The Batman is in Good Hands
It’s 2017 and a new Batman solo film is going into production, finally giving Batfleck and the DC crew a chance to prove their true mettle and capitalize on the post Wonder Woman box office and critical strengths. Ben Affleck’s portrayal of the dark knight was widely heralded as one of the strongest parts of the highly debated BvS and a feeling of trepidation is in the air; will Matt Reeves and Ben Affleck effectively flesh out a character so important to the fledgling DCEU? With so many turbulent script and director issues already in tow, so much is riding on this film’s shaky ground to solidify DC’s place as a true contender against Marvel’s juggernaut money printing machine. Given the hindsight of mistakes earned and the success capital of letting a director realize a vision (other than Zack Snyder), from the small bits we’ve heard so far Reeves and Batfleck are slated to finally get the puzzle pieces to fit and release DC’s first movie deserving of one of its flagship characters. (Sorry, but the misplaced Wonder Woman accolades are the topic of another article to come).
Batman is a character who can be interpreted to fit a medium almost however one sees fit. A malleable protagonist with a broad enough arc able to inhabit hundreds of adaptations and thrive within them. On screen the campy side has been done, the fun, over-the-top, beyond belief version has been done and obviously the darkest of the dark has been done. But following the release of Justice League this November, War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves will be taking the helm with hopes to dive inward to the character and extrapolate those inner monologue thought bubbles on the page. Batman at his core is a detective; his “Superpower” being his discipline, intelligence and pure drive for improvement and contingency (oh, that and ‘money’ apparently. Snyder, tone deaf as hell once again). If Reeves can successfully execute what he’s claiming we may just have a masterfully different Batman movie on our hands;
Yes! Nail on the head! As both an avid fan and reader of all 342 current Batman titles being released I can breathe a sigh of relief upon reading this statement. It’s not much, but it’s a start off in the extremely correct direction both due to the fact that we’ve yet to see Batman portrayed at a truly emotionally resonant level and that the detective-noir goodies are so much of what we love in the books that is missing on the screen. The mood has been set.
BvS dropped us off in an excellently promising version of Gotham and looking over Reeve’s resume assures me he has the GPS set straight to the Batcave. Both Dawn and War For The Planet of the Apes are intense, driven films that rely heavily on CGI, action sequences punctuating act breaks and balance the dynamic of intimate emotional character gravitas with large-scale world building. His Americanized version of Let the Right One In isn’t as strong but it shows he knows how to paint with that color brush; dark, bleak and flirting with horror. Check, check, and double check.
Reeves has been quoted that he approaches camerawork as a way to “empathize with the character’s point of view” and that he wants to tell detective story with Affleck. Batman can punch people and solve crimes, yes he’s wonderful at those things, but zeroing in on a new aspect not yet touched on in his movies to help us understand, identify and appreciate the vigilante is exactly what we’re going to need after the popcorn-butter fueled punch fest that will be Justice League (I love popcorn AND punching, I’ll be first in line).
It also feels amiss to not mention the direct parallels between the protagonist Reeve’s has been working with the caped crusader. Apes’ ‘Caesar’ is a perfect character study to prepare a director about to take on Batman. Take it from the man himself;
The stars seem to be aligning, the bat signal is warming up and we could possibly be in the realm of another Nolan level picture. Reeves has harped again and again against the devils of “movie by committee” (Cough, Suicide Squad, cough) and the scope of these films being deserved of a serious and novel mind.
With new blood being injected into the DCEU (oh, and Joss Whedon down the hall working on Batgirl) I have high hopes for this dynamic duo. Batfleck looks to have chilled out working his traps and is looking more like Batman and less like “Bearman” In the Justice League trailers. Initially announcing he was writing, directing and starring, he’s taken a step back from being what amounts to the Neo of the DCEU and has brought on a director who he can share the workload. By listening to the fans, approaching this as a serious film and more cardio (less traps, I mean the dude had NO neck) we potentially have a fresh, dark and smart Batman movie coming to a theater near us from Reeves and Batfleck. Keep it locked on NCU for more bat-updates. Until next time, same bat-time, same bat-channel….