Things have not been going Warner Brothers way lately and half of the people on social media act like the universe is coming to an end, while the other half is acting like everything is going according to plan. Neither is correct, but with The Hollywood Reporter reporting that negotiations for Matt Reeves to direct The Batman have broken down, it’s time to admit WB has a problem.
The Flash and The Batman solo films have struggled to pin down a director but we don’t know why. The only thing that comes to mind is that Warner Brothers has no interest in giving their directors freedom to tell their story. Which doesn’t bode well for the Mel Gibson Suicide Squad 2 negotiations, unless he’s more desperate to direct a big budget movie than we think he is.
Our evidence that WB is being a little too hands on comes from their last two DCEU films. We know Batman v Superman was chopped and screwed due to runtime because the studio was quick to announce a superior extended cut not long after the movie was released. Suicide Squad was reportedly given to two separate editors, one being the team that cut their first trailer, and audiences were given a mix-match of both versions. Many scenes were cut or changed, and thanks to on set videos we know most of the missing scenes featured The Joker.
Also, if you take the Ben Affleck’s statement at its word, then him stepping down had nothing to do with the studio and everything to do with his workload. It’s just odd that days before the statement, Affleck was on Jimmy Kimmel saying he was director and that everything is fine. His late night show appearance coming after a month of interviews where he said he wouldn’t direct The Batman if the script wasn’t right. We later found out that Geoff Johns and Ben Affleck’s script was completely redone by Batman v Superman scribe Chris Terrio.
So, possibly missing out on Matt Reeves isn’t the biggest loss here. The very talented Ridley Scott(Alien, The Martian) and Fede Alvarez(Evil Dead, Don’t Breathe) were rumored to be favorites if Reeves walked away and they’re no slouches, some would prefer them. THR even adds to their article that for Matt Reeves and WB, “The possibility exists that talks could resume when heads cool.” The problem here is trying to figure out why directors keep leaving DCEU projects. Especially a Batman character that is a proven winner thanks Christopher Nolan. Who passes up on Batman?
If you think about it, could you imagine Christopher Nolan needing an extended cut version of his movies, or for The Dark Knight to be given to a trailer company to add levity? Seems like Nolan was given much more freedom.
While all this could mean that Warner Brothers finally has a plan and need the right people to execute it, the studio has come off reactionary and that is worrisome for a lot of fans. But Wonder Woman and Justice League are on their way and their trailers have sparked a lot of excitement. If those two films can succeed where BvS and Suicide Squad didn’t(I liked both films but critics didn’t), all worries will be washed away, and no one will remember any of this.
Maybe Warner Brothers just needs to trust in their directors again, then maybe the directors would trust in them.