The Batman Will Finally Let Movie Batman Live Up to “the World’s Greatest Detective

Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, and Ezra Miller in Justice League (2017)

We’ve seen a lot of different takes on Batman in movies over the years. There’s been the hyper-dramatic, stylized Burton and Schumacher takes, the gritty Nolan version, and the DCEU’s cynical take. Matt Reeves will be the next director to take a crack at the Bat’s legacy, with a film set in the DCEU timeline. A majority of details is being kept under wraps until the film goes into production, but Reeves took the time to speak with The Hollywood Reporter about his Bat-vision.

Reeves said of the film,

“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.”

He’s right: Most Batman films aren’t detective stories but stories about Batman facing off against one or two particular opponents and their plan to destroy Gotham. Even The Dark Knight, which was a more traditional cops and criminals story, focused more on the Batman vs. the Joker, with Gordon, Harvey Dent, and everyone else serving the B-plot of bringing down a variety of crime families. Batman v. Superman and Justice League saw Batman’s focus on saving the world, rather than anything else.

From what I remember, the animated TV show would feature a little more detecting on Batman’s part at times. Games like Arkham Asylum required a little detecting as well, even if combat tended to drive them, but Reeves is right: Batman is supposed to be the world’s greatest detective. He should do some more detecting.

While I hope they come up with an original story, it would be nice if they drew from The Long Halloween or another noir-inspired Bat-story for inspiration. The Court of Owls is also an arc that hasn’t been tapped cinematically. Given the pushback against Jared Leto’s performance as the Joker, it would be great to have another villain take center stage, preferably one who hasn’t been used too frequently.

But also, please include Catwoman, just because she’s amazing.

Having this Batman film be more of a detective noir than a regular “hero fights bad guy with plans of mass terror” film would help the DCEU continue the trend of telling unique stories with its solo adventures. Just as Patty Jenkins and James Wan brought their unique sensibilities and different types of stories to their solo ventures in Wonder Woman and Aquaman, Reeves going a unique route for The Batman could help right the DCEU’s course with the character and find critical and commercial success—not to mention make yet another Batman movie worthwhile.

Audiences like familiar characters but new stories, and this sounds like a fresh take.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: Warner Bros)

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