Photo Credit: DC Comics
Photo Credit: DC Comics

Ben Affleck is officially out of Matt Reeves's upcoming movie The Batman, leading to speculation he's hanging up the Dark Knight's cloak for good. For many, he's been one of the best Caped Crusaders the cinematic world has seen, so it's sad to see him retire from the role so early on, but if those working on DC movies are hoping to refresh and go in a different direction with the hopes of bringing in more box office bucks, then it may be a necessary evil.

Talk quickly turned towards who could replace Affleck, with fan-castings taking over social media and entertainment news outlets. What we have to realise though, is that Matt Reeves's version of Gotham is something that must be established before we can even hazard a guess as to who could become Batman.

We've seen a whole variety of different Gotham City settings throughout the decades. Tim Burton's Gotham for example was legions apart from the city brewed up by Christopher Nolan. Perhaps now will be the time to birth one that will allow Bruce Wayne to actually go out and do some proper detective work, flashlight in hand as he rifles through chests of drawers.

Those familiar with Reeves's work on the Planet of the Apes film series would be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that his Gotham City would be very similar to that created by Nolan in the Dark Knight trilogy. His Planet of the Apes movies were tonally unique to the rest of that franchise, but they did have a whiff of Nolan woven throughout. We do know that Reeves is unafraid of chucking his audience a curveball, however.

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What's exciting is that there have been reports stating a whole series of iconic DC Comics villains will be running around the city, causing chaos and pushing Bruce to his limits. What we usually get is the Batman origin story and then a couple of films that only really see the hero residing in Gotham. That cannot be the case again here.

If Reeves is brave enough and wants to truly make an impact, he could have Penguin meddling at the Iceberg Lounge and Joker on the run, with Batman allies Nightwing in Bludhaven (a city very close to Gotham) and Black Canary smashing skulls down by the docks. Putting everybody involved in close proximity to one another means that their relationships are pre-established, and allows Reeves to skip all of the boring introductory stuff we've seen so many times in the past.

It's time for a Batman movie for the faithful comic book readers; those who don't need every little bit of information handing to them on a plate. There have been plenty of superhero films with formulaic structure where a character's next move can be picked up on by the majority of those watching a half hour before it actually happens; we're bored to death of it. 

Give us a Gotham City that long-term fans will instantly recognise, and the casting of Batman should slot right into place. He may not be the hero that casual fans are expecting but, if executed correctly, he could encourage a whole generation to look a little deeper than the norm and fall in love with the Dark Knight all over again.

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