THE LEAGUE OF SHADOWS Is The Batman Spinoff We Needed AND Deserved

Director Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of the Batman mythos is one of the best we’ve ever seen on screen. The material was handled with respect and care, and we were given a real-world Batman. Although the first installment in the “Bruce Wayne” trilogy, Batman Begins, did verge on the “theatrical” side of a superhero adventure, with a fictional flower that can give who ever inhaled it hallucinations of their worst fears, and a weapon that could vaporize water and spread the chemicals from said flower across Gotham, spreading fear and chaos.


In the sequel, things became more grounded, and we were given a maniac in the Joker, portrayed brilliantly by the late Heath Ledger, who’s take on the role shall go down as one of the best villains in superhero history. The Joker was able to stay ahead of Batman and his comrades at every turn, exacting his “non-plan” to turn Gotham’s “White Knight” Harvey Dent into an agent of chaos. He failed to corrupt the Dark Knight, who overcame the Joker, but had to sacrifice his name to keep peace and stability throughout Gotham. Eight fictional years later, a new threat in the form of Bane attacked Gotham, physically “broke” Batman, and almost destroyed the cleaned-up city with a nuclear attack. However, Batman was able to defeat these enemies and save his city, only he sacrificed himself to do it. As an entire trilogy, the Nolanverse Batman movies are awesome, and a great story to see unfold together. Separately, The Dark Knight is, by far, the prominent of the three movies. However, as a trilogy, there is still some plot holes that need to be addressed that would have been best answered with a standalone movie called The League of Shadows.


In The Dark Knight Rises, Batman learns that Ra’s al Ghul worked as a mercenary who fell in love with a warlord’s daughter, who punished the two of them by imprisoning her in the “pit.” A movie about the League of Shadows would be able to explain better the story of Henry Duckard (Liam Neeson) and how he embraced the teachings of the “immortal” Ra’s al Ghul, and how he used them to defeat the Overlord and stand for justice as the new leader of the League of Shadows, gaining the title of “Ra’s al Ghul” from his mentor.


We also learned that Ra’s al Ghul (as Henri Ducard) excommunicated Bane from the League of Shadows, which also forced Ducard’s daughter to leave because she loved Bane for protecting her as she escaped the pit. This could be an emotional series of scenes as Talia, who hated her father for cutting Bane loose, discovered her father had been killed by Batman. While she was angry at her father, she still loved him and believed in his vision of cleansing the world of corruption, the very duty the League of Shadows have been doing for centuries (as revealed by Ducard in Batman Begins). Talia and Bane decided to return to the League of Shadows, seize leadership and continue her fathers work.


Of course, Talia and Bane would have to prove they have what it takes to lead the League of Shadows, and after doing so in a series of awesome action sequences, Talia adopts the surname of “al Ghul” instead of the entire title of “Ra’s al Ghu,” to honor her father. Once in charge of the League of Shadows, Talia and Bane come up with a plan to attack Gotham and destroy Batman. However, the plot is not what you think.


I always wondered where the Joker came from in The Dark Knight. His existence was teased at the end of Batman Begins, and in The Dark Knight, he proved to be Batman’s most dangerous villain, killing the woman Batman really cared about. But why? Before Heath Ledger’s untimely death, Nolan had plans for his “Bruce Wayne” trilogy to come to an end with the Joker once again becoming the main antagonist of the third installment. It was revealed later that the Joker would have been pulling strings while on trial for the crimes he committed during The Dark Knight. As a sign of respect to Ledger, Nolan decided to go a different route. So with that in mind, there was a plan for Bruce Wayne’s story to end with the Joker (it was also revealed that the end of The Dark Knight Rises remained relatively unchanged from their original idea).

With a League of Shadows movie, we can actually see how the Joker became so crazy. After leaving his calling card at the end of Batman Begins, Talia and Bane decided to kidnap the criminal (possibly a released inmate of Arkham Asylum) and bring him back to their hideout, where they torture and mutulate him, breaking the would-be “Clown Prince of Crime” until he became the warped agent of chaos he was in The Dark Knight. A nice little nod to the Joker’s many origins from the comics could be a scene where Bane and Talia cover the Joker’s head with a sack as he’s tied up to a chair. As the camera moves in closer to the Joker, who begins to laugh maniacally, the audience can see the sack is soaked with the Joker’s blood, imitating the “red hood” he wears in the comics.


I know many fans like the idea of The Joker’s origins remaining a mystery, which it still very much is with this kind of story.However, I believed it was too soon for us to step away from the Nolanverse Batman, especially after we are forced to embrace Affleck as the new Dark Knight. When I found out Nolan would produce Man of Steel, I figured we’d see his Batman crossover with Superman, but that idea was shot down quickly by Nolan himself, who claimed his movies were too realistic to have his Batman exist with the new Superman. Which sucks, because so many more stories were possible, especially since it was hinted that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would take up the mantle of Batman, or possibly Azrael or even Red Hood, whose stress as a hero pushed him to become increasingly violent, forcing the original Batman out of hiding to put him in his place. This was just one fan’s dream. I’m hoping Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be as good a movie as it can be, but only time will tell. Until then, I’ll sit here thinking about what could’ve been.