In 1989 the world saw one of the first comic book movies to hit screens that sort of changed the world of comic books (and movies). Sure, we had Superman, and that was awesome, but Tim Burton’s Batman was a huge leap forward. At the time, DC Comics could do no wrong (as opposed to now, which it seems to do wrong on a consistent basis) and they were backed by Warner Bros. They still are, but they still seem to have absolutely no grasp of their own characters.
Batman came out in 1989 to really good reviews and acceptance. It appeared that comic books might translate very well into movies and for many fanboys, their medium would gain main stream acceptance (double edged sword because those same fanboys would later bitch and moan that “fake fans”, ie; “fake geek girls”, would “steal their stuff”).
But this isn’t about fanboy cry babies (another post for another time). This is about the Tim Burton Batman franchise that could have been.
Don’t change the first one, Batman and Joker was well done. I’d change Batman Returns. Ditch the Penguin, focus everything on Batman and Catwoman. But set things up so that Batman and Catwoman would end up having a relationship (this set up comes in the third movie). It’ll be a cat and mouse (flying mouse) chase with Catwoman always be one step ahead of Batman. In the end, Catwoman eventually lets Batman catch her, but she reminds him always that she let him catch her.
Set up the third movie. Batman and Catwoman go up against the Riddler. Ditch the Tommy Lee Jones Two-Face. Keep Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent, but the Two Face set up comes later. Keep Jim Carey as the Riddler (he was actually really good in that role). By the end of the third movie, Batman and Catwoman get married.
Fourth movie, time has moved on. Bruce and Selina have a daughter. They manage to juggle being superheroes and raising their daughter Helena. But now they have to deal with a villain who has learned their secret and kidnaps Helena. The Penguin. The Penguin learns their identities from someone who he was a cellmate with in Arkham. Edward Nigma. Lots of chase scenes, lots of fights, eventually Helena is rescued, Penguin is put behind bars. Something tragic happens at the end, in order to set up the fifth movie. The movie ends with Harvey Dent flipping a coin in a court room. End credits.
A few years pass, Helena has grown to a teenager, and with some reluctance, Bruce and Selina agree that Helena can join them in their nightly rounds of Gotham. Helena takes the moniker of Robin. But now, they have to go up against a new villain who also was an old friend; Harvey Dent. Two Face has decided to put all of Gotham on trail, with only a flip of the coin to determine the city’s fate. In the ensuing fight, Batman and Catwoman rescue an orphaned boy, and by the end of the movie, they take him in. His name is Dick Grayson. Helena will also play a huge role showcasing her smarts and her skills with what she’s learned by watching her parents. Robin makes a name for herself.
Dick Grayson in the sixth movie learns of the secret of Bruce and Selina, and even trains to assist the superhero family. Avoid any romance between Dick and Helena. They’d see themselves as siblings, not lovers. Dick takes on the moniker of Nightwing to help out the other three. This time, though, they face Mr. Freeze. Use the tragic backstory of Mr. Freeze, and make him somewhat sympathetic. At the end of the movie, make it known that Freeze was just as much a victim as anything.
That’s six movies, using one villain per movie (save for the second because there’s no real villain, it could be almost classes as a romance adventure). Keep Tim Burton on the helm, introduce a Robin and a Nightwing. Make it a step forward for progressiveness by making Robin a girl.