After weeks of uncertainty and vague comments it’s official: Ben Affleck is no longer directing The Batman. This could turn out to be a good decision with Affleck now being able to focus more of his effort into playing Batman and finishing the script but whichever way you look at it it’s a marketing disaster. Some of the fans who believed The Batman could be the film to show what the DC Cinematic Universe is capable of have lost faith and the news sure isn’t going to persuade people who aren’t fans of the series to get on board. What DC and Warner Brothers need to do is hire a director fast whose name will restore faith in the film immediately, they could go for an up-and-coming filmmaker like Fede Alvarez but I think a bigger name is needed: David Fincher.
Unless Ben Affleck drops out entirely and is replaced by Adam West, The Batman should be a dark film. Fincher excels in this area, not just with a dark tone but also with colour palette. Just look at The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl or the first two episodes of House of Cards at you’ll see that those films and episodes are dominated by greys and blacks. This could make for a dull movie in a lesser director’s hands but Fincher thrives in the dark managing to make those dark colours incredibly vivid and visually appealing. Just imagine how good Batman standing in silhouette upon the night sky above a destitute Gotham City would look if captured by David Fincher.
While Fincher has made some very well-known and critically lauded films such as Fight Club and his masterpiece Zodiac he hasn’t delved into summer blockbuster territory before. I have no worries that he can make the transition because he’s an incredibly competent filmmaker and he did start his career at Industrial Light and Magic as an assistant cameraman for Return of the Jedi and part of the matte photography team behind the best of the Indiana Jones films: The Temple of Doom. My only worry is the possible studio interference. Rumours are abound about how DC and WB treat their directors and the leashes they contain them with and it is difficult to see Fincher in such a scenario. Last time he was under such circumstances was his feature debut, the underrated Alien 3, and after a tense production he walked away from the film just before post production. If Warner Brothers leave Affleck and Fincher alone to make their movie without constant interference, then I believe we could get the DC movie we have all been waiting for.
While he is no longer directing The Batman, Ben Affleck is still, at least at the time of writing, starring, producing and writing the film. For all intents and purposes it is Ben Affleck’s movie and he needs to find someone he trusts and has a good working relationship with to oversee the production and David Fincher is that person. Fincher’s last film was the masterful Gone Girl which starred none other than Ben Affleck. Affleck has made it clear that he respects Fincher enormously and even delayed production on his recent flop Live by Night to have a chance to work with him on Gone Girl which turned out to be right choice with Affleck’s performance as Nick Dunne under Fincher’s direction being his best in years. This relationship means that Fincher would be the ideal creative partner for Affleck and the film could turn out better than if Affleck was directing it himself.
For me Batman has always been a horror character and his ability to strike fear into the hearts of criminals has never been shown particularly well on screen with the best current examples of it being the rooftop opening scene of Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman and the scene at the docks in Batman Begins. While never fully venturing into horror cinema Fincher has a fair few scares under his belt primarily in the crime scenes in Seven but also in Zodiac and Alien 3. While I did refer to Alien 3 (or Alien cubed as it should be called judging by its logo/title) as underrated earlier I just want to point out I only ever watch ‘the assembly cut’ and it’s still a mess of a movie. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo also leans towards horror with Stellan Skarsgard suffocating Daniel Craig while Enya plays in the background still giving me chills. Fincher’s brand of pseudo-horror could fit with Ben Affleck’s Batman perfectly giving us a scarier Batman than previously seen while still being a thriller/ crime story. I hope that somewhere in the Batman script there is a montage of someone sifting through documents and photos because Fincher does that really well too.
So, that’s my reasoning for why David Fincher should direct The Batman and to be honest whoever we want to direct the movie, deep down we know that it’s probably going to be Zack Snyder. Who do you want to direct The Batman? Let me know in the comments and geek out with me about Batman on Twitter @kylebrrtt.