#2. Independence Day
In Independence Day, an army of evil but technologically superior aliens travel to Earth bent on world domination. They spend the first two-thirds of the movie wreaking absolute havoc on our planet until they are defeated by the ragtag team of Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Magilla Gorilla and one of the "Bill" actors whose last name starts with a P, whichever one wasn't in Aliens.
Left to right: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, An Actual Trained Ape, Bill ... Patton?
By giving the aliens a sophisticated computer virus, and subsequently shooting them with much less-sophisticated bullets, the humans bring down the alien space bases all over the world.
"It truly was an independence day," one of the characters probably never remarked at one point.
The Imaginary Sequel:
Independence Day 2 should have taken place immediately after the events of Independence Day, and it should have been a cross between Independence Day and The Patriot.
A few years ago, Jacopo della Quercia wisely pointed out that, just because the alien ships crashed to earth doesn't mean all of the aliens contained therein are dead. In fact, there's plenty of evidence in the movie to suggest that the aliens are perfectly capable of withstanding these kinds of crash landings.
So, what happens when ships that are 15 miles wide crash land in major cities all over the world and thousands and thousands of tentacle-waving, armor-wearing, telepathic and pissed off aliens spill out into town? Man versus alien in hand-to-hand combat is what happens.
It's just like in the Revolutionary War film, The Patriot. The invading aliens, with their technological superiority and telepathic mutant powers are just like the British, and the humans, with their heart, determination and home-field advantage, are just like the Mel Gibson-fronted militia.
British people can control minds, right? That wasn't just a nightmare I had, right?
Independence Day 2 (or Windependence Day, or Indeependence Day, if I decide to set the sequel mostly under water), would be two hours of furious aliens, desperate for a victory now that they've lost their trips home, versus a bunch of strong-willed, strong-smithed humans in a man-on-alien battle for world dominance. I can't be the only person in America who wants to watch Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith hiding in the jungle, setting traps for the invading aliens, like the wacky and deadly game of cat-and-mouse that Home Aloneshould have been. I just can't be.
#1. The Dark Knight
This is where I'd summarize the plot of The Dark Knight for anyone who hasn't seen it, but if you're reading Cracked, there's no reason for us to bullshit each other: You've seen The Dark Knight, and if you haven't, you're not the kind of person I'm writing for, nor will you ever be.
It's just as well. My plot summary would have just been a bunch of pictures of awesome explosions mixed with the phonetic representation of the odd humming sound my erection makes whenever it knows someone is watching Dark Knight within a five-mile radius. I went to a doctor with this condition and he described it as "not harmful" or "scientifically possible," but "ultimately really badass, from a strictly non-medical perspective." (Because of its sonic nature, we're calling it an "earection" for now.)
"I'd prescribe some pills to make this sensation stop, but I get the feeling you don't want it to."
The Imaginary Sequel:
Just to be clear, I know The Dark Knight has a sequel in The Dark Knight Rises, and I know that it will absolutely be better than whatever I come up with. But I also know that mine will be totally different, and that I sure would like to see it.
In Nolan's Batman trilogy, so far we've seen Bruce Wayne become Batman, and we've seen him question and then ultimately embrace this decision. Since he can't be Batman forever, the logical third step in the franchise is the end of Batman, which, as my coworker Cody suggests, means Bruce Wayne has to die. I don't think Wayne needs to die, but I do believe that he has to stop being Batman. We've already seen him struggle and support his decision to become the Dark Knight; to see him support that choice again in a third Batman movie would just be redundant, and a surprising misstep in a franchise that's clearly been building to something.
Here's where I'm going to lose some readers: the boldest and most interesting thing that Christopher Nolan can do is prove that Bruce Wayne becoming Batman was the wrong choice. Because really, it is. Objectively. Batman helps clean up the street, but his vigilante-copycat-inspiring antics are ultimately dangerous for Gotham (a point raised in The Dark Knight), and his ridiculous, over-the-top style will only encourage more ridiculous and over-the-top villains (a point raised in After Hours). For Nolan's trilogy to reach its logical conclusion, Batman needs to, as Harvey Dent put it, "Live long enough to see [himself] become a villain."
He needs to become an ultimate villain, too, not just a power-hungry jerk that operates in a moral grey area. Rachel Dawes, the love of Wayne's life, died as a result of his reckless shenanibatmanigans, and that didn't stop Wayne from fighting the good bat-fight, so it's going to take quite a lot to get him to retire. Bruce Wayne needs to see himself as a monster, a monster that's so horrible he would have to hang up his mask and quit Batmanning forever. Since this is Bruce Wayne we're talking about, the most monstrous thing he could see himself doing would be to kill his own parents. Which, obviously, he can't do.
Or can he?
Alfred cares more about Batman than anyone in the world (excluding me, obviously). He took care of Bruce as a boy. He raised Bruce. He covers for Bruce whenever he decides to go Batmanning all over town, he stitches Wayne up when said Batmanning doesn't go as well as Batplanned. He lies, helps defraud Wayne Enterprises and breaks several laws, all for Bruce Wayne. He's like a father to Bruce. And if you think that Alfred wouldn't kill to protect Bruce's secret identity, then you're vastly underestimating the strength of a father-son bond.
That's the Batman movie I'd make. The film opens on a series of murders, and all of the victims are people who, through research and analysis, are clearly on the verge of discovering Batman's identity. The police are hunting Batman, because clues support the idea that Batman would be the one to murder to protect his own identity, and Batman meanwhile is doing his best detective work to find the real killer, to clear his name and to, you know, stop all of that killing. But he can't catch the real killer, who always seems to be one step ahead of Batman. It's almost like the killer knows everything before Batman knows it; he's a better detective and knows exactly how to fly under Batman's radar. Only someone with intimate knowledge of Batman could be that good at avoiding capture. And obviously they'd probably have some kind of police or military background.
Alfred. Because Alfred, decades ago, swore to Thomas Wayne that he would protect Bruce with his life, it's clear that he would do anything to preserve Wayne's secret identity, even if it meant killing a bunch of people who could potentially reveal everything. It wouldn't be an easy choice, but Alfred knew that being Batman's associate was never going to be easy. It means being the Alfred that Batman needs, not the Alfred that Batman deserves.
Batman, being Batman, would eventually catch and be forced to stop Alfred, by any means necessary (death or jail, which would also basically be death). Essentially, Batman would be killing his own father figure, thereby watching his father die twice. It would be heartbreaking and horrible and difficult, but it would also be the only thing that could teach Bruce that being Batman does come with a cost, a cost that even he can't withstand. Nolan's Batman universe is a realistic one, and in reality, no one should be Batman, because it's wrong. Legally, morally and ethically.
The first two Batman movies set this up so perfectly, I would almost be depressed if Nolan didn't end up making this movie. I say "almost" because, again, Nolan will make a different movie and it'll be way, WAY better. Certainly less depressing, anyway.
Daniel O'Brien is Cracked.com's senior writer (ladies) and is prepared to write any of these movies (movie people).