Top 10 Filmmakers Who Can Tackle The Batman Reboot

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Stepping into the shoes of Christopher Nolan is a daunting task, no matter what the job calls for. He’s one of Hollywood’s greatest directors and to follow in his footsteps is a bold move that not many filmmakers would dare attempt.

With Nolan’s final film in his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, now out of theatres, Warner Bros. has turned their attention to rebooting the series. The director has stated many times that under no circumstances will he return, which leaves the studio with the colossal task of finding a new director to sit behind the camera. It’s almost as big a job as finding a new actor to play Batman.

While the studio is keeping super quiet on who they have on their watchlist, we have ten candidates that we think may do a pretty good job.

Join us as we explore ten filmmakers that can tackle Batman in the upcoming reboot.

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Duncan Jones

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If you’ve been reading the site for a while, you know how much we love Mr. Duncan Jones.

Jones is a very exciting filmmaker. He showed that he can do a lot with a little with his stunning debut Moon and in his sophomore effort Source Code, we saw that just because the director had a bigger budget, it didn’t mean that his vision was compromised. He was able to mix heart, brains and thrills into Source Code and deliver an excellent finished product.

Heart, brains and thrills you say? Hmm, sounds like something that the Bat reboot could use.

Currently, Jones is hard at work on an Ian Fleming biopic and also has a couple other projects in development, but I think he should seriously pursue the Batman reboot.

He was shortlisted for The Wolverine and Man of Steel, so he’s already a popular name in the superhero genre. His unique vision may offer a different take on the franchise, but it would definitely be welcome.

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Darren Aronofksy

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Hey Warner Bros., want to take Nolan’s dark and gritty outlook on Batman and make it even darker and grittier? Then call up Mr. Darren Aronofsky. After he’s done with his biblical epic Noah, that is.

If there’s one man who can surely have a deft handle on the tale of Batman, it’s Darren Aronofsky. Time and time again the director has dazzled audiences with his unique eye and his dark and disturbing films.

Ever since his debut film Pi, Aronofsky has been one of Hollywood’s most interesting and ambitious directors. He continues to make unique and bold films that are really like nothing else out there.

Aside from all that though, there’s another reason Darren is on this list, and that’s because of his history. For those who don’t know, after Joel Schumacher destroyed what was left of an already tarnished reputation for the Bat with his horrid 1997 film Batman and Robin, Aronofsky was asked to reboot the franchise. Warner Bros. hired him to write a script based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel Batman: Year One.

The script went onto become what is now known as Batman Begins. Furthermore, Aronofsky was also the man who brought Christian Bale into the picture. Though he was offered to direct, he chose to do The Fountain instead. His script was then re-shaped (it was a bit too violent) and was turned into the screenplay for Batman Begins.

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Alfonso Cuaron

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Few filmmakers impress me as much as Alfonso Cuaron. But I don’t have to tell you that, I’m sure you’ve seen Children of Men.

The man is already in Warner Bros.’ good books (after helming the very successful Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for them) so why not trust him with another one of their franchises? His inspired and daring direction is always a treat for the eyes and he’s no stranger to dark and grim material.

As well shot and framed as Nolan’s films are, I think Cuaron is a step above the aforementioned director and to see his unique direction and assured camerawork lend itself to a franchise like Batman, well, I think that could make for a very interesting film.

To be completely honest though, I shouldn’t even have to explain why Cuaron is so great. Rent Children of Men and watch the car ambush scene.

Enough said.

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Alex Proyas

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Once again, a director not afraid to go to the dark side, Alex Proyas is responsible for one of my favorite films of all time, Dark City. God, I love that movie.

Looking for more darkness to add to the knight? What about The Crow? Not familiar with it? It’s a superhero film directed by Proyas and like Nolan’s Batman films, it’s quite dark and gritty. It’s another excellent effort from the director and like Dark City, it’s a film I truly love.

Judging by the dazzling and dark world that Proyas created in Dark City, I think he’d give us a great Gotham, one full of style, character and stunning visuals. One that is unique and convincing and maybe even a tad more fantastical than the one we saw from Nolan. Perhaps we can get more of a dystopian Gotham?

Proyas was also heavily praised for The Crow, with film critic Roger Ebert calling it the best comic book universe he had ever seen and countless other critics praising the film for its mood, style and smoothness. Then again, that was back in 1994, before Nolan gave us his universe.

Either way, like so many others on this list, Proyas is a visionary filmmaker and one who can give us a very interesting, and different Batman tale.

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Danny Boyle

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An unlikely choice for sure, but hear me out first. The kinetic, always exciting, never disappointing Danny Boyle would bring something truly special to the Batman series that could be just what the series needs.

For one, there’s something to be said about a director who hasn’t made a bad film. Sure, maybe The Beach wasn’t his strongest effort but even in the weaker Boyle films, there’s a lot to like. Speaking of his films, the man is a chameleon when it comes to genres, always givings us something different and never afraid to step out of his comfort zone.

The visceral thrill and exhilaration found in Boyle’s films is a rare thing to find in Hollywood these days but if he could infuse that seamlessly into Batman‘s universe, we could have an excellent film to marvel at.

Danny Boyle + Superhero film? It just may work. After all, it’s just about the only genre that he hasn’t touched yet.

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Rian Johnson

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Though some may say he’s too inexperienced to tackle a franchise like Batman, I think that Rian Johnson would make an excellent choice. At the very least, the director could give us a smart, sophisticated and tightly woven tale, one that appeals more to the intellect than the brawn. Perhaps a heady, high-concept Batman film wouldn’t please the higher ups at Warner Bros. but a bit of brains never hurt anyone, right?

After seeing Looper (which has already screened for the press), we know that he can craft a convincing world for the Caped Crusader to play in. The director’s sharp eye makes for some wonderful composition and smart filmmaking, filmmaking that’s actually reminiscent of Mr. Nolan in some cases.

Perhaps he needs a few more credits under his belt, but if given enough time, I say give Johnson a shot.

If you’re unfamiliar with his work, check out the trailer for Looper below.

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Gavin O’Connor

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The hard edge and grittiness of films like Warrior and Pride and Glory bring to mind Gavin O’Connor for the director’s chair on the Batman reboot. Throw in the heart in a film like Miracle and I think O’Connor’s filmography speaks for itself.

Though not exactly a “big name,” I do think that he would make a fine choice for the project. I’ve been a fan since Miracle and by the time I saw Warrior I was convinced of O’Connor’s talent.

Like Johnson, another well reviewed film or two under his belt may lend him more credibility but as it stands, this is one director that I’m going to keep my eye on.

I can only hope that Warner Bros. does the same.

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David Fincher

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Want a dark-er take on the Dark Knight? Look no further than David Fincher. Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the man isn’t afraid to go to some dangerous and deeply disturbing places. Perhaps it’d be a bit too much for a commercially lucrative figure like the Bat but if he could tone it down a bit, I think he could do wonders with the character.

There are truly few filmmakers out there that are on the same level as David Fincher. As a director, he’s arguably never slipped up, offering one tremendous film after another. Each one so precisely put together that it just screams perfection. He’s one of the most interesting filmmakers currently working in Hollywood and the release of each of his films is reason to celebrate.

I can tell you all the reasons that I love each of his movies, but at this stage my point would be moot. If you’re reading this article you likely know who David Fincher is and why he deserves all the praise in the world. He’s truly a genius and I would be remiss not to put him on this list.

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Nicolas Winding Refn

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Drive blew me the f**k away. Seriously, it was one hell of a movie and it brought director Nicolas Winding Refn right into the spotlight.

The perfectly crafted and brilliantly executed film more than proved the Danish director’s talent. The slick and polished Drive is only one of the many bright spots on the director’s filmography though. Check out Bronson or Pusher, both further proof of his talent as a filmmaker.

Though there’s no chance that Refn would ever accept a project like Batman, we can still dream, right? The added level of visceral excitement and pure exhilaration that Refn could add to the franchise would be fantastic. Plus, we all know that he can get the best out of his actors. Ryan Gosling and Tom Hardy have both given their best work in Refn’s films.

A Refn directed Batman film would be something to behold. A dizzying, dazzling, brilliantly constructed film that doesn’t waste a frame. That sentence may not sound akin to modern day superhero films but would it be too ambitious to try and re-invent the genre? After all, Christopher Nolan did it.

Haven’t seen Refn’s Drive yet? Check out the awesome red band trailer below.

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Ridley Scott

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Another unlikely choice but as one of my favorite filmmakers, Sir Ridley needed a place on this list. Big budget epics are run of the norm for Mr. Scott and being handed a $200 million plus allowance for a large scale film like Batman could result in something wondrous.

Scott is also a very deep and thoughtful filmmaker, giving us films with tons of substance, subtext and analogy, something that Nolan did in some capacity with his trilogy but something that Scott could do much better.

As a world builder, Scott is king and to see him construct Gotham City would be a real treat. On a visual level alone it would fascinate. Think of the dark, dystopic world in Blade Runner and imagine how something like that could play out in the Caped Crusader’s next adventure. Oh the things he could do.

In case you haven’t seen Scott’s latest film, Prometheus, we’ve embedded the trailer below for your viewing pleasure.

So there you have it, ten directors that I’d love to see helm the next Batman film. What do you think? Agree or disagree?

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  • Jeremy Lebens

    Rian Johnson, Duncan Jones and Darren Aronofsky sound like great picks, but I’d really like to see Alex Proyas handle Batman, even though I don’t care for much of his films. His dark and broody atmospheres are Tim Burton-ish, without the constant need for heavy makeup and eye shadow.

    I think pretty much any of these could tackle Batman just fine with the exception of Refn. Refn is a MASTERCLASS director, but Batman just doesn’t fit his style.

  • Jeremy Lebens

    I’m also randomly thinking of Sam Mendes, especially after all of this Skyfall promotion.

  • Silrian

    I think the best way to re-conceive Batman is to step away from Nolan’s realistic grittiness. I think the Arkham games are a great example of the more fantastical Batman having a near equal amount of deep quality. Though I’m a ridiculous fan of Nolan, especially his DK films, I do would say that there still hasn’t been the definitive Batman film with regards to all his classic trademarks. Especially his more common crime-fighting/detective aspects fell a little short in the grand ideologic scale of Nolan’s “Batman is a symbol “style.

    This having said I think the Wachowski’s are the best thing that comes to my mind right now. They have the experience, the prowess, the visual talent, the intellect. I think they’re one of the few with the potential to truly match Nolan’s run in quality. Perhaps Paul Dini as a writer?

  • yahoo

    I am not sure whoever wrote this article is thinking. Do you think WB is gonna put their number one ace up the sleeve in hands of someone who wants to try to make darker batman? In fact, WB will let batman as dark as it got w/ these 3 trilogy. Any darker, you are looking at batman paranormal activity. WB should hand this into already proven director. Did I mention batman is only superhero they have got who can consistently bank out big money?

  • Devanes

    No James Cameron?
    Ridley Scott is a great choice.

  • Ribet Introductions

    You left one mate, what about Gareth Evans? Director of The Raid:Redemption. This guy can do action like I haven’t seen before! That coupled with an amazing script, would be a mind blowing perfect storm to the franchise, the next level so to speak?