The Batman Director Matt Reeves Explains Why He Couldn't Direct A Marvel Film

Perhaps more so than any other superhero out there, "Batman" movies come loaded with all sorts of extra scrutiny from fans and casual audiences alike. The franchise is littered with examples of bold creative swings gone horribly wrong, auteur directors putting their indelible stamp on the franchise that reverberates to this day, and the fraught circumstances that dogged director Zack Snyder and prevented him from exercising true creative freedom on the theatrical cut of "Justice League." When filmmaker Matt Reeves stepped up to direct the project that would eventually become "The Batman" in the form that we're now set to watch in theaters, reactions among those who've followed Reeves' career to this point took the form of near-universal anticipation. Here was yet another chance for a distinctive, opinionated, and visionary storyteller to take their own unique approach to a classic comic book character which naturally lends itself to various interpretations.

By all accounts, Reeves was perfectly able to realize his original ideas for the film exactly the way he envisioned, even with DC still moving forward with Ben Affleck's version of the character at the same time. In fact, Reeves has previously mentioned that the first time he met with DC brass, he initially turned them down over a difference in opinion over what direction to take the character. The fact that the studio brought him on anyway speaks volumes about the level of trust and comfort they had in the "Planet of the Apes" director. As they should!

So with all that in mind, would Reeves ever be interested in switching sides, as fellow DC filmmaker James Gunn has done to incredible success between "Guardians of the Galaxy" and both "The Suicide Squad" and "Peacemaker," and plying his trade with Marvel? Well, the answer's a little ... complicated. As you might expect, a filmmaker used to as much freedom as Reeves — as proven by movies like "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" and "War for the Planet of the Apes," two largely moody, depressing, and shockingly thoughtful blockbusters that don't exactly hold much four-quadrant appeal — expresses some hesitation over whether or not he'd actually be a good fit for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Check out his full comments below.

'I don't think they would be happy with me'

For any Marvel fans who have watched the thrilling marketing cycle for "The Batman" with slightly envious eyes, formulating fan-casts in the hopes that Matt Reeves might be a good fit for something at the other major superhero studio in town, I may have some bad news for you.

In a wide-ranging profile with Variety, Reeves explained his initial hesitance to find his way onto the blockbuster scene after making his feature film debut with 2008's found-footage monster movie, "Cloverfield." Naturally, the topic of directing Marvel movies came up, since they are far and away the biggest, most consistent, and definitely most profitable superhero studio around. But according to Reeves, that fit might not be the best one for either party involved. Here's what he had to say.

"I have such respect for Kevin Feige and also for the [Marvel] filmmakers. But to be honest with you, I just don't know how I would make my way through that. There has to be some level of discovery for me, where I have some freedom to find my way. If I have to come into something that's already set too firmly, then I think I would get lost. And I don't think they would be happy with me either."

Lower your weapons and resist the urge to blow this out of proportion, folks. The downright diplomatic comments are par for the course when it comes to DC directors addressing working for Marvel, threading the needle perfectly between a hefty deference for the inarguably talented people who make those movies, and his refreshingly honest thoughts on whether he's able to see himself fitting in with Marvel's much different filmmaking process. It's undeniable that Marvel tends to approach filmmakers who are able to work within the confines of what Feige and his creative team have already loosely established — we've seen what happens when that process proves too difficult for some. Given the amount of freedom Reeves has already stated he enjoyed while making "The Batman," I'm not sure what other answer anyone could've expected here.

Marvel's loss, however, is certainly everyone else's gain. "The Batman" is already shaping up to be one unforgettable experience and fans will soon be able to find out for themselves. "The Batman" comes to theaters tomorrow, March 4, 2022.