DC joined the extended universe party late, five years after Marvel launched the MCU, and after four years of misfires (Man of Steel, Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad), DC finally got its DCEU on track with this year’s Wonder Woman.
In a stunning turn of events, it seems like Warner Bros. is shifting focus away from this cinematic universe approach. Recently, it was revealed the studio is producing a Joker origin movie separate from the main universe. Even more recently, another bombshell was dropped: The Batman — the solo dark knight story to be helmed by Matt Reeves — will also be a standalone film. Given that interconnected films set in the same universe has been a big factor in making #DC’s films more profitable, it’s shocking to see that the studio is exploring other alternatives to the popular expanded universe model. Here’s why that might not be such a bad thing:
The Dark Knight Factor
The last time DC hit it out of the ballpark critically and commercially (before Wonder Woman) was with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. One of the factors that allowed this triumvirate of movies to work successfully is that they were interested in telling a story about Batman, and therefore weren’t weighed down by the inclusion of superfluous characters and subplots with the aim of linking to an overarching, expanded universe narrative. As seen in movies like Batman v Superman, Age of Ultron and Age of Apocalypse, this often does more harm than good.
Studios haven't always been generous with giving directors creative freedom, fearing that their uninhibited exploration of ideas might not play well into the larger narrative. Setting #TheBatman in its cloistered universe gives Reeves free rein to fulfill his vision for the movie. Maybe, if we’re lucky, the movie could even be R-rated.
That being said, another of problems could arise. The Batman could not sit well with the audience, especially considering it'll be the third time in under 10 years that fans will see a different incarnation of Batman. However, there’s also a possibility that by "standalone" Reeves means the events in The Batman will be tangential to the universe's overall plot. This would be the ideal route as it avoids having to reboot Batman while simultaneously isolating the character from the rest of the universe.
Do you think a standalone Batman film is a good idea? Let me know in the comments below.