Batman is one of the most famous superheroes ever created, with the number of comics, films, shows, cartoons, video games and other assorted media based on him making the Dark Knight one of the most prolific fictional characters of the last century. In the last thirty years alone, he's been at the center of ten live-action films, with another (the stand-alone Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix) scheduled to premiere later this year. And that's not even counting all the animated films that have been released that heavily feature the character.
Director Matt Revees is currently at work on The Batman, which is expected to film this year, but as the rest of the DC Universe has begun to explode on the big screen, maybe the time is right to take a break from the Caped Crusader, at least for a little while. Yes, we're excited to see what Matt Reeves brings to the character, but the question of whether we really need another Batman movie right now is one worth asking.
DC Means More Than Just Detective Comics
It's understandable why Warner Bros. is ready to go back to the well with Batman right now. Arguably the most popular character in the DC Universe, stories focusing on or even just around Batman tend to perform well. He's so big, he doesn't even have to appear in a project any ,ore, as seen in Gotham and coming soon in the form of The Joker and Pennyworth, all of which are set entirely as prequels.
But the DC Universe is more than just one city and its hero. It's a massive reality, just full of characters that aren't named Batman. But Warner Bros. and DC have never really had the confidence lean solely on those characters. It's why it took so long to get a Wonder Woman movie in theaters, and why even the most recent Superman film ended up being almost completely focused on Bruce Wayne. Now, however, the DC Extended Universe has finally given the studio the proof it needs to understand that other characters than Batman can be successful.
Make Way For Aquaman
Aquaman just crossed $1 billion at the global box office, overtaking The Dark Knight, and may yet manage to surpass The Dark Knight Rises to become the most successful DC film of all time. This, in the wake of the cultural impact of Wonder Woman in 2017, and the excitement around other upcoming DC films like Shazam, shows that the DCEU doesn't;t need a bat symbol shining in the sky in order to be successful.
While Birds of Prey will presumably take place in Gotham City and focus on frequent Batman villain Harley Quinn, the film will presumably eschew any appearances by the caped crusader in favor of following Harley and the other heroines of the city. Wonder Woman: 1984 will explore what a super hero battle during the heyday of the 1980's will look like, well before Bruce donned the cowl. And while Shazam references Batman as a presence in the world, it will focus on the magical side of the DC Universe rather than Gotham's mean streets. There are other good characters and stories to the DC Universe outside of Batman, and Warner Bros. has finally realized and embraced this fact.Sort of.
Break The Bat
Matt Reeves is a strong director and writer. He was able to turn the Planet of the Apes prequel films Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes into some of the most thought provoking and well-made blockbusters of the last decade. If anyone has the talent and passion to bring Batman back to the big screen, it's him.
But wouldn't that skill be better used elsewhere? Imagine Reeves jumping onto something like the abandoned Justice League Dark, melding his experience with horror films into a terrifying version of a super hero horror movie. Or giving him the chance to explore and elevate sci-fi concepts like Green Lantern to the same level he took the Planet of the Apes franchise.
Getting Reeves on board for a DC film is an exciting prospect, but seeing him work on a Batman movie seems like wasted potential. We've already seen so many incarnations of the character, it would be genuinely refreshing to see Reeves tackle something wholly unique. Batman has received a staggering amount of overexposure, especially in the last decade, so it's a little disappointing to know that rather than a big screen debut for, say, Hawkgirl or Martian Manhunter, we're going to be getting another outing from Batman.
We're not saying we don't ever want to see Batman on the big screen again. Far from it, actually. But it's time to see the rest of the DC Universe expand on the big screen, and to give Batman some time away from the movies, if only for a little while longer.