Welcome to The Top 5, where every week, we list five things for a given topic. These topics can range from "5 Things We Liked About The Power Rangers Teaser Trailer" to "5 Things We Want (Or Don't Want) In Ben Affleck's The Batman."
Of course, because everyone has an opinion, there is sure to be some disagreements, which is why, despite the title "The Top 5," very rarely are these actual "best of" articles. Instead, they're meant to provide entertaining insight, and to stir a discussion, and give everyone a chance to speak their mind.
If you have a suggestion for a Top 5 piece, send them my way via #TheTop5LRM on Twitter. If I choose your topic, I'll be sure to give you a shoutout!
Now, on with today's topic!
5 MORE DIRECTORS WHO COULD HELM THE BATMAN!
It’s been just over a week since Ben Affleck announced that he’d be departing as director of the standalone Batman film, and in that time a lot has happened. There have been endless speculations as to the true reason for his departure, as well as plenty of justification as to why this could be a good thing. Yes, while Affleck leaving as director is a kick to the pants for those of us who love his work, there’s no denying that taking on the role of writer, producer, actor, and director of a $200 million blockbuster is enough to make anyone a bit nervous.
Last week, we gave a bit of a rundown of five directors who were rumored to be in the running to pick up where Affleck left off. Among those five were War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves, The Accountant director Gavin O’Connor, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve, Captain Fantastic director Matt Ross, and finally, Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller. In the time since that initial Forbes report, Villeneuve has hopped on board the Dune remake, essentially taking himself out of the running, and leaving the other four on the shortlist.
While there’s a lot to be excited about with these four filmmakers, a shortlist is never set in stone, and here at LRM, we thought it would be fun to talk about five other talented helmers outside of the shortlist who could take on The Batman.
I know what you’re thinking. “Pete Who?” You’d be forgiven for not knowing the guys’ name, as his number of high profile pictures are pretty low. There is one, however, that stands out among the bunch: the 2012 Dredd remake.
This was a flick that hardly anyone expected to be worth your time. The trailers were underwhelming, and while the comic was beloved among fans, the only thing most mainstream audiences had it to compare to was the god-awful Sylvester Stallone flick. But instead of a silly, campy remake of the cult favorite, we got a grounded, well-paced, and well-executed story that had the confidence to keep its world isolated within the confines of a 200-story slum tower block.
Because the story was so confined, Travis and his team were able to focus on one thing: making the action as badass and hard-hitting as it needed to be. While it’s unclear just how big The Batman’s story will be, it’s not unreasonable to expect its scope to be toned down from the likes of Justice League. Unlike many of the superheroes in the DC Extended Universe, Batman’s struggles don’t always have to be a threat to the entire world.
Evans is another fitting choice given our first director on this list. Many often compare the Dredd remake to Evans’ seminal martial arts flick, The Raid: Redemption, which features a similar premise involving the ascent of a tower building. In fact, because of The Raid’s tackling of the plot first, many tend to dismiss Pete Travis’ Dredd as a cheap imitation.
Regardless of where you fall in this argument, there’s no denying that Evans shows some real action shops in The Raid. The martial arts scenes are out of this world, and even a fraction of that can be carried over to the fights in The Batman, we can get some fight scenes that can more than rival that evocative warehouse scene in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
So you may be noticing a theme here between all the directors we’ve chosen here. The first two directors had our heroes trapped in a high-rise, and Joon-Ho Bong’s 2013 film Snowpiercer pretty much takes that same idea and flips it on its side. Instead of a high-rise, our heroes are confined on a train that’s been divided into classes. For the most part, we’re going for directors with experience in action in small enclosed spaces. With Batman v Superman and Justice League pushing the envelope in terms of scope, it would only make sense that a Batman movie would get pulled down to a more human level.
It’s hard to get more human than a statement on a classist society and how human nature always leads to a divide. What’s more, if The Batman decides to go the route of an Arkham Asylum-focused plot, we may very well have the Caped Crusader doing what he can to escape the loony bin from some of his most dangerous foes.
Bong managed to bring that extra human element to Snowpiercer, and with him wrapping up his next project, Okja, he may very well be ready to take on his next big Hollywood project.
Before Johnson had set up camp over in a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, he was well known for his more low key titles, including Brick and Looper. While those two movies have very little in common when it comes to their subject matter, they both have dark, film noir-ish tones that are in-keeping with some of Batman’s slower stories.
While we’ve had plenty of amazing Batman films over the years, we haven’t quite been able to see him as “the world’s greatest detective.” In addition to having experience with mysteries, Johnson has proven his ability to bring a serious and grounded tone to his work. Though while his work does show some real grit, it’s a completely different type of grit from what we’ve seen in Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy.
A more stylized grit that would be at home within the established DC Extended Universe. Now the only question is whether or not Johnson would be able to hop right into another big budget movie after taking on Star Wars — and would Disney even let him go? That remains to be seen.
This guy made his big splash in Hollywood with a well produced short film entitled Panic Attack! He caught the eye of horror master Sam Raimi, and has gone to helm both the Evil Dead remake, and last year’s surprising thriller, Don’t Breathe. All of his work show his technical skills, as well as his ability to convey horror and suspense to the viewers.
Make no mistake, at the end of the day, Batman is a concept that has some deep roots in horror. The man dresses up as a giant bat in attempts to scare his enemies. While the fight scenes in Don’t Breathe don’t hold a candle to the likes of Dredd or The Raid, there is an intimacy there that helps make it just as effective as any martial arts or shootout scene ever could. That intimacy could help to lead Batman’s darker scenes to have an eeriness that no other director has been able to capture yet.
So what do you think of these directors? Can you see any of these guys tackling the Caped Crusader’s next big flick? Who else can you see helming Affleck in the upcoming DC movie? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments down below.