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Matt Reeves: The Batman Will Be A Detective Noir

It's time for the world's greatest detective to ply his trade on the big screen. 

Director Matt Reeves has divulged a few juicy details on his upcoming movie The Batman, notably the fact that he intends to have Bruce Wayne live up to his famous (if informal) title in a way no previous Batman film has. Reeves made the comments during an extensive sitdown with The Hollywood Reporter.

Throughout his long comics history, the Caped Crusader has been portrayed to have deductive abilities rivaling those of any dedicated gumshoe on the planet — indeed, so formidable as to almost qualify as a superpower. While the "World's Greatest" tag has been applied early and often in the character's print incarnation, cinematic depictions from Tim Burton's original films to Christopher Nolan's reboot series to the current DC Extended Universe iteration have glossed over, if not completely ignored, this key aspect of Bruce Wayne's identity. Reeves has taken it upon himself to remedy this situation, and if you ask us, it's long overdue. 

Also, rather than leaning on a plethora of villains and/or godlike sons of Krypton to share the spotlight, the director let it be known that he'll be keeping the focus firmly on the Dark Knight. "It's very much a point of view-driven, noir Batman tale. It's told very squarely on his shoulders," the director said. "It's more Batman in his detective mode than we've seen in the films. The comics have a history of that. He's supposed to be the world's greatest detective, and that's not necessarily been a part of what the movies have been."

Reeves elaborated that Bruce Wayne's status as a brilliant detective won't simply be a pasted-on feature of the character, but will contribute to the character's emotional journey over the course of his story. "I'd love this to be one where we go on that journey of tracking down the criminals and trying to solve a crime," he said. "It's going to allow his character to have an arc so that he can go through a transformation."

So, does this mean that we'll be seeing a more conventional, real-world approach to the film's villain than the array of super-baddies Bats has faced off with in previous pictures? Not necessarily. "There will be a Rogues Gallery," said Reeves. "The casting process will begin shortly. We're starting to put together our battle plan. I'm doing another pass on the script and we'll begin some long-lead stuff to start developing conceptual things."

So far, so awesome. But the burning question remains: who will actually be playing Batman? After originally being on board to write, star, and possibly even direct the film, erstwhile Caped Crusader Ben Affleck was reported late last year to be done with the role. Fan casting has been in overdrive ever since, with Unbroken star Jack O'Connell emerging as a favorite, but Reeves offered no new information on this vital point. When asked about a possible release date, however, he hedged his bets — indicating that he expects he will have the freedom to take his time to get the casting right. "I wouldn't commit to this, but we're thinking the movie would probably be for 2021, late spring or summer," he said. "Warner Brothers has been incredibly supportive and given me a lot of time, and shared the same passion that I do for this story."

But what of his film's connection to the rest of the DC Extended Universe? The franchise has undergone a significant revamping in the last couple years, with greater focus being placed on individual films and less attention being paid to obligatory universe-building. Reeves' comments imply that Warner Brothers is confident in their course correction, and that no mandate has been placed on him to ensure that his picture fits snugly into a cozy universe with the rest of DC's upcoming movies. For that matter, the picture might even end up with a different title from that which has been rumored for years now. "Right now, [the title is] The Batman. What it will be called ultimately, I don't know," said Reeves. As for the film's place in the DCEU canon, he remarked, "Aquaman is going to be very different from the Todd Phillips Joker movie, and that's going to be different from Shazam! and [Birds of Prey]. Warners believes they don't have to try to develop a giant slate that has to have all the plans for how it's going to connect. What they need to try and do is make good movies with these characters."

All in all, it sounds like The Batman — or whatever it will be called — is in good hands and firmly on track. It also sounds like we can expect casting news to come along sooner rather than later, so we'll be keeping an eye out for that and any other developments.