You read the title, right? Apparently that’s become the narrative surrounding Matt Reeves’ standalone Batman film of late.
Why? I suspect it’s because both fans and the online media are impatient as hell quite frankly. Many of these folks think the script should be done and Reeves should be filming this thing, well, like yesterday and it should be in theaters tomorrow.
Note to these fans and media people: Batman last appeared on the big screen in a live-action film less than a year ago. That would’ve been JUSTICE LEAGUE which, for all intents and purposes, Batman was the main character.
Shouldn’t Warner Bros. give Batman on film a bit of a break? Wouldn’t it be best if it’s 3 to 5 years — minimum — before we see The Dark Knight back on the silver screen? I say yes — but that’s a topic and op-ed for another day (Or maybe I already wrote it?) Anyway, back to Matt Reeves and the topic at hand.
Yes, Matt Reeves officially signed on to this project in February of 2017 — about 15 months ago. However, Reeves has not been working on THE BATMAN the entire time as some people assume and some media outlets insinuate. No, he didn’t go to work on it until late 2017 once all of his WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES duties were complete. So in reality, he’s been actively working on his Batman movie for about 9 months, give or take.
Again, why the rush? Give the guy all the time he needs within reason to make THE BATMAN the absolutely best it can be.
Furthermore, things are WAY different in the world of Batman on film than early 2003 when Christopher Nolan and David Goyer went to work on what would become BATMAN BEGINS. The biggest difference is that when Nolan and Goyer crafted their Batman script, it had been 6 years since the character’s last cinematic outing. And on top of that, once BATMAN BEGINS was released in June of 2005, 8 years separated it and BATMAN & ROBIN. As I previously mentioned, it’s only been 7 months — 7 FRIGGIN’ MONTHS — since JUSTICE LEAGUE and Batman’s last appearance on the big screen.
Yes, I’ll say it one more time: Why the rush?
For the sake of argument, let’s say that a 2020 release date for THE BATMAN is the target, OK? Once Reeves starts filming, it’ll take about a year or so before it’s ready to drop into theaters. That means he can take the remainder of this year (2018) to finish the script and do all that needs to be done in pre-production (including casting) before going in front of the camera sometime in early 2019.
Folks, even with a targeted release date of 2020, the dude still has plenty of time. And, if 2021 or 2022 is more likely (which should probably be the case), then Reeves has even more time to properly prepare THE BATMAN. Therefore friends, in terms of Reeves having issues with the script, why hasn’t he turned in a script, etc., I don’t think there’s currently anything to worry about.
Recently, what’s really got people charged up were the tweets by VARIETY‘s Justin Kroll saying that he’s heard The Penguin might be the main villain in Reeves’ Bat-film. Kroll also threw in that one of the scripts for the BIRDS OF PREY film (which will feature Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn) includes The Penguin as its big baddie.
Here’s where things get a tad tricky and — I’ll admit — is a slight cause for alarm and could lead to trouble. Let me be clear that I am merely speculating. With that said, here are the two possible scenarios that would be cause for alarm:
SCENARIO 1: Reeves wants to use The Penguin as his film’s main villain and Warner Bros. is pushing back because they want the character in the BIRDS OF PREY film.
This is bad because Reeves evidently took the gig with the agreement that he would have a very significant amount of creative control. In fact, Reeves at one time walked away from negotiations with Warner Bros. because the two sides disagreed on the matter, allegedly. This makes me wonder if Reeves would walk away again over such a disagreement.
SCENARIO 2: Warner Bros. is strongly suggesting (forcing) Reeves to use The Penguin in his Batman film.
Like scenario 1, this would be a matter of creative control which could lead to the two sides to part ways.
The bottom line here with either case (again, I’m speculating) is that Warner Bros. would be reneging on what they and Reeves had agreed upon (i.e. Reeves essentially being allowed to do his own thing) and could lead to Reeves leaving the project — by his choice or the studio’s.
Heck, any possible disagreement between Reeves and WB over creative issues might not have anything to do with Oswald Cobblepott. Maybe Reeves wants THE BATMAN to be its own thing and the studio is wanting him to now include DC cameos, winks/nods, and post-credits scenes, when he was originally promised otherwise.
Regardless, Reeves moving on from THE BATMAN — no matter who made the decision — would be a HUGE blow to the project and a PR disaster for DC on film for Warner Bros. Hell, they MUST know this, right? Thus, I find it hard to believe that they would sabotage themselves like that. But, they’ve done it before, so you never know!
In closing BOF’ers, when it comes to Reeves’ script for THE BATMAN, I don’t think there’s any reason to be concerned. As I said, there’s no rush, so we (and Warner Bros.) should be patient and let the man do his job. BUT…
If for some reason Reeves and Warner Bros. are no longer seeing eye-to-eye on the direction of THE BATMAN, then yes, we should be concerned. I certainly don’t want to see these 3 things in a future article about the project: “Matt Reeves,” “Warner Bros.,” and “creative differences.” – Bill “Jett” Ramey