The Batman 2: Is Matt Reeves Setting Himself Up for Failure?

With The Batman — out now in cinemas — director and co-writer Matt Reeves has given us the primary standalone film concerning the titular billionaire superhero since Christopher Nolan wrapped up his Darkish Knight trilogy. (The truth is, it has been virtually a decade. We’re approaching the 10-year anniversary of The Darkish Knight Rises, the disappointing conclusion to an in any other case implausible sequence. In fact, Batman hasn’t gone anyplace, with Ben Affleck taking part in him thrice already, and Michael Keaton set to return after 30 years.) And with Pattinson having signed a three-picture deal, it is clear that Reeves is planning to emulate Nolan along with his personal Batman trilogy. The Batman teases its sequel because it wraps up — introducing its subsequent villain similar to Nolan on Batman Begins.

Warning: main spoilers forward for The Batman. Proceed at your individual threat.

And seems, it is the identical one: the Joker (Barry Keoghan, credited as Unseen Arkham Prisoner). Reeves would not outright verify it — although I think about an interview by which he or another person does is days or perhaps weeks away — however all indicators level to the Clown Prince of Crime being a part of The Batman 2, The Batman Half II, or regardless of the hell Warner Bros. determine to name its sequel. There’s the “clown” comment, the unmistakable snort, and the temporary hazy take a look at his face. It could not be anybody else. And if Batman’s archenemy goes to be a part of a film, you may wager he would be the principal villain. A primary sequel to a Batman reboot that focuses on the Joker? Now the place have I heard that earlier than? No factors for an accurate guess — I’ve already hinted at it earlier than — it is The Darkish Knight.

The Batman — Our Spoiler-Free Evaluate

It is daring, humorous, and curious that Reeves would assume to go on this course with The Batman 2. Humorous as a result of as I famous in my assessment, The Batman itself hit some beats that jogged my memory of The Darkish Knight. For one, there’s Riddler’s (Paul Dano) concentrating on of Gotham Metropolis’s elite. Similar to the Joker (Heath Ledger) did in The Darkish Knight. Even the victims overlap. Joker went after the commissioner, a choose, the mayor (unsuccessfully), Rachel, and the district legal professional. Riddler goes after the mayor, commissioner, district legal professional, and Bruce Wayne (he will get Andy Serkis’ Alfred as an alternative). There isn’t any Rachel in The Batman however the sample is similar: police, legislation, legislative, and private. They each supposedly have their causes, nevertheless it boils all the way down to toying with Batman. They’re taking part in video games.

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Heath Ledger because the Joker in The Darkish Knight
Picture Credit score: DC Comics/Warner Bros.

The comparisons do not finish there. As with The Darkish Knight, after the villain is taken into custody — to be honest, the Riddler provides himself up in The Batman — our detective superhero confronts him face-to-face. The setting may be completely different (a hospital reasonably than a police station) and there may be a glass wall between the 2 (not like what the case was in The Darkish Knight), however the underlying rigidity stays the identical. (A few of Riddler’s traces and his planning additionally really feel paying homage to the Joker.) Batman is powerless in his “interrogation” scenes — and the one data he will get out of the prisoner is handed voluntarily to him. In fact, there are main variations, most significantly in when these scenes happen within the respective movies, and the way they match into the bigger image.

By making a primary sequel with the Joker, Reeves is inviting direct comparisons. It is curious why he would willingly put himself in that place. It additionally places Keoghan in an unenviable place. Ledger received a posthumous Oscar and a number of other accolades — and his Joker is steadily cited as the best live-action comedian e book villain efficiency ever. Everybody who has performed Joker since Ledger has been in comparison with him naturally. Jared Leto had a one-and-done look in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad that wasn’t checked out kindly. Joaquin Phoenix did a terrific job in Todd Phillips’ Joker however sadly, he was caught in a film that had nothing to say and bordered on extremely irresponsible, equating psychological well being points with a capability for violence.

Why The Darkish Knight Is One of many All-Time Nice Motion pictures

And The Darkish Knight is the film that silently modified the Oscars. Most within the business agree {that a} Finest Image nomination snub for Nolan’s epic pushed the Academy to maneuver away from the 5 Finest Image nominees rule. Shortly after, the Academy — the physique that organises the Oscars — introduced that it was increasing the sector. As a substitute of 5, it might now enable as much as 10 movies to be nominated. (This rule has been tweaked once more beginning with the 2022 Oscars, with a hard and fast 10 motion pictures being nominated for Finest Image going ahead.) It’s because of The Darkish Knight that comedian e book motion pictures started to be taken extra severely — and why Black Panther bought a Finest Image nomination just a few years in the past.

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Robert Pattinson, Matt Reeves on the units of The Batman
Picture Credit score: Jonathan Olley/DC Comics

Given the sheer magnitude of The Darkish Knight, it is daring of Reeves to go for the Joker because the sequel’s centrepiece. However then, The Batman is a daring film. It is not like every other comedian e book on the market at the moment. Extra psychological horror than what audiences are likely to anticipate from superhero motion pictures nowadays: an motion drama peppered with jokes and zingers. (That notion is primarily because of Marvel’s rule of the style, with its philosophy even impacting its rivals, as each DC and Sony have roughly adopted swimsuit.) In that sense, it is a remarkedly completely different beast than even Nolan’s Darkish Knight trilogy. Extra akin to what Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen did for superhero fare on TV.

The Batman asks numerous its viewers, and never simply because it runs for practically three hours. 176 minutes, to be exact. Whereas Nolan slowly scaled up runtimes as he bought audiences invested in his universe — The Darkish Knight Rises (165 minutes) was longer than The Darkish Knight (152 minutes), which was longer than Batman Begins (140 minutes) — Reeves is demanding that from the get go. The Batman is not only longer than something Nolan put out or each standalone Batman film ever — it is the longest superhero movie of all time that’s centred on one character. The one superhero motion pictures longer than The Batman are Avengers: Endgame (181 minutes) and Zack Snyder’s Justice League (242 minutes), each of which have been mega team-up occasions.

Struggle for the Planet of the Apes Evaluate: A Becoming Finish to This Decade’s Finest Trilogy

It reveals the religion positioned in Reeves by Warner, whose new crop of executives clearly have a much bigger urge for food for threat than those that imposed a two-hour runtime rule on Justice League, the poorly-received theatrical counterpart to Snyder’s aforementioned director’s reduce. And given Reeves’ file with Planet of the Apes — I keep that it is the greatest trilogy of the 2010s — I too think about The Batman director. Although I actually hope he is aware of what he is doing. The Darkish Knight is one in all my favorite motion pictures of all time, and The Batman 2 will must be one thing insane, particular, and legendary to keep away from trying like an also-ran. Reeves is inviting the comparability and he must reply for it.

The Batman launched March 4 in theatres in India, the US, and around the globe.

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