The Caped Crusader is in for an original but faithful adventure with his next solo movie.
In an effort to focus more on individual movies, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are rolling out The Batman, a passion project from Matt Reeves. The Cloverfield and Let Me In director wants everyone to know that this will be nothing like any of the other Batman-centric movies out there, emphasizing that it will be a “new and cool” take on the caped crusader.
Naturally, fans of the brooding hero have been hypothesizing about which comic book storyline The Batman will follow. Reeves addressed this during a recent Television Critics Association panel, particularly the rumors that his film would be patterned after the “Year One” arc. Although Reeves is a self-described huge fan of Batman and of the comics, he is clearly setting out to carve his own path in the Batman mythos.
While “Year One” focuses on the hero’s very first year fighting crime and features an origin story, Reeves very emphatically wants fans to know that his movie will not be re-doing Batman’s origin in any way. In fact, he does not plan on following any particular comic.
As a longtime fan of both Batman comics and films, I feel a mix of apprehension and excitement about The Batman being something new and not comics-based at all. The fear comes from a worry that by setting out to create a new Batman tale, the director may get too far away from the character.
The base characteristics of Bruce Wayne’s Batman come from the comics, and by keeping away from any specific storyline there runs the risk of an out-of-character Batman. Creating something that’s different from any other Batman film at the expense of Batman’s identity would be a very bittersweet disaster.
Each film adaptation of the character has borrowed from a comic book arc in some way or another. With Reeves taking Batman and dropping them into his own noir-tinged world, there is always the potential for something truly revolutionary to emerge out of the project. According to /Film, Reeves had this to say on The Batman‘s plot:
“Obviously we’re not doing an origin tale or anything like that. We’re doing a story that is definitively Batman, though, and trying to tell a story that’s emotional and yet is really about him being the world’s greatest detective and all the things that for me, since I was a kid, made me love Batman.”
Reeves goes on to say that The Batman will be a very “noir-driven definitive Batman story”, which for anyone familiar with Batman’s comic book beginnings gives “Detective Comics” vibes. The director emphasizing the character’s original claim to fame as the world’s greatest detective lessens fears about the film not being based in any comic book storyline. Reeves has made it clear that he understands Batman and the place he originally occupied in the comics.
Modern-day adaptations get the gadgets and intrigue of the character right, but as a longtime fan, I often find myself looking for that inspired blaze of the detective at heart. For example, although Christopher Nolan’s trilogy is a masterpiece, one balks a little at Batman’s investigational skills in The Dark Knight Rises consisting of yelling “Where’s the trigger?” while hitting the person he needs information from in the head repeatedly.
Reeves seems to understand this aspect of Batman and apparently wants to lean heavily on the detective aspects of his persona. Again, as he maintains The Batman is not based on any one comic, it is unlikely the film will be exactly like “Detective Comics.” However, his reveal about it being noir-driven does immediately bring to mind the more simple, classic style of the “Detective Comics” covers.
As for who is playing the titular hero this time around, Reeves sort of addressed rumors of Ben Affleck’s return. He said in terms of casting:
“There are ways in which all of this connects to DC, to the DC Universe as well…We’re one piece of many pieces so I don’t want to comment on that except to say that I’m focused very specifically on this aspect of the DC world.”
It feels as if the casting for The Batman could really go in any direction. Both Affleck and Jeremy Irons reprising their roles from previous films, or we could be getting a brand spanking new Batman. With everything about The Batman’s recent updates seeming to center on just how different the director wants the film to be, a new cast would feel appropriate for the project.
Affleck will still be producing the film, as far as we know, with Reeves saying he anticipates The Batman to begin production in the Spring or Summer of 2019.