Matt Reeves' Batman: 5 Things We Want To See (& 5 We Don't)
Ever since Matt Reeves was chosen to direct the latest Batman movie, fans have been waiting for any information to come their way. From casting choices to character reveals, the news can’t come in fast enough for Bat-fans. DC and Warner Bros continue celebrating 80 years of Batman pushing their comic book universe to the forefront.
Joker debuted on October 4th and a new Birds of Prey trailer dropped on October 1st. With Robert Pattinson attached to the Batman project as a younger Bruce Wayne, there’s a long list of changes coming to the current character. With the DCEU struggling at first, there are a few do’s and don’ts the film must abide by.
10DO - BALANCE THE PORTRAYAL OF BRUCE & BATMAN
Much of the most successful prior Batman films have played to the strengths of both. As a director, some chose to have a stronger written Bruce Wayne. Others have opted to allow the strength and skill of Batman to carry the film.
Fans want to see the charming more human side of Bruce Wayne and the brooding protector of Gotham in Batman. Balance is the key to The Batman’s success.
9DON’T - HAVE ANOTHER JOKER AS THE MAIN VILLAIN
When Jared Leto was cast as the Joker there were instant comparisons to Heath Ledger’s version. With Suicide Squad garnering mixed reviews, DC decided to go another way and cast Joaquin Phoenix in the Joker stand-alone film.
While Joker is being debated as an Oscar-worthy performance out of Phoenix, adding a third Joker is too much. The comics might be able to work that in, but the general viewing audience isn’t ready for that sort of confusion. However...
8DO - CAST THE JOKER IN A CAMEO/POST-CREDITS SCENE
If DC and Matt Reeves decide to go forward with their most recognizable villain, then save it for the teaser. Much like the Deathstroke/Legion of Doom teaser at the end of Justice League, Joker should only serve to set up future films. With Joaquin Phoenix and the Joker origin film already out, casting a third Joker so close in the DC universe would just confuse and frustrate fans.
RELATED:10 Classic Batman Stories Matt Reeves Should Adapt For The Batman
The character doesn’t even need to appear on the screen. A silhouetted figure with a maniacal laugh torturing someone in an amusement park setting would be the perfect set up for the character going forward. Throw in Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn to tie it all together and fans will be left wanting more.
7DON’T - IGNORE THE BATMAN/CATWOMAN CONNECTION
Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne have one of the best relationships in DC comics. It’s a perfect portrayal of the cat and mouse game. It’s also something that hasn’t transitioned to the big screen as well. While there have been plenty of actresses who pull off the character well, few have had the necessary on-screen chemistry to properly portray the love affair between the two.
Bruce chases Selina just as much as Batman chases Catwoman. The Dark Knightwas one of the best portrayals of Batman, yet Christopher Nolan chose to create a whole new love interest not seen in the pages of the comics, leaving Catwoman for the sequel. Matt Reeves would do a great service to the fans to explore this relationship while writing a younger portrayal of Bruce Wayne. With a younger version of Batman, Reeves can show Bruce's more naive side and shape the future of the character.
6DO - STAY TRUE TO THE SOURCE MATERIAL
Fans might argue DC vs Marvel until the end of time, but no one can argue Marvel’s box office success. One of the main reasons they’ve consistently remained number one at the box office is their ability to portray characters fans grew up with. While they might have their quirks written in for a modern touch, the characters feel as if they were lifted off the pages of the comics and right on to the big screen.
If The Batman is to have the same success then Matt Reeves will have to accomplish the same task. The challenge, however, is finding which iteration of Batman to portray. With a long list of writers to pen the famous Bat, each has written the character different yet similar enough to keep continuity. On-screen, Bruce Wayne and Batman need to feel like all those characters rolled into one, portrayed as a younger version.
5DON’T - MISUSE DICK GRAYSON/ROBIN
With The Batman exploring a younger version of Bruce Wayne, the most likely iteration of Robin is Dick Grayson. If they cast the character too old, it won’t feel as if the character’s continuity is lined up with his origin story. If they cast him too young, then future films will have to carry the bulk of the development.
Warner Bros/DC originally had plans to develop a Nightwing film. If done correctly, then Matt Reeves has the opportunity to help recreate the shared universe DC originally had planned. Nowadays, the Bat-family extends well past the Robin character. Going forward, there’s plenty of demand for these fan-favorite charactersbut only if they’re developed properly. If DC ever wants to deliver these characters to the big screen, a strong-willed Dick Grayson needs to be able to carry the load for spinoff films.
4DO - CAST STRONG VILLAINS
One of the more important parts of any Batman story is selecting the right choice. The Batman will want to avoid taking the same route that Fox’s hit show Gothamdid. While audiences will see a younger version of Batman, they won’t need a big-screen version showcasing a villain's origins.
There needs to be a happy middle ground where Bruce is shaped by the development of these criminals while they’re established enough to pose real threats. Reeves can learn a lot from Spider-Man: Homecoming in regards to handling an origin story. Most of these characters have already debuted in theaters, rehashing old stories will only cause fatigue. The studio will have to come up with creative ways to keep these characters fresh.
3DON’T - IGNORE BATMAN’S LOVE FOR GOTHAM
Back in 2016, DC comics rebooted Batman with the Rebirth storyline. In the first issue, we see Bruce almost sacrifice himself to save the citizens of Gotham. While it worked out for the title character, it perfectly portrayed him as the stoic hero who would do anything to save his city.
Connecting superheroes to the people they’re saving is the emotional crutch that keeps diehard fans and casual audiences coming back for more. Batman isn’t just the heroic Dark Knight who beats up bad guys for fun. His genuine desire to save the city of Gotham is just as strong as saving a single human being.
2DO - SET UP FUTURE MOVIES
Whether Matt Reeves is doing his trilogy or a one-and-done, his movie needs to set up bigger things to come. Yes, DC and Warner Bros are having more success with their stand-alone movies right now, but in the end, fans want to see the best product available to them.
This can only be achieved by a shared universe. Another Justice League movie only works when the characters’ stories are built across multiple arcs. Rushing into storylines has been the DCEU's downfall. DC needs to learn from their mistakes and develop these characters across multiple films.
1DON’T - REHASH BATMAN’S ORIGIN
The Batman would be wise to take a page out of the Spider-Man: Homecoming playbook and just gloss over Batman’s parents getting killed. It’s something fans have seen before, been done to death, and then revisited.
At this point, even the most casual fan knows how Bruce Wayne became Batman. There are other ways to explore Bruce's humanity than just his origin story.