Ben Affleck's The Batman was perhaps one of the worst kept secrets in Hollywood. From the very instant the Oscar-winning filmmaker was cast as Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, the Dark Knight, it seemed inevitable that he'd hop on board to direct a standalone flick. Batman is, after all, primarily a detective of sorts, and Affleck was a director with experience in the crime drama arena.
That October, we at LRM broke the scoop that Affleck would be directing a standalone Batman film, and that it would be given the simple, yet telling, title, The Batman. Of course, the problem with scoops is that oftentimes they come along really early on in the process, and at some point, things change, and all of a sudden, the scoop is no longer valid.
This was my greatest concern with The Batman -- I was worried they'd change the title at some point so that it was something more in line with, say, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, an awful title that fits in with today's pattern of creating overly-long and descriptive ones. Luckily for me, that terrible happenstance wouldn't come to pass.
It took a couple years, but WB finally confirmed Ben Affleck as director of the standalone Batman film, and just yesterday, Affleck confirmed that the title they were working with right now was indeed The Batman.
While the project was long since inevitable, there's something great about a title reveal. It make a film all the more tangible. No longer do I have to refer to it as "the standalone Batman film," and it makes it feel real. It's with this in mind that we thought this would be the perfect time to start crafting together a list of things we HAVE to see in this film.
This is by no means a definitive list, nor is it in a particular order, but here are five things we'd like to see in Ben Affleck's The Batman.
GIVE US A TRUE DETECTIVE STORY
This is probably the most obvious one in the list. Batman is well known in the comics as the world's greatest detective, and it's a side we've never really seen on the big screen. Sure, some may argue that Nolan's The Dark Knight was something of a detective story, but as audience members, we knew from the get-go that the Joker was the man behind everything, and so did Bruce. The main question was how could they stop him? On the whole, the story played out like a legit thriller more than mystery, which is great, but with the new film, we'd like to see more mystery.
Some of you may also argue that Batman's role in Batman v Superman was that of a detective, and to an extent, that's true. The problem with that, however, was that his subplot was one of many. I'd like his core mystery to be the driving force this time around, and for the stakes to be decidedly more personal than they were in that flick.
SHOW US ARKHAM ASYLUM
We saw in Suicide Squad that the Joker and Harley Quinn are a whole new breed of crazy that we've never seen on the big screen before. Of course, Gotham has always been home to the most unhinged of baddies, but with this new, dark DC Extended Universe, they have the potential to portray things in a whole different manner. We had a taste of Arkham in Suicide Squad, and we want to see more.
Some time ago, there were rumors that The Batman would be something of a Dredd/The Raid film set in Arkham Asylum, and while that would be cool, the reveal of Deathstroke as a villain certainly seems to chuck that idea in the can. Regardless, I'd still love to see the mental institution in some form or another. Perhaps in the midst of trying to solve the mystery of the film, Batman needs to consult one of his locked away villains. It's a predictable way to utilize the setting, but it can certainly set the tone and groundwork of the location for future films.
BATMAN AND DEATHSTROKE GO FISTICUFFS
I was a fan of Batman v Superman. In fact, after watching it as much as I have, I'm slowly coming around to the idea that it's a genuinely great film. Regardless, I acknowledge the its numerous flaws. One of these flaws, however did not lie in any of the Batman scenes. Simply put, the Batman was a bona fide badass in the flick. From his buff physique and surprising agility, he was by far the scariest we've seen him. One of the highlights of the film was that scene in the warehouse where he took on that legion of thugs.
Needless to say, this Batman can go toe-to-toe with anyone. It's with this in mind that I want to see Affleck's Batman mono y mono with Deathstroke. Hopefully by this point in the story, Batman will have worked out a way to take on a meta-human in his suit...and I wanna see a hard-boiled fight where all weapons from both sides have been stripped away, and all each party has are their fists and an iron will (plus, the Bats would honestly need something of an iron suit to survive the hits from Deathstroke, but that comes packaged in with the suit).
NO JUSTICE LEAGUE
This'll be the toughie. DC has already made it clear they like to sprinkle bits of superheroes in every one of their films, and in all honesty, that may be the way to go in most cases. As the universe gets bigger and bigger, it becomes harder and harder to justify one Justice League member not coming to the aid of another in a standalone flick.
That being said, Batman stories often work best alone, as they are often much more personal than that of his fellow Justice League brethren. Were the rest of his group to come in, they may very well suck out all the tension from the narrative. To top it all off, Batman is a loner by nature. It's all well and good to have him contribute in a larger story, but in a story centered around him, I much prefer they keep him solo. If they go this route, I just hope they give a good justification.
This may come across as a bit hypocritical. If you've been reading anything I've written in the past year, or have listened to things I've said in Los Fanboys Podcast, it's clear that nothing is precious to me. Call it a leftover from film school, where the idea of precious ideas was beat out of me. I don't care about Superman being a killer. I don't care if Batman's a killer. I don't care if the Flash is a hardboiled mech in a ballet uniform (okay, maybe not that far). The source material is there for inspiration. Nothing more. And these films are called adaptations, not transliterations. As such, it doesn't bother me to see Batman killing no less than 20 thugs in Batman v Superman. What matters to me is the storytelling. Does it all make sense in context of the story they're telling? Can I buy this version of Batman killing?
Batman v Superman saw Batman at his most darkest. He was jaded, he was cynical, and he was desperate. He'd spent decades protecting Gotham, and had therefore resorted to unprecedented violence, as was pointed out by Alfred. As of this point, it's unclear when The Batman takes place, but if the film takes place before BvS, then it's reasonable to assume that Batman's new violent streak wouldn't have existed yet, and if it takes place after, then I'd hope his newly-found faith in humanity would keep him from snapping the necks of any thugs this time around.
What about you? Do you agree with our list, and what would you add to it? What are you looking forward to seeing in Affleck's The Batman? Let us know in the comments down below!
Also, feel free to suggest any other lists you'd like to see in the near future!