Why Black Mask Should Return To The DC Cinematic Universe

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Why Black Mask Should Return To The DC Cinematic Universe

Why Black Mask Should Return To The DC Cinematic Universe

One of the most underrated Batman villains ever is Roman Sionis, better known as Black Mask. If you’re not a comic nerd, but like watching comic book movies, you probably saw him in last year’s Birds of Prey movie. You know, right before COVID hit and you could openly go into theaters and enjoy movies on the big-screen. Man, those were good times, but it seems now those times are slowly returning to us. It’s about time, if you ask me, because I was a huge movie-goer and I’m excited to go back to the theaters. Okay, now Birds of Prey wasn’t exactly Joker or Avengers: Endgame, but I thought it was a fun movie. Of course, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn carried the movie for the most part, but there was another performance that really stood out to me.

Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis was certainly a highlight of the movie and once he actually put on the Black Mask, he truly became the psychotic crime lord I remembered from the comics. On one hand, it was rather unusual to see my guy Ewan McGregor as a villain, considering he typically plays the hero. By the way, who isn’t super stoked for the Obi-Wan series on Disney+? I really can’t wait for that, since that will always be Ewan McGregor’s signature performance, but I must say, I was very impressed with his performance as Black Mask.

He came out strong, establishing himself as a flamboyant, narcissistic nightclub owner who gave Harley Quinn open access due to his respect for the Joker. But of course, that was the only reason he was nice to Harley Quinn. Once the word got out that she and the Joker broke up, he was one of the very many psychos who were out for her head. Kind of understandable, considering Harley ticked off many people, but Roman didn’t seem to have a specific reason for wanting to kill her. According to Harley, he had many reasons, but the movie seemed to boil it down to Roman just being a sexist douche.

That was the big criticism for his character in the movie, as he didn’t really have understandable motivations. That’s what made villains like Thanos and Erik Killmonger such great villains. Roman Sionis, or Black Mask, is on a different level, however. He may not be a Thanos, but to be honest, he doesn’t need to be. And before I get into why, I seriously think he needs to make his return to the DC Cinematic Universe.

And before you say it, yes, I am aware that he is dead. Not just dead, but blown to pieces by a grenade, thanks to young Cassandra Cain. Pretty hard to come back from that, but we can’t forget what kind of universe this is all set in. The DCEU is based on DC Comics, and if you’re a fan of any kind of comics, you’ll know that when characters die, they don’t usually stay dead. How many times has Superman and Batman “died” in the comics? Granted, they’re too important to stay dead, but even the supporting characters cheat death once in a while.

That reminds me, Black Mask is the only Batman villain other than Joker who managed to kill a Robin. What makes Black Mask such a sadistic villain is his sick fascination for torturing his victims. When he managed to capture Stephanie Brown, or Spoiler, he nearly tortured her to death, but she managed to escape. For years, Batman thought she was dead until she returned as a more brutal vigilante. Sounds a lot like Jason Todd, doesn’t it? The point is, any villain who can hurt Batman so close to home deserves a shout out. Unfortunately, Ewan McGregor’s Black Mask seemingly didn’t have any connection to Batman, but he still reminded me much of the comic version.

For instance, the DCEU Black Mask also had a sadistic fascination for torture. And living up to his comic book counterpart, he had an even bigger fascination for masks. Even his gang, known as the False Face Society, served him as his mask-wearing henchmen. That was always a big part of the character’s history, but really intrigued me most about the character was his origins.

In my opinion, that was a missed opportunity for his appearance in Birds of Prey. His backstory was briefly mentioned, but didn’t go beyond that. The origins of Black Mask is one of tragedy and disturbing descent into madness. In a way, Roman Sionis is also a dark reflection of Bruce Wayne. Like Bruce, Roman was born to wealthy parents, but unlike Bruce, the Sionis parents were deeply cruel people who neglected their son. They were the ones who sparked his obsession with masks, forcing him to always wear one in public. Even as a kid, they forced him to be friends with Bruce Wayne so they can build connections with the Waynes. Of course, that didn’t last, but Roman was instantly disdainful towards Bruce.

As Roman grew into adulthood, the final straw came when his parents forbad him from marrying his girlfriend, Circe. Roman refused to accept this and his parents then died in a “mysterious” fire. Roman then inherited his fathers place as head of his company, Janus Cosmetics. However, he failed as a businessman and his descent into madness would sink even further when Circe broke up with him. This would push him over the edge and entice him to become a criminal. And where did he get the Black Mask? He visited his father’s grave and carved out a piece of his coffin. Once he ran into Batman, he caused another fire and the Black Mask literally burnt into his skin.

That is when the true Black Mask was born, and he became one of Batman’s most brutal villains. Oh, and he never got over Circe either. He forced her to wear a mask laced with a deadly chemical, permanently disfiguring her. Just think of how Jack Nicholson’s Joker did the same to Carl Grissom’s girlfriend. He truly is a sick one. Ewan McGregor’s version was very much like that, but I believe there is so much more that can be done with him. And frankly, his death was very anti-climactic. Sure, I know he’s dead, but dead characters can always come back. They do it all the time in the MCU, don’t they?

If you want to read some good Black Mask comics, check out Under the Red Hood. He’s one of the main antagonists and he’s actually quite funny. He has a facetious attitude, cracks jokes, and when he’s pushed, he goes berserk. The man is a flamboyant and ill-tempered crime lord, just like the DCEU version. After Flashpoint, I think there’s a possibility he can come back. Not to mention it’s one of the best performances the DCEU has. What do you think, DC fans?

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