The rumor mill has been churning of late with regards to the standalone Batman film. The expected timeline for new Batman appearances in the DC Cinematics Universe (DCCU) are actually fairly complex, though. Of course, the first look we get at the rebooted Batman with Ben Affleck will come next March 26th with the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Then, in August of 2016, Batman will appear in some fashion in Suicide Squad, but this role is expected to be ancillary. Once we get into 2017 and beyond, we have three announced films: The Justice League Parts One and Two, and an untitled Batman standalone film. Rumors are that the film will simply be titled, “The Batman”, but that has yet to be confirmed. What has been confirmed, though, is that Ben Affleck will not only be in front of the camera for the reboot, but also behind it and in the writers’ room with DC’s Geoff Johns.
Ben Affleck received a lot of scorn when he was announced as the new Batman, and is often criticized for his acting abilities due to his presence in some very suspect films like Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, and Jersey Girl. But, I think this announcement bodes well for the franchise chiefly because Affleck has yet to falter as a director or as a writer. His directing credits include Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo. He also is credited as a screenwriter for Gone Baby Gone and The Town, and of course owns a writing Oscar for his work on Good Will Hunting. All of these films are incredibly strong, with The Town being the weakest of the bunch. It is rare that an actor transitions to director so gracefully and with such success, but Affleck definitely pulled it off. That he gets a shot at near complete control over the portrayal of Batman should excite fans thoroughly.
And Affleck certainly has a particular vision for Batman, and that the audience is supportive of different actors offering their portrayal of the character. “Batman is basically the American version of Hamlet. We accept that he’s played by actors with different interpretations”, said Affleck in an Entertainment Weekly interview. As for how Affleck seeks to differentiate his Batman from all the others, “He’s at the end of his run and maybe the end of his life. There’s this sort of world-weariness to it.” This Batman, drawn largely from the pages of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, has not been seen on the big screen before. We got a glimpse of this tone at the very beginning of The Dark Knight Rises when Christian Bale walked around on a cane for the first third of the film, but it was a fleeting distraction that was discarded in favor of the determined and selfless Batman from the first two films. With Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and the Justice League films, we will be introduced to a different Batman, and it will all culminate in a precisely choreographed depiction of the character, almost entirely from Affleck’s vision. The standalone film is years in the future – but still warrants anticipation.