By Clayton Chin Quee, Jr. (@cantballmeup)
With the news that Ben Affleck will NOT be directing “The Batman,” the outlook for the DCEU is understandably grim as of now. Yet, we still have some hope that there’s a great Batman film to be made with this iteration of the character. Regardless of who directs the next solo Batman film, here are some things we’d like to see:
1. Bruce Wayne victories/Playboy Bruce Wayne
As Batman: The Telltale Series brilliantly captured, Bruce Wayne can be just as fun to watch as Batman (okay, almost), if provided the right setting and circumstances. Bruce Wayne outside of his costume is interesting as a social chameleon who can adapt to any environment and thrive. Whether he’s playing the role of playboy, philanthropist or CEO, he remains comfortable and in charge. Beyond that, the way he exercises his genius in these different scenarios can also serve as a nice change of pace/breather in between the “Batman” scenes. The next Batman film would do well to explore the many different faces Bruce wears to achieve his goals.
2. Clever Gadget Use
We can pretty much guarantee that Batman will use his grappling hook or toss around some Batarangs in any appearance across mediums. However, some of the coolest scenes in Batman’s cinematic history involve his utilization of innovative gadgets. Whether it be the “Hong Kong” Scene in The Dark Knight or the “Bats” scene in Batman Begins, his gadgets often play a role in his proficient problem-solving. Making it look easy while comprehensively erasing obstacles has always been part of Batman’s genius as a character. The key seems to lie somewhere between using practical tools/items in distinctive ways and items/tools that only a billionaire could dream of, let alone afford to approach impediments. If this aspect of Batman can be introduced in novel ways in the next movie, it will be well ahead of the curve.
3. More Alfred
Michael Caine definitively portrayed the butler/loyal servant version of Alfred and will probably never be topped. However, the modernized depiction that involves Alfred actively partaking in missions and perfecting gadgets is definitely up for grabs. Jeremy Irons got off to a strong start in Batman v. Superman as he admirably demonstrated Alfred’s trademark wit/banter and convincingly expressed his concern for Bruce. Some would go as far as to say that ALL of his scenes in BvS were standouts. The creative team behind the next film would be wise to increase his role.
4. Another “Warehouse Scene” or two or three...
Batman v. Superman was obviously far from a critical success (despite an $873.3 million box office gross), but most would perhaps agree that the warehouse/save Martha scene was undeniably great. Have we ever seen a more exhilarating combat scene involving Batman? It was like watching Arkham Knight on the big screen except Batman was even MORE brutal. As most life-long Batman enthusiasts know, there really haven't been many comparable scenes that were satisfactory or thrilling than when watching Batman expertly (and savagely) overwhelm those “bad” guys in BvS. If “The Batman” or whatever the next solo Batman film will eventually be called can recreate the excitement generated by this landmark scene a few times, we might have an all-timer.
5. Memorable Villain
Although Superhero movies aren’t exactly as good as their villain (Marvel movies have proved otherwise), having an outstanding villain seems integral to reaching true excellence as a comic book film. The Dark Knight, Batman, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, The Dark Knight Rises, etc, etc - all of these classics had unforgettable villains who challenged Batman on either a psychological, physical, emotional or intellectual (or some combination of the four) level. The Batman seems to have gotten off on the right foot with the novel selection of Deathstroke. Deathstroke presents an interesting challenge for Batman, as he's not only a tactical genius (in the same vein as Batman), but also a weapons specialist, an expert martial artist and essentially a meta with enhanced strength, speed and durability. So, on paper, Deathstroke is an intriguing choice, but work definitely has to be done to establish him as more than just a bland super-soldier. There has to be some reason for us to care, like or identify with him (besides inspiring Deadpool).
6. Ben Affleck as Batman
As of now Affleck is still set to star as the Dark Knight, but you have to wonder if his departure as director of “The Batman” is a precursor to an eventual exit from the starring role. The project seems to be in a developmental hell after rumors of issues with the script, then the delay in production and now Affleck dropping out of the director’s chair. Nevertheless, Affleck remains the best candidate to bring the comic book Batman into existence. Not only does Affleck possess the movie star charisma of Bruce Wayne, he ALSO has the physique and build to recreate Batman’s feel and look. Batman is supposed to be a brutal tormenter of criminals everywhere and Affleck is arguably the first actor to actually sell this to the audience. In cape and cowl, he actually looks like a devastating force of nature. It almost seems unfair to the criminals that they have to face such a robust brawler. However, to fail to mention Affleck’s ability as an actor would truly be a disservice to recognizing his potential as Batman/Bruce Wayne. Affleck aptly portrayed the anger and dismay Bruce felt following the Superman/Zod devastation in several scenes. His “Twenty years in Gotham…” speech alone was probably a top three Bruce Wayne moment in cinema (only slightly exaggerating). Ben Affleck needs to stay on as Batman, he’s too good as the caped crusader not to.
 Just kidding on only listing Batman movies. Certainly, Spider-Man 2, Captain America: Winter Soldier and Civil War (Iron Man not Helmut Zemo) come to mind.