's unassuming. He starts out simply as a consultant (based on his 'BTAS' origins) with an obsession with punctuality. After missing an important date because of a coffee break gone wrong, he suffers a break down and becomes a master villain that nearly kills Batman on several occasions. He's like Michael Douglas' character from 'Falling Down.' You identify with him because he's just an office drone, and in a way you feel bad for him. There's just something very satisfying about seeing an ordinary guy suddenly take on the world, even if he does it for evil purposes. Ra's al Ghul and Joker were all over-the-top foes. It's time for an ordinary guy to step up and take on Bats.

5.) Imagine all the time-related puns - "Hey Bats, too much time on your hands?" Or, "Bats, you've just arrived for your timely execution." OK, maybe not. But there's all kinds of ways to insert humor into 'Dark Knight Rises' when you've got an anal-retentive villain who freaks out if he's even a second late. Joker was funny because he was so casual and self-aware about being a psychopath. It's like he was saying "Yeah, I kill people indiscriminately. It's just who I am." However, Clock King is not so self-aware. His foil is his own ego and condescension towards other people. He's like a misplaced man who would have been more comfortable living during the Victorian Age, yet finds himself born into the wrong age--the wrong time, if you will.

Two Possible Drawbacks:

1.) No Panache - Ra's al Ghul is a ninja from the East with a team of killer assassins at his disposal. Scarecrow uses a fear toxin and wears a frightening mask. The Joker is...well, The Joker. But who's The Clock King? Really, just a smart dude who can time ghastly plots efficiently. Probably hits the sack by 9:00 PM sharp every night.

If Fugate's going to work as the main villain, he needs to be larger than life. Someone we can imagine as a real threat. There has to be something distinct and theatrical to him that sets him apart from the rest.

2.) Too Wimpy - Clock King is a brain, not a body. While Joker and al Ghul can more than hold their own physically against Batman, I doubt Fugate would last more than a few seconds.

Even if Clock King was cast as a hacker of some kind, how does that represent a realistic threat to Gotham, much less to the Batman himself? Shutting down the city's computers or stealing funds via some virus doesn't exactly sound very exciting, unless it's the set-up for something much bigger and deadlier.

Finally, lest there be any doubt that The Clock King could work as the main villain in 'Dark Knight Rises,' I humbly submit a side-by-side shot of him and a certain aforementioned character:

Nerds. Do not trifle with them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Aaron Eckhart Talks Two-Face

Aaron Eckhart wasn't spilling any secrets about the potential for a certain dual-personality villain appearing in 'Dark Knight Rises' during the premier for his new film 'Rabbit Hole.' Says Mr. Eckhart via Examiner:

“You know,” he continued. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Not much of a comment, but certainly not enough to dissuade Batman fans from hoping for somewhat of a better resolution after Two-Face's apparent death in 'Dark Knight.'

After all, if the theme of 'Rises' is redemption, than Harvey Dent would make sense to return following his slip and fall off the dock at the end of 'Knight.' Both he and Batman have reputations to salvage, and working together, it might be enough to overcome not only their past, but whatever villains lie in wait.

Speaking of which, still no word on the main villain(s) for 'Rises,' but my money is on Poison Ivy and Ras al Ghul, with perhaps an assortment of smaller villains. And the mob, of course.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Theron And Farmiga Possibly in 'DKR'

Over at ReelzChannel, the rumors are flying:

According to the report, Theron is being sought for the role of Sarah Essen, a Gotham detective that strikes up an affair with then-Lieutenant Gordon in Frank Miller's 1987 Year One arc of the Batman comic book. Gary Oldman getting a love interest? We admit, it's intriguing.

Meanwhile, Farmiga and Thomas are reportedly up for the role of Julie Madison, who appeared in the comic books as Bruce Wayne's fiancee and earliest love interest. Again, intriguing.

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According to the report, Theron is being sought for the role of Sarah Essen, a Gotham detective that strikes up an affair with then-Lieutenant Gordon in Frank Miller's 1987 Year One arc of the Batman comic book. Gary Oldman getting a love interest? We admit, it's intriguing.

Meanwhile, Farmiga and Thomas are reportedly up for the role of Julie Madison, who appeared in the comic books as Bruce Wayne's fiancee and earliest love interest. Again, intriguing.

Intriguing, to say the least. Not sure why Theron would sign on as a seemingly minor character, or that a "love interest" (two love interests, to be exact) is even that necessary. Really, all the best Batman stories lacked a love interest--The Killing Joke, The Dark Knight Returns, just to name a few. But I suppose it wouldn't hurt to have some romance break up the darkness.

Would Charlize Theron Work as Poison Ivy?

Verdict: Uh, yeah, I think so.

I don't know why, but Theron strikes me as a potential Poison Ivy and nobody else. Even though she's played a psychopath in 'Monster,' and could do Harleyquinn, there's something about her playing an ecologically-minded femme fatale that just feels right.

What do you think? Would Theron work as Poisy Ivy, or is this just a fantasy? No matter what, Nolan has to pick a solid villain to anchor his third Batman film, especially after the awesome performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker in TDK. You combine Theron with someone else, and you would have a great set of baddies to take on Gotham's crime fighter.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Is Charlize Theron Poison Ivy?

Over at Film School Rejects, they're saying Charlize Theron is rumored to play Jim Gordon's love interest in the upcoming Dark Knight Rises.

Am I the only one that thinks that's a hideous waste of talent? Just Jim Gordon's love interest?

Even though this blog is like minutes old, I'm going to go out on a limb--a green, stretchy, possibly poison-y limb here--and say that Theron should/will possibly play Poison Ivy in Nolan's upcoming third installment in his Batman franchise.

Really, think about it. It would work, and be a decent compromise between not having the sexy and fun Harleyquin or Catwoman, while also staying in the boundary of a heavy-hitting Batman villain. Have you seen the 90s BTAs episodes? Poison Ivy more than holds her own against Gotham's caped crusader.

Plus, Poison Ivy could fit in with Nolan's vision of realism. She could be like a corporate rival to Bruce Wayne, with a company that specializes in medicinal plant research, or something similar. It fits into the whole enviro-save-the-planet-meme Hollywood has been working lately, while sticking with the scientific semi-realism Batman Begins used with Scarecrow's toxic fear gas.

Count me on board for Charlize Theron as Poison Ivy. Now we need a tough, macho presence to balance out all the estrogen. I'm thinking Bain as a mob hit man with muscles of steel and a team-up on ol' Bats with the help of Ivy.