OPINION: What Can We Expect From Reeves’ THE BATMAN?

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EDITOR’S NOTE/DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed by BOF contributors may not express those of the editor-in-chief or the site officially…unless they do. – Bill “Jett” Ramey

“What can we expect from Matt Reeves’ THE BATMAN?”

That is a question all of us fans are asking ourselves and one another.

So, let’s peel back that onion together, shall we?

To begin, let’s look at Matt Reeves most recent public comments about the film he is about to helm…

It’s very much a point of view-driven, noir Batman tale. It’s told very squarely on his shoulders, and I hope it’s going to be a story that will be thrilling but also emotional. It’s more Batman in his detective mode than we’ve seen in the films. The comics have a history of that. He’s supposed to be the world’s greatest detective, and that’s not necessarily been a part of what the movies have been. I’d love this to be one where when we go on that journey of tracking down the criminals and trying to solve a crime, it’s going to allow his character to have an arc so that he can go through a transformation.

Mr. Reeves says he going for “noir; thus, I immediately think of films like Chinatown or perhaps even LA Confidential.

What is very evident is that we will see our Caped Crusader in full detective mode. Probably of the likes we have never seen in a live-action film before.  Though I could argue that he has done plenty of detective work in previous films, it has never been a core attribute to Bruce’s daily objectives and/or routines. Clearly, Mr. Reeves will make Bruce’s detective work paramount when defining his Batman’s characteristics.

In regards to comics, it is not clear to me that Matt Reeves has said anything publicly about what might inspire him specifically, but maybe we can expect a YEAR ONE vibe. And not because it is an origin story (I certainly hope it is not), but more of the grittiness that I could see Mr. Reeves tapping into.

As far as how he will approach Bruce/Batman, IndieWire recently asked Reeves who is the real person: Bruce Wayne or Batman? His response was very telling…

I’ve found interesting, just as we’re working on the story, is looking back at Jekyll and Hyde, and the idea of your shadow-self, and the idea of, we are all multiple things. It’s different aspects of who we are, and I think there are times when maybe the surface of Bruce is not really who he is, but that’s his disguise. There are times when Batman’s the disguise, but there are times when his true essence comes out because by being veiled, a kind of instinctual side comes out that’s very pure.

This could mean that we will see a Bruce Wayne struggle more with his duality than we have seen in a film to date; though that’s not anything new.

In Tim Burton’s 1989 film (BATMAN), Bruce tells Vicki Vale that he has to be Batman because “nobody else can”. When she presses him further, he says to her “I’ve tried to avoid all of this, but I can’t.” Almost like it would be a dereliction of duty for him if he did NOT put on the cape and cowl and fight crime every night.

In Nolan’s trilogy, we certainly saw a Bruce Wayne who struggled with his cause — particularly as things escalated and intensified in THE DARK KNIGHT.  But Bruce’s own motto, if you will, still showed a man with a clear purpose.  “It is not who I am underneath,” he tells Rachel Dawes, “but what I DO that defines me.”

Perhaps in Reeves’ film, we will see a Bruce literally on the brink of insanity because he is tortured by the mere existence of his alter ego?

There are a million other questions as well.

Will this be a contemporary film? Will it be a period piece, of some sorts? Will it be a hard reboot of the Affleck universe, or a soft reboot akin to what Joel Schumacher did with the Burtonverse? Will we see an origin story, or is he a pre-existing Batman? Who will the villain be, etc.?

As of this writing (2.22.19), we really don’t 100% know the answer to any of those questions.  In real time, however, there is an ongoing debate on whether or not Armie Hammer will be our new Batman, or perhaps someone younger than Hammer’s 32 years. That too is unclear as of this writing. But let me tell you what I think.

 

I believe that our new Batman will be a hard reboot. I think that it will be a Batman film that is 100% detached from any previous films and that we will meet him in his prime.

I don’t think we will get an origin story in the same way as BATMAN BEGINS, but I do think that part of his story could be told via flashbacks and narration (no Wayne murder scene, please. We have had enough, Mr. Reeves).

I do not believe that we will have a singular villain as Reeves has stated there will be a “Rogues Gallery.”  I think that much like Chris Nolan’s DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY, the film will focus more on Bruce and not a villain.

With that said, I am super excited to see what characters he introduces and how he portrays them.

Will they be a bit more “grounded” like the Nolan films, or larger than life like pre-Nolan incarnations? My guess is probably closer to Nolan’s approach, but perhaps a bit more fantastical. Which is cool, because I want to see his take on The Penguin (who we will very likely see), The Riddler and then I would love for him to dig deep in the vault for the untapped potential of the greatest villains in comic book history. Hugo Strange, perhaps? The skies the limit!

What do I personally want? Well, that is actually quite simple…

I want a director’s vision to come to life on the big screen. I want Reeves to make HIS version of Batman with very little interference from the studio. I want it to be a unique take and something we have never seen on film before. I want it to feel noir, gritty and painful. I want to be swept away by a beautiful story with a character I know so very well, yet finding myself getting hit with surprises left and right. At the end of the movie, I want to walk away and argue with myself over what is now the best Batman film, because this one was so f***ing good!

That is what I want.

In closing, I would like to offer a nickel’s worth of free advice to my fellow Batman fans….

ENJOY THE RIDE!

It will be a fun 2 years as we will be exposed to little nuggets here and there. Casting announcements, the unveiling of the Batmobile, new Batsuit, etc.

Let’s not be disappointed if this film is a complete reboot, or loosely tied to the old “DCEU”. Let’s just trust Reeves, until he gives us a reason not to. And only after we see the film, can we determine that.

And whatever you do, do NOT write this movie in your head 😂 !  I laugh, but I am being serious. Too many of you did that with THE DARK KNIGHT RISES as well as THE LAST JEDI — so, please don’t ruin a film for yourself by doing so. Go in with a clean slate and when the opening credits appear, look at the screen as a blank canvas and let Matt Reeves paint the picture for you in real time. You owe that to yourselves as fans. I really believe that.  🤜🤛 #fistbump

A new solo Batman film is imminent my compadres…and I could not be more excited. – Rick Shew

 

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Rick Shew
Rick Shew is a lifelong Batman fanatic, senior BOF contributor, and co-host of the BATMAN-ON-FILM.COM VLOG. Rick resides in Plano, TX (Dallas suburb) with his 3 beautiful women (his wife and their 2 daughters), his kitty cat and his dog, Cooper.