Movies & TV / Columns

Gustafson: Should We Be Worried About the Direction Batman is Going?

July 15, 2017 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
The Batman

Some interesting tidbits about superheroes this week. Warner Bros. Pictures gave us a crumb with a new picture from the Justice League featuring Batman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash. Like with any photo of grownups dressed in costumes in bright light, reaction was mixed.

And what’s up with Batman’s package?

Ezra Miller also spoke with about playing Barry Allen, saying, “He’s this really endearing, altruistic nerd. He’s the 13-year-old Metallica fan, and Metallica says, ‘We lost our drummer in a freak accident. We need you to play drums, bro!’ I don’t even have drumsticks!”

The Justice League hit a couple of bumps but looks on track now. The write up describes it as:

“In the DC Extended Universe film, fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.”

But let’s focus one particular member of the team whose solo movie is encountering more than a bump.

The Batman, the stand-alone Bruce Wayne film starring Ben Affleck, was announced and became highly anticipated with fans. Affleck was going to be co-writing, directing, and starring in the movie but that started to crumble early in 2017 when Affleck announced that he would no longer direct it.

Now it looks like Affleck won’t be co-writing the movie either, according to the new director, Matt Reeves.

Reeves recently revealed on MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast that he scrapped the earlier script that Affleck, Chris Terrio and DC’s Geoff Johns had worked on. When asked if he would be working with Affleck’s script, Reeves said, “No, it’s a new story. It’s just starting again. I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be really cool.”

“There’s a chance to do an almost noir-driven detective version of Batman that is point-of-view driven in a very, very powerful way, that will hopefully connect you to what’s going on inside of his head and inside of his heart,” he recently told New Trailer Buzz during a junket.

It looks like he’s intending to go smaller scale with his vision and hasn’t given us any more information on villains he’s considering. In the original script, Deathstroke was the villain, with Joe Manganiello cast. That seems to be up in the air at the moment.

So where does this leave us? I’m actually OK with them doing a more personalized, detective story. It seems with each comic book movie we get, the stakes get higher and higher. We can only go so big saving the universe gets old. Give me a well driven noir with personal stakes and development and I’ll be fine.

And let’s not believe that since Affleck is no longer directing or co-writing that he won’t have any influence on the movie. The big question is how much of his original script will he try to re-incorporate into this movie.

Warner Bros. still has a lot of faith in Affleck so don’t be too surprised if we hear about some “debates” on set between Affleck and Reeves. With Affleck leading the League into theaters and committing to Batman, they want to make sure he stays happy.

Expect plenty of updates and reveals as Affleck is set to appear at San Diego Comic-Con next week during Warner Bros.’ Hall H panel, which will feature his Justice League co-stars. He will don the cape and cowl in the superhero team-up, which is due out in theaters Nov. 17.

What do you think of a smaller scale Batman movie? Do you think Reeves and Affleck will gel?