Ben Affleck is reportedly out as Batman, and so it'd only be right for The Batman to now separate itself fully from the DCEU. The development of the standalone film for the Caped Crusader has been through a lot of changes over the past year, with Affleck stepping down as writer-director and replaced by Matt Reeves. Now it seems like he's out as the titular role too. While there have already been suggestions that Reeves wants to distance his project from the rest of the DC Extended Universe, with this final step it feels like the only course of action.
The Batman is currently still in pre-production, and with the future of the franchise unclear after Justice League it's not known when cameras will roll let alone when the picture will actually hit theaters. But whenever that winds up being, it's in Bruce Wayne's best interest for him to stand apart. Today we're going to look at why.
What's The Best Approach For The Batman? (This Page)
The Logan And Deadpool Factor
The shared universe model was started by Marvel back in 2008 and since then has essentially transformed modern Hollywood, with every studio now attempting to mimic their success. But we're actually going through another seismic shift in the superhero genre right now, one that fans and studios haven't quite acknowledged.
It all started with 2016's Deadpool, a raunchy superhero comedy that took the world by storm. This was followed up this year with Logan. Hugh Jackman's swan song, this was a superhero movie crossed with a bloody and brutal Western. It was also another box office hit, grossing over $616 million against a budget of just $97 million. Fox is following this up with next year's New Mutants, a movie that essentially launches a superhero horror trilogy.
Fox has taken a much more flexible approach to the shared universe model than Marvel. Accepting that their continuity is convoluted (to say the least), they've chosen to just not tie their films together at all. That's allowed them to give their directors an unprecedented amount of creative freedom, leading to movies that are unlike any superhero films to date. It's proving to be a remarkable success, and The Batman would benefit from similar freedom.
This Approach Can Work For Batman
As we'll get into properly shortly, the shared universe model hasn't exactly worked out for Warner Bros. With the exception of Wonder Woman, each film in the DCEU has grossed less than the one before it. Fox's model, on the other hand, offers the chance to pivot to a different approach.
Batman is the ideal test subject for such an experiment, not least because DC Comics have been doing that with the Dark Knight for decades. Batman has far more standalone graphic novels than any other hero and so is most open to reinterpretation. With WB clearly dipping a toe in the "Elseworlds" waters with the Scorsese Joker film, it's definitely something the studio is thinking on.
You can see the same pattern if you cast your eyes to the Batman films too. Tim Burton's 1989 classic was a moody and atmospheric film that essentially reinvented the Dark Knight, creating a whole new look and style for Gotham. Meanwhile, Christopher Nolan's trilogy was just as experimental for its time, a dark and atmospheric saga that's steeped in realism.
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- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019