Why Matt Reeves Directing “The Batman” Could Save The DCEU
While the on again/off again “The Batman” project took a crucial blow with the departure of Ben Affleck as director, there may be a silver lining in the short list of his replacement options.
With news that Chris Terrio, who won an academy award for best adapted screenplay in 2012 for “Argo,” has produced a script with the help of Geoff Johns that Ben Affleck can get onboard with, fans are starting to regain some faith in the seemingly flailing “The Batman” project. But, that’s not even the most exciting thing to look forward to and I’ll tell you why. “War For The Planet Of The Apes” director Matt Reeves, who has been on the shortlist of replacements for the director’s chair since Affleck’s exit, is working his way to the top of the list of potential directors… and it’s quite possibly the best thing that could happen to the DCEU.
Here are a few reasons why Reeves has the potential to not only make the best Batman movie we’ve seen to date, but also perhaps single handedly save the currently uncertain box-office future of the DCEU. Find out why Reeves is such a prime candidate to helm “The Batman” after the jump.
If you’ve followed us in the past, then you are likely aware that we have some serious love for Matt Reeves. But, I assure you that this fandom is not without justification. From “Cloverfield” to “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” Reeves has proven his ability to successfully maintain a consistent tone in his projects. This is something that the DCEU has struggled with in both the financially successful, yet critically panned, “Batman V Superman” and “Suicide Squad” movies. Being able to balance talent, script and narrative is something that the precursory DC films have lacked, either going from an overly stylized Zack Snyder lead hyper-dark extreme to a David Ayers lead cacophony of substance-less color. Finding a happy medium could easily be enough to satiate success hungry fans and give some consistency to the currently incoherent universe.
Let’s be honest, neither Snyder or Ayers have had tremendous success with large scale projects. Aside from “300” and “Watchmen,” which some fans would argue was so frame by frame similar to the source material that it required little directorial effort, Snyder’s closest large scale success was the DCEU flagship “Man of Steel.” And that’s still a mildly divisive subject depending on who you ask. Ayers main claim to fame was “Fury,” which again was really not enough to prove his command of tone or scale and more likely a strong showing by consistent talents Brad Pitt, Jon Bernthal and Shia Leboeuf. Given the immense scope of the “Planet of the Apes” films and their positive critical and fan reception, Reeves has already gained more credibility when it comes to massive multi-faceted projects that evenly balance motion capture technology, story and tone.
Back in October, we caught up with Matt Reeves at New York Comic Con as he was doing press for the upcoming “War For The Planet Of The Apes” and got a first hand look at the complexities of filming a motion capture rich movie. Instead of me trying to explain what tremendous effort and keen insight is required to envision a project of this magnitude, hear it from the horse’s mouth.
Watch below as Matt Reeves describes the arduous task of filming for MoCap.
If you watched our interview, then it’s vividly apparent that Reeves is not only highly invested in, but also rabidly passionate about, the projects that he helms. His exuberance is not self-gratifying such as that of Snyder, who is often regarded as a filmmaker who molds the project to match his own darker tastes. Instead, Reeves seems to take pride in shaping a narrative that befits the tone of the project. A tone that the actors can comfortably rally behind without feeling adrift in a cinematic sea of randomness. This vastly differs from Ayer’s chaotic and inattentive approach to “Suicide Squad,” which seemed to aim for a grunge-soaked flair over some semblance of linear coherence.
Finally, it comes down to Reeves’ track record. When it comes to his projects, fans can come to expect consistency. While his beginnings were humble, Reeves has come into his own with large scale projects much like his long-time friend J.J. Abrams. Like Abrams, who single-handedly rekindled a flickering “Star Trek” franchise and bore a rejuvenated fan-adored “Star Wars” trilogy, Reeves has refined his craft with the “Planet of the Apes” films. In this way he has developed a voice as a director, bringing a unique perspective and commentary to the big screen. This is Something that the visual artists like Snyder and Ayers can’t quite seem to nail down.
While it’s not a certain bet that Reeves will claim the director’s chair for “The Batman,” as Variety reports he is still in negotiations with the studio, I confidently believe that his inclusion in the project could turn the tides for the currently voiceless DCEU. While Marvel has done much to give a unique identity to its growing universe of characters, DC’s reactionary choices of the past have yet to give voice to what are arguably some of the MOST iconic comic book characters. Dempire personally being a fan of ‘Batman V Superman’, I can understand and appreciate when fans and critics alike question how one can screw up the two most internationals well-know characters of all time…