How soon is now?

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  • Published: Nov 19th, 2012
  • Category: Culture
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Bond x Batman: The Greatest Movie Concept Ever

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I saw Skyfall this weekend and was a little disappointed. I won’t go into great detail, but it’s the usual criticisms – over the top stunts, pauses while the villain chomps the scenery (oh for Christ’s sake, James, just shoot him). Yes, that’s always been part of the James Bond franchise, but as the world has moved on, in some ways Bond hasn’t. Nevertheless, that’s not really the point of the movie worth talking about.

SPOILER ALERT - While I’m won’t be going into the main plot points of Skyfall, I do want to talk about elements of Bond’s backstory revealed in the movie. If you haven’t seen the movie, you might want to just bookmark this post and come back at a later time. - SPOILER ALERT

Right then, here we go.

The movie I saw this weekend featured:

  • An anti-hero…
  • Who is an orphan…
  • That grew up in a mansion…
  • That has a secret, underground cave…
  • Under the watchful eyes of a kindly caretaker…
  • Only to grow up to fight ridiculous, over the top villains…
  • By operating just outside the law…
  • Often using an alias or secret identity…
  • While wearing a custom-made suit, and…
  • Reporting to a boss who sends him on missions (and was in the Harry Potter films)…
  • Has a colleague who makes cool gadgets and weapons for him…
  • Gets entangled with beautiful, dangerous women…

So, yeah, I guess I saw a Batman movie this weekend.  No, I’m not the first to make this comparison. This Summer, when The Dark Knight Rises came out, The Economist said, in referring to the Batman character:

He was James Bond in a mask—a secret agent with a Q (Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox) to manufacture his gadgets, and an M (Gary Oldman’s Jim Gordon) to send him on missions. (Meanwhile, in “The Quantum Of Solace”, Daniel Craig’s James Bond had become a brooding, brutal outsider who didn’t have time for jokes or women. He seemed to be turning into Batman.) 

More recently, the website Cinema Blend connected the dots as well, with a piece entitled, How Skyfall Proves That James Bond is the British Batman. 

But I’m going to take it a step farther. Rather than discuss the similarities between the two characters, let’s talk about what would possibly be the most anticipated movie of all time: A James Bond – Batman cross-over.  I’ll pause for a moment while you let that idea sink in.

Yeah.

So, before we start talking about plots and so forth, let’s just clear up some logistics. Bond is MGM and Batman is Warner Bros. But, a precedent was set with the 2nd Star Wars trilogy which was a Lucasfilm / Fox joint. Also worth noting, and something comic book heads will know – Batman had certainly done non-DC team ups before. One notable example being the Batman – Grendel books. And bringing unrelated fictional characters together has precedent as well: Aliens v. Predator (good example, poor execution) and the Wold Newton Universe show the way.

Whatever, we’ll let the legal boys solve those issues. Let’s get down to business. What would a Batman – Bond movie look like? I think the possibilities are myriad. The criminal empire of Ra’s al Ghul be investigate by James Bond. You could certainly imagine Bruce Wayne and James Bond being at a high society gathering anywhere in the world. Surely Lucius Fox and Q run in the same Black Ops covert war circles. Bringing the two together would be easy.

How would two “lone wolf” operators work together? Tough to say, but one can envision the two would have admiration and respect for each other, even if in the beginning Bond viewed Batman as a potential threat or enemy. They would surely have much to talk about on a personal level, with similar childhood experiences. Get some talented writers and an A list director, and I think this could be fantastic.

But more importantly, I think both franchises need, not a reboot, but an injection of something really disruptive. Nolan ended his Batman trilogy in a place that is prime for a departure, not a revisiting. And the Daniel Craig Bond, which had a ton of promise (and delivered) with Casino Royale, seems to be simultaneously sliding backward and digging for deeper understanding of the Bond character.

 

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