The Batman movie I want to see
So there’s a new Batman movie coming out. I watched the trailer, it looks fine. I’m attached to The Dark Knight series and am not too eager to have it supplanted, but whatever, I’ll probably watch it. They’re clearly after my demographic with the plaintive Nirvana soundtrack. What I like about Batman is that it’s just Odyssean score-settling, with some vague idea of justice lurking in the background, a guise for revenge meted out quickly and violently against violators of the moral law, whose badness is clear and unambiguous. It’s an escape; justice is never this simple; we are all to some extent liars and thieves and rooting out the truth of any matter requires a complicated system which still only badly approximates it.
BUT however implausible instant justice may be, in the spirit of the fantasy, here is a sketch of a few scenes from The Batman movie I’d like to see, inspired by walking, biking, and driving on the streets of Baltimore.
It is raining in Gotham City. A pedestrian waits to cross a street. A car approaches from far off at a high speed, and the pedestrian decides to wait for it to pass. At the last minute, the car turns right into the cross street, such that it never crosses the pedestrian’s intended path. No blinker. The pedestrian could have safely crossed the entire time. Suddenly, there is a barely perceptible flash, followed by a large crash. It is the Batmobile. It hits the rear of the car at 100 MPH, hurling it into the side of a deserted building, where it explodes.
A family pulls up to a red light at an intersection. A moment later, a flashy low-riding car pulls up next to them, blasting the owner’s terrible taste in music, drowning out any all other sound, including the family’s happy conversation. The owner glares at them through his open window, and flicks his cigarette into the street. He reaches for a knob on his radio to turn up the volume. The family’s car starts rumbling—is it from the bass of the car’s stereo? No, it is fallout from The Batman, who has appeared seemingly out of nowhere, landing on the car’s rear trunk with enough force to instantly blow out all tires and flip the car vertically. He jumps off, and the car completes its flip, landing upside down. The owner is trapped beneath the car. Gas is dripping everywhere, slowly trickling towards the still-glowing cigarette.
It is a holiday in a city neighborhood. Citizens tend to their yards and prepare food for the evening festivities, taking advantage of nice whether and a well-deserved break from their productive daily lives. Every eight minutes, however, a deafening noise from the city’s panopticon sky service blasts from overhead, forcing everyone each time to stop everything they’re doing and wait for it to pass. A barely discernible black shape streaks across the sky. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Yes, it is the Batplane, or rather, a missile from the Batplane. Gotham citizens have their peace disturbed once again as the panopticon plane explodes and debris falls from the sky. But it is the last time.
It is another peaceful day. Citizens chat in their yards, enjoying the new sustained peace in the absence of the surveillance machine in the sky, but are forced to pause as the noise from a rapidly accelerating car, cascades across the neighborhood. The owner of the car, perhaps perceiving himself to be very important, has intentionally made his car very loud, including removing the muffler. Suddenly the noise is cut short. The Batman has dropped on the hood of the car, eviscerated the still-running engine from its chassis, and hurled it through the auto’s front windshield.
A mother and her child ride down the road in one of Gotham’s few, poorly maintained bike lanes. A friendly driver maintains a safe speed and distance from them, to the fury of the the car behind it, which whips around and illegally passes at 45 mph in this two-lane residential area, before slamming on the brakes at the red light 50 feet up the road. The driver looks up from his phone to see The Batman materialize next to him, but has no time to think before he is yanked from his seat and tossed out onto the road into the busy cross traffic. The camera cuts away. There is an ambiguous thump.
Many questions remain; for example, what is the plot? And who should direct it? There are many capable people, but my vote is George Miller, chiefly for his jarring, creeptastic work on Babe: Pig in the City.