Last week, the Hollywood Reporter — and subsequently several other publications — let the world know that Warner Brothers planned to start filming THE BATMAN, the Matt Reeves-directed-film, November of this year. If you are anything like us here at ComicsVerse, your mind went to one place: What Bat-villain should hit the silver screen?

Certainly, there are some classic choices that never seem to go out of style. The Joker for instance. Also, we have seen villains that, perhaps, we wish the movies had gotten a little closer to the mark on. Poison Ivy and Mister Freeze are the first two I can think of there. However, with a collection of villains as long as a stretched out large intestine, it seems a shame to go back to the same few villains repeatedly.

So, we dug up some truly excellent villains who need their moment live-action spotlight.

1. Anarky

Anarky could strike poses AND speak rhetoric with aplomb as a Bat-villain. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

I’m not sure if you have heard this, but life in the United States is complicated right now. People in the U.S. have some discomfort with their government. Part and parcel of this has been an increase in rhetoric indicating a preference of overthrowing the system, rather than fixing it from within. In the DC Universe, Anarky (aka Lonnie Machin) has long been a villain (or antihero) with a taste for, well, anarchy. He didn’t just talk the “let’s overthrow our leaders and massively reconstruct our approach to governance” talk but walked the “violently reject the status quo” walk.

The time couldn’t be better to put Manchin on the big screen. Seeing Batman face off against a sympathetic villain who can inspire the population against the hero is a challenge that we haven’t really seen in a Batman film. Sure, Bane kind of tried that in DARK KNIGHT RISES, but we never really saw the population respond. Watching Batman fight a villain is one kind of thrill; to see him try to protect a city actively against him would be even more interesting.

2. Clayface

Whether he’s pretending to be someone else or showing his “true” face, Clayface could be quite the scary Bat-villain onscreen. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Before we get too far, picture the character with high-quality CGI, not Steppenwolf CGI. Clayface needs and deserves that good CGI, not the budget nonsense. If we can ensure that, Clayface has the capacity to be an incredible villain on-screen. First, imagine the blast the actors can have. They get to not only play whatever character they’re cast as but also the Clayface version of themselves.

Second, the fact that Clayface can be anyone could make THE BATMAN a paranoid thriller action film, something that makes perfect sense for the character but has never been tried on the silver screen. Finally, the look of Clayface when not in disguise can be legitimately scary. Imagine what a creepy look that could be realized on an enormous screen in the dark. Think John Carpenter’s THE THING for a visual touchstone.

3. The Court of Owls

The Court of Owls gathers together to present a dangerous big screen opponent for Batman. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

There remains a lot up in the air about THE BATMAN, including the very nature of its titular character. However, if they go with a younger, but still experienced Batman, the Court of Owls could make an incredible choice. A secret society that has shepherded Gotham City for years from the shadows finally deciding the time has come for Batman to be taken out. A Batman confident enough in himself to pose a threat to them, but perhaps also so confident as to imagine the City belongs to him and him alone.

Add in Talon or, better yet, Talons as the enforcers of the Court and you have one hell of a story. Moreover, it gives the filmmakers a chance to explore the deceased Waynes from a different angle. Make them resistant to the Owls influence or willing participants. Either way, you’ve added depth to the largely blank slate of Bruce’s parents. It can make their story greater — as truly good people who resisted the temptation to use their wealth to dominate the poor in secret — or Bruce’s more tragic, spending his life honoring two people who may not have been worthy of it.

4. Firefly

Firefly could really heat things up as a silver screen Bat-villain. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

If the makers of THE BATMAN want more of a pure action movie, I love Firefly in a villainous role. Garfield Lynns has a compulsion to set fires and cannot look away from the results. In a city like Gotham, where the buildings are stacked so close to one another they might as well be on top of each other, that compulsion can cause some serious damage.

He can also be an interesting opponent in a movie that focuses on the detective aspects of Batman. If his only motivation is his compulsion and his crimes naturally destroy most — if not all — of the direct physical evidence, that represents quite the challenge indeed. Additionally, Firefly is a former special effects artist. True, he’s never shown a Mysterio kind of aptitude for the work, so I wouldn’t suggest the same kind of mind-bending approach to his plots and plans. However, he certainly seems to be a strong enough arson and detonations expert to create some challenging death traps to lure Batman into.

5. Lock-Up

Lock-Up would be a stone-cold lock for awesome Bat-villain in a film if given a chance. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

This one, admittedly, comes mostly from my interest in the character. I just loved the guy in the ANIMATED SERIES and cannot help but feel like he never really gets his due in the comics. So, put him up on the big screen and give him a chance to shine! However, even my shallow choice has a bit more depth than that. In the same way that Anarky has a certain current events cache, so could Lock-Up. As the push against overpopulating prisons and over-criminalizing minor offenses grows, certainly there will be those who find themselves opposed to it and upset by it.

Lyle Bolton would certainly be such a man. Judged too unstable to be a cop or a corrections officer, Bolton has long desired to have his opportunity to enforce the law. When Gotham closes one of their larger prisons and crime increases, he sees his chance. Soon, Batman notices an inexplicable drop in crimes, especially petty ones. Then a con artist surfaces, terrified and badly hurt, talking of a horrifying prison where no one has rights and a man named Lock-Up who runs it with brutal authority.

6. The Bat-Villain: Prometheus

Batvillaiin: Prometheus
Sure, we’ve all seen Joker wear purple on the big screen, but Bat-villain Prometheus makes it look gooooood. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Comics abound with Anti-Batmen. I should know, I squeezed a whole article out of them. All of them present intriguing options, but Prometheus is my favorite choice amongst them. I love the idea of him taking out a variety of law enforcement types in Gotham: cops, DAs, private investigators, security experts, and so on. Each supposedly the best in their field. As the pattern starts to grow it becomes clear he’s working his way up to Batman.

THE BATMAN would be even better if Prometheus just embarrasses Batman the first time out, out-planning and outfighting the Dark Knight. Think of the comeback training montages! Then the film climaxes with Batman demonstrating why he is the best around, no technology needed.

One Comment

  1. Frank B. Chavez III

    Frank B. Chavez III

    January 10, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    These are all great but I would lean towards Clayface. He probably has more recognition among general audiences than the other thanks to his appearance on Batman: The Animated Series. And say what you want about the Venom movie, I think it demonstrated that effects technology has progressed to the point where Clayface could effectively be brought to life in a live action film.


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