Even though it would be an understatement to say that all signs point to Matt Reeves delivering a more than acceptable substitute, fans will always be left wondering how Ben Affleck’s version of The Batman would have turned out.
During the initial development stages, the actor was set to star, direct, co-write, and executive produce a standalone superhero blockbuster focusing on a grizzled Dark Knight, who was pitted against the formidable threat of Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke.
Slade Wilson would have torn Bruce Wayne’s life apart from the inside out, with Manganiello revealing he was planning to approach the character like a horror movie villain, even making comparisons to David Fincher’s acclaimed psychological thriller The Game.
While we’re left to wonder what might have been, Reeves did admit to Esquire Middle East that The Batman V1.0 would have been heavy on action, and was even reminiscent of a James Bond adventure.
“I read a script that they had that was a totally valid take on the movie. It was very action-driven. It was very deeply connected to the DCEU, with other major characters from other movies and other comics popping up. I just knew that when I read it this particular script was not the way I’d want to do it, I said ‘look, I think maybe I’m not the person for this’.
And I explained to them why I love this character. I told them that there have been so many great movies, but if I were to do this, I’d have to make it personal, so that I understood what I was going to do with it, so that I know where to put the camera, so that I know what to tell the actors, so that I know what the story should be. This take, I told them, pointing at the script, is a totally valid and exciting take. It is almost James Bond-ian, but it wasn’t something that I quite related to.”
Everything we’ve heard about Affleck’s take on The Batman makes it sound like it had the potential to be one of the best comic book adaptations we’ll never get to see, but if Reeves’ reboot lives up to the expectations set by the various promotional materials we’ve seen so far, it’ll go a long way to softening the blow.