The Batman is attempting to create an entirely new and unique version of the Dark Knight. What was originally a continuation of Ben Affleck's Batman quickly shifted to a reboot when Affleck declined to direct and star in the film. Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) was then brought in to re-imagine Bruce Wayne once again.
A star-studded cast was lined up to reinterpret the film's slew of iconic comic book characters, and Reeves also brought in critically acclaimed cinematographer Greig Fraser (Zero Dark Thirty, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) to visually reinvent the look of the Caped Crusader. While Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder both made their definitive stamps on the superhero's visual tone, Fraser has his own plans for filming The Batman.
In speaking with Collider, cinematographer Greig Fraser briefly talked about how The Batman would compare to the Dark Knight Trilogy and Zack Snyder's version of the character. When asked in particular about the darkness of the character's visuals, Fraser responded with:
"There's darkness in the character for sure. We need to create a mood, which is obvious; it's a Batman film. So, I don't think it's going to be oppressively dark in terms of visually because we're not trying to have a competition about who can go the darkest of the darkest of the darkest. We're trying to create intrigue."
WHAT THIS MEANS
Batman's visual tones have always been an incredibly important feature of the character's live-action adventures. From the grim and gothic visuals of Tim Burton's films to the flashy neon vibrancy of Joel Schumacher to the grounded bleakness of Christoper Nolan, the look of a Batman adaptation does just as much to differentiate the character as the actor and script do.
Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy in particular redefined the character on film similar to the way Frank Miller did with his graphic novels, and Zack Snyder carried over a similar grounded dark tone to Ben Affleck's iteration. While this style of Batman worked in the eyes of the fans and the studio, if The Batman went down a similar route, it would simply look like a Nolan carbon copy.
Fraser's attempts to approach The Batman through an avenue of mood, as opposed to an attempt of mimicking the visual language of its predecessors, bodes well for the film's chances of being a unique iteration of one of the most popular comic book characters of all time. And with all the talk of The Batman being a more straightforward detective story, "intrigue" will definitely be necessary.
The Batman is set to release on October 1, 2021.