OP ED: Why Matt Reeves Deserves Creative Control over ‘The Batman’




John McKee

For a while, it looked like Matt Reeves just might not direct our next Batman film. News spread like wildfire that he had backed down and wouldn’t take the project, despite reaching “final talks” just weeks before. Per Birth. Movies. Death. Matt Reeves had “finally seen Batman v Superman and run away while he still could.”

Interestingly enough, Reeves signed on about a week and a half later to direct The Batman. Perhaps he had seen Batman v Superman and decided to add his name to the incredibly talented DC Universe. But what kept him from signing on in the first place? Money is an unlikely answer; Warner Bothers knows how much they have to shovel out for Batman films. The most obvious issue was creative control.

Seth Graham-Smith, Michele MacLauren, Rick Famuyiwa, David Ayer. All names of directors in the DC Universe who either left due to “creative differences” or in the case of Ayer, stayed on only to witness his film carved up and rehashed by test audiences and studio interference. Zack Snyder was demoted a tad on Justice League and Ben Affleck promoted as a way to respond to Batman v Superman’s reviews (ironically brought about mostly by the studio’s interference—we got the 2.5 hour slap job instead of the masterpiece Snyder originally had in mind now called the Ultimate Edition). So Warner Bros., the studio with a history of letting directors do their thing, has been unafraid of late to say “no” to a director.

Which is why Matt Reeves must be given full creative control over The Batman (and probably has) in order to make the film as great as possible. Ben Affleck wanted less to shoulder when he stepped down from The Batman. If WB/DC wants Affleck to make a Batman trilogy then it all rests on The Batman’s success. There is no indication (as Affleck said) that he will leave the role prematurely—there are huge loose ends to tie up, such as the Knightmare sequences in Batman v Superman. There is so much to explore with this character. So in order to keep Reeves on and make the film great, the studio needs to do what they did before—hand it over and TRUST the director. Tim Burton in 1980s. Christopher Nolan in early 2000s. Matt Reeves 2010s.

Great Batman films come from a healthy director-actor relationship. Affleck has gone on to say the director is the “artist” who makes Batman look right on set and in post: Affleck and Terrio write the comics and the director draws them to life. Matt Reeves has a history with the Apes franchise of not only rescuing it last minute, but intuitively realizing which character to focus the films on. With that kind of eye for filmmaking and characterization, Reeves can easily get The Batman off the ground and possibly help top The Dark Knight as the most widely acclaimed Batman film of all time. All that needs to happen is Warner Bros. taking a step back. They have done their job to this point by signing Affleck, Reeves, Terrio, and the rest. They need to trust Matt Reeves to handle the film and give him carte blanche to do what he needs to do to make the very best Batman film that he can.

Fan Panic


Drew Kiess


Ben Affleck is out. The Batman is over, light the script on fire and reboot the DCEU. Now Matt Reeves is “committed.” I loved his Planet of the Apes flick, so he will, single handedly, be the savior of all genre movies. Matt Reeves walks away from contract negotiations without a contract. Warner Bros. obviously doesn’t know what they’re doing and they should all be exiled Dark Knight Rises style. A week later, Matt Reeves returns to negotiations and signs on the dotted line. This is good news! But the press release doesn’t mention Ben Affleck as the star, so… the cycle goes on and on and on.

This is fandom, as it is. I don’t think we’re a bad bunch of people. Many of those who I would consider to be my friends are there because we share a fandom, and I dislike any article that talks down to those of us who are passionate about something geeky. If you’re a DC Comics fan, particularly if you are a fan of DC on film, then you are probably as exhausted as I am of all the negativity. Ever since the lead up to Batman v Superman, I have tried my best to stay away from reading the latest comic book movie scoop, or what so-and-so thought about Movie X because they may or may not have seen an early cut of the film. If I learned anything from the circus that surrounded Batman v Superman it is this: we are just fans, passionate about these stories, whose passion sometimes gets in the way of our ability to simply enjoy what we are being given.

Looking past even the obvious examples (what if Flash’s Suicide Squad cameo wasn’t spoiled to us before anyone even had a chance to buy a movie ticket?), our thirst for more and more information on these movies is feeding the negative cycle of panic. Behind-the-scenes drama is nothing new for movies, but, for ninety-nine percent of them, we have no desire to read every detail about their development even before they are in pre-production. But now, every negative turn in a movie’s infancy is turned into internet-breaking headlines, regardless of whether the turn is accompanied by actual verifiable proof or not.

I love Batman. When I heard that Ben Affleck was leaving as director, I was (understandably) devastated. I bought into the noise that the movie was done, and that we would never see another Batman movie until after the DCEU closed shop. And then when contract negotiations with Matt Reeves initially broke down, I was angry. I completely believed at the time that Affleck would now leave as star, and even though he very well still could, I will not approach these things with the fear and worry of what could go wrong. As we know, Reeves came back to the table and is now in place as the director, and was welcomed in by Ben Affleck himself. Does this mean anything in the long run? Probably not. But what does it matter to me right now when I’m a few months out from seeing Ben Affleck play Batman in Justice League? Why shouldn’t I just be excited about seeing this dream finally come to the silver screen without having to worry about the next movie? I’m drowning in the shallow end of a pool of information instead of just enjoying the water.

Fandom isn’t broken and it certainly isn’t toxic, but the desire for information about movies that are yet to even be screened as opposed to discussion on movies that I have seen and love (and even those that I didn’t) is toxic to my ability to enjoy these things. Even in comics, the online discussion of DC’s Rebirth line between bloggers and, unfortunately, some creators, has turned the discussion away from the actual quality of the stories being told to whether the sales numbers were impressive enough. While all that is important, the arguments, the worry, and the race to be the first to get the hottest scoop has devalued the art forms I love and has robbed me of the joy I once got from them.

I think that the movie scoop business is too big to fail at this point. The hot takes on every development on these tent-pole properties will continue to pour out. If that is how you enjoy your fandom, more power to you. For me, I find no joy in it anymore. I still love Batman, Superman, and all their four-colored friends and enemies, but I think that there are simply too many good stories involving these characters I love to spend too much time worrying about what those future stories may have in store for me. I think I’m going to let the story carry me there instead.

Shanlian On Batman Episode 84

The fellas are back with episode 84 and it is a classic SoB style trailer breakdown for the Latest Wonder Woman trailer. Hang out with Justin, Kyle, and Tom and hear what the trio thought of the new trailer. Some really interesting points of view and opinions were thrown around on this episode. So get yourself to the trailer so you can follow along with the guys and lets break down this trailer Shanlian on Batman style!

Shanlian On Batman Episode 83 wsg Chris McKay


This week Justin, Kyle, and Tom talk with Chris McKay, the director of the #1 movie in the box office for the last two weeks running, The Lego Batman Movie! Hear some in depth stories about the inner workings of The Lego Batman Movie and Chris’ personal insight on the character NIGHTWING! Episode 83 is Guaranteed to Please with some priceless Bat-Knowledge, Enjoy!





The Lego Batman Movie

By John McGee

Full of all the heart and soul of the original Lego Movie and then some, The Lego Batman Movie pretty much takes away any reason to continue down the path of the life of Emmet. The brand crossing was fun in the first one, but Emmet was the worst part. Everyone who saw and everyone who did not see The Lego Movie agreed that Batman stole the show and it was his movie. There wasn’t enough of him. (Looking at you, Suicide Squad. Where’s my Joker movie?!)

I digress. The Lego Batman Movie was hilarious at every turn, Chris McKay’s love letter to the franchise and character, and a soul-searching Rite of Passage for Batman in a way that’s never been done on screen before. Batman was actually relatable and sent a great message to everyone watching. I had kids a few rows behind me who were finishing Batman’s sister’s homework (sorry, inside joke) at key moments, and in the big key moments those kids starting crying once they saw me crying. It was emotional.

Of course, being a DC fan and a man with a finely developing brain behind his eyes, I am not one of those losers who has to throw mud/shade/movie tickets at other DC films just because this one is different. Critics have once again taken a step backwards. They were right to praise The Lego Batman Movie. It was a spectacular movie for Batman that CELEBRATED his ENTIRE history. Yes, Batman v Superman included. So don’t expect a “Lego Batman was great so that means The Dark Knight sucks” narrative. I am capable of enjoying multiple films with multiple tones/themes. Isn’t that too hard for critics these days? They can’t seem to handle anything more serious than outright comedies.

If you are on the fence or considering waiting for Lego Batman to hit DVD racks…don’t. Don’t wait for the DVD until you’ve experienced the wonderful movie in theaters, and bring the kids. You’ll all love it. The cast is fantastic, especially Will Arnett’s obnoxious, hilarious laugh. The effects are impeccable. I forgot once or twice that I was watching Lego bricks. That’s how good it looks. Then of course is the amazing story. It was a complete theme-driven story full of emotional tear-jerkers and heartwarming moments. The Lego Batman Movie is the best superhero film we’ve had since Batman v Superman. Go see for yourself.

Shanlian On Batman Episode 82 Wsg Jay Oliva

Shanlian On Batman is bringing you yet another information packed podcast this time with returning guest, Jay Oliva. You are definitely familiar with this man’s work from Flash Point Paradox and Assault on Arkham to Justice League Dark and The Dark Knight Returns pts 1 & 2. Sit down and listen to Jay walk the guys through his films and talks about doing story boards for BvS as well as the upcoming Wonder Woman Film. Enjoy Episode 82 of Shanlian on Batman.

Reeves “Committed” to Directing The Batman

By Drew Kiess

gettyimages-452235124-h_2017Our tears are barely dry from the disappointing news a few weeks ago that Ben Affleck would no longer be the director on his Batman stand-alone film. Today, brings some potentially good news. Variety is reporting that Matt Reeves, director of Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and its upcoming sequel, is in talks to become the new director. According to their sources, Reeves has already committed to the job, but both sides are still putting together the details. After some conflicting stories and reports regarding the state of the script in the last few days, including a rewrite turned in by Argo, Dawn of Justice, and Justice League writer Chris Terrio, we hopefully will be getting some news as to the creative team that will be leading the caped crusader on this particular silver screen adventure.

If Reeves does indeed take the job, this may turn out quite well for the film. A big budget blockbuster is more in line with Reeves’ skills than it is Affleck’s, as great of a director as he is. War for the Planet of the Apes is one of the most anticipated films of this summer, and both Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Cloverfield are well regarded. Stay tuned to Shanlian on Batman as more news develops, but in the meantime, does this bring back some optimism to the project? Be sure to let us know!



Source: Variety

OP ED: Ben is Still ‘The Batman’



John McGee

Ben Affleck is Still The Batman

January 30, 2017 will go down in history as the biggest overreaction regarding modern film in Twitter history. (Which is saying something). Ben Affleck has announced that he’s going to find a collaborator to direct the Batman movie whilst he focuses on the little jobs like starring, writing, and producing the film on top of producing and starring in Justice League coming off the heels of starring in Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad after spending a year getting into Batman shape while filming Gone Girl, The Accountant, and writing, starring in, and directing Live By Night while writing The Batman while appearing in countless interviews, premieres, church services, comic cons, award ceremonies and commercials and making TV shows with Matt Damon followed by the occasional Tweet every now and then.

Aren’t you exhausted? Don’t you want to take a nap after reading that mile-long sentence? I need a Ben & Jerry’s already. Seriously, imagine doing all that in your early 40s. Would you be keen to take on more pressure than you’ve ever felt in your life on top of all the other pressures involved in making a movie? I wouldn’t. I would love to hand off the technical stuff to another person so I can focus on the creative side of things. That’s exactly what Affleck said he’s doing. He’s focusing more on the creative so that he doesn’t lose it drowning in the technical.

Yes, we all wanted an Affleck Batman movie, but he believes it wouldn’t be as good as an Affleck/insert cool director here movie. And quality is his main goal when it comes to Batman. Maybe if Terrio and Johns wrote the script he would have directed it. Maybe if he were making a smaller film like The Town he’d direct it. But this is a huge task to undertake and he needs help. Everyone needs help from time to time. Even Batman. So on top of all the other DC stuff he’s giving us, he’s still committed to making the best Batman he can make. Switching directors isn’t like script hell. From all accounts he’s closing in on that coveted final draft, that golden Batman movie we’ve all been waiting for. The Flash is getting a rewrite, but the Batman is not.

The fact he announced this publicly means that he’s gearing up for production and intends to get things right. I have faith that he’ll find someone who will be able to shoulder the immense pressure and do their best to help him achieve his vision. (I wish Lexi Alexander would direct, or George Miller, or Chris McKay, but we’ll see). All that’s really happening here is a reason to be excited: Ben Affleck is shopping around for a really creative aesthetic to complement his script and portrayal of Batman. No need for panic. No need for “DCEU is doomed” articles. Ain’t that shit getting old?

I can’t wait to watch “The Batman” and look forward to hearing who he calls upon to direct. This is gonna be good.

Shanlian On Batman Episode 81

The guys are back this week to talk some not-so-nice news about DC Films and the upcoming solo bat flick, The Batman. It’s no news at this point that Ben Affleck has stepped down as director of The Batman, but what does this mean for DC Films and upcoming Batman titles? Hang out with Justin, Kyle, and Tom and speculate the many possibilities that the future may hold for the DC film universe!

Episode 80 with ‘Batman Beyond’ Artist Bernard Chang

Episode 80 we sit down and chat with the current Batman Beyond artist Bernard Chang. We dive deep into his early career and his current and amazing work on Batman Beyond.

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