Superhero movies are all the rage in Hollywood, and reinvention is a massive part of this genre with each passing generation, but no cinematic superhero franchise has seen more transformation and re-imagining than Batman. Starting way back in the ’60s, portrayed by eleven actors in both physical and verbal form, and currently undergoing its third modern reboot with Justice League opener Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Dark Knight and his immense popularity aren’t fading into the darkness any time soon.
As a character, Batman has a wide number of skills, despite his lack of superpowers, and it’s this versatility of the character that makes each of these reboots unique; directors always have a plethora of comic book archives to dip into when it comes to creating their ideal version of the Caped Crusader. Each has their own vision of Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego, and with Oscar-winner Ben Affleck now in the director’s chair, this trend looks set to continue.
The Argo director will be focusing on something different for his movie. In the comics, Batman is regarded as one of the world’s greatest detectives, if not the world’s greatest crime solver, and it’s this rarely portrayed skill that will be the focus of Ben Affleck’s solo project. During a recent break from filming, and answering some important questions about the future of the franchise, the director recently described his incoming Batman movie as a “detective story.”
“The world’s greatest detective aspect of Batman is more present in [Justice League] than it was in [Batman v Superman], and will probably be expanded upon further in a Batman movie that I would do. I think all the great Batman stories are, at their heart, detective stories. That’s why they feel like noir movies in a way. Somehow it feels like it could be The Maltese Falcon.”
When probed further about the movie, and a potential release date, Ben Affleck kept his cards close to his chest and showed his resolute faith and passion towards the project, confirming that he would only start filming when the script felt “right.”
“I think [Warner Bros. have] a date for it. Although, I don’t know if I would necessarily be able to make that date because I don’t have a script that’s ready yet. So my timetable is I’m not going to make a movie until there’s a script that I think is good. I’ve been on the end of the things when you make movies when you have a script that’s not good yet and it doesn’t pan out. [It]’s something that would have to pass a very high bar for me. It’s not just like, ‘Yeah, that might be fun, let’s go try this out.'”
The detective element of Batman’s skill repertoire didn’t feature in many of the previous cinematic outings. Sure, his hi-tech gadgets have played a part in many of his daring escapades, but his sleuthing from the shadows of the Bat Cave — something that was handled brilliantly in Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989, and again in Batman v Superman — is something that could be explored to better effect. Let’s not forget that Bruce Wayne witnessed his parents’ murder, so his detective skills, and his desire to solve mysteries, developed early on when he started his life-long search for the killer. This is a key skill in Wayne’s arsenal, and to see Ben Affleck mention this, with intention to feature it in a movie, is definitely an exciting prospect.
With Affleck at the helm, you can see it working too. Affleck is known for his powerful direction, his ability to produce a raw, breathtaking thriller, and this signature of his work would certainly be welcome in a Batman movie. When you look at the likes of crime-dramas Gone Baby Gone and The Town, both of which featured detective/police procedural plots, you can understand why he would want to usher in the detective element of Batman’s persona. Affleck has shown a comfort and competence to his chosen genre, one that has revitalized his career, so seeing Warner Bros. step back to allow him this creative space is refreshing.
Ben Affleck deserves a chance to realize his vision. With a proven track record behind the camera, an Oscar on his mantel, and a huge comic book franchise now resting on his shoulders, one of which the director is a massive fan, the studio should give Affleck the time to put his ideas into action. It worked for Christopher Nolan, after all, and broke the box-office in the process. If the caped crusader is going to swing into solo action again, they should let Affleck do it correctly.
The solo Batman movie is still awaiting a release date, but Justice League will storm into theatres on November 17, 2017.
[Image via Warner Bros. Pictures]