The Batman: Let's Stop Kicking A Movie When It's Down With Speculation
You may have heard by now that the Joker is getting a solo movie, completely disconnected from the current DCEU. Deadline broke the story that Martin Scorsese of all the people is involved with the project as a producer. According to the report, Hangover's Todd Phillips will co-write the movie with Scott Silver, the writer of 8 Mile. Todd Phillips will also serve as the director.
Two days ago, when the news broke, the reactions were mixed. While Scorsese's involvement in the project was lauded, fans were unsure about Todd's directorial record. The rumours of a gritty movie set in the crime laden era of the 80's, provided an opportunity for a unique take on the world's most famous super-villain. It was a faint hope that Warner Bros was looking at an alternative creative route to bring the super-hero stories to the big screen. The future suddenly looked slightly optimistic. Separated from the shackles of extended universes, there arose possibilities of hundreds of new standalone stories worthy of exploration.
But, a rumour began to swirl that the Joker project wasn't the only stand-alone in DC's pipeline. Someone dug up an obscure interview of Matt Reeves with KCRW from July and in it, he said this: "Well, I have a vision for a way to do something with that character that feels like it resonates with me personally, and a perspective that can grow out into other things. When (Warner Bros.) approached me, what they said was ‘look, it’s a standalone, it’s not part of the extended universe.
The story caught fire. All hell broke loose. Movie blogs and websites made declarations with the italicised quote in their writing as proof - The solo Ben Affleck Batman movies are dead. The media had played around with the speculation that Affleck was tired of playing Batman and wanted out. That quote from Matt Reeves provided some degree of credibility to their theories. DC was even more unplanned and clueless than generally perceived. They sucked. They were the reason for their demise.
It is very easy to get carried away by the news of it all. But, the truth is, no one bothered to verify the quote with either DC or Matt Reeves. Everyone ran the story because it was gaining traction online. The Batman Fandom is huge and they are anxious. It's ripe for emotional exploitation. With the spate of bad movies that DC had put forth, it was easy to just assume that they had no vision, and their new ideas reeked of desperation. All that confusion about Matt Reeves making a standalone movie was just one conversation away from resolution, but, no one had the patience to wait, as the other was getting the all important web traffic.
News articles from unverified sources and out-of-context quotes have become a norm. It's perhaps understandable when a small blog runs such headlines, but not when the biggest names in the business teeming with connections and resources to very important people in the industry are doing it as well. Wonder Woman sucked six months before its release, Justice League is unwatchable before it wraps additional photography and DC has secret plans for new superhero movies every day. All these rumours never have a reliable source. But, some in the news business know it makes great headlines.
Where does this leave the fans? In a sad and angry place. Joyous anticipation of your favourite superhero movies used to be a thing. Now everything DC makes is predetermined as a failure. Our cynicism has crept into our source of escapism. DC is in no way faultless, it's largely responsible for the mess through bad planning and execution. But, it's also setting things right. We got a sign of that with Wonder Woman and we are very positive about Matt Reeves. He directed one of the best movies this year and under his control, The Batman is in safe hands. But, does news like this help anyone? It's a needless distraction for the creators and for us as the audience, the negativity is sucking the life out of our favourite films.