Matt Reeves directing Batman is official. Warner Bros. confirmed that the much rumoured front runner to helm The Batman after Ben Affleck’s surprise departure will be directing the superhero solo film set in the studio’s DC Extended Universe.
“We are thrilled to have Matt Reeves taking the helm of Batman, our crown jewel of our DC slate,” said Warner Bros. Picture Group President and CCO, Toby Emmerich. “Matt’s deep roots in genre film and his evolution into an emotional world building director make him the perfect filmmaker to guide the Dark Knight through his next journey.”
This is some very high praise and it marks a key talent that Mr. Reeves has demonstrated time and time again. His vision may just be what the DCEU needs to get its dwindling cinematic universe to feel complex, real, and emotionally engaging to fans. While Ben Affleck was not mentioned in the statement revealing Matt Reeves directing Batman, the star playing the Caped Crusader did officially tweet the director, writing “Welcome to the Batcave.”
Now for those of you who don’t know who Matt Reeves is, or what he’s done, let me assure you that you are familiar with the name. You just may not know it. Here is an overview of Matt Reeves’ current feature filmography. If you haven’t seen these films yet, it is time to revisit them.
1. The Pallbearer (1996)
Okay, so it may not be the best recommendation to lead off with (kind of like mentioning Alien 3 in David Fincher’s filmography), but what The Pallbearer lacks in execution, it does make up for with ambition. This romantic comedy straddles the line between disturbing black comedy and schmaltzy romance, sometimes a little too finely. The Pallbearer came out at the height of Friends‘ popularity. Unfortunately, leading man David Schwimmer was nominated for a Razzie for his performance. The film also didn’t do its supporting star, Gwyneth Paltrow, any favours. But Roger Ebert did give the film a 3/4 star review. He wrote, “There were times during The Pallbearer when I felt the plot was too clever for its own good…it’s amazing how a movie with so many detours can arrive so convincingly at its destination.”
2. Cloverfield (2008)
After his TV stint directing episodes for Felicity, producer JJ Abrams gave Matt Reeves the reigns to helm this cleverly marketed passion project. Any fan of the film can tell you that the world that Cloverfield creates despite being told in the restricted Found Footage style is immersive and intricate. We barely see the monster in the movie, but we always feel its presence. Grossing $170 million off a mere $25 million budget, Cloverfield is actually the film responsible for the Found Footage craze (for better or worse), since it was released 9 years after The Blair Witch Project. This is also still the best Found Footage movie ever made and a statement to just how much Mr. Reeves can accomplish with a small budget and a handful of well developed characters,
3. Let Me In (2010)
I must start off by saying I absolutely adore the Swedish original film, Let The Right One In. No one was more opposed to a Hollywood remake of that film than I was. After I saw Matt Reeves’ on screen version of John Ajvide Linquist’s novel (since Let Me In isn’t so much a remake as it is a re-adaptation), I was surprised to realize I preferred it to the Swedish film! Let Me In is one of my all time favourite horror films. It tells a tween romance between a vampire and a human better than Twilight ever could. It interestingly sets the film in the 1980s as opposed to present day, allowing the setting to become its own character. And it convinced me that Chloe Grace Moretz is going to become one of the best actors of the Millennial generation. This is a gorgeously shot, meticulously directed, and brilliantly written film about two depressed souls who take comfort in each other to escape the true horror of their everyday existence. Horror fans, nay, film fans owe it to themselves to give this film a try.
4. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a huge surprise. No one, including me, expected that film to be even remotely as entertaining and awesome as it was. And then we got its sequel, which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that studio blockbusters can be as intelligent and thought-provoking as small Indie films. The CGI technology the film used to create the apes is so good, it’s hard to tell what on screen is real or computer animated. Andy Serkis kills it as Caesar, who tries to create peace between his ape clan and the band of humans who are struggling to maintain a home. Combined with a cast that includes Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, and Gary Oldman in one of his best performances, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is The Empire Strikes Back of the Apes trilogy. It is that good.
Still unsure whether Matt Reeves is an ideal fit for Batman? Watch these movies and let us know what you think in the Comments!