Whatever skepticism there was over the announcement that Matt Reeves will be the next director to tackle a standalone Batman movie has all but evaporated in the wake of the euphoric reviews for his latest monkeys v. humans saga, War for the Planet of The Apes. It’s the polar the opposite of what happened to Colin Trevorrow, whose upcoming family tale The Book of Henry was so savaged by critics, it left Star Wars fans and industry insiders openly wondering if he should be booted from the director’s chair of the ninth official installment of the beloved franchise.
Now Reeves is earning even more good will from the crucial fan boy demographic, after he told New Trailer Buzz that he intends to focus on the “noir” elements of the Batman mythos while bringing the Caped Crusader back to his detective roots.
“In all of [my] films, what I try to do, in an almost Hitchcockian sense, is use the camera and use the storytelling so that you become that character, and you emphasize with that point of view,” Reeves said. “There’s a chance to do an almost noir-driven detective version of Batman that is point-of-view driven in a very, very powerful way, that will hopefully connect you to what’s going on inside of his head and inside of his heart.“
Unlike his superhero counterparts, Batman wasn’t blessed with extraordinary powers to help him fight crime. He relies on hyper intelligence and a prodigious resourcefulness that made him something of a gothic Sherlock Holmes. In his acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Nolan all but abandoned that side of the caped crusader, depicting him instead as an agent of fear, intimidation and brute force. (Instead of deducing where the MacGuffin was using clues, he asked his foes where it was using an over-the-top growly voice.)
Since Reeves’ film—which marks the first solo Batman movie in Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe and is tentatively titled The Batman—doesn’t even have a release date, it’ll be some time before any plot details are revealed. One possible option could be structuring a story around Victor Zsasz, the self-mutilating serial killer who made his most indelible mark on the Batman universe in the Knightfall saga, where he held an entire all-girls school hostage.
Pitting Batman against a traditional serial killer could ground the story in a realism that was missing from Batman v Superman and will surely be non-existent in the upcoming Justice League. It could also work well for Reeves’ noir vision, especially if he treats Gotham in the same way David Fincher treated the unnamed city in Seven; a grim rain-soaked hellscape where evil lurks around every corner. If Reeves wants to cast Kevin Spacey as Zsasz, we wouldn’t be mad at that, either.