The Batman director Matt Reeves tells all that he didn’t like Ben Affleck’s take on the DCEU’s Batman. Ben Affleck was supposed to make The Batman, which was supposed to be set in the same universe as Man of Steel (2013), Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017). Affleck was set to direct the film and even had ideas that were actually exciting for many of us fans.
It was a shock to many when Matt Reeves took over and went over to do a full-on reboot of Batman, which is not connected to the DCEU. It was also a surprise that Reeves got Twilight star Robert Pattinson to take the role of a young Bruce Wayne, aka Batman.
Reeves’ The Batman was released in March 2022 and has gotten rave reviews since. We even gave it a perfect 10. A sequel is already in the works, and they are also making The Penguin spin-off with Colin Farrel reprising the role.
But since we still keep seeing Ben Affleck reprising his role as Batman. He returned to film reshoots for Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and he’s showing up in the upcoming The Flash. Some fans of the DCEU or SnyderVerse wonder what happened.
Ben Affleck’s Troubled Production for The Batman
He was going more into the insanity aspects, so I think you would’ve seen something a little darker than what we’ve seen in the past, and more into the individual, who’s inside Batman… He was entering into a little more of Arkham, he’s going into where you keep everyone who’s bad, and everyone has shifted. There was a script, but not a loved script. There was a lot of work that [Affleck] was doing to it, he was trying to change it.
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth was one of the main inspirations of Affleck’s The Batman. Written by Grant Morrison with art by Dave McKean and was released back in October 1989. It’s considered as one of the best books based on the caped crusader, according to IGN’s list. Even the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) was inspired by the same book.
It’s not an easy comic to adapt into film, especially as it would be featuring an extensive range of Batman’s own rogues’ gallery. It would have been profoundly psychological and dark if it did push through.
Affleck’s film would have also featured Deathstroke, played by Joe Manganiello. In contrast, Joss Whedon’s Justice League’s ending implied that Lex Luthor and Deathstroke were going make a league of their own. Zack Snyder’s cut showed that it should have ended with Luthor telling Deathstroke that Batman is Bruce Wayne. This would have led to so much trouble for the Dark Knight.
Manganiello told Collider back in December 2020:
It was a really dark story in which Deathstroke was like a shark or a horror movie villain that was dismantling Bruce’s life from the inside out. It was this systemic thing: He killed everyone close to Bruce and destroyed his life to try and make him suffer because he felt that Bruce was responsible for something that happened to him.
The idea itself seemed exciting, especially for fans of the comics. It was said that the fight scene for the film was inspired by the game Batman: Arkham Origins (2013) which did highlight a brawl between Batman and Deathstroke.
Unfortunately, Ben Affleck himself was going through a rough time personally while trying to work on the script. It’s not really clear what the cause of his issues was, but it did affect his relationship with his then-wife Jennifer Garner. At the time, he was also working on Justice League reshoots which was not an easy time for anyone involved.
Affleck didn’t really say what made him decide to let go of directorial duties. But it led to the decision to get Matt Reeves hired to direct Affleck’s The Batman. At the time, Affleck was still set to reprise his role.
The actor told the New York Times back in February 2020:
I showed somebody the Batman script. They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.
Affleck has admitted that it was his friend Matt Damon who was the one who convinced him to quit the role of Batman. Not only that, but director Matt Reeves admitted that he didn’t like Ben Affleck’s take on the Dark Knight.
Reeves told Esquire Middle East in March 2022:
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.
Matt Reeves Wanted To Make Batman, But Not The One Who’s Part Of The DCEU
With Ben Affleck saying that he’s not interested in making a solo film at the time of working on The Batman and Matt Reeves’ not being interested in the DCEU, it seems to have been the final nail.
Add the fact that Warner Bros and DC Films didn’t seem to be confident in their DC Universe that they let Reeves have his own Batman universe. They even had Todd Phillips have his own Joker universe too. Jared Leto, who played Joker in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, wasn’t happy about that decision.
It’s just sad to see that we never got to see Ben Affleck reach his potential as Batman in a solo film. But we are happy to see Affleck return as Batman in the upcoming The Flash, even though it’s for just a few minutes. And we hope we still do see more of him before the DC Universe resets. It’s no secret that he filmed scenes for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. We just don’t know if his scenes will be kept or will be left on the cutting room floor.
In the end, Ben Affleck did find happiness in playing the role of Batman. We just wish we could have seen his version of Batman with a solo film of his own. However, he did say that it’s his highest-rated performance in his entire career. With that, he is thankful, and as fans, it is comforting to know that the actor has come to terms with what he has experienced in the DCEU.
Affleck has been offered to direct a film under the new DC Universe, which DC Studios James Gunn and Peter Safran are establishing. But he has admitted that he’s not interested. He told The Hollywood Reporter on March 16, 2023:
I would not direct something for the [James] Gunn DC. Absolutely not. I have nothing against James Gunn. Nice guy, sure he’s going to do a great job. I just wouldn’t want to go in and direct in the way they’re doing that. I’m not interested in that.
What do you make of Matt Reeves’ revelation that he did not like the movie that was supposed to star Ben Affleck’s Batman? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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