Hopefully, by now, you’ve read my other two pieces on the heroes the DC Extended Universe desperately needs. In my Nightwing piece, I focused on the overall problems I have with DC’s film universe. These problems include too much shown in the trailers, interpretation of characters, and pacing. All of these problems can be fixed, but they’ve given us three films that have exactly the same problems. In my Batwing piece, I focused on diversity. Diversity is something I’m always talking about, because rich, white men don’t seem to understand what it means. Batwing represents a new culture the DCEU has yet to introduce us to. With Marvel coming out with Black Panther soon (and the popularity of heroes and characters such as Falcon, War Machine, Luke Cage, Claire Temple, Misty Knight, Storm etc.) DC needs to catch up when it comes to black heroes. If this is the first piece of mine you’ve ever read and instantly you thought, “They have Cyborg, you Marvel fuckboy!” Then please read the linked article I wrote a while back about Cyborg and why he shouldn’t be in the Justice League. Since you think you know everything.
Enough negativity though. Today, I want to focus on one of DC’s strong suits. That’s “alternate” universes. There is no argument that DC has better stories revolving around their alternate worlds. We got a taste of that in Batman v. Superman. Let’s revisit the nightmare scene shall we. The scene popped up out of nowhere. The movie was trying to drill into our heads the fact that Batman feared Superman. They did a decent job with this. The moment where Batman first meets Superman, his eyes go wide like a child who had just seen a piece of broccoli. Batman didn’t know what to do. While Superman’s dialogue in this scene is abysmal, Batman had a great moment. He rose out of his car, a scared man no doubt, and confronted the alien. He confronted his fear. In that moment, Batman asked Superman if he bleeds. When Superman flew away, Batman said, “You will.” No doubt a line that raises a few neck hairs. Batman was struggling the majority of that film. Once again, while I hated the journey Snyder took us on to get from struggling Batman to “I thought she was with you,” Batman, the concept was an awesome one. It all lies in the execution. So with all of that fear, comes our nightmare scene. It didn’t make much sense to the average movie goer, but the implications were clear to us comic book fans. It starts with Batman walking out into a deserted area. He walks up a small hill. In the distance, we see what looks like either Gotham or Metropolis. There’s lave erupting from the ground. The city is a war zone. As Batman looks through his binoculars, we see the Apokolips sign. This is a clear indication of Darkseid, one of Superman’s greatest enemies. What this means for the DCEU, I have no idea. So Batman, sporting a trench coat that could be Commissioner Gordon’s, meets up with some arms dealers that have kryptonite. There’s only one reason Batman would need that.
Before Batman can get the kryptonite, one of the dealers pulls a gun on him. I know I said no more negativity, but this scene represents another huge problem I have with Zack Snyder’s directing. Soldiers sporting Superman patches on their arms begin murdering the other people Batman is with. Batman screams before taking matters into his own hands. He grabs a gun and starts shooting men left and right. Batman puts up a solid fight, but creatures resembling Darkseid’s parademons, fly in and help seal the deal. Batman has lost. My problem with this scene is the believability. Don’t talk to me about realism and cite this scene in the same sentence. As Batman leaves the truck with the kryptonite, the soldiers have multiple opportunities to kill Batman. Obviously, a huge defense of this is that Superman wanted him alive, but still, the action looked lackluster. There are some soldiers who literally aim at nothing. Then when Batman comes around, they flop to the ground. It happens to the best of action movies, but this scene got under my skin because some of the soldiers aimed their guns at Batman as if they were going to shoot him. So, what was it Zack? Superman wanted him alive or did you want an excuse to have Batman kill a few people and no one dispute it? A dumb part to an overall cool scene. The ending is what is important regarding this article however.
Batman is tied up. He’s hanging in some sort of underground tunnel. Superman flies in. Boy, is he pissed. I find it funny that Henry Cavill is more believable as an evil Superman than as the real deal. I was legit scared of Superman during this scene. He tells Batman, “She was my world, and you took her from me.” Obviously, he’s referring to Lois Lane. Superman than proceeds to kill Batman. The real Bruce Wayne than wakes up. Someone is trying to talk to him. At first glance, it’s hard to tell who it is. There’s a blinding white light, and a ton of noise. The person trying to talk to him though is none other than the Flash. More than likely Barry Allen. Barry is trying to tell Bruce that Lois Lane is the key. He tells Bruce that he’s always been right about Superman. This scene is just meant to affirm Bruce’s fear and anger regarding Superman, but once again, the concept of the alternate universe is amazing. This scene hints at the Injustice universe. I won’t spoil anything about those comics, but please read them if you haven’t before. DC has some great events in regards to their alternate universes. Flashpoint, Injustice, and Earth 2 are some of the examples of DC’s alternate universes. Comparing them to Marvel, I think Marvel has better characters as a result of their alternate universes (Miles Morales, Miguel O’Hara) but DC crafts better stories revolving their alternate universes. Flashpoint is one of the best event comics ever written. The DCEU hinted, and not in a subtle way, that this theory is a plausible one. If that’s the case, there is absolutely no reason we shouldn’t see Terry McGinnis in the DCEU.
Most DC fans know who Terry McGinnis is. His animated show is a treasure to us. The reason I consider him to be a part of an alternate universe is because there aren’t any heroes from current DC continuity in his world. He’s the Batman of the future. Depending on the writer, his stories usually take place 30 years or so in the future. He was created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini. Terry is a special case because his debut came from his television show. He exists in the DC Animated Universe. The same world as the Justice League cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series, and Superman: The Animated Series. Terry was a street kid. In the city of Neo-Gotham, crime is still a problem. Terry met Bruce Wayne when the Jokerz (a gang that idolizes the dead Joker) pursued Terry to the grounds of Wayne Manor. Terry and an elderly Bruce fended off the gang, but Bruce’s heart couldn’t take the stress. Terry helped Bruce into his home and discovered the Batcave on accident. Terry’s story wouldn’t be complete without tragedy. When he returned home, his father was murdered. Terry thought it was the Jokerz, but in reality, it was Derek Powers. Powers’ company is now merged with Wayne Enterprises. Terry’s father came across illegal information that Powers didn’t want released. Terry wants Bruce to get back in the fight, but Bruce refuses. When Commissioner Barbara Gordon can’t help, Terry steals Bruce’s futuristic Batsuit to take matters into his own hands. Powers eventually becomes a nuclear-powered villain named Blight and Terry becomes the new hero of Neo-Gotham. Terry McGinnis becomes Batman.
INTO THE FUTURE
This is the main reason Terry needs to be introduced in the DCEU. With technology today, Batman Beyond could be a film spectacle. This is an opportunity for DC to veer from their whole “connected universe” thing for just a second. The best universe films feel connected to everything, but feel unique at the same time. Guardians of the Galaxy is a perfect example. Batman Beyond offers a chance for the DCEU to be unique. The city, the villains, and let’s not forget, Terry’s Batsuit, could all be cutting edge. Not many people know them. If marketed well, Batman Beyond could be revived and the DCEU could be set up for some amazing sequels and event films. Terry is also leaner than Bruce was as Batman. There is no interpretation when it comes to his size. The actor who is cast as Terry would have to be a lean, athletic actor. The fight scenes could be amazing if they get the suit right. Terry’s fight style is similar to Dick Grayson’s but just a bit more brutal. His suit allows him to move quicker than any person that’s ever been a part of the Bat-family. Batwing style armor with Flash quickness. A perfect suit for film creators to figure out. His suit is one of the things I’m okay with interpretation. There’s always concept art floating around of Terry as Batman. I would love to see a movie with Terry just to see that Batsuit on screen. My favorite was the most recent version that was playable in the Batman: Arkham Knight video game. Terry’s Batman is a terrifying one. The film could go a number of routes. Either a full-blown science fiction film, a detective mystery thriller, or a superhero horror film. Neo-Gotham is perfect for some imaginative director to let their brain go wild on.
RETURN OF THE JOKER
If you enjoy DC Comics but haven’t seen a DCAU (DC Animated Universe) film, I envy you. The DCAU is one of the richest universes in animation history. Under the Red Hood, DOOM, Public Enemies, and many more have been animation masterpieces. Their most recent film is Justice League Dark. Almost every hero from Wonder Woman to Green Lantern has had their time in the sun with these films. One of the first films in the universe came out in 2000. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is about Joker’s return to Gotham. I won’t go into spoiler territory at all because everyone who is a Batman Beyond fan who hasn’t seen this movie, deserves to see this movie. It’s one of my favorites, but it is sometimes forgotten when people talk about the DCAU. I don’t know why, but this film is outstanding. It has one of the saddest moments I’ve ever seen from a Batman film. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are in their voice acting prime during this film as Batman and Joker. This story could be a sequel or the end of a trilogy for Terry McGinnis. It’s too good of a story not to be put on the big screen. The story doesn’t have to be exactly the same, they can change it based off of their version of Terry, but the main elements must remain the same.
Terry went through a lot in this movie. He’s went through a lot on his show. One of the biggest characteristics about Terry is his anger. It fuels him, but it also keeps him level-headed as well. Almost an oxymoron, but Terry is his own man. For most of his time as Batman, he’s trying to win over Bruce’s approval. But at the same time, Terry doesn’t need it because he knows who he is. This leads to conflict with Bruce more often than anyone he’s ever trained before. Not to mention that Terry isn’t a sidekick at all. To the people of Gotham, he is Batman. There is no other for the thugs and criminals who weren’t alive to remember the original Dark Knight. Terry realizes this, so his charisma and personality are off the charts compared to others in the Bat-family. To me, he’s got the attitude of Jason Todd but the cool of Dick Grayson. His character is brash and independent. The DCEU needs a Batman who is grounded. One of my biggest problems with the DCEU is the interpretation of the characters. While I’m open to see a somewhat different version of Terry McGinnis for the films, his boldness and his confidence must be there. That’s what makes him Batman. It’s kind of ironic though. The main reason that Terry is Batman is because Bruce stopped being Batman. Bruce stopped being Batman because he was forced to use a gun to defend himself one night when he was fighting crime. Bruce was so disgusted with himself, that he locked his suits away forever. DCEU Batman doesn’t have a problem murdering people. Batman Beyond is a chance for them to really hammer home the fact that Batman doesn’t kill. Because a bunch of casual fans are confused on the morals of the Dark Knight.
Terry wouldn’t be able to fit into the DCEU just yet. Batman hasn’t had a solo film yet. We haven’t seen Robin (Dick, Jason, Tim, or Damian) and we haven’t seen Barbara either. The Bat-family needs to evolve before introducing Terry McGinnis. When they do though, there’s no need for Easter Eggs and silly references. Treat Terry with respect. Respect his story. His world should feel different but connected at the same time. If Ben Affleck does stay on as Bruce Wayne, an old, grizzled Bruce is something he can pull off. Jared Leto could have more redemption as the Joker if they adapt Return of the Joker, and seeing an older Barbara Gordon as the Commissioner would be cool as well. Before any of that though, we need to see the rest of the universe grow. They could randomly do a Batman Beyond film though. With the right director and script, this film could get done and come out within the next two years. DC just started respecting Terry in the comics though. I think we have a while before he’s in a film.
It’s unfortunate though. Nightwing seems like a guarantee for the DCEU at this point. I’ll be protesting on the streets if they get his character wrong. Batwing is a stretch. Of course I want more black men (and minorities in general) to be in the DCEU. I want REAL diversity. But Batwing probably won’t get a single thought by Warner Brothers. I don’t understand why Terry wouldn’t or isn’t though. Terry’s world, as I mentioned earlier, is a chance to truly experience something different. There are a multitude of ways to approach the world of Neo-Gotham. His suit and the technology he uses could be something we’ve never seen before. While I understand he isn’t the most popular character in DC Comics, the potential for a blockbuster movie is off the charts. Someone needs to get on this idea, pitch it, and make it happen.
I’m getting excited now for a Batman Beyond movie. Still, this series indicates that the DCEU doesn’t deserve these characters. They don’t deserve Terry yet because Bruce isn’t right yet. Bruce Wayne’s character development in Batman v. Superman was terrible. One minute he wants to make Superman bleed, the next he wants to honor his memory. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Great concept, poor execution. Then when the Justice League teaser dropped last year, Bruce sounded like Nick Fury with his pitch. He’s cracking jokes now? Hold on, I’m more okay with a Bruce that kills than I am with a Bruce who’s jovial for the sake of being jovial. Please make up your mind DC. Who is Bruce Wayne right now? What are his motivations other than honoring Superman? We don’t know much about this version of Batman other than he cowers in fear at the name Martha. I want to see how Robin died. Interactions with Joker. His detective side. Anything. Show me something other than fight scenes and gadgets so I can connect with this character. That’s where Batman Beyond could be lost. Every movie in the DCEU looks fantastic. Every movie in the DCEU has music that gives me chills. If a Batman Beyond movie were to get made, I wouldn’t be surprised if the focus would be entirely on the effects and his suit. The movie would probably have explosions for days, but no substance. Their films don’t have substance so far. They’ve tried too sure. Man of Steel being the best, but Batman v. Superman spit in the face of those themes we were presented with in MOS. If we ever see Terry in the DCEU, his character deserves respect. He’s his own man. That’s who he is. Hopefully the DCEU realizes the goldmine they’re on once the rest of the universe comes together.
Another hero done. Another way to improve the DCEU. I hope you’re enjoying this series. If you want to learn more about Terry McGinnis, I recommend watching the television show. His current comic run is entertaining so far as well. I pretty much have my lineup set for the heroes I want to see but if you have on you feel strong about, comment or tweet me @Hero_Review. The next hero I’m doing has no relation to Bruce Wayne at all. The man they call Captain Atom. I can’t wait to talk about one of my favorite heroes of all time. Next Monday, I talk about that “alien” stuff the DCEU has tried so hard to pass with Superman. I’ll talk about why they’ve failed and how to improve. Until next time!!