There’s a rumor floating around that Matt Reeve’s BATMAN film could be based on the BATMAN: YEAR ONE story. Let’s look at the potential for that story as a movie. While I’m sure Reeves could do a good job, aren’t there better options that explore other facets to Batman besides his origin? Let’s take a look.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE — The Comics

In the comics, BATMAN: YEAR ONE is a story about Bruce Wayne’s first year in Gotham since he left. Having been away for 12 years to hone his skills, body, and mind, Bruce is determined to protect his city.

BATMAN: YEAT ONE
Image from DC

We also get to see Bruce’s inspiration to become a bat. After being savagely beaten in one of his first late-night vigilante outings, he returns back to Wayne Manor. Still bleeding, he sits down, facing a bust of his late father, Thomas Wayne. He asks his father how. How does he strike fear in the hearts of criminals?

How does he make them afraid? At that moment, a bat bursts through a nearby window, glass shattering. It lands right on top of Thomas’ head, staring at Bruce. Bruce sees the bat, remembering the fear he had of bats as a child. He now has his inspiration, responding:

“Yes father. I shall become a bat.”

As the story continues, we also get to see Jim Gordon’s first year with GCPD. Gordon continually struggles with the high levels of crime and police corruption. We also see Selina Kyle receiving her inspiration for Catwoman after seeing Batman for the first time.

Other notable characters present in BATMAN: YEAR ONE are District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman’s first ally before he becomes Two-Face. Also, mob boss Carmine Falcone, the first major criminal Batman takes down.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE — As a Film

While there’s already been an animated film, BATMAN: YEAR ONE certainly has a lot of potential to be a good live-action film. There’s plenty of great shots and beats in the comic that would transfer over seamlessly to great effect to make not only an origin film but one that has the tone of a seedy crime drama.

Whether it’s Bruce or Jim, readers and viewers alike witness the corrupt city and its people through the lens of men who are more innocent and pure than those surrounding them. We see events unfold that bring these men in closer and closer proximity to each other, eventually forming a unique partnership that lasts for as long as their respective careers: one who works within the law, and one who works beyond it.

Joke’s On You: The 5 Best Batman / Joker Clashes

Unfortunately, while I certainly think that BATMAN: YEAR ONE has significant potential, I do see the worry some have that origin film fatigue could be a major inhibitor to the film’s overall attractiveness. Especially considering it’s Batman we’re talking about it here. Like…one of the most well-known heroes in the world with a very commonly known origin.

It could be a hard sell to fans and mainstream audiences alike, with many having the mindset that the film isn’t something they haven’t seen before. Christopher Nolan’s DARK KNIGHT Trilogy absolutely takes inspiration from YEAR ONE, most notably with the first film: BATMAN BEGINS. With this in mind, here are a few other Batman comic stories that could serve as great foundations for some new, fresh, and epic Batman films!

1. ARKHAM ASYLUM: A SERIOUS HOUSE ON SERIOUS EARTH

ARKHAM ASYLUM is a comics story written by Grant Morrison. Considered to be one of the best Batman comics of all time, the plot progresses as follows: Batman goes to Arkham Asylum, responding to a call about a riot in place. Upon arriving at the Asylum, Batman discovers the institution’s history and comes in contact with several members of his rogues’ gallery.

Morrison’s take on Batman and his rogues are quite unique and new, especially during the time he wrote it (1989). He essentially deconstructs each villain Batman meets with. The BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM video game used this story for some of its source material, as it not only provides said history of the island but introduces some of the more in-depth facets of these villains.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE
Image from DC

Some examples would be a closer look at the Joker’s obsession with Batman, or Two-Faces’ inability to make decisions without his coin, leading to his psychological detriment without it. Morrison focuses a lot on the idea of insanity: its different layers, and how its carried by these characters. In the end, after discovering the head doctor arranged the riots himself to draw out Batman, Batman apprehends the doctor. After seeing the doctor’s mistreatment, Batman releases the inmates from the Asylum, to assumedly be caught later.

I could easily see this story being adapted into a psychological horror-type Batman film. Even if it was loosely based on ARKHAM ASYLUM, it would be cool to see Batman fighting a large number of his rogues at once in the same building. Simultaneously, you’d get a look at what makes each one tick. Audiences would be able to see a side of Batman that’s new for film: one that has some compassion for his foes, several of which have obvious mental illnesses and disorders.

2. THE LONG HALLOWEEN

Moving on, THE LONG HALLOWEEN is a story that many would love to see adapted. Coincidentally existing as a sequel to BATMAN: YEAR ONE, this story progresses the alliance formed between Batman, Gordon, and DA Harvey Dent to end crime in Gotham. It features several of Batman’s villains and depicts the origins of Harvey’s transition to the criminal Two-Face.

A serial killer known as Holiday begins killing members of the Falcone and Maroni crime families. His first kill is on Halloween, leaving a jack’o lantern and a gun with the victim. His subsequent killings all land on holidays, hence the name. As Batman, Gordon, and Dent attempt to track and bring him to justice, Holiday’s killings escalate the gang war between the families. Villains like the Joker, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, Scarecrow, Mad Hatter, and even Solomon Grundy get involved as a result of Holiday’s actions.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE
Image from DC

The most notable event is the previously mentioned corruption of Harvey Dent, becoming the terrible Two-Face. While this would be very cool to see, it would suffer comparisons to Christopher Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT, where we’ve seen that character undergo the same transformation.

With the rumor that Matt Reeve’s is building a trilogy, perhaps BATMAN: YEAR ONE could be first with LONG HALLOWEEN as a sequel? Again, you run the risk of Nolan Trilogy comparisons, but maybe if Reeves can make his possible trilogy distinct enough, perhaps it wouldn’t be an issue.

I Believe in Harvey Dent- Jeff Loeb’s BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN

3. THE RED HOOD

Now, my personal favorite: THE RED HOOD! This adaptation wouldn’t be an origin for Batman, but it would focus on the origin of the Red Hood and how it affects him.

In the comics, Jason Todd, the second Robin, decides to fight the Joker alone after Batman relives him of duty due to his aggressive and impulsive nature. Joker beats Robin with a crowbar in a warehouse rigged to explode. Batman is unable to get there in time, and Robin dies from his injuries. Batman blames himself going forward.

Jason Todd later returns to life as a result of Ras Al Ghul and the Lazarus Pit. However, the pits’ waters alter Todd’s brain and emotions. Jason instantly seeks vengeance on those who have wronged him. calling himself the Red Hood. He beats Joker with a crowbar as he once did to him.

He also desires to clean up Gotham in a more permanent fashion. Batman intervenes. Jason feels hurt that Batman hasn’t sought vengeance for his death. He wants to know why Batman continues to let the Joker live. It forces Batman to take a hard look at his one rule and how it affects not only his city but those around him.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE
Image from DC

Thus begins Jason’s life as a brutal vigilante, who isn’t above killing like Batman. His relationship with Bruce has long been strained until recently, where they have actually made peace. Red Hood now works covert black-ops missions, which Bruce tolerates. At this point in time in the comics, Bruce can call on Jason for aid and support. Jason generally answers the call.

There’s Red Hood Groundwork Already

Seeing the origins of the RED HOOD would be amazing in my opinion. Not only is it an incredibly dynamic story, but the groundwork is already there in recent DC films. We’ve already seen Jason’s Robin costume hanging in the Batcave with Joker’s spray paint covering it in BATMAN V. SUPERMAN, a definite indicator that Batman has already lost Robin at this point, and by Joker’s hand. SUICIDE SQUAD confirms Joker’s murder of Jason by way of Harley Quinn’s rap sheet. It names her as an accomplice to his murder.

It would also allow audiences to see Batman’s attempts to build a family, bringing up those who have suffered similar tragic pasts to his own. It’s something that has yet to be seen in recent DC films, and the Batman films going further back didn’t do the greatest job.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE
Read The Comic That Started it All In BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD!

All this to say, there’s a foundation there. Let’s use it!

Last Words On BATMAN: YEAR ONE

Even with all this being said, if Matt Reeve’s BATMAN does indeed take its influence from BATMAN: YEAR ONE, I would say at least do what Marvel did with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man introduction.

What I mean by this is that Spider-Man has had several films and shows. His origin is just as well known as Batman’s. Even so, the latest MCU Tom Holland version has been in three Marvel films. Yet his origin with the spider bite, Uncle Ben’s death, the power and responsibility line: none of it has been seen or explicitly referenced. Why? Because the average viewer doesn’t need it.

Let’s do the same thing with Batman. We don’t need to see Bruce’s parents dying in Crime Alley, nor Bruce training far away. Let’s have the film start off with:

“Yes father. I shall become a bat.”

And boom. We’re off to the races, where Bruce learns and develops what that means going forward. He can still meet villains for the first time. However, he himself does not need any groundwork for viewers to understand that he’s Batman, where he coming from, or why.

But…Let’s Still Consider Other Options!

We could also use this opportunity to reveal other facets of Batman’s character with the stories I’ve just described. For instance, I want a BATMAN film that truly shows why Batman is considered the World’s Greatest Detective. Nolan’s trilogy didn’t show it, and we’ve yet to see it in either BATMAN v. SUPERMAN or JUSTICE LEAGUE.

Things like that would be awesome! Let’s breathe new life into the Batman character by bringing all of his personality to the forefront, not just the origin stuff we’ve all seen before and his ability to strike fear in the hearts of criminals.

Matt Reeves’ BATMAN film will hopefully release in 2020.

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