Ben Affleck’s portrayal as Batman was widely considered one of the few bright spots in Batman v. Superman a year ago, and Batfleck’s role in the upcoming Justice League looks to continue establishing confidence in the latest on-screen Batman in the DC cinematic universe. Despite all of the positive reaction to Affleck’s Batman, there are just as many concerns about the next solo feature film focusing on Gotham’s caped crusader.
Warner Brothers has been in a scramble mode to give The Batman a complete overhaul after having Affleck back out of the director’s chair and having Matt Reeves step in after a bit of a back-and-forth in the negotiations process. Affleck had a script for The Batman drafted (co-written with DC Entertainment president and renowned comic book writer Geoff Johns) as the project got started, but now it has been announced that Reeves will not be working off that script. Instead, he will be writing an entirely new script starting from scratch.
“No, it’s a new story,” Reeves said in an interview with MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast, according to Entertainment Weekly. “It’s just starting again. I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be really cool.”
Batman fans should probably feel comfort in knowing that Reeves is a longtime Batman fan, as that would suggest Reeves will want to treat the character and story as best he can with a true understanding of the character and how he fits into the story of a connected universe while also sticking to his own story.
Reeves has been doing press to promote the release of War for the Planet of the Apes, and The Batman has naturally been a frequent topic among reporters. In one of those interviews, the director mentioned wanting to depict a “noir-driven detective version of Batman.” The detective aspect of Batman is popular in the comic books (and maybe lends itself better to that medium), but we haven’t really seen that in any of the eight previous movies in which Batman has been featured.
There is a good amount of pressure on Warner Brothers and anyone associated with this solo Batman film, especially considering the recent success of Wonder Woman and the initial rave reviews for the newest version of Spider-Man in his new solo venture in a connected universe. The DC film efforts were given a good boost from this year’s release of Wonder Woman after critics ripped apart Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad. Justice League is coming out later this year with the hope of riding the momentum from Wonder Woman.
In the meantime, The Batman is still in the early stages of production with no target release date set in stone. But if and when this film does get put together, its release will be used as a litmus test to gauge how well the DC cinematic universe is playing out.
Batman on the big screen is hitting above .500, and Affleck has proven he can pull off the role. And Warner Bros. knows the importance of a good Batman movie, so it is not likely they will let this project slip on any cracks without fixing them. While the headlines look like reasons to worry about the next solo adventure for the Dark Knight, it is still best to have these issues arise before filming. It could be a lot worse.
A lot worse.