With Ben Affleck’s departure, The Batman is now short a director. The movie is now scrambling for a replacement. Names like Matt Reeves and Gavin O’ Conner have been floated around as possibilities. But in an ideal world, who would direct The Batman? Who could do a good job, turn out something unique and worthwhile? And who is actually available? Here are some of my choices for directors I think could turn out a great- or at least a really solid- Batman movie.
Of all the names rumored as a possibility for directing The Batman, George Miller is the one I’m most excited about. Mad Max: Fury Road was one of the best action movies I’ve seen in years. It was gritty without being depressing and every moment was tense and full of excitement. When you think about Fury Road, the story is very simple- it’s basically a long car chase. But despite this, it was never boring and it all held together beautifully. It had pretty stylish camerawork too. while a lot of action movies are a chaotic, shaky-cam mess these days, it was always clear what was happening on Fury Road. That clarity of action is something Batman could benefit from.
The biggest danger of another Batman movie is that the director will try too hard to imitate Christopher Nolan or Zack Snyder and we’ll end up with a monotonous, pseudo-philosophical mess that goes nowhere. The Batman would work best with a story that’s simple, clear-cut and emotionally driven and that’s where George Miller excels. His movies tend to have some pretty stylish camera work too. Miller is also good at leaving things up to the viewer’s imagination. The backstory of the Wives or Furiosa wasn’t graphically shown or expounded on, but the viewers still got the gist of the horrors they’d been through. Batman is a hero who thrives on leaving things to the imagination- he uses fear as a weapon and things unseen are more scary than things seen. Miller won’t ruin Batman by over-explaining everything. Fury Road was also praised for how it handled female characters, so I’d be stoked to see Miller’s take on Catwoman or any of the other ladies in the Batman universe.
Miller has stated some reluctance to do another blockbuster, but if any blockbuster could get him to change that attitude, it’d be Batman.Advertisement
Darren Aronofsky is a name that’s been attached to some Batman projects in the past. He was once in line to do a take on Batman: Year One and it was…pretty weird. It involved Batman being raised by a mechanic named Al, living in an abandoned subway station and fighting crime in a hockey mask. Aronofsky admitted he knew that was never going to get made. DC would definitely reign him in if he stepped up to the plate this time though and with the proper guidance, he could make a pretty visually stunning, artistically violent Batman. His work on Requiem for a Dream and The Black Swan shows he has an affinity for dark, psychological stories. And he’s definitely interested in superhero movies- he was also originally going to be the one the direct The Wolverine before he bailed. Maybe the third time’s the charm.
Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro set many nerd hearts aflutter with his action-packed mecha movie Pacific Rim. He’s also proven he can do very complex, dark, introspective stories with his masterpiece Pan’s Labrynth. So he’s definitely got those two elements that are important to any Batman movie on lock.
However, something Batman movies could use a little more of is fun and most people who came out of Pacific Rim agreed it was fun, over-the-top and ridiculous in a way that worked. It just took the awesome concept of giant robots punching giant monsters and ran with it without reservation. A Batman movie could use a little bit of that unrestrained spectacle.
You should be having fun when you’re watching a Batman fight scene. You should be thinking “this is so unbelievable and so cool.” There should be an awesome swell of electric guitar as Batman stands up to pull off some off-the-wall fight move that gets your heart pounding. Also, Pacific Rim had a lot of emphasis on relationships and trust and I’ve been desperately wantng a full on Batfamily movie for a while now. I think del Toro could handle exploring the bond of a found family.
Michelle MacLaren is one of the best television directors out there right now. She directed some of the best episodes of award-winning phenomenons like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. She definitely has experience working with properties that have a touch of science fiction about them- her work of The X-Files, Westworld and The Walking Dead prove that. All these shows also have a strong element of darkness about them and MacLaren has proven she can handle that in a nuanced way.
It's true MacLaren hasn’t put out a feature film yet, but she’s already started her film career in directing The Nightningale. She was supposed to direct the Wonder Woman movie before she left the project over creative differences, so I’m clearly not the only one who thinks she can handle the big screen. DC has a chance to make thinks right by getting her on board The Batman.
Ava DuVernay is a long shot, but I’d love to see her take on The Batman. She’s one of the most promising directorial talents out there right now. She won the Best Director award for The Middle of Nowhere and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Selma. Her upcoming adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, which looks like it’s going to be great, shows she’s comfortable with the fantastical.
She was in consideration to direct Black Panther a while back, so I’m not the only one who wants to see her take on a superhero movie. DuVernay is known for her strong style and social consciousness, so she would deliver a Batman unlike any we’ve ever seen and it would likely have some real depth to it.
Fresh off directing the highly successful Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Gareth Edwards has proven he can work magic with longstanding franchises. Many people praised Rogue One for doing something different with Star Wars while still keeping true to the overall spirit of the series and building on what came before. That’s exactly the kind of thing The Batman needs.
In fact Rogue One has a lot of things Batman needs-a mix of idealism and moral grey areas, a dark storyline that still has an overall hopeful feeling, complex people struggling to survive in an unforgiving environment and a hefty dose of action.
Edwards also has the 2014 Godzilla movie under his belt and that was a action packed blockbuster that really got people’s butts in seats.Edwards would be a great choice because he’s proven he’ll show respect for the source material while putting his own fresh spin on things.
Alfonso Cuaron is one of the most varied directors out there right now. He showed a unique visual flare with fantasy epics like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban, wowed us with dark post-apocalyptic stories like Children of Men and captured the terror of space perfectly in sci-fi films like Gravity. Cuaron is versatile, so I could easily imagine him taking on a superhero movie.
He has a real eye for action and makes it pop on the screen. It would also be super nice to have an Oscar winner helming a Batman movie. I’m sure he could give us a Batman we’ve never seen before, but also one we’ll never forget.
When Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn was asked who he thought should direct The Batman, he named Jeremy Saulnier. I have to agree with his choice. Jeremy Saulnier has risen to prominence through psychological thrillers like The Green Room and Blue Ruin, so he’d be a good choice to take on the tortured psyche of the Dark Knight. He also made good use of gritty violence in his movies. And honestly, considering how successful Guardians was as a comic book movie, if he’s got James Gunn endorsing him that’s got to mean something. He probably has what it takes to deliver a haunting and exciting Batman movie.
While Duncan Jones’ Warcraft movie received mixed reviews, it still did pretty well financially overseas. What really makes him a strong contender for director is his sci-fi film Moon, which was thriller full of twists and turns that received a lot of critical acclaim. Jones can really have a good sense of atmosphere in his films if he wants to and if there’s one thing Gotham needs, it’s atmosphere.
Jones was already approached to do Man of Steel and turned it down, wanting to focus on smaller projects, but maybe he’d feel differently about Batman. After all, if you can take on something as massive as World of Warcraft, Batman shouldn’t be as much of a challenge.
Vaughn has an awesome background when it comes to both adaptations and comic book movies. He was the guy behind X-Men: First Class, which is the film that rescued the X-Men franchise after X3 nearly sunk it. He also did Kick-Ass, which is a comic book movie that actually improved a lot on the source material, making for pretty fun viewing. Kingsman: The Secret Service was another comic book adaptation that even had Honest Trailers singing its praises.
On top of all that, he directed Stardust, which a lot of people found themselves liking more the Neil Gaiman’s original book. If anyone can turn out a pleasing Batman movie, it’s Matthew Vaughn.
What are your choices? Let us know in the comments!