AN: found a fan theory about how the Schumacher films exist in-universe in the Burton films, and this just kinda wrote itself. As always, criticism welcome!

Initially, Bruce had welcomed the adaptation of Batman for the silver screen. A glimpse into the vigilante's psyche (however inaccurate) would give hope to the people of Gotham City, renew faith that Batman was indeed necessary (hopefully quelling the growing demand to send the national guard to deal with Gotham), and perhaps even increase tourism revenue from thrill-seekers. In an ideal world, Wayne Enterprises would have sued for a cut of the profits (custom bat-shaped jets are not cheap), but it was a small price to pay for continued anonymity.

Then he saw the movie, and understood the protest groups.

The eccentric, but genuinely dangerous rogues he dealt with were replaced by a hammy caricature with a stupid outfit and an inexplicably-evil (and inexplicably-Caucasian) Harvey Dent, and their misguided, needlessly complicated plans. Gotham was a neon-filled cluster of skyscrapers. Gone was any true moral dilemma in his work; his on-screen self merely beat up cartoonish drug dealers and ultimately-harmless rogues without a second thought.

The studio pointed out to those who called the film cheap, shameless exploitation that Gotham needed hope, and brightening Gotham and filling it with humorous villains provided harmless, escapist entertainment. Bruce understood this attitude, but the attempts to make money off of tragedy still disgusted him.

So of course they made a sequel. A sequel featuring pun-spouting villains with needlessly grandiose and unscientific schemes, useless kid sidekicks (as if he would put children in danger like that), orgies of gadgets that made for good merchandising and terrible crimefighting, and … costumes. Interesting costumes.

Batman became a laughingstock. Even some two-bit mugger would mention ice-skating or bat-credit cards when he appeared. At some points Bruce nearly gave up. All the gadgets and training would never overshadow the fact that his primary weapon was terror, and a few well-meaning films had permanently robbed him of any genuine intimidation.

It took Bruce a decade to restore his reputation. A decade of ever more swift and brutal reactions to crime. A decade of finding and training a replacement, because getting shot at every night got old fast. If there was any benefit to the films, at least one career criminal likely decided to bother Metropolis rather than risk getting adapted into a sequel. Lucky for them.

Fortunately, the public's demand for more of those godawful films seemed to have waned. Until he was tracked down in a dark alley by a gentleman who appeared extremely set on producing more movies based on his exploits.

"No puns," Bruce said flatly. The man nodded enthusiastically.

"No puns. Any other requests?"

"Genuinely dangerous villains that can be taken seriously. Realism in gadgets and costumes. No puns."

"Of course, sir," the man said. "And, while I'm here, would you sign this? My kids love you."

"You want me to sign an autograph for you."

"Yes. Autographs or puns about ice, your choice."

He signed the man's clipboard and watched him walk away, apparently oblivious to the danger involved in tracking down a vigilante. In the most notoriously crime-ridden city in the United States. At night. Obviously, trying not to make more work for Batman was not on this nutcase's list of priorities.

The trailer for the new film was not as terrible as he had expected. It featured the error-ridden origin story of a version of himself who apparently subsisted solely on nails and ground glass battling some pretty boy who had weaponized a "fear toxin".

It couldn't be any worse than ice skates and bat credit cards.