June 27, 2019

Do We Need Another Batman Movie?

“On Friday, Variety confirmed that Robert Pattinson will play Batman in a 2021 Warner Bros. film, likely the first of a trilogy, directed by Matt Reeves and tentatively titled The Batman. As DC casts its third Batman in a decade (following the forgettable Ben Affleck residency, which in turn followed the hulking shadow of Christian Bale), the question is why the studio stubbornly insists on retelling the origin stories of a few marquee stars when they’re sitting on a vast roster of beloved characters. Why, when Marvel has proved many times over that audiences have ample appetite for new heroes and new stories, is DC positioning itself to give us more of the same?

Little more than a decade ago, Batman was one of the only superheroes found at the box office, alongside Superman and Spider-Man. Lesser known characters like Green Arrow and Black Widow stayed on the page and off the screen. But Marvel upended that in 2008 with its first Iron Man film, launching what would become one of the longest and most lucrative series of franchise movies of all time, including a slew of characters previously unknown to the popular consciousness (such as Ant-Man and Doctor Strange) who helmed their own films to great success.

To a lesser extent, DC began exploring their own back catalogue of characters with the launch of Arrow in 2012 and subsequent small screen offerings like Supergirl and the forthcoming Batwoman. On the silver screen, however, DC has yet to nail its blockbuster formula, playing it safe with big names like Wonder Woman and Aquaman — which, admittedly, put up pretty big numbers at the box office — but fumbling all of its team-ups (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Justice League) and treatment of minor characters (they’re trying to fix Harley Quinn — we’ll see).”

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