You've no doubt heard by now that superstar and Oscar-winning Argo director Ben Affleck is stepping down as director of the long-gestating The Batman movie. Disappointing as the news is, it now opens up an exciting opportunity for another visionary filmmaker to take over. Here's our choices.
One of the prominent directors whose name has already been thrown in the Batman ring, Reeves has already proven that he can deliver nail-biting popcorn thrills (Cloverfield; Dawn and this summer's War for the Planet of the Apes), as well as brooding, Gothic atmosphere (2010 horror remake Let Me In). Surely then he's got all facets covered when it comes to taking on the Dark Knight?
If we're thinking outside of the box then the T2: Trainspotting director fits the bill. Boyle's poundingly energetic style, seen in both Trainspotting movies, Slumdog Millionaire and other celebrated hits, could really give the Batman franchise the kick in the pants it needs. Plus, as 28 Days Later demonstrated, he can really get us gnawing our nails, and he can also deliver sublime visual experiences as seen in the likes of Sunshine.
Batman as a quick-witted buddy comedy? Hey, don't write it off – after all his partnership with Robin extends all the way back through history. The Nice Guys director Black would certainly be the one to inject a note of blackly comic history into Bruce Wayne's latest adventures, and given his past experience as the writer of the first Lethal Weapon movie, he also knows his way around a barnstorming action scene. Plus, he's worked in the comic book realm before with 2013's Iron Man 3.
Batman is the darkest and broodiest of the major league superheroes and would benefit from a filmmaker who understands this particular sense of style. Last year's acclaimed sci-fi indie Midnight Special largely took place at night among the rural backwaters of America, director Nicholls bringing a beautifully slow-burning sense of atmosphere. But how would he cope with the large-scale action requirements? Well, let's not forget Christopher Nolan had never made an action movie prior to Batman Begins...
Nicolas Winding Refn
If Danny Boyle was us thinking outside of the box, then Neon Demon and Drive director Refn would positively tear up the Batman rulebook. A filmmaker who prioritises a lush, surreal and nightmarish sense of style, there's no denying that he could pull us into Bruce Wayne's tortured world like few other directors on this list. Given Drive had its fair share of gear-crunching car chase sequences, maybe Refn could also give the old Batmobile a fresh spin?
Guillermo del Toro
He garnered a boatload of awards and international acclaim for the sublime fantasy Pan's Labyrinth but del Toro has never shied away from the fact he is a massive geek. He's already directed two Hellboy films and epic giant robot/lizard smash-em-up Pacific Rim, all of which demonstrated an infectious enthusiasm for popcorn action and quirky characters. Del Toro could potentially combine his Gothic inclinations with those of his inner fanboy to deliver a Batman movie that is at once both traditional and forward-thinking.
Another acclaimed filmmaker who loves grappling with the dark side of life, Fincher's CV is stocked with the kind of creepy, gripping hits that makes us truly wonder what his own Batman movie would look like. Seven, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network, Gone Girl – all of these are movies with an exquisitely designed atmosphere of violence and dread, and there's no doubt that if he were making a Dark Knight movie, it would be for grown ups in every possible sense.
You may not know the name, but Carnahan has jumped between moody thrillers and OTT action with such aplomb that he potentially has what it takes to honour both Batman's deadly side and the crunchy action that ensues when his toys are broken out. Having directed Ray Liotta in gritty cop thriller Narc, he's also turned his attention to both the explosive A-Team movie and wolf-punching Liam Neeson drama The Grey.
Who would you like to see direct The Batman? Send us your choices @Cineworld.