The DC comic book films seem to have been in the news a lot recently. Often it’s about new movies being announced (usually with Harley Quinn and/or the Joker). Sadly its Batman solo outing has also frequently been in the news – but never in a good, exciting way. It’s now official – the solo Batman film is no longer part of the DCEU’s (DC Extended Universe) current run of films.
It’s all about to get confusing for casual viewers!
How Did this Happen?!
There had been lots of talk about The Batman, things steadily going from bad to worse. First, original director, writer and star Ben Affleck pulls out of directing duty so that he can fully concentrate on playing the character. So in comes Matt Reeves (fresh from the excellent War for the Planet of the Apes) – but then Affleck’s original script was scrapped so that Reeves could write his own. Now it’s reached the upsetting conclusion that it will no longer even be a part of the DC film franchise – it will be standalone and independent with no relevance to DC’s other films… And now it probably won’t even star Ben Affleck.
Bad news for Batfleck fans – once director, writer and star of this film, he now seems to be none of these, steadily dropping each one.
How it’s reached this point however is slightly baffling. There was talk of this film being set before Batman V Superman, meaning the filmmakers could have more freedom with the timeline. This is what they did with Wonder Woman which worked brilliantly and will hopefully work well for Aquaman. So why couldn’t they do the same for The Batman? Sadly this is a question we’ll likely never really get a clear answer for.
Why Is this Bad?
This is disappointing for a number of reasons.
- Firstly in my opinion Ben Affleck could be a great Bruce Wayne/ Batman – if only he were given the chance, which he wasn’t in Batman V Superman and likely won’t be given in Justice League. The Batman was his opportunity to completely show us who his Bruce Wayne is and what he’s capable of.
- Secondly DC having two separate string of films will soon confuse and irritate people. It’s bad enough having the Marvel Universe being different to 20th Century Fox’s X-Men Universe. Still, at least these are distinct with different characters and no ambiguous references. Batman being in Justice League and Batman being in The Batman played by two different people and being in two different series will complicate and anger fans and casual viewers alike.
- Lastly, this might signal the point of there being too many superhero movies. I’m a huge superhero fan and I can’t get enough of them (even the bad ones). Yet over around 10 years the genre has become saturated to the point of there being too many. Keeping up with them is becoming complicated; they’re becoming similar; and pretty soon people will be fed up with it all – especially with two different Batmans at the same time played by different people in different franchises under the same company (Warner Bros and DC). As well as this, it’s only been 5 years since the end of Christopher Nolan’s So Batman trilogy – is it really time for another so soon?
Is There Any Hope?
While this is a blow for Affleck and DC/ Batman fans (and probably a disastrous misstep for Warner Bros/ DC), there is one silver-lining – Matt Reeves is writing and directing it. If War for the Planet of the Apes tells us anything, it’s that Reeves is an excellent filmmaker with great potential. If he can take that on and make it wonderful, he can certainly do great things with Batman. In fact, being outside the constraints of the DCEU and its timeline means more creative freedom… and hopefully a better film.
Like so many things in Tinseltown, it’s all up in the air at the moment and we have to wait and see how things pan out. Although this is bad news for many and will inevitably be confusing for some, all we can do now is hope they know what they’re doing and they don’t ruin what could be an excellent film. If only it could have been part of the DCEU though…