When Ben Affleck stepped down from the director’s chair of the upcoming standalone The Batman movie, every person on the internet who had ever seen a Batman movie suddenly had the perfect suggestion for who should replace him. From David Fincher to Jennifer Kent to Joss Whedon  —  so close, that last one  — fans speculated wildly about which filmmaker could bring the right combination of darkness and martial arts to the movie. It’s a credit to Matt Reeves’ work on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, then, that most everyone was satisfied with his selection. Reeves had managed to revitalize a beloved franchise that had previously been undone by a campy reboot; does that sound like any other Batman directors we know?

And while not much is known about Reeves and Affleck’s new direction for the movie, the director feels he can bring a lot of insight from his last project into his new one. In a conversation with the Los Angeles Daily News (via Heroic Hollywood), the director shared his thoughts about taking on The Batman and why he thinks his protagonists from both films have a lot in common:

It’s a strange thing to be involved in the two franchises which were the two that I was connected to most as a child. I just was obsessed with Batman when I was a kid. What I find so interesting about him as a character is that, as far a superhero goes, he’s not superhuman, he is a person. And he is a tortured soul who is grappling with his past and trying to find a way to be in a world that has a lot that’s wrong with it and trying to find a way to reconcile all of that … That is a really powerful character, in the same way that Caesar is such a powerful character.

It’s somewhat unique for a filmmaker to compare a character in one blockbuster franchise that he’s directing to that in another blockbuster franchise he’s directing, but Caesar’s strength as a character may be exactly why fans have faith in Reeves. Instead of being just a CGI monkey, Caesar is a well-rounded character who struggles to balance the need for violence against his determination to protect his people. If Reeves can find a three-dimensional story to tell under those circumstances, then he should have no trouble turning Bruce Wayne’s tragic arc into one of the more interesting action movies of the summer. Here’s hoping that The Batman is more fun than (cough) a barrel full of monkeys.

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