Director Matt Reeves's upcoming film The Batman seems set to be a change of pace for the Caped Crusader's cinematic adventures. Shifting gears after the controversial Ben Affleck version of Batman, the film, which stars Robert Pattinson, would seem to be a prequel/reboot in almost everything but name. Given how much of a fresh direction that this film seems to want to go in, why not do the same for the villain (or villains) that Batman will face?
The Court of Owls are some of Batman's newest and deadliest foes, and their presence would instantly alleviate any concerns of reusing old villains who've already appeared in multiple movies. Now, we're taking a closer look at what the court of Owls is and why they seem like a perfect fit for The Batman.
Who Are the Court of Owls?
The Court of Owls first appeared in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's acclaimed Batman #2, just after the the New 52 relaunch got going. As a secret society of Gotham's most elite families, they covertly rule the city through politics, money and murder. The chief weapon in their arsenal are their trained warriors known as Talons, many of whom were children kidnapped from the circus. Before he fell under Batman's care, Dick Grayson, the first Robin, was considered a potential Talon.
Having gone unnoticed for years, they are eventually uncovered by Batman after they strike against his civilian identity of Bruce Wayne in an attempt to stop his revitalization of the derelict Gotham City. Their shadowy tactics and homicidal control make them similar to another group known to vex Batman, Ra's Al Ghul's League of Assassins.
The detective work utilized by Batman, not to mention the psychological strength, showcased perfectly in the initial "Court of Owls" story arc show why he's the world's greatest detective. This theme would fit in perfectly with what Matt Reeves reportedly wants to do with The Batman. The film seems to be headed in a more grounded, noir style setting, one which would naturally rely more on Batman's detective skills. This more sleuth-like take on the character has never really been used too much in film.
Even Christopher Nolan's beloved Dark Knight Trilogy was criticized for its relative lack of detective work, despite featuring a grounded tone where they would fit best. The simple presence of the Court of Owls would force the next version of Batman to showcase this side of the character, guaranteeing something new from previous films.
Batman has possibly the most beloved rogues' gallery in comic books, which has led to many of these classic villains being overused in live-action. The foursome of the Joker, the Riddler, the Penguin, and Catwoman were made iconic in the Adam West Batman TV series, and have consistently appeared alongside Batman since then. Other villains like Bane, Two-Face, Ra's al-Ghul and Harley Quinn have also already left their mark on the big screen.
While all of these villains are iconic, Batman's cinematic reboots have already given many of them multiple chances to appear in a live-action film, and the relatively unknown Court of Owls could bring something fresh to Batman's cinematic escapades. It could also set a precedent for future Batman films to use lesser-known villains, which could give fans the chance to see villains like Firefly, Hugo Strange, and Owlman brought to the big screen.
Assuming that The Batman is still part of the DC Extended Universe, the Court of Owls could even link this film to Birds of Prey. A prominent member of the New 52 incarnation of the Birds of Prey was Strix. Strix, or Mary Walker, was a Talon from the 1940s that was cryogenically frozen like the others. Revived in modern Gotham, she would eventually turn on the Court of Owls, having befriended both Batgirl and Catwoman.
Since Batgirl may star in her own film and Catwoman may have a role in The Batman. Introducing the Court of Owls now would not only provide an interesting set of foes for Batman, but it could also set up a dangerous and exciting future movies for the cinematix denizens of Gotham City.