Matt Reeves is no stranger to taking on risky intellectual property. He first tackled the Planet of the Apes franchise for Warner Bros. At the time, the title had fallen by the wayside, seen much more as a goofy meme than a serious movie. But that's when Reeves intervened. His movies were brooding, serious, and packed some incredible action and heartfelt pieces of storytelling. They were also blockbusters, cleaning up at the box office and solidifying him as one of the best directors working today. 

Now he's taking on Batman. We haven't had a standalone Batman movie since The Dark Knight Rises, and Nolan left big shoes to fill in the world. Reeves cast his Bruce Wayne, Robert Pattinson, and went to work on a detective movie many have likened to Se7en

So what's it like to take on a project like that? And how do you know it's right for you? 

Reeves sat down with the New York Times to talk about just that. When it came to directing The Batman, he knew he needed one simple tactic. As Reeves put it, "If you can’t find the way to do it with a passionate connection then it’s not going to work, and the audience knows it."

So where did he get the passion for this project? We pulled some of his best quotes to let you know. 

How Matt Reeves Took on 'The Batman' with One Simple Tactic  

We know the passion for the character and story lead the way, but there was so much more to Reeves' process.

See, he was tasked by Toby Emmerich, chairman of the Warner Bros. Picture Group, with answering the biggest questions about their most valuable character. He had to (in Emmerich's words) “create a Batman that is compelling and dynamic and thrilling, but different than anything we’ve seen before. Who can reinvent it? Who can find a sensibility that hasn’t been explored already?” 

But Reeves didn't shy away from the challenge.

He said of his work, “Moviemaking lets you go into the fear, but when you’re in control of it, you start to exorcise it.”

We've seen the Nolan and Joel Schumacher iterations of Batman. Fans recently saw a glimpse into Gotham with Zack Snyder's movies as well. This was an opportunity to be different. Reeves wanted to find a new take on Batman, complete with his visual style and the desire to make the hero more of a detective. 

At first, Reeves was offered the Ben Affleck Batman screenplay. He likened it to a James Bond movie (and I wish we saw it made), but he was deep in Planet of the Apes and didn't want to do it. By the time it came back to him, it was ready for a new story and actor.

“I wanted to fight against any sense that Batman would remain static. I wanted the stakes of the story to challenge him in a way that shook him to his core. He has to change.”

Part of that is capitalizing on his original story, which is so well known. 

Reeves said, “He’s still stuck in those events that happened when he was 10. When I’m making movies, I’m trying to make sense of my experience, and through his vigilantism, he’s trying to cope with his.”

In order to land the role, Robert Pattinson had to screen test. He did so wearing Val Kilmer's suit from Batman Forever. What won him the role was the intensity he had applying Batman's eye makeup. 

Once Pattinson was cast, more hard work began, including shooting and tweaking the script so it felt poignant and interesting. Then the pandemic hit just a few months into production. They paused and regrouped. Though Reeves assured the Times it didn't change their strategy, it did change their timetable.

Still, the finished movie is almost three hours long. Reeves scoffs at anyone worried that feels too long. 

“Once you see the movie, I think that ceases to be an issue—It’s immersive, it takes you along and it keeps you engrossed.”

With the movie releasing this week, we'll let you be the judge of that. But after two years of the box office faltering, and only superhero movies really making a profit, The Batman is about to swing back at the right time to make a big impact. And early enough in the year to set the bar for all of 2022. That's pressure, but is it more pressure than just making a great Batman movie? Probably not.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Source: The New York Times