the batman reboot

After taking on Superman and rounding up the Justice League (which made him take on Superman again), Ben Affleck retired from being Batman. But before putting away the cape and cowl, there was a developing movie that would have taken Ben Affleck’s version of The Caped Crusader to one of the most famed places in the character’s comic history: Arkham Asylum. The film would have been directed by Affleck, but it never got off the ground before he decided to leave The Dark Knight behind. Now, cinematographer Robert Richardson has revealed some details on the abandoned Ben Affleck Batman movie.

Robert Richardson has been making publicity rounds to talk about his work on Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. During a conversation on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Richardson lamented that he was unable to make a solo Batman movie with Ben Affleck, which was originally intended to follow the crime thriller Live By Night. It was a project that Richardson was very excited to work on, and he confirmed previous rumors of the Arkham Asylum setting. The cinematographer explained:

“Well, he was going more into the insanity aspects. So I think you would’ve seen something a little darker than what we’ve seen in the past and more into the individual, who was inside Batman – what element may be sane and what element may actually not be sane. So he was entering into a little more of the Arkham, as you know, he’s going into where you keep everyone who was bad…it was very fascinating to go to the darker side of Batman.”

Batman Begins is the only Batman movie that used Arkham Asylum in a significant way. But since that movie took place only as Batman was just beginning his career the protector of Gotham City, we never really got to see what it was like when the rogues gallery of Batman’s most dangerous villains was inside of it. That would have made for something entirely different than we’ve seen from Batman before. But it never moved forward since the script never got to a point where it satisfied everyone.

Honestly, I’m a little bummed that Ben Affleck never truly got to realize his vision for what Batman could be. While some didn’t like his approach to the character, for me, it was one of the few parts that actually worked well in Zack Snyder’s approach to the DC Extended Universe. This grizzled, experienced Batman gave us a version of the hero we hadn’t seen on the big screen before, and it would have been rather interesting to explore the psychological side of that character in a movie inside Arkham Asylum.

Anyway, we’ve still got The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson, set for June 25, 2021.

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