“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” ― Alfred Hitchcock
Jim Gordon is new in Gotham, having transferred from Chicago. He finds a corrupt police force. He finds a corrupt city government. Simply doing the job he was hired to do seems like a game he can’t win.
Shortly after his arrival, reports of a vigilante start coming in. Gordon investigates. He talks to people saved by this vigilante. They describe him in fanciful, exaggerated ways. The news programs interview people on the street. Many believe he’s nothing but an urban legend. The papers start calling him “The Bat-man.”
It’s completely from Gordon’s point of view.
Think of it as James Gordon: Year One.
He continues to get closer to the corruption—despite obstacles placed in his way by disreputable officers and politicians. Gordon comes across tied-up criminals. He hears grunting. He sees crooks thrown out of the darkness of an alley.
Halfway through the movie, Gordon still has not seen this Bat-man. Think of the tension. What does his costume looks like? How will he interact with Gordon? It would go against the grain of every Batman—every super hero movie—ever made.
This movie is about Jim Gordon. A good actor could pull this off. The show Gotham is about Gordon as much as it is about young Bruce Wayne. Recently, in the comics, for a while, Gordon was Batman.
In our premise, Bruce Wayne shows up at charity events that Gordon attends. Does Gordon pay extra attention to him? No, of course not—why would he? Do we get any clues that he is the Batman? Does he slip up? Do we get a wink in our direction because we, unlike Gordon, know who this is?
Of course we don’t! He’s the Batman and he’s on message. He’s the most disciplined human on earth. He’s intense and consistent at maintaining his poise. He is a master of disguise. He gives no clues. He is in control. The Batman playing Bruce Wayne would be on point. The actor playing Batman playing Bruce Wayne would have to be on point. He would give exactly zero clues. None!
There would be no origin story taking up the first hour of the movie. No Zorro. No mugger. No guns. No pearl necklaces. No vows of vengeance. No “criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot.” No Batcaves. No Batarangs. No Boy Wonders.
What if he didn’t speak? What if the actor playing Batman had no lines? How cool would that be?
Better yet, what if we never even get to see the Bat-man? Maybe in this movie, he is only an urban legend. This would drive audiences so crazy it’d be absolutely delicious.
But then we’d have a movie with zero action-figure sales potential. No toys. No Halloween costumes. No graphic novel tie-ins. No caped crusader to base a movie poster montage around. DC, alas, is not making this movie.