Who knew on Monday morning that this would be the week that Warner would decide to remind us that ‘The Batman’ is still a thing that exists? And yet, here we are. In addition to a release date (finally!) today marked the point at which it finally became official that Ben Affleck – who was originally attached to write, direct, and star in the film – would, in fact, be doing none of those things. But that’s not all we learned.
In an interview with writer/director Matt Reeves, the Hollywood Reporter eventually brought the subject around to ‘The Batman’. Though this interview would have taken place well before the announcements referenced above, it nonetheless gives an insight into how Reeves is approaching the film. Specifically, he spoke of what he hopes to accomplish with the character and how he plans to set his film apart from the Dark Knight’s many prior cinematic outings:
“It’s very much a point of view driven, noir Batman tale. It’s told very squarely on his shoulders, and I hope it’s going to be a story that will be thrilling but also emotional. It’s more Batman in his detective mode than we’ve seen in films. The comics have a history of that. He’s supposed to be the world’s greatest detective, and that’s not necessarily been a part of what the movies have been. I’d love this to be one where when we go on that journey of tracking down the criminals and trying to solve a crime, it’s going to allow his character to have an arc so that he can go through a transformation.”
That’s certainly encouraging since, as Reeves himself points out, the “detective” part of “the world’s greatest detective” is largely virgin territory where the ‘Batman’ films are concerned. This was especially disappointing in the case of ‘Batman Begins’, given that Ra’s al Ghul’s comic book counterpart traditionally addresses Batman as “Detective.” Of course, it should be pointed out that other filmmakers have made similar promises and not delivered on them, instead turning in action/adventure movies, crime thrillers, and the occasional neon nightmare. Regardless, if Reeves does have a Batman movie up his sleeve that embraces that side of the character, it will be a relief indeed for something new and different to come of this, especially considering the years of drama that have so far defined the film.
And boy, has there been drama. More than anything, ‘The Batman’ has been defined by its long and often troubled road to the screen. Though Affleck was attached as early as 2014, his enthusiasm for the project (and, indeed, for the role more generally) began to wane visibly after ‘Batman v Superman’ debuted to a critical shellacking in early 2016. Within a year, Affleck had stepped away from both the director’s chair and the writing chores, both of which have since fallen to Reeves. By summer 2017, Affleck was rumored to be leaving Batman altogether, and his future in the role remains nebulous at best (though it’s probably a safe bet that he will not be back, especially if ‘The Batman’ is a success). Who might replace him? Well, rumors surfaced in December 2017 that Reeves had his eye on Jake Gyllenhaal, but nothing ever came of that, as Affleck was (officially) still on board until just now.
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for the latest news on ‘The Batman’ and other upcoming DC films as it becomes available!