The Next Batman Movie Is About to Take a Huge Risk
Andy Muschietti has been tapped to helm The Brave and the Bold. Is he the right man?
The DC Universe is at a flashpoint. James Gunn and Peter Safran are set to wipe the slate clean and kick off their new DC Universe with Gunn’s Superman: Legacy, which will purportedly redirect the DC movies toward a more optimistic future. But there’s still the matter of the final DC Extended Universe movies, especially the upcoming Flash film.
Helmed by Andy Muschietti, the long-embattled comic book movie was initially set up as a reset for the DCEU, drawing inspiration from the Flashpoint comic book arc that launched DC Comics’ New 52. But it kept getting pushed back, and churned through directors, until The Flash no longer represented a restart for the DCEU, but instead the final straggler of a doomed cinematic universe. Muschietti was the director who ended up steering The Flash to the finish line, to mixed results.
Muschietti might not be done with DC. Last week, The Hollywood Reporter first confirmed a scoop reported by One Take News, that Muschietti was the top choice to direct The Brave and the Bold, the first Batman film in Gunn’s DC Universe. Now, Variety has broken the news that Muschietti is the official director for The Brave and the Bold. Muschietti’s sister and creative partner Barbara will produce the project through their label Double Dream, alongside Gunn and Safran.
In a statement to Variety, Gunn and Safran praised Muschietti’s work on The Flash, and called him their “only one choice” for the Batman movie in their new DCU. “We saw ‘The Flash’; even before taking the reins at DC Studios, and knew we were in the hands of not only a visionary director but a massive DC fan,” Gunn and Safran said. “It’s a magnificent film – funny, emotional, thrilling – and Andy’s affinity and passion for these characters and this world just resonates through every frame. So, when it came time to find a director for ‘The Brave and the Bold,’ there was really only one choice.”
The choice of Muschietti speaks to DC executives’ faith in The Flash which, in addition to its troubled nine-year production, has seen its star, Ezra Miller, run into a bevy of legal issues and harassment allegations. That Muschietti could helm such a rocky production probably speaks volumes about the filmmaker’s work ethic. But is he a good director? That’s another question.
Muschietti broke onto the scene with 2013’s Mama, a creepy and chilling horror movie that heralded the debut of a promising new indie director. That meant, of course, that Muschietti was immediately inserted into Hollywood’s blockbuster machine. He made the fantastic It, and the not-so-fantastic It: Chapter Two. Now The Flash arrives with rave reviews from industry veterans like Gunn, and restrained praise from critics.
Muschietti’s career has been so up and down that it’s hard to predict whether he’ll be a good fit for The Brave and the Bold. He’s a great horror director prone to laughably weird choices (remember that awful needle drop in It: Chapter Two?). He’s a solid comic book director with a grasp of the earnest emotion at the heart of a crowded crossover flick, but he has a shaky hold on VFX. And he’ll have to compete with Matt Reeves’ Batman flicks, which will exist separately from Gunn’s DC Universe.
The Brave and the Bold will be a different beast from Reeves’ grimy, crime-thriller take on the Caped Crusader. Gunn has said the film will be “based on the Grant Morrison comic book run,” arguably the most influential run in Batman’s history, and will see Batman take his son Damian Wayne under his wing. The film will depart from most Batman movies by centering on the “Batfamily.”
Muschietti has a handle on crafting found families; he brought together the children of It, and even managed to make the bizarre team at the center of The Flash feel whole. He’s also proved he can handle a Batman by working Michael Keaton into The Flash. Maybe he’ll be the right person for The Brave and the Bold. But maybe he’ll bring the weird tonal dissonance he showed in It: Chapter Two and The Flash, which could give us the strangest Batman movie yet.
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