Warner Bros’ struggling DC extended universe of superhero movies currently lacks a central pivot, despite decent enough solo outings for Wonder Woman and Aquaman. For the last three years, ever since Zack Snyder’s ill-fated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice failed to wow anyone outside a hardcore of DC fans, Warner has been trying and failing to convince the world that Batfleck was a good idea poorly managed. The temptation must surely be for Reeves to make with the Lazarus Pit, and resurrect a new and more workable Batman – preferably played by anyone but Affleck. Perhaps DC needs two cinematic universes: one based on the grimy Gotham underworld and its cavalcade of leering freaks and deviants; the other filled with sci-fi-tinged superheroes who wouldn’t look out of place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, such as Aquaman, Wonder Woman and the Flash. The only question is why DC wasn’t well aware of this, given that its own Lego Batman Movie mined Bruce Wayne’s extreme narcissism and inelegant misanthropy for comedy gold so successfully. Might The Batman see the emergence of a dark knight whose presence in the wider DC world is left pretty much open to question? And would this be such a bad thing? It’s possible Warner simply doesn’t have the confidence in its own plans, particularly after the lukewarm reactions to Justice League, to manage the movie in any other way. Maybe, just maybe, we need to take a long hard look at Reeves’ solo Batman outing before anyone can really imagine what shape the wider DC universe should be.
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