Mads Mikkelsen is absolutely stellar as the Mad Hatter
December 30, 2013 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Oh, this is good. There's some kind of absurdist jujitsu going on where you settle your mind into one canon track and then he smacks you upside the head with the other one from an unexpected direction.

I'm alarmed to learn I'm more familiar with B-list Batman villains than some of the less popular Bond film plots.
posted by figurant at 9:38 AM on December 30, 2013

I kind of thought there was too much Ras al'Ghul and not enough Joker, but maybe that's just me.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:47 AM on December 30, 2013

I like that the piece states both that Adam West played Jimmy Bond in the 1967 Casino Royale and never mentions who the rebooted Bond is. It lets me imagine James Bond played by a Christian Bale that lost out on both American Psycho and Batman Begins (use your imagination as to who would have taken his place) but carried over some of the characterization from both. It would be combination of that oily attractiveness, barely contained fury, a lost childhood, and someone who has led a privileged life yet is disturbingly familiar with the underbelly of society, honed into a brutal yet efficient tool for a decadent West for whom counter-terrorism is as much about economics as it is about ideology.

And yes, Bale would probably be using his natural Welsh accent, just to fuck with us.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:49 AM on December 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm pretty sure the twist here is that he's actually describing our universe's Bond films.
posted by Naberius at 9:50 AM on December 30, 2013

I like the post tags for bond, jamesbond.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:59 AM on December 30, 2013

Mefi's Own MGK, no less.
posted by kafziel at 10:06 AM on December 30, 2013

Except the article was written by John Seavey
posted by The Whelk at 10:10 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mefi's Own MGK, no less.

Actually John Seavey, who writes sometime for my site, wrote it rather than me.
posted by mightygodking at 10:10 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love this, although I'm a little unnerved at how well I know the Bond movies. (I would totally watch an alternate reality Goldeneye with Sean Bean as The Joker, too.)
posted by epersonae at 10:21 AM on December 30, 2013

...and then I read the comments, and well, of course:
But Sean Bean was clearly playing TWO-FACE in Goldeneye.
Seriously;half-scarred former ally now using the alias “Janus”?
posted by epersonae at 10:24 AM on December 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

I kind of thought there was too much Ras al'Ghul and not enough Joker, but maybe that's just me.

Ra's is basically the defining villain of the Bondlike aspects of Batman though, the way that the Scarecrow is to the psychological aspects, the Riddler is to the Detective, the Penguin/Scarface/Black Mask/a dozen others are to the one-man-against-the-mob thing, Two Face and the animated Freeze (animated Freeze is Best Freeze) are to his humanity (they're the ones he actually has enough sympathy for that he's concerned with getting them help), a dozen others are to his "just a man in a world of superpowers" aspect, etc. Ra's is the only one who actually maps to Blofeld without forcing it, too. There are a lot of Batman villains who lead criminal organizations, but none in the core set who are on a Ra's/Blofeld level really until the much more recent Black Hand and Leviathan stuff.

The Joker, in practice, is kind of a blank slate that writers shoehorn into all of these aspects, but I think at his core he defines Batman's adaptability because of his chaotic nature (which unfortunately is very often turned into A Big Thing About Chaos v Order or A Big Thing About Batman's Mental State, which, ehhh).

Personally I don't think the Joker maps all that well to any Bond villains, but if you're gonna put him in it really does work best with him as either Trevelyan or Silva.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:39 AM on December 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

I actually remembering thinks Silva was really Joker-y ( in a good way!) while watching Skyfall for the first time, the camp flourishes, the super villain lair, the physical injury, the bizarre "is he flirting?" attitude, the "I'm going to make a point here" plot. All super certain favors of Joker to me.
posted by The Whelk at 11:09 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

So the reason nobody has said "Damm, I'd love to watch any of these movies" is because it's just way too obvious, right? Because, damn...

Even if this wasn't a well-executed exercise in mashing 20th century canons together delightfully, I would adore this just because it made me imagine Telly Savalas as Ra’s Al-Ghul, which is just a lovely thought. I imagine Savalas would, in that other universe, still be the spokeman for Players' Club Gold Card but now it would seem even more menacing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:41 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

That being said If we're apparently committed to more Grimmer And Realer Batman Movies than I want my version of the Riddler where he's basically The Zodiac Killer and Batman spends the bulk of the movie like, actually detective-ing.
posted by The Whelk at 11:47 AM on December 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

Chances are more likely Riddler would be reinvented as a Snowden/Assange/Anonymous mashup.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:51 AM on December 30, 2013

"When the Joker killed his family, he went to work for the Queen. Bruce Wayne is On Her Majesty's Secret Service."
posted by blue_beetle at 11:57 AM on December 30, 2013

Batman punching a journalist in the face "PRIVACY ISN'T A RIGHT."
posted by The Whelk at 11:57 AM on December 30, 2013

( that being said a version of the Riddler where he's technically TOTALLY IN THE RIGHT and is uncovering super scary shit being done in the world could be interesting, so it'll never happen.)
posted by The Whelk at 11:59 AM on December 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

"Only James Bond can stop the KGBeast in From Russia With Love."
posted by blue_beetle at 11:59 AM on December 30, 2013

( final reveal, there is no Riddler, it was a fiction they made up to disguise the works of hundreds of people across the globe, some one person to blame.)
posted by The Whelk at 12:00 PM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I want to see someone refresh the Penguin for a post-Nolan Batman movie, because to me that's the hard one. His criminal MO is easy as pie, he's the next level of organized crime like most Gotham villains are the next level of regular crime and the Batman is the next level of crime fighting (as an aside, I do love that in Scott Snyder's recent retelling of his origins in the comics, crime got super nuts before Batman came on the scene so he's a reaction to it, rather than vice versa). But the entire penguin theme is so hard to make work in any kind of believable way. I'd love to be surprised at a good, creative way to make it work.

My favorite version of the Riddler is still the one where he worked on the side of the angels as a private detective just to rub Batman's nose in how much better he is at it.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:00 PM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Penguin as Koch brother to burgeoning supervillian movement?
posted by The Whelk at 12:21 PM on December 30, 2013

I could maybe see the penguin fixation as blatant mockery of Batman's bat fixation. Just openly living as an untouchable mob leader, waving cash around and bribing and extorting his way through the system while branding himself with a silly animal symbol to just take the piss out of everything Batman's done to clean up Gotham. Maybe he just chose a penguin because it's a bird that can't fly to Batman's rat that can, just to tweak his nose. Gordon gets forced out because Penguin so thoroughly corrupted the system that he's one of only a handful of decent cops. He bankrolls pet candidates in Gotham, he gets the courts stacked with his judges. He extends his protection racket to the entire city, keeping other crime out as long as his is tolerated, and he's actually cleaned up the streets better than Batman could, but if you speak out against him you're dead. His "power" such as it is is using corruption and politics like Batman uses technology, physical prowess and detective skills, and he took a run-of-the-mill criminal organization in Gotham that was limping along in the wake of Batman and Gordon and turned it into the fascist de facto government in Gotham.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:42 PM on December 30, 2013 [5 favorites] the Penquin as a less dangerously incompetent Rob Ford?
posted by The Whelk at 12:50 PM on December 30, 2013

Rob Ford would be Mayor For Life in the Penguin's Gotham.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:53 PM on December 30, 2013

Mob boss Penquin and his puppet Mayor sounds like the kind of situation a Billionare Playboy Superhero would be suited to deal with, possibly if it involved some kind of huge laser.
posted by The Whelk at 1:16 PM on December 30, 2013

Alternatively, play on the Penguin's aristocratic 1% Wayne-money-without-Wayne-morals side and have him turn Gotham into Ron Paul Funeral City.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:19 PM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd do him as an ex-Brit soldier who Went Through Some Shit during the Falklands War. He turned to crime/mercenary work after that. Now that he's older, though, he's found some success in dispatching/organizing mercenaries for other crime groups/grey agencies.

The penguin thing is because his henchmen/employees/dead wife(?) kept giving him penguin figures after seeing a memento of the Falklands war on his desk that was shaped like a stone penguin. That he used it to beat his commanding officer to death in heat of combat is only revealed in flashbacks.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:28 PM on December 30, 2013

Riddler is actually one of my favorite villains, because he's so impossible to do properly- he's should be someone who's Batman's equal, and he just leaves clues and riddles because otherwise, nobody would know who he is.

He would be like the Junkman from Astro City- it's not enough that he commit the crime, people have to acknowledge his superiority. I could see him as a mastermind, putting together gangs to pull brilliant Lupan III style heists wile remaining untouched. And leaving clues just to frustrate the police.

The problem is,you have to write a character that's smart- as smart or smarter than the Batman, and make both of them much smarter than the average. Which is damn tough.
posted by happyroach at 4:56 PM on December 30, 2013

One of these days I'll find the parallel universe where they used the Johnny Cash Thunderball theme, and then I will truly be home.
posted by ckape at 8:47 PM on December 30, 2013

Well, with regard to the pull quote I used, a Mads Mikkelsen-as-Hannibal Riddler would be a good direction to go in, huge cantos gambit schemes, Btman perpetually barking up the wrong tree, the constant taunting of the police/Batman, people living in fear cause he's even more of a myth than Batman ....

It's a start.
posted by The Whelk at 5:25 AM on December 31, 2013

The Penguin is ESR finally gone round the bend.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:20 AM on January 2, 2014

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