One of the biggest draws to a superhero movie is the storyline. Whether we want to see Superman beating on General Zod or Batman go toe-to-toe with the Joker, we all line up to go see adaptations of our favorite stories come to life. On the other hand, we will always have our complaints. Hardcore fans can (and will) tear apart a movie if it is not 100 percent faithful to the source material, and this can cause in-fighting between people who simply love the genre.
Today, we explore a list of DC stories that are so good they don’t need any kind of rejigging from a studio; stories that very simply need to have the comic used as a script to make an amazing live-action movie. While we may not ever get there, it can’t hurt to dream… right?
15. BATMAN: ZERO YEAR
A Riddler-centric storyline, we see Riddler try, and succeed, to take over Gotham City; everyone even thinks Batman is dead for a chunk of this time. While he is in control, he takes even the power of the city hostage, essentially reverting Gotham to a wasteland with the citizens struggling to survive. This storyline would actually make a good trio of movies when taking into consideration the fact that it was broken up into three separate yet connected arcs.
Basically, the point is that in certain aspects, Riddler is a villain who is amazing, yet conveniently pushed under the rug for others who would probably be easier to sell at the box office like Bane or Joker. With the right story, Riddler can outshine the best of them. Even if this plot were never to make it to the big screen, Gotham’s Cory Michael Smith would rock the hell out of it.
14. BATMAN/ SUPERMAN: APOCALYPSE
This story was essentially used as an origin for Supergirl. When she first shows up on Earth, Batman is obviously skeptical. When Superman starts conversing with her in Kryptonian, then makes the claim that she is his cousin, Batman just gets even worse about it. Batman is such a jerk in the story that after Wonder Woman takes Kara to train with the Amazons and she gets kidnapped by Darkseid during an attack from what seems like an army of Doomsday, she allows herself to be manipulated just because Batman was being a complete tool.
Apocolypse would be a great choice for the DCEU because bringing in Kara is a big step to showing that it’s not only the guys who can bring the hurt on the BIG screen. Kara has a history all her own that would be great to see in a cinematic (and not just televisual) adaptation. This could be the go-to storyline to make that happen. Plus, who doesn’t want to see Batman fight an army of Doomsdays with a battle-axe?
13. BATMAN: RIDDLERS GAMBIT
The Riddler, while a popular staple in the Batman universe, has a limited showing of himself in other forms of media, aside from the comics. Frank Gorshin showed us the original live-action take on the character; then, when Jim Carrey took the role in Batman Forever, we saw a new brand of manic genius that only he could bring to the role. While Batman Forever was definitely Riddler centric, a live-action adaptation of Batman: Riddler’s Gambit would show us the Arkham version of the character.
The difference between Arkham Riddler and other versions if that while he is out to prove himself the mental superior to the Dark Knight, he also just wants to see him and the Boy Wonder dead. This would also introduce us to a world where the Joker had already died, and we could see what Batman would be like without that particular driving force in his life. Top casting choice? Split right down the middle between Jim Carrey again and Neil Patrick Harris.
12. TEEN TITANS: THE JUDAS CONTRACT
While this storyline in particular has just been made into an animated movie, it seemed to fall a bit flat at certain points. One of the things that was simply un-needed was the inclusion of Damian Wayne. While it was being played off as a sequel to the recent DC animated films like Batman: Bad Blood, there was very obviously no need to have changed certain aspects of the story just for the sake of modernizing it and including a brat of a character.
Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is one of the most popular stories that was ever produced involving the Teen Titans title. The story by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez did things like introduce the world to Nightwing as well as show a creepy yet affecting relationship between a teenager and an old man. The main focus on a live-action movie could be around the mental state of new Titans Member Terra, where we could see her mind slowly deteriorate from scene to scene.
11. BATMAN/ SUPERMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES
A battle royale featuring characters like Gorilla Grodd, Solomon Grundy and Killer Frost? Yes, please. While the big fight against a large group of villains is definitely a massive plus to making a live-action version of this comic, the best part is the buddy cop aspect of it, playing Bats and Supes up as friends trying to put a stop to President Luthor’s smear campaign against Superman. Add in the introduction (although it would need to be short lived) of Metallo and we would get some fantastic action pieces. The addition of a Batman/ Superman mech doesn’t hurt either.
This is probably the least likely to get turned into a movie out of all of our options, but it earns its spot based on the fact that it would be a genuinely fun movie that wouldn’t take itself too seriously if it were to ever come to fruition. This would help show that even Bat-fleck can crack a smile from time to time.
10. WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS
One of the best things about War of the Green Lanterns is the act that it’s pretty much the four Earth Lanterns against the rest of the corp. When everyone is brainwashed from a mixture of Parallax climbing into the power battery and Krona possessing people, the only choice that the Earth Lanterns really have is to put on a ring taken from the leaders of the other lantern corps and fight back using those abilities. Here we get to see Blue Lantern Kyle Rayner, Indigo Lantern John Stewart, Yellow Lantern Hal Jordan and Red Lantern Guy Gardner!
If this were to ever get made into a movie, it would be a good way of showing that even when the Lanterns are at each other’s throats for various reasons, at the end of the day, they are all still friends and are all just trying to do the right thing by saving the universe in the best ways that they know how.
9. INFINITE CRISIS
By far the coolest thing about Infinite Crisis would be the idea that when all of the different Earths of DC’s Multiverse are getting shoved together by Alexander Luthor, we would be able to see different iterations of different heroes throughout the movie. It would be the perfect opportunity to do things like mash together footage from the old shows and movies like Wonder Woman, The Flash, Smallville and Christopher Reeve’s Superman with current DCEU movies and television shows like Arrow and Man of Steel.
If Christopher Reeve was still around and able, fans old and new would pay big money to see him don the cape once more and interact with Henry Cavill’s portrayal (but we’ll settle fro Cavill pulling double duty, or even Brandan Routh making a cameo as his proy). While seeing all of these fantastic visuals and crossover would be absolutely epic, it would really best be used in a situation where the movie studio would want to reboot everyone’s character or simply recast the current roster of actors.
8. FINAL CRISIS
The Death of Batman is by far the biggest thing that would bring audiences to see this movie. While Batman is loved the world over for being… well, Batman… there are many people who think that he’s overrated and simply needs to die (and stay dead). Aside from that, though, we do see many other things happening in the original story, such as a world possessed by Darkseid, Wonder Woman practically leading the charge for the bad guys, and the subsequent death of Darkseid himself almost leading to the end of the universe as we know it.
Whatever the case may be, death seems to be a big draw for people. Final Crisis is definitely not without its flaws, but the deaths of the characters mentioned above coupled with the literal world-ending story would be just what some people want to see. No matter what, some men just want to watch the world burn… which apparently includes us!
7. WONDER WOMAN: GODS OF GOTHAM
In Gods of Gotham, we find Batman and Wonder Woman joining forces to take down ancient Greek Gods who have possessed and attached themselves to the bodies of bad guys Scarecrow, Poison Ivy and Joker. In what is probably the ultimate team up between Bat and Wonder families, everyone winds up joining the fray in this story. From Oracle to Artemis, Nightwing to Donna Troy, everyone makes themselves available to fight the Gods. With Ares being in the new Wonder Woman, this story could dive head-first into Greek Mythology.
Teaming up Wonder Woman and Batman is always a good idea. Her more positive outlook toward things tempers his complete and utter lack of trust in humanity to do anything right for themselves. The idea for making this a movie stems from the fact that the story continues on past the Gods of Gotham, meaning it could become its own self-contained franchise.
6. COURT OF OWLS/ NIGHT OF THE OWLS
One thing that the Batman mythos could use is more exposure of lesser known characters in the mainstream of pop culture. While hardcore fans know about characters and plotlines other didn’t even know existed, there are gems that could do with a good polish. The Court of Owls is a New 52 invention of DC to show that Gotham was not, in fact, Batman’s city. While the Court itself has seen some extra exposure recently with its introduction to Gotham, the enforcers of the Court, Talons, have been under-utilized in everything but the comics.
A Night of the Owls movie would bring to light a fairly new set of villains to the Bat-mythos for all fans in the Court, as well as a set of deadly assassins for Batman to bruise his knuckles against in the undead Talons. The other good thing about this storyline? No old villains mean a laser-like focus on the new.
5. BATTLE FOR THE COWL
Battle for the Cowl takes place after Batman’s apparent death at the hands of Darkseid. The reader sees the Bat-Family running around trying to put out fires in Gotham when the bad guys realize that, with no Bat, the city is theirs for the taking. The main point that would make an epic movie and story out of Battle for the Cowl is the fact that we see all of the main Robins. Dick Grayson is trying to abide by the wishes of Bruce by not taking up the cowl (which Bruce thinks is not needed), Tim Drake has taken off and started doing his own thing as Red Robin because Damian Wayne showed up and usurped the Robin mantle from him, and Jason Todd steals a prototype Batsuit to murder people as the new self-proclaimed Batman.
A perfect pick for if DC ever decided to kill of Batman in the DCEU, the movie could delve into the family aspect of Batman and what the world is like without him. This would also be the best way of introducing a new Batman without the use of a lightning bolt-wearing speedster.
4. ARKHAM ASYLUM (GAME)
Arguably the best Batman game ever made, the Arkham game series boasted most of the stellar voice cast we all know and love from Batman: The Animated Series, as well as stunning visuals and a knock-your-pants-off storyline. While, unfortunately, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill would probably not be able to reprise their roles, the array of wonderful Bat-Villains in a confined space wreaking sheer and utter havoc everywhere they went would make for one hell of a ride through the fabled Arkham Asylum for movie-goers in a sort of Batman-meets-The Raid romp.
While most (if not all) video game movies have been pretty big flops, Batman: Arkham Asylum at least has the potential for greatness. The full roster of villains that takes up residence in the Asylum would be a nice change of pace from the current formula of one or two main bad guys we already know trying to over Gotham. Bringing in characters like Zsasz and showing a Titan formula-enhanced mania are great ways of showing that there are many different levels to the butt that Batman can kick.
3. BLACKEST NIGHT
“In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight.” Truer words had never been spoken when a literal army of the undead monsters wielding Black Lantern rings, including a planet, appeared before John Stewart on their way to Earth. Apparently using the skull of Bruce Wayne to create a connection in all of those whose lives he had touched, the demon Nekron, through his avatar Black Hand, sent Black Lantern rings across the universe to raise the dead and bring about the end of everything.
This would be the Green Lantern movie we all deserve. Seeing not only all of the other Lanterns in the spectrum, but also some of our heroes being deputized near the end of the story would be captivating on film. The introduction of characters such as Saint Walker and Atrocitus would help bring the current Lantern universe perfected by Geoff Johns to life in a way we will probably only be able to dream about.
Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee, while in part an examination of Batman’s own life and the people he includes in it, is more about the childhood of Bruce Wayne and his best friend Tommy Elliot. While it has great appearances by the Joker, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, Killer Croc and Harley Quinn, it is a story which doesn’t revolve around them. Each one has a purpose in the story and each one drives Batman to the next step before the final reveal at the end as to who has been tormenting the Bat so much.
Hush, as a character, has been ill-served, even becoming more of a joke in modern books. While he has made a few appearances in the comics as well as making the jump to the Arkham video game series, not much has really been done with the character. This, in point of fact, is what would help make Hush a great movie. Now, it’s not that characters like the Joker, Two-Face and Bane aren’t great characters, it’s simply that they have already been main pieces of two Bat-franchises at this point. It’s time to let someone else in on the limelight and build new menaces in the mainstream.
The story of Flashpoint follows the (bad) decision of The Flash to go back in time, change the timeline, and save his mother from dying. Of course, changing that one moment not only changed his mother’s fate, but everyone else in the worlds as well from the time ripples he created. While a live-action version would be a fantastic sight to behold on its own, what would be truly awesome would be the introduction of so many other characters that haven’t been seen on film yet.
Flashpoint is currently one of the defining moments of the DC Comics universe, and has been mentioned on DCTV. The mistake that Flash made by going back in time to save his mother’s life continues to haunt the DCU with its transdimensional ramifications. While being another story on the list that has already been a DC animated title, this is definitely worthy of a shot on the big screen. The biggest reason by far? Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Flashpoint Batman!
Which DC storylines – no matter how implausible – do you want to see on the big screen? Let us know in the comments!