Kevin Smith is no stranger to comic book, and in particular, Batman culture. As the host of the Fatman on Batman podcast, Smith treats the medium as serious as any other form of entertainment.
Not only is the filmmaker a huge fan of the genre, he’s also had his fair share of work in comic books too. He wrote the Batman books Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet, Batman: Cacophony and Batman: The Widening Gyre. He has also been a special guest director for episodes of The Flash and Supergirl on the CW.
The man simply loves comic books and although he hasn’t taken the dive into writing or directing a superhero film yet, he has some ideas of how he would handle the Dark Knight in his next feature film.
“I would do what [Warner Bros.] are doing right now, which is, let’s just start making movies that aren’t connected. Don’t worry about that universe, don’t worry about tying things together. They were masters at this [stuff]. They mastered the comic book movie in the 70’s with Superman, in the late 80’s, early 90’s with Batman, they have the [f-ing] Dark Knight trilogy, they should be able to do this in their [f-ing] sleep.”
Smith brings up a good point in that DC and WB basically invented the superhero genre of filmmaking and were, for the most part, highly successful without ever crossing over.
Ever since the more simpler approach of Burton, or the contained story of Nolan, Smith thinks the budget for Batman films have gotten far too bloated. He believes the character should go back to his roots in a simpler film.
“The notion of the Todd Phillips Joker movie is kind of interesting to me. Matt Reeves’ solo Batman movie is interesting to me. I don’t think they should be making [f-ing] 200 million dollar [f-ing] Batman movies. They don’t need to. You can do a [f-ing] 15 million dollar cool horror version of that movie, [shoot], for even less. Arkham Asylum, if they were ever gonna do Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum, takes place in one [f-ing] location, man. Bunch of spooky rooms with the rogue’s gallery. Everybody’s [f-ing] in it.”
Smith continues his colorfully languaged rant by saying one way they can slash the budget is not to hire A-list actors. With pretty much every Batman villain/hero being hidden under some sort of mask or makeup, you won’t be able to see them anyways so it’s unnecessary.
“Unless you don’t overpay for talent, which you really don’t [f-ing] need to because a lot of people are in makeup and [stuff] like that, you can cast that movie pretty simply and shoot that movie for like 15 million bucks. If a Batman movie can make 800 to a billion [dollars] and it does it on a 200 million dollar budget, it’s just more profit in a 15 million dollar film and something to talk about because it sounds like it could be an interesting project as well in smaller hands with a tighter vision. Different from, ‘Let’s just make it big and over the top!’ I think they need to pirouette. They need to [f-ing] pivot and do something different. The rumors are that Reeves is doing the Dark Knight detective, old version of Batman. That might be interesting as opposed to the same [f-ing] thing that we’ve seen over and over again.”
Why don’t you tell us how you really feel Mr. Smith? He does have a point, however. Batman films are some of the best and most respected in the entire genre, but once he started mingling with gods and super powered beings in bloated blockbusters, the quality dipped.
There could, of course, be multiple reasons for that happening beyond just Batman mixing it up with Superman and the Justice League, but Smith is proposing we go back to tighter and simpler films like Batman (1989) or The Dark Knight. A grounded, simple story by a director with a singular vision. And that seems to be exactly what we’re getting with Matt Reeves.
It’s also interesting that Kevin Smith mentions Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum a few times. It was rumored, back when Ben Affleck was still writing and directing the film, that it would take inspiration from that story. Now that Reeves is in creative control with a page 1 rewrite, who knows what we’ll get. But Smith and Affleck are longtime friends so perhaps there was some merit to that rumor.
What do you think of Kevin Smith’s thoughts? Do you agree? Or do you think we should continue on the path of an interconnected films world like the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know!