The Batman director Matt Reeves has lauded Ben Affleck's iteration of the Dark Knight, praising the actor for an "incredible" turn as the character. That Batman, who will next appear in the Zack Snyder director's cut of Justice League before Affleck reprises the role opposite Ezra Miller in The Flash, is a war-weary costumed crime-fighter by the time he's introduced in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Reeves' early-days caped crusader, portrayed by Robert Pattinson in a separate corner of the DC multiverse, is only in the second year of his superhero career when we meet him in The Batman.
"I loved Ben Affleck as Batman. I thought he was incredible," Reeves said when talk turned to past live-action versions of the character during The Batman's presentation at DC FanDome, calling Batfleck an iteration "that we hadn't seen."
"In fact, I'm really excited because I know that Zack is going to be doing the new Justice League cut of his that he didn't get to do originally, and now he's getting to do it. And I can't wait for that," Reeves said.
Snyder is now overseeing work on his never-before-seen Snyder Cut version of Justice League, releasing in four hour-long installments on HBO Max in 2021. Affleck relinquished the cape and cowl in 2019 after stepping down from the solo movie that morphed into The Batman, later admitting he "couldn't crack" an Affleck-directed Batman.
Affleck's version of the character will play a "substantial part of the emotional impact" of the Andy Muschietti-directed Flash movie, where Michael Keaton's Batman returns when Miller's scarlet speedster races into the DC multiverse.
Explaining what makes his Batman different from recent big-screen portrayals, including Affleck and predecessor Christian Bale, Reeves reaffirmed his movie is not an origin tale but is about a less fully-formed, "early days" version of the character.
"What's really important about this iteration is that a lot of the other stories are about how he had to master his fear, and master himself, in order to become Batman. And that in that Batman state, he's sort of his best self," Reeves said. "For me, what was exciting was not doing that, not doing the origin, not doing what we've seen done so beautifully in other movies."
Instead, the director added, Reeves wanted to "meet him in the middle of this criminological experiment to see him in the becoming of Batman, and to see him make mistakes as Batman. To see him grow, and fail, and be heroic, and do all of the things that we associate with Batman, but in a way that felt very human and very flawed."
The Batman opens October 1, 2021.