As the future of Ben Affleck's The Batman retreats back into the darkness, the departure of Affleck as director has thrown everything into chaos and placed a Riddler-esque question mark over proceedings. As every director in Hollywood lights up their Bat-signal in hopes that #WarnerBros might see them, and with the studio reportedly down to a "Top 5" list, all eyes are on who will sit in the director's chair and enter the Batcave.
As one of cinema's unsung heroes, #GeorgeMiller has crafted the worlds of Babe and the #MadMax franchise. With the perfect balance of darkness and craziness to tackle #DC's rogue's gallery, here's why Miller is not only the best choice, but the ONLY choice to bring Bruce Wayne back to his Burton and Nolan greatness.
Solving The Villain Problem
Where Marvel may be mired in its villain problem, #DC has always fared better in the bad guy stakes. There is something about DC's arguably darker source material that lends itself to mass murderers who scar themselves with every kill, menacingly deformed penguin men, and a woman who somehow makes a court jester's outfit fearsome. Christopher Nolan knew that a good villain was key to making #Batman flourish after his campy collision course of the late '90s, while Miller too can tread that fine line between ludicrous and believable.
From Toecutter, to Master and Blaster, there has always been a #comicbook vibe to Miller's villains, but retaining that sinister edge — it is surely no coincidence that Fury Road's Immortan Joe bares a slight resemblance to Bane. The Batman has to stick closer to Batman's darker reinvention that his '90s era, but adding in some of Miller's trademark villain lunacy would be a stroke of genius.
With a world as expansive as Batman's, you need someone with the dark but whimsical imagination to bring Gotham to life. Over the 78 years of Batman, a dark world surrounding Gotham has been made. It may be an odd choice, but look at Miller's work on Babe: Pig in the City. Going from the confines of the Hoggett farm, the talking pig arrived in the surreal unnamed city that seemed to be an amalgamation of everywhere from New York to Sydney.
Just like Gotham, there was an eerie and dark tone to this city, which took the film in a more adult direction and echoed what Burton did for Gotham in his two bat-outings. The same goes for Mad Max; Miller created a whole universe of apocalyptic racers and cannibalistic tribes. Just as Batman is not just about Bruce Wayne, Mad Max was never just about the man behind the wheel. Tackling the #DCEU's Batman solo film will take tremendous scope, which Miller has by the bucket load.
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A Not-So Dark Knight
There is no denying that the lighter tone of Fury Road didn't detract from the overall bleakness of the film. The bright oranges and burning sun of the desert scenes were offset by glum swamp scenes and blackened thunderstorms. I'm not saying that Miller should go full Babe and have Batman in a family-farm tale, but remember that even Babe had dark themes of abandonment, that evil cat, and more than a few deaths — in fact, if Babe were much darker it would be Animal Farm.
From Joker's art gallery scene to Penguin's giant rubber duck, Burton balanced the cheerful and the chilling with ease, while the particularly grim Nolanverse feels like it has had its time. Keaton's Batman was written as a wholly more enjoyable rogue, unlike Bale's stone-cold grump. For some, we would quite like to go back to a few garish flashes of color from the Burtonverse, which was anything but cheerful.
Time To Get A Little Crazy
Clearly Jared Leto is taking his version of the Joker down the "hey, who wants used condoms?" route to show off, but will the rest of the DCEU follow suit? Nolan's films were great, don't get me wrong, but they were pretty grounded. It may not have worked for Suicide Squad, but if done right, #WarnerBros letting their hair down could be the best idea since Paul Dini and Bruce Timm created Harley Quinn. At the moment, when you think DC, you don't exactly think fun.
Iron Man and Spider-Man are a laugh-a-minute, and just because Batman isn't, it doesn't mean his films shouldn't be. Looking back at Fury Road in particular, some scenes were truly crazy. Flamethrower guitars and giant bamboo poles may sound ridiculous, but it worked. I'm not saying that Miller should try and recreate that godawful neon car chase from Batman & Robin, but it's about time Gotham shocked us all and went a little out there. If anyone can come up with a mind-boggling action sequence, it is Miller.
A Jack Of All Trades
If you looked at Miller's CV, you might scratch your head with puzzlement. How did one man start with Mad Max, move over to a talking pig, some dancing penguins, and then move back to a Mad Max that was just as dark (if not darker) than those that came before. Here lies Miller's secret: He can do it all. Sure, Zack Snyder is a master of creating a beautiful film, but would you put him near a kids' film? The same with Ridley Scott, would you want the man behind Alien and Hannibal directing the next Disney live-action? Where Miller's body of work might seem all over the place, it actually puts him in the solid position as a man who can literally tackle any subject matter, whether it be horror, kids, or superhero.
He Was Already Picked
While Miller has relatively few films under his belt, he nearly added another major notch in the early 2000s with a (now abandoned) Justice League film. The writer's strike and a tax issue in Australia ground everything to a halt, and ultimately Justice League: Mortal failed to restart. The concept art (to put it mildly) looks amazing, melding together far-off worlds and relatable inner-city action. Plus, Miller had the backing of those who were cast. Alongside Armie Hammer and Megan Gale, D.J. Cotrona was due to slip on his underwear outside his trousers as Superman. As for Miller's vision, Cotrona told Slashfilm:
"The best way I can describe it is: George Miller’s mind is so operatic and big and expansive, it’s a shame that the world didn’t get to see what he would do with superheroes; It was allegorical, like a story of Greek Gods almost. He was doing things with the Superman character and Batman character, and all the iconic favorites, that’s never been done before. Watch 'Fury Road' and you can only imagine what he would do with those iconic characters."
Perhaps we should take Batman to the opera. Let's not forget that the Justice League are essentially seen as gods, and Batman in among them. JLM had all the promise and hope that the upcoming #ZackSnyder #JusticeLeague film has. I would say you could find out more, but the planned Justice League: Mortal documentary has also faded into oblivion.
Most of all though, Miller seems to understand his characters. While Snyder was all for sending Batman to prison and dropping the soap for a sudsy surprise in the showers, Miller's Justice League: Mortal script saw Bruce seeking help from the rest of the Justice League. There was no surprise rape, Superman killing Jimmy Olsen, or chances of a gender reassigned Catwoman — Miller just understands that you have to remain loyal to the decades of work that went into crafting these characters. Miller would by all means put his own stamp on Batman, but it would likely be one that pleased fans.
There are of course other choices; some are calling for Christopher Nolan to return, others are championing Joss Whedon after his work on The Avengers, but in my eyes, there is only one man for the job. Sadly, at the age of 71, there may not be many more chances for Miller, but Affleck passing up on the chance now would be a travesty. Warner Bros. would be "batty" not to secure Miller as the man to take Batman flying to our screens in 2018.
Check out our video of Fury Road's stunts, and don't forget our poll below!
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