UPDATE: Matt Reeves has taken to Twitter to clarify his remarks, and said “Just to be clear: Of COURSE Batman will be part of the D.C. Universe. Batman will be BATMAN…”, before adding “In my comments from a while back about not being part of the DCEU, I was talking about The Batman being a story specifically about Batman…” and “…not about the others in the Universe. That it wouldn’t be filled with cameos servicing other stories — that it would be a BATMAN story.”
Matt Reeves’ earlier comments about his Batman movie being a “standalone” film were phrased in such a way that they were open to interpretation. Our original story about the news is as follows…
The DC Extended Universe movies are either just getting good or were always pretty great, depending on who you talk to, so it’s pretty surprising to learn that the next Batman movie – allegedly titled The Batman – isn’t even going to be a part of it.
Matt Reeves, the director of The Batman, has been chatting about the project to KCRW and he’s revealed that his plan for the caped crusader doesn’t jibe with Warner Bros.’ plans for the DC Extended Universe. So rather than force Matt Reeves to change his artistic vision to fit into the same storylines as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman and Justice League… it’s going to be a standalone film.
“I have a vison for a way to do something with that character that at least feels like it resonates with me personally, and a perspective that can grow outward into other things,“ Matt Reeves says. “When they [Warner Bros.] approached me, what they said was, it’s a standalone. This isn’t part of the extended universe.”
A lot is being made of this statement, but it’s important to remember that Matt Reeves didn’t elaborate and there is a lot of room for interpretation. It’s unclear, for example, whether Warner Bros. offered him a standalone Batman movie, free of the confines of the DCEU, or whether they decided to keep Matt Reeves’ film separate after hearing his pitch.
It’s also unclear whether Warner Bros. intends to keep The Batman, or whatever it will finally be called, completely separate from the other DC superhero/supervillain films, or whether its story is simply isolated enough that it’s unnecessary to include any other characters or plot points from the larger cinematic universe. It could be completely self-contained, but taking place with a corner of the DCEU for example. Or it could really be a whole separate continuity, not unlike the separation that exists between the DC superhero live-action television series – like Arrow, Supergirl and Gotham – and the DC live-action movies.
What’s intriguing is that it seems Warner Bros. is trying not to be dictatorial about the interconnectivity of their superhero movies, which could either allow for greater artistic freedom on the part of their filmmakers, or possibly just a jumbled mess of a franchise that only has continuity when the filmmakers feel like it. We’ll see how it pans out over time, since as it stands Warner Bros. has a VERY large number of projects allegedly in development or pre-production.
Back in the world of Batman, however, Matt Reeves also had a few other thoughts to share on KCRW. He explains that he wants his Batman movie to be “emotionally engaging”, in that he’s interested in being “even more inside of Batman” than in his villains, who often take center stage in many previous films about the character.
Matt Reeves also articulates that he is interested in telling his film from a “noir point of view”, which may be encouraging. The film noir genre is typically defined by stories about crime and human frailty, and it’s portrayal of characters with nebulous, and possibly even non-existent morals. Many of the most celebrated Batman comics have taken this approach, and there are a number of noirish elements in Tim Burton’s first Batman movie, as well as in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy (the second of which, The Dark Knight, borrows heavily from the film noir films of Michael Mann).
Top Photo: Warner Bros.
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on Canceled Too Soon and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.