No offense, Ben.
The geek world was rocked last week when, amidst an already rocky foundation, the DC Expanded Universe suffered a pretty massive setback. Long time director of The Batman Ben Affleck dropped out of the position, citing the difficulty of both playing the Caped Crusader AND directing a massive tentpole at the exact same time. Affleck felt it was a lot to handle and, according to the report at least, decided focusing on solely playing the character would better benefit the final film. Still, the damage was done — many believed Affleck’s work on The Batman could be the thing to turn the DCEU around and, without him, that there was no hope left.
But now that we know who Warner Bros. is in talks with to take over the position, I have to say — I’m more hopeful than ever. And, yes, that includes when Affleck was going to helm the project.
Which is no burn against Affleck or anything: the man has proven himself a very capable director, and his first three films are all of very high quality (Live All Night, umm, also existed.) But when finding someone to replace Affleck, Warner didn’t just bring on a director whose film’s I like more than Affleck’s — they brought on one of my favorite blockbuster directors, period.
But I’m going to stop beating around the bush here: according to The Hollywood Reporter, WB has chosen director Matt Reeves to craft the first Batman standalone in the DCEU. Reeves is the director behind such films as Cloverfield and Let Me In, which alone is enough to get me excited (go back and watch Cloverfield, people — it’s still wonderful.) But the real feather in Reeves’ cinematic hat is his current work on the Planet of the Apes series, including this year’s highly awaited War for the Planet of the Apes.
I legitimately think the Planet of the Apes series is the best modern sci-fi franchise around, and Reeves work on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was the real clincher in that effort. At the time of its release, I called Dawn one of the best blockbusters of the 21st Century, up there with The Dark Knight. And, now, he’s actually going to direct one of those Batman pictures. You bet your ass I’m excited to see what he will do with it, especially with Affleck still close involved with the project as both a star and producer.
And maybe a writer too, depending on where the hell this reboot ends up going. It might have a director now, but the road ahead is still going to be a long one for The Batman. All reports have pretty much indicated a page 1 rewrite of the film, throwing away all the current work done by Affleck, Geoff Johns, and Chris Terrio. Whether any of the material previously written for the film is utilized remains to be seen, although it’s interesting to point out that Reeves started off his career as a writer, creating the early 2000’s series Felicity. I would be surprised if, following his hiring, he didn’t at least get a pass on the script.
Still though, with War for the Planet of the Apes AND Justice League both in post, it’s likely full-time work on The Batman won’t commence for a while. But you know what? If that means getting a DC Universe movie that matches the quality of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or Cloverfield, I’m willing to wait.