When it comes to the upcoming solo Batman movie, we have a lot to get excited about over the next couple of years. Ben Affleck continues to show enormous potential in the cape and cowl with each passing DCEU film, and director Matt Reeves seems like a perfect choice to step behind the camera to helm this particular project. The DCEU has undergone some massive changes in recent months, but things genuinely look brighter than ever for The Dark Knight.
There's no question that Matt Reeves has proven himself as a stellar blockbuster director, but his work on the Planet of the Apes films (including the upcoming War for the Planet of the Apes) seems to have really prepared him to create a very distinct type of Batman story. Specifically, his recent work has brought us to the consensus that -- whatever form the specific story ends up taking -- Reeves should focus his efforts on creating a post-apocalyptic version of Gotham City under siege. To that end, we have put together a list of iconic Batman stories that would suit Reeves' distinct filmmaking style. First and foremost, let's kick this list off with a Batman story whose DNA is already clearly evident in the DCEU.
The Dark Knight Returns
Zack Snyder faithfully adapted several visual cues from The Dark Knight Returns in his creation of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but a number of the major story elements from Frank Miller's endlessly dense classic remain intact and ready for Matt Reeves to use in his solo Batman movie. Specifically, the issue in which Superman sets off a nuke in the atmosphere over Gotham City, and the resulting EMP knocks out power for most of the United States. In this story, an aging Batman decides to train a new army of vigilantes (named the Sons of Batman), and Bruce's low-tech (and slightly authoritarian) means of maintaining law and order result on Gotham becoming one of the few American cities not plunged into chaos in the fallout of the incident.
To this day, Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham City is widely regarded as the best video game incarnation of The Caped Crusader. It's not hard to understand why people feel that way. Creating a horrifying version of Gotham City in which portions of the municipality must be walled off to contain the criminal element, the story follows Batman as he races against time to find a cure for a deadly poison in his blood -- courtesy of the Joker. Taking place over the course of a single night, Arkham City is a unique examination of the American prison industrial complex, and a bonafide "who's who?" of Batman characters. With sky-high stakes and a steadily ticking clock, this uniquely terrifying vision of Gotham could easily resonate with newcomers and die-hard Batman fans alike.
Zero Year is technically an origin story for The Caped Crusader, but Matt Reeves could easily tweak it to exist anywhere within the Batman timeline. The core of the story arc is simple: Edward Nygma (also known as The Riddler) takes control of the city and offers to return power back to the citizens on the condition that a worthy opponent will step forward to challenge him in a battle of wits. There are a few key reasons why this arc would work so well. For starters, The Riddler deserves another shot at silver screen glory after the Jim Carrey incarnation. Beyond that, however, the imagery of an overgrown Gotham has become iconic since its publication, and Matt Reeves' work on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes seems like a perfect dry run to nail this story.
Like Arkham City, Arkham Knight is yet another popular Rocksteady game about Batman fighting against his greatest enemies over the course of a single evening. The main difference between Arkham City and Arkham Knight is that Knight arguably has a better emotional arc than the game that preceded it. Specifically, the titular villain is a dark and twisted post-Robin (but pre-Red Hood) version of Jason Todd who makes it his mission to destroy Gotham City and defeat his former mentor. Shaky Batmobile mechanics aside, Arkham Knight tells one of the best "Gotham under siege" tales in recent memory, and the fact that Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice already laid possible groundwork for a showdown with the second Robin seems like a total no-brainer for the folks at DC and Warner Bros. at this stage of the game.
Night of the Owls
Night of the Owls is a massive Bat Family crossover that takes place after Bruce Wayne discovers the existence of the Court of Owls. Knowing that they can no longer hide and manipulate from the shadows, the Owls send an army of Talons out into Gotham City to assassinate key social and political figures -- thus ensuring that the Illuminati-esque organization can maintain its grip on the city. With the initial Court of Owls arc serving as the first act of the story, and Night serving as the climax, this recent storyline could represent a fascinating way to flesh out the DCEU's Gotham City. Beyond that, it's also an opportunity to use a criminal organization that has never once appeared on the silver screen -- a rarity in Batman's rogues gallery.
No Man's Land
We've technically already seen an adaptation of Greg Rucka's No Man's Land; it was called The Dark Knight Rises. However, there are a few key aspects to the story that Christopher Nolan either omitted or missed the mark on in 2012, and now seems like a perfect time to give the story another shot. Centering on a Gotham City ravaged by a cataclysmic earthquake, the arc follows The Bat Family as they work alongside the GCPD to keep the trapped citizens of the city safe from a criminal element run amuck. It's a strong story arc with strong connections to the greater DC universe, and it's particularly notable because it features a scene in which Joker murders Commissioner Gordon's wife Sarah -- which could easily tie into J.K. Simmons' version of Gordon from this fall's Justice League.
Which Batman story would you want to see?