Matt Reeves’ The Batman will feature a full rogues gallery, with multiple villains taking on The Caped Crusader. When Reeves’ film does finally hit screens in 2021, a new actor will be playing the role of Batman, as Ben Affleck has officially stepped away from the character after playing him in three movies.
Much speculation has swirled around The Batman ever since Reeves was announced to be taking on the project. Recently, Reeves has come out to publicly clarify a number of matters, including the film’s title – which for now remains The Batman. Reeves says his take on The Dark Knight will be a noirish one, with Batman doing some real detective work this time around. The detective element of the character has of course largely been ignored by the action-driven Batman movies of recent decades.
As for Batman’s adversary in Reeves’ movie, it appears the writer/director has some ambitious plans there as well. In an interview with THR, Reeves revealed that Batman will face not one bad guy this time but a full rogues gallery. As for which specific villains will make up this rogues gallery, Reeves was predictably tight-lipped. However, when THR brought up the possibility of Josh Gad playing The Penguin - an idea the internet has taken to with great eagerness - Reeves did offer up that he “loves” Gad and is “good friends” with the actor.
The multiple villain approach is one that has been tried a few times in Batman movie history, with mixed results. Memorably, Tim Burton’s Batman Returns brought in both The Penguin (Danny DeVito) and Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) to good effect. On the not-so-good side of the ledger, Batman Forever paired Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) with The Riddler (Jim Carrey). After that misstep, Joel Schumacher pushed things even farther by putting Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) and Bane (Jeep Swenson) in his notorious debacle Batman & Robin.
In the grittier, more realistic Batman era ushered in by Christopher Nolan, fans have seen Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) and Ra's Al Ghul (Liam Neeson) paired up for Batman Begins, and of course The Joker (Heath Ledger) and Two-Face (Aaron Eckhart) for The Dark Knight. For The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan made Bane (Tom Hardy) into a classic movie villain while also sort of depicting an anti-hero Catwoman (Anne Hathaway). In the DCEU proper, Batman has yet to enjoy a solo movie, so fans have not yet seen most of the classic villains from the comic books. Indeed, Batman's most memorable adversary thus far in the DCEU has been his fellow Justice League member Superman.
Matt Reeves obviously has a huge list of potential rogues gallery members to choose from, and it will be interesting to see what villainous roster he and Warner Bros. finally settle on. Will the movie stick with villains like The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face, Bane and others who’ve yet to pop up in the DCEU? Or will the movie bring in The Joker – who is set to be played by Joaquin Phoenix in a gritty origin movie – or perhaps Margot Robbie’s newly-emancipated Harley Quinn? Or maybe Reeves and company will dig deep into the Batman catalog and find some interesting villains who have yet to be depicted in movies at all. There's also the possibility that Reeves could bring Arkham Asylum into the mix. No doubt, fans will be watching closely as more details about The Batman emerge in the coming months.
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