whileThe Batman has a new director. Matt Reeves, who’s best known for directing Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and War for the Planet of the Apes has signed on to direct and produce the film in Ben Affleck’s stead. The word comes from Deadline, after word broke that he was a top choice for the role earlier this month and after a week of back and forth that almost saw him depart from the film. He’s an excellent choice for picking up an intense action film, and he might be the type of director that the DC Extended Universe needs.
Following his stint as Batman in Batman v Superman, Ben Affleck had been named as director and writer for the upcoming standalone film featuring the character. However, Affleck stepped away from the role of director in January, noting that he didn’t feel he could do both direct and act in the film. Following Affleck’s departure, Reeves had been named as a frontrunner for the director’s chair.
“I have loved the Batman story since I was a child,” Reeves said in a press release, according to io9. “He is such an iconic and compelling character, and one that resonates with me deeply. I am incredibly honored and excited to be working with Warner Bros. to bring an epic and emotional new take on the Caped Crusader to the big screen.” There’s no word on when the film will hit theaters.
Affleck’s departure from the project was a loss for the film — he has received acclaim as a director for his work on Gone Baby Gone and The Town, and earned a Golden Globe and BAFTA Award for Best Director for his work on Argo. While it would have been interesting to see just what Affleck would have done behind the camera, Reeves will be a good replacement.
Reeves, however, is certainly a good choice for picking up his duties, especially with the issues that Warner Bros. has been having with their critically maligned, if financially successful, cinematic universe. Reeves is no stranger to other big franchise films. However, he’s cautious about them, telling IndieWire back in 2014, “I’m always looking for a reason to say no when I’m approached about a big studio tentpole because your fear is will you be consumed into the anonymous machine and it will suck out any specificity and point of view that you might hope to express.”
Reeves could offer something that the DCEU desperately needs: a focus on characters and story. His film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a rare example of a sequel film that quietly does everything right. Reeves behind the wheel of a standalone film probably isn’t enough to change the course for Warners, but he could be a good step in the right direction.