The Batman seems to be more of a drama for all its seeming production delays, its possible departure from the DC film universe, and the ambiguous status of star Ben Affleck than for anything director Matt Reeves may put on the screen. And the question marks surrounding the film means Reeves faces constant scrutiny about the project, even when promoting his new series The Passage at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Thursday, according to Deadline.
Pressed to describe the film in the light of rumors it is a more direct adaptation of Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One than Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, Reeves declared, “Obviously we’re not doing any origin tales or anything like that,” adding that the fill put the emphasis on Batman “being the world’s greatest detective.”
Despite debuting in Detective Comics, Batman’s investigative prowess did not become a major focus until the 1970s, when the character shed the camp of the 1950 and 60s for a harder edge spearheaded by writer Denny O’Neil and frequent collaborator Neal Adams. The pair took Batman international with Silver St. Cloud as a constant foil and Ra’s Al Ghul as an opponent eager to test the detective. Though earlier stories posited he was a great criminologist, his legendary status as the world’s greatest detective — an honor he shares with literary figure Sherlock Holmes — truly took root with O’Neil’s scripts.
And it seems Reeves may be a fan of that era as he described the film to reporters as a “noir-driven” film “in which Batman is investigating a particular case that takes us out into the world of Gotham.” He said the film will have ties to the DC Universe, but evaded revealing which universe he was referring to. Late last year, Reeves started a firestorm online by suggesting The Batman would be a standalone film outside of the continuity established in Man of Steel. Warner Bros. Pictures and Reeves himself had to clarify that the film is meant to be part of the film universe which continues with Aquaman in December.
Of course, the project’s chances of remaining part of the Justice League world depends on Affleck. According to Reeves, he is still involved, but declined to confirm whether or not the actor will put on the cape and cowl again.
All that said, I’d love to see a movie in which the Batman is established, portrayed as a detective, and outside his usual geographical confines. If getting that means Affleck walks, then I’ll be happy to see him leave.