A key element to making any Batman film successful are the antagonists…the villains that will test the very fabric of Batman’s psyche pushing him to near breaking point. With a new Batman film in the works I have compiled a list, a wish list of sorts of what my choice(s) would be for the main villain of the upcoming solo film. I have no doubt Jared Leto will make an outstanding Joker, but after The Dark Knight, I don’t think we need to revisit the whole Batman vs Joker scenario. It’s been done twice, so I think it’s time to keep it fresh.
1. Bane - Yes, I know I just said let’s skip the Batman/Joker scenario because it’s been done before and this would be a repeat villain, but they strayed so far from this character that he deserves a proper adaptation. As much as I enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises and Tom Hardy’s version of Bane, it just wasn’t the Bane I wanted to see. His version worked perfect for that film, but with the Affleck’s new version of Batman more closely resembling the comic’s caped-crusader, I would love to see them do the same with Bane and adapt the Knightfall series to film. Knightfall would make for a killer screen adaptation that can easily flow into sequels of extremely epic proportions. Imagine Affleck’s version of Batman being tested and tormented by the hulking monster that is Bane, fully equipped with his Venom making him an unstoppable force. By the end of the film a run-down Affleck squares off with this monster only to have his back broken and left crippled on the floor as the film fades to black. That my friends would be an amazing ending. To finish with our hero literally broken, only to follow up the film with a sequel showcasing a crippled Wayne trying to cope with the inability to be Batman has awesomeness written all over it. They could then introduce Azrael into the mix, eventually having Wayne recover and try to reclaim the mantle. Old Batman vs New Batman would be phenomenal and a powerful way to keep the series fresh.
2. Azrael - I highly doubt they would take up the Knightfall series, but that doesn’t mean they can’t introduce Azrael into the mix. Rather than having Batman squaring off with your stereotypical villain, why not have him face off with another hero of sorts. Someone similar to him but with a more radical, extreme approach towards fighting crime. Forcing the audience to try and decide between two heroes and whose methodology is best suited makes for a great story line loaded with conflict. Being that they are both heroes of sorts, it leaves room to add villains to the story if need be. I know it’s pretty similar to the new Daredevil story line with The Punisher, but Azrael is plenty different to not feel like a direct copy. The Punisher is a crazy killer whereas Azrael is a killer that actually IS crazy. He's a lunatic with a unique backstory that would be a whole mess of fun to explore on film.
3. Red Hood/Arkham Knight - From what I have been hearing it looks like they are leaning on the Red Hood story line for the next Batman solo film. Introducing the Red Hood as the main villain would keep the Batman story funky fresh on so many different levels. If they are going to use the Red Hood story line I only hope they keep it more along the lines of the Arkham Knight where Jason Todd isn't just trying to clean up the streets, but is trying to exact revenge of Batman. With that being said, the backstory and history between Red Hood and Batman would create and extremely interesting onscreen dynamic. It would also allow them to use Jared Leto's Joker without rehashing stories we have seen before. Watching a flash back of Leto’s joker brutally beating and finishing off Jason Todd would be a site to behold. As much as I would love to see Knightfall on the big screen, this would probably be my top pick for the next Batman film. The story has so many layers involved and brings forth a new and interesting villain that will please both fans of the comics and new comers alike.
4. Clayface - The possibilities Clayface would bring to a Batman movie are endless. With a character like this there are so many avenues to explore and you can invoke more of a horror element to the film by creating a truly terrifying villain with the monstrous look to match. His ability to shape shift into anyone or anything lends a uniqueness we haven’t seen before in a Batman villain. His ability to create paranoia for Batman by forcing the Dark Knight to question any and everyone around him as to whether or not they are the monster in disguise would make for excellent material, bringing the film closer to the realm of horror and a psychological thriller. Hell, he can even disguise himself as Batman and turn everyone against the Caped Crusader. The fact that he is almost damn near indestructible only adds to the potency of this character on the big screen.
5. Black Mask - Ben Affleck brought forth a Batman closely related to that of the comics and animated series and along with it came a distinct darkness to the character we haven’t really seen before, even in Bale’s version. He was much more menacing so with that he deserves an equally menacing villain. Black Mask is all that and more. He’s a ruthlessly cool killer that can easily hold his own against Batman in physical altercations, is highly skilled with various weaponry, and he has an affinity for torture. His criminal ties give him that Mob Boss type of persona, but he loves to get dirty and has no problem killing anyone to get what he wants. With this new version of Batman presenting himself as a ruthless ass kicker it’s only fair to square him off against an equally ruthless villain. Just like Batman he has no true super abilities, leveling the playing field for a more grounded, realistic approach to a Batman villain.
With the proper crew of writers and directors behind him, Affleck can potentially bring forth the Batman we have always craved. They have come close, but to this day they have yet to nail Batman the way they have done with Deadpool. Add in the proper villain to the mix and you have the perfect recipe for the best Batman flick of all time. In BvS Affleck displayed some scenes of brilliance and immense potential, so let’s get it right people. If DC truly wants to compete with Marvel then Batman is the one character they have to get absolutely right on every avenue.