It sounds like it is time to stop "monkeying" around, as Matt Reeves is ready to move on from War for the Planet of the Apes and turn his attention to The Batman. Swapping simians for bats, the director is finally on track to unfurl the Dark Knight's wings and bring us the first #Batman solo film since Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. However, although #MattReeves will be putting his own stamp on the DC staple, it sounds like he will be taking some heavy influence from his two Apes films to bring #TheBatman to life.
Although Reeves only directed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and this year's War, there has been a strong story arc in the series since it began in 2011, charting the unfortunate life of Andy Serkis's Caesar. There is a decidedly dark quality to the remnants of mankind battling the equally pummeled apes, and War has a bleaker tone than its predecessors. It seems that it is this macabre underbelly that has prompted Reeves to up the misery for his Batman solo film.
The Apes Of Wrath
Speaking to Digital Spy, the director spoke about coming out from under the cowl and taking over from #BenAffleck to bring a new dawn for Batman:
"[The studio] came to me and said, 'Would you be interested?' That's kind of like what happened here with Apes, they said, 'Would you be interested?' and I was like, 'Well, I would be interested but for me I have to find a personal way in."
It seems that the personal connection he is craving comes from our shadowy lead, Bruce Wayne. Reeves is quite at home crafting a tragic hero, and also drew comparisons between Caesar the ape and the Caped Crusader:
"I think [Christopher] Nolan's films did that and I think Batman as a myth is a very similar myth [to Caesar's], in that he's a tortured soul who is struggling to find a way to do the right thing in a very imperfect world."
"As Caesar is part of the Apes franchise, the Apes franchise was a huge part of my childhood, and Batman was a huge part of my childhood too, yet weirdly both of them have the potential of speaking not down to an audience but being ambitious."
While apes and bats may not seem to share much in common, Reeves sheds a whole new light on where he plans on taking The Batman. Presuming that the movie is a success, we can expect Reeves to sign on for more installments and craft his own Planet of the Bats universe.
Given the wintery tone to his final #PlanetoftheApes film, it is a refreshing breeze of cold air compared to your usual summer fodder in cinemas. Reeves says that he loves bringing that grim edge to our screens and we should also expect it from The Batman:
"What I've really loved in doing these [Apes] movies, I feel like the studios because of economics are making a very narrow band of films – the summer blockbuster is a very particular animal – and Apes doesn't fit into that and it's because of the metaphors of the genre."
While we all know the pros and cons of giving Batman his wings back, Reeves at least sees the potential in the renowned superhero detective:
"It gives you the freedom to smuggle into a movie that is otherwise grand summer entertainment... there's a bleakness to it, there's a reality to it, there's a roundedness to it. We're holding a mirror up to ourselves, we're looking at ourselves in these apes' faces and I feel the same potential in Batman."
Given the runaway success of Patty Jenkins's Wonder Woman, the #DCEU proved that you don't have to be all gritty and Snyder-esque to win it big at the box office. Hopefully Reeves won't be completely ripping off the Nolan years or relying too much on Snyder's grumpy Batfleck, but when your story is about a guy who hangs upside down in the dark, how light can you really take it?
The Dark Knight is particularly, well, dark, and usually shies away from family-friendly source material. If you look back over Batman's history on film, arguably the best entries have been the ones in which we fully embraced his darker side, such as in the Tim Burton films or the Nolanverse. We have all seen what happens when you try and brighten up Batman for the kids, you end up with rubber nipples and Arnie's "Ice to meet you." Hopefully Reeves can learn from the triumphs and mistakes in the franchise's history and carry #BenAffleck's Bruce Wayne into a new era.
With a noir-driven detective story, it looks like Reeves will be taking Batman back to his darker days. While having your back snapped or facing off against a homicidal maniac is all in a day's work for Brucey, I can't wait to see what Reeves has up his sleeve this time around. Apart from the odd tease from Josh Gad, The Batman is still lurking in the shadows. Nothing is known about cast, villains, or a storyline. I'm just hoping that we won't have to witness another ghastly murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne — been there, done that!
Check out Affleck in action as Bruce Wayne and don't forget our poll below.
Is Matt Reeves the right man to direct 'The Batman'?
(Source: Digital Spy)