By George Bate
The Batman blasted into theaters earlier this month and has been with universal acclaim from fans and critics alike. This reception has translated to the box office, where the newest DC film has earned over $680 million worldwide. With such success, it’s inevitable that discussions regarding sequels would kick into gear sooner rather than later. A trilogy of Batman films, in addition to several HBO Max spin off series, are reportedly in the works, which inevitably brings about debates of who the next villain will be.
Many fans are clamoring for the inclusion of Mr. Freeze in Matt Reeves’ hyper-realistic Batman universe. Mr. Freeze is one of the more eccentric DC films and, therefore, one of the more difficult ones to adapt into Reeves’ world, making the character’s challenging inclusion all the more enticing.
Mr. Freeze’s most prominent appearance in live-action was in 1997’s derided Batman & Robin. Arnold Schwarzenegger assumed the role in Joel Schumacher’s wild and eccentric sequel to Batman Forever. Schwarzenegger took the ridiculousness of the film’s script and ran with it, delivering hilarious line after hilarious line in truly dumbfounding fashion.
Despite the comedy (both intentional and unintentional) from Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze, the character has a tragic backstory in the comics. Mr. Freeze was previously known as Dr. Victor Fries, whose origin story is one of obsession and loss. Dr. Fries is a world renowned cryogenic researcher, whose life is shattered when his wife is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Desperate to save her life, Dr. Fries’ attempts go awry when his company shuts down and an accident leaves him transported into a ice-covered monster. To survive, Dr. Fries’ constructs a suit that can maintain his body temperature. With his wife in cryogenic hibernation, Dr. Fries assumes the title Mr. Freeze and does whatever he can to bring back his beloved.
While the origin story of Mr. Freeze is a little out there, it nonetheless could prove to be an interesting challenge for Matt Reeves in a sequel to The Batman. Fans were recently given an extended look at Barry Keoghan’s Joker, who many believe will assume the primary antagonist role in the sequel. But it may also be interesting to see a villain like Mr. Freeze given a more faithful and less comical adaptation on the big screen.