Batman has endured an inconsistent portrayal on the big screen, ranging from laughably bad to awe-inspiring. There's quite the contrast between director Joel Schumacher and Christopher Nolan after all, but that is the development curve the caped crusader has been subject to in mainstream media.
So who's up next to grab hold of the pointy ears and lead Batman to box office success? Well, none other than polarizing actor/director Ben Affleck, of course. Why he's so condemned from certain film goers remains a mystery. He's been involved in tremendous and ultra successful films like Argo, The Town, and Good Will Hunting, so what exactly is there to dislike about the man? He didn't ruin Daredevil, if that's what you're thinking. Hell, even Michael Fassbender has been involved in a superhero dud--I'm looking at you, Jonah Hex--and he's one of the better actors in Hollywood. So let's give the guy a break and let him prove the doubters wrong, starting with his debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, then Suicide Squad for a minor role, and finally the Justice League films.
Love it or hate it, Ben Affleck is here to stay. And now comes word that Affleck is set to star and direct three standalone Batman films, with Warner Bros. feeling confident in giving him the keys to the kingdom. And honestly, this is great news. If you have any doubts, just stop. Cease the incessant whining and let the guy show us why he's such an acclaimed writer, director, and actor in Hollywood.
So with that in mind, it begs the question of what villains Affleck should focus on. I'll get it out of the way immediately, he should avoid The Joker at all costs. There's no chance viewers will liken the new Joker to Heath Ledger's performance, so it's a losing battle. And really, Batman has one of the greatest rogue galleries in comics. There's plenty of maniacal and intriguing villains to choose from. What, don't believe us? See for yourself:
Is it possible to bring Danny DeVito back as The Penguin? Because that would be flipping amazing. The criminal mastermind uses his wits and intellect to run crime in Gotham City and build his empire. While he lacks advanced physical strength, although he can certainly hold his own, Penguin is equipped with an umbrella concealing a variety of weaponry. While he may not be suited to play a leading role, he could serve as the perfect complimentary villain in the films and provide a change of pace for the caped crusader. He's one of Batman's oldest foes, too, so he'd be an easy sell to generate interest in the films.
9 Poison Ivy
If not for Joel Schumacher, viewers wouldn't have such a rotten taste in their mouths from the last time Poison Ivy graced the silver screen. It's a shame, because Uma Thurman was a great casting as the villain. Ivy not only possesses capable hand-to-hand combat and agility, she has the ability to control plants and release deadly toxins. Imagining Batman evade her plants and vines in glorious CGI and battling her one-on-one is worth her admission to the trilogy. Toning down her penchant for seduction would probably be a shrewd move, though, if only to legitimize her inclusion as a major villain.
8 The Red Hood
This would be a complicated addition seeing how The Red Hood was formerly Jason Todd, better known as Robin. However, if the new films choose to explore Robin in any capacity, setting the stage for The Red Hood in the second or third film would make for a fantastic and dramatic spectacle. But again, they'd have to introduce Robin, who isn't exactly a fan favourite, and probably Ra's Al Ghul for the use of his Lazarus Pit to later resurrect the deceased Robin. Of course, Todd isn't the original Red Hood so they could simply bypass the complicated backstory, but that wouldn't be as dramatic... and it would render Red Hood as a secondary villain.
Look, Christopher Nolan did a tremendous job with his Batman trilogy. It's probably the best superhero trilogy ever made. But his incarnation of Scarecrow seemed a little... underdeveloped. Scarecrow is capable of grasping the role as the main antagonist and running with it. His fear gas alone would make for some unique and terrifying scenes should Ben Affleck choose to explore them. And there's no reason why Scarecrow has to be a feeble combatant, he can handle his own and provide Batman a challenge should they exchange fists. Focusing on a villain utterly obsessed with fear and its effects on his subjects would make for a gripping and dark film.
6 Black Mask
This one is almost too easy, and it would provide DC Comics the chance to shed some light on a lesser known but badass villain. Black Mask despises Bruce Wayne first and foremost, after his company is bought out by the millionaire following bankruptcy. This leads him to become a mob boss and having considerable influence in Gotham City's criminal underworld. Best of all, Black Mask provides Batman a challenge on several fronts, whether it's hand-to-hand combat, marksmanship, or as a criminal tactician. Like Scarecrow, this would allow the film to take on a darker tone and explore Black Mask's more violent side.
5 Killer Croc
Killer Croc may be hard to pull off--do you go with the Suicide Squad's version or opt for complete CGI?--but if successful he could be one of the more interesting and exciting villains Batman faces. While Killer Croc lacks intelligence, his visceral demeanor makes him a volatile and deadly threat. He possesses superhuman strength and speed, making him a formidable foe for Batman. Because he lacks intelligence, however, Killer Croc may be better suited as a secondary villain. Still, we'd love to see him battle Batman on-screen. Perhaps he'd be best suited with the likes of Scarecrow or Penguin, providing a lethal one-two punch.
4 Mr. Freeze
Again, Joel Schumacher is entirely to blame here for ruining the on-screen incarnation of Mr. Freeze. He deserves redemption. No Arnold Schwarzenegger and no cringe-worthy one liners. Mr. Freeze is an intriguing villain choice for the new Batman films because quite frankly his backstory just screams drama. His wife tragically passes away from a degenerative disease and Mr. Freeze, who renders himself a supervillain in the aftermath, is hellbent on bringing her back and getting revenge on Batman. I mean, that's an easy sell for a movie. The story writes itself and the action would be fantastic. Enough said.
Clayface needs to be in a Batman movie as soon as humanly possible. The serial killer is among the most deranged in Gotham City and his superhuman strength and agility makes him a force to be reckoned with. That he can shape shift into any form imaginable only increase his potential as a main antagonist on the silver screen. Being able to change shape, size and regenerate body mass makes him a tantalizing villain to face off against Batman when you consider the potential action sequences. And let's not forget that he can mimic others' DNA and infiltrate the inner sanctum of Bruce Wayne's enterprise.
TV series Arrow did a tremendous job of portraying Deathstroke, making Season 2 something special. Should Ben Affleck choose to include the villain in his upcoming trilogy, Deathstroke could well have the same effect on the film he graces. He's proficient in weaponry, melee weapons and as a tactician and assassin. While he frequently appears as an adversary to Nightwing, he also faces off against Batman on occasion. And really, no one is going to complain if Batman and Deathstroke go toe-to-toe in epic on-screen battles. As a grizzled veteran, who would make a better Deathstroke than Liam Neeson? Make it happen, Batfleck.
I fell in love with Hush after reading the Batman graphic novel of the same name. In fact, I want to read it all over again and refresh my memory on why this villain works on so many levels. For one, his backstory travels deep, going back to Bruce Wayne's childhood. This would create considerable drama in the build-up of his development as a villain. And how twisted is this villain? Well, he tried to kill his parents as child to inherent their fortune. So yeah, there's that. Hush can hold his own in a fight and uses manipulation and his advanced intellect to concoct complex plans to take down Bruce Wayne and Batman. Not only could his presence on the silver screen make for exciting action sequences, he could help weave a memorable and layered storyline to augment the overall experience.