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6 Reasons Why Matt Reeves Should Be a Great Choice to Direct THE BATMAN

6 Reasons Why Matt Reeves Should Be a Great Choice to Direct THE BATMAN

On Friday, Variety reported that Matt Reeves was in talks to replace Ben Affleck as director of the next standalone Batman movie, referred to by everyone as The Batman though that’s by no means its official title yet. Citing unnamed sources, the trade publication stated that Reeves has already committed, though “a deal isn’t done yet.” Considering how long Affleck was attached before backing away, even a done deal hasn’t necessarily always meant a done deal in the context of this film, but Reeves strikes us as arguably the best possible choice, and we’re hoping he sticks around. If you’re not yet sold, hear us out:

He has a Track Record of Taking Over an Existing Franchise and Expanding It.

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a franchise reboot that proved surprisingly popular, but there were a lot of questions about a follow-up. How do you keep that momentum going without being stale, how do you deal with the fact that a CG chimp is now your lead rather than James Franco, and how do you handle the fact that said chimp now has to talk throughout the film and not be ridiculous doing so? Having Andy Serkis is a great start, but in the end Matt Reeves pulled it all off, and audaciously so, too–that lengthy beginning stretch mostly shot in natural light and featuring no human characters or people-dialogue was a huge gamble that nearly universally earned praise in the end.

Now imagine a Batman movie that begins with 20 minutes or so of action and stealth, with no dialogue, playing out in the naturally lit shadows of a cityscape. Or something equally brave and bold.

He Favors Story Over Stars.

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Batman is nearly always played by movie stars we like, but that’s only half the battle–what fans want the most, and all too often don’t get, is a great Batman story onscreen. And every Reeves film save his first–The Pallbearer, which failed to make David Schwimmer an A-lister–has prioritized (and been marketed based on) the plot. A monster attacks New York, a lonely boy befriends a vampire, intelligent apes struggle to coexist with humans. The Batman, like all DC superhero movies, will probably feature many big names, and it will need a guy at the helm who can keep all of them focused on telling the best tale they can.

Batman Is Like Caesar, in Reverse.

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Innocent as a child, a man who has become enhanced to the peak of his potential develops a thirst for justice, and the skills to attain it by any means necessary. He just wants to be left alone to do things his way, but if interlopers with more powerful weapons have an even 1% chance of becoming a threat, he must prepare. Haunted by memories of a dead parent, he grows more and more jaded, and is finally driven to kill.

That’s Batman in Batman V Superman. It’s also Caesar by the end of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. If all goes as we hope it will, Batman’s arc will be one of rediscovering his humanity and pulling away from the brutal, branding-iron version, when contrasted with the more amoral Deathstroke. Maybe that will happen to Caesar too. Regardless, if Reeves can make a CG chimp convey that internal struggle, he’ll have no problem with Ben Affleck.

Affleck Is Better When He’s Directed.

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As good as Ben Affleck is as a director, his own performance tends to be the least interesting thing about his movies. Affleck as an actor has been in some of the most derided films of all time (Gigli, Surviving Christmas) as well as more highly acclaimed ones (Hollywoodland, Gone Girl) and the pattern is clear: he’s good when paired with a visionary director who knows how to push him. Kevin Smith manages to bring out his funny side like nobody else, while David Fincher made us wonder if he was a murderer. Even Zack Snyder, whatever one thinks of the final movie, managed to convince the skeptics that Affleck was ultimately the right choice to play his vision of Batman.

Reeves directs effects-heavy films where you remember the characters more than anything. He can make us care about Bruce Wayne.

Reeves Can Do Effects-Heavy Action in Low Light.

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This is an underrated skill that it’s hard to appreciate until you see a movie where you can’t tell what’s going on during a darkened action scene. Yet never once during either Cloverfield or Let Me In does the viewer wonder what they’re seeing, and both feature digitally enhanced characters who do their primary damage at night. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes isn’t as night-heavy, but its many battles involving motion capture and stunt work in a dimly lit forest or tunnel show us that this guy can handle Bat-action.

He Has a Twisted Sense of Humor

You’ve probably forgotten what The Pallbearer was actually about, so let me remind you: David Schwimmer is asked to deliver the eulogy for a friend he does not remember, spends the funeral tastelessly hitting on Gwyneth Paltrow, then has sex with the dead friend’s mother.

Now, we’re definitely not saying Batman should do any of that. What we are saying is that every portrayal of Gotham City needs a little madness–and that particular directorial assignment proves Reeves has it.

Are we ourselves mad, or do you think we’ve gotten the right guy for the job? Tell us in comments how you think Matt Reeves might handle the Dark Knight.

 

Images: Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Overture Films


Will our theories still hold, under Reeves?

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