Which Way Forward For The “Batman” Movie Franchise? Take Fourteen : The “Return” Of Bruce Wayne


Okay, I’m cheating a bit this time around, by starting this post with the sort of image I’d ideally like to end the segment of our hypothetical Batman I movie that we’ll be discussing today with, but whatever. It’s a cool screencap from DC’s quite-nicely-done animated version of Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli’s classic Batman : Year One, and it speaks to the profound emptiness that Bruce Wayne still feels at the center of his life as a result of the cold-blooded murder of his parents. Simple, somber, and reflective, it’s a pretty powerful little image.

And is exactly the opposite of how I’d like this whole little return-that-isn’t-really-a-return-because-Wayne-has-been-sneaking-in-and-out-of-Gotham-to-construct-his-batcave-and-establish-Batman-as-a-presence-in-the-city-prior-to-his-official-arrival-for-some-time-now part of the movie to begin.

The arrival gate at Gotham International airport should be literally packed with reporters, photographers, flashbulbs going off and the like — maybe even a couple of rather presumptuous young ladies with flowers — and a press aide/PR flak informing all and sundry that “Mr. Wayne will be sitting down with the media on Monday morning to address any and all questions as to his past activities and future plans.” The throng should literally begin pushing in towards Wayne as he smiles and good-naturedly holds his hand in front of his face while he offers some lame line like “please, friends, I’m flattered by all the attention, and it’s great to be home, but trust me when I say my travels have been exhausting and right now there’s no such thing as a good angle from which to photograph me.” A quick “Key To The City”-type presentation from the Mayor and a couple other local dignitaries before he exits the airport might even be in order, though it should be quick and Wayne should be both engaging yet totally non-specific if he’s called upon to, as the old expression goes, “say a few words.”

The bedlam should continue unabated as Bruce heads to his waiting limousine, Alfred assuming chauffeur’s duties in the front, and by the time he’s reached the car he should look truly, well, not so much exhausted as just plain bored with the attention already. Message to the audience : this is a guy on a mission, who is by nature uncomfortable with the limelight but won’t let that sort of thing distract him from his ultimate aims, one of which is,  he already understands to his sometimes-chagrin, presenting an upstanding public image for himself as a responsible civic leader. In other words, the “front” of being a “playboy” that we’re used to seeing from him in other iterations of the character is definitely not going to be a part of this series.

Which is not to say that he’s going to be all business, either — humanizing the Bruce Wayne persona is a big part of what this little imaginary trilogy of mine is all about, and my hope is that, as further details unfold, how I intend to portray this “more human” side will become readily apparent. If it’s not, then I won’t have done my job properly.

Anyhow, after exchanging the briefest of pleasantries with the ever-faithful Mr. Pennyworth, an exchange that ends with an admittedly predictable “just take me home, Alfred,” the last image we’ll be left with as far as this whole early segment of the film goes will ideally be one very much like the picture we started things out with here — Bruce Wayne, silent and alone, brooding over his parents’ tombstones on the “stately Wayne Manor” grounds. The media interview mentione a moment ago that he’ll be giving, and that we hinted at in an earlier post in this series, will be the focus of our attention when I return to this (go ahead, say it — never-ending) series in a few days’  (that’s the plan, at any rate) time!

One response to “Which Way Forward For The “Batman” Movie Franchise? Take Fourteen : The “Return” Of Bruce Wayne

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