Rumors have been bouncing around the internet about Matt Reeves’ upcoming superhero movie, “The Batman”.
According to reports, the movie may not be part of the DCEU as it currently exists. What’s more, Ben Affleck may well finally be out as Batman.
Neither of these rumors sound particularly shocking, as we’ve heard very similar rumblings for months. Every time, the story is the same. Ben Affleck is out. New canon is in.
There’s never any proof, and this time is no exception. The origin of this story is an article from Deadline which makes some very matter-of-fact claims about the upcoming film.
“There is an opportunity for Toby Emmerich to really reshuffle the executive deck on the feature side and turn DC into something more formidable than it is right now… with Matt Reeves rebooting ‘Batman’ for a new standalone franchise, likely with a new actor to play the Caped Crusader after Ben Affleck’s stints in ‘Batman V Superman’ and ‘Justice League’.”
I’d personally put this offhand phrasing down to overambitious speculation rather than some kind of genuine insight. Nevertheless, we’re back at the same questions surrounding “The Batman”. Is Affleck involved, and will this movie be within the established DCEU canon?
Here’s the question I’d rather ask: does it matter?
Matt Reeves has proven himself to be a talented filmmaker. His work on the “Planet of the Apes” prequels has shown that he’s capable of making complex, nuanced, somewhat dark movies that can hold audience attention.
These films are also notable because they exist in a weird moment within the “Planet of the Apes” canon.
Reeves directed “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “War for the Planet of the Apes”. He did not direct “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”; the first movie in this new trilogy.
So, his two movies had the awkward position of being canonical followers to both the first prequel, but also the original Charlton Heston era movies. Reeves had to make all of this work together, and while the end result isn’t perfect (I question the timing of some parts of the story), I can’t fault what he created.
Thank heavens he didn’t also need to include the 1999 Tim Burton “Apes” movie. That would be too far of a stretch for anyone.
So Reeves has proven that he can use even a convoluted canon within his movies without problem. He can set his “Batman” movie in a setting and time period that won’t be affected by the wider chaos that is the DCEU.
As for Affleck? I don’t think he’s a big deal either.
Goodbye Darkness, My Old Friend
Sure, the movie will run a lot smoother without him. Affleck, and his increasing frustration with the DCEU, is one of the more intriguing elements of this entire cinematic endeavor. Cutting him loose would save a lot of negative press.
At the same time, Affleck is a perfectly adequate Batman (when he can be bothered to care), so I think he’d be great if he stays attached to the project.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who plays the lead character, or what continuity this film takes place in.
What matters is whether the movie is actually enjoyable, and I’m willing to give Matt Reeves the benefit of the doubt here.
I just really hope I’m right about this, and that the movie doesn’t turn into another disaster.