There's good news, and there is good news. Good news, for instance, is the confirmation at Comic-Con that Ben Affleck will direct his own solo Batman movie — but good news is the prospect of said movie being set in Arkham Asylum, giving rise to the possibility of a seriously unique Batventure filled with the members of his rogues gallery who are rarely unleashed on the big screen.
So, let's check out 5 of the most evil, most screwed-up Batman villains who could give Bruce a mean headache behind the bars of Arkham.
It wouldn't be a lunatic asylum without a crazed scientist, and there are few scientists as crazed as Dr. Hugo Strange. Before The Joker began lurking in the shadows of Gotham, Strange was already plotting Batman's downfall. Over the years his schemes have included everything from bank-robbing to creating growth hormone serums designed to turn mad patients into giant zombies, to dressing like Batman in private... just because he can.
Actually, many of the Caped Crusader's enemies seem to have an obsession with him that veers into jealousy. Some of Batman's rogues appear to want to be him — understandable, I guess. The man is a billionaire with kitty on tap.
One of Strange's most human moments (arguably the only one) came when, having been paralyzed in a counter-attack by Batman that left him for dead, Strange employs a surgeon to perform an operation that will return the use of his body. After the op fails, Strange experiences a moment of clarity and, filled with regret at what became of his life, commits suicide with Starman's cosmic rod. In recent years, the bad doc has been pretty quiet.
A comeback is well overdue, and some kind of masterplan to kill the real Bruce Wayne and steal his identity would make for an awesome movie - and who better to collaborate with on such a wicked scheme than...
As Bruce Wayne's closest childhood friend, Tommy Elliot has a long and rich history in DC Comics lore, so it's a surprise that the surgeon who murdered his own parents (and came to bear an irrational grudge against Bruce for inheriting the Wayne fortune after the double murder of the Waynes) has never wreaked havoc in a Batman movie.
While so many of Batman's rogues thrive on chaos, Tommy, being a classic sociopath, was always stronger on strategy. As that grudge became enmity, Tommy used his ability to get inside Bruce's mind to hatch an elaborate plan for vengeance. As Hush, he is an expert marksman with superb combat skills and the ability to operate surgically on himself — which is useful when you need to change your face to make yourself look like that guy you hate for no good reason. Crazy is as crazy does.
Unlike so many of Batman's rogues, the Penguin is not insane. What he is is a self-appointed gentleman gangster, and if is the people of Gotham City deserve a better class of criminal, Oswald Cobblepot is the man to give it to them. Still, while he's not crazy, the Penguin is the very definition of eccentric — we're talking about a man with a major in ornithology (that's the study of birds, FYI), whose most prized weapon is an umbrella.
Of course, Danny DeVito did superb work in Batman Returns, but a future take on the character could play down his grotesque penguin-ness and focus instead on his unique brand of elite criminality.
In Rocksteady's acclaimed video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, one security guard makes passing reference to the smuggling of custom umbrellas into Gotham. Perhaps the plot of Batfleck's solo movie could see the Penguin orchestrating Batman's imprisonment in Arkham from the comfort of the Iceberg Lounge, which Robin must infiltrate in order to extradite his friend and mentor. You can't really go wrong with a character like Cobblepot. Just drop him into the mix and watch sparks fly... from an umbrella tip.
Even if you remove Uma Thurman's portrayal from the equation, there's something ridiculously camp about Poison Ivy. The redhead who's not averse to wearing a dress made of plant vines is also Gotham's most notorious ecoterrorist which, at least on paper, sounds about as threatening as a single red rose. But roses can be poisonous, and Pamela Isley is truly toxic.
Her lesbian relationship with Harley Quinn, a surreal hybrid of sex and sisterhood, would be the ideal starting point for an appearance in the solo Batman movie — just the possibility of seeing Harley go gay would surely have teenage boys around the world begging their parents for extra pocket money.
The truth is that there are countless rogues with a more interesting set of skills than Poison Ivy, but few as outrageously flirtatious or downright absurd. For that alone, she's earned her place in a solo Batman movie. And let's be honest, anything to shake the ghouls of Batman & Robin — watch the clip above at your peril...
This one is not just possible, but likely — remember that Riddler Easter Egg hidden away in Batman v Superman?
If Batman wasn't so preoccupied with his homoerotic hatred of Superman, he might have noticed it himself. The Riddler is a Batman rogue from another time: Bold, colorful, far too camp to exist in a gritty movie. But neither should he be as dumb as Jim Carrey's ADD, spandex-clad portrayal of the character in the dreadful Batman Forever. The key to the Riddler is finding a middle ground: Being smart enough to stay a step ahead of Batman, without actually revealing the full extent of his intellect.
In a post-Suicide Squad world, the idea of a bunch of Batman's classic foes teaming up inside Arkham to take the Caped Crusader down suddenly feels right — the only danger would be that we might find ourselves rooting for the bad guys...
Suicide Squad hits August 5. The solo Batfleck movie will most likely arrive in 2019.