The internet world was set ablaze recently when it was announced that Ben Affleck would be taking on the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne in the forthcoming Superman/Batman film that is scheduled for release in 2015. The news was met with much distain from the twitterverse and the blogosphere, as critics, pundits, and fanboys released their inner Comic Book Guy onto the web. Saying that the announcement of Affleck as Batman was a surprise to many is an understatement, the utter disgust and vitriol that has been expressed has been baffling. To quote a phrase “Why so serious?” While Affleck isn’t the number one choice for the role for most, is he really the worst choice? His film career is littered with the occasional bomb (insert “Gigli” here), yet he is a highly acclaimed Oscar winning actor, director, and screenwriter. With the awards, accomplishments, and body of work that he processes; Affleck will certainly bring something different to the role. Here are five reasons why this difference in portrayal will not be the end of the world nor will it be end Batman.
1. Nothing can be any worse than George Clooney and “Batman & Robin”!
“Batman & Robin” is one of the absolutely worst films ever made! It not only killed the Batman franchise at the time, but it also killed the “superhero” genre of film for years after that. Clooney as Batman was a farce. It was simply Clooney as we knew him in the batsuit. “Batman & Robin” was not an exercise in method acting, it was a failed big budget attempt at really bad cosplay with Clooney and Schwarzenegger as its poster children. Affleck would be a better Batman than Clooney in his sleep.
As much as people bemoan the movie that was “Daredevil”, it really wasn’t that bad of a movie. It was very much indicative of the style of comic book films from the early 2000’s. Affleck was at times a very believable Matt Murdock/Daredevil. The costumes and casting (for the most part) were good and par with similar films of the times. The worst part of the film is the whole Electra dynamic and Jennifer Garner’s performance as Electra. The film was a product of its time and none of that is the fault of Affleck’s performance.
3. Were we really that excited about Christian Bale before Batman Begins?
Let’s be honest with ourselves, Christian Bale wasn’t the first choice of many to be the new face of Batman when it was announced in 2004. Before “Batman Begins”, Bale’s arguably greatest claims to fame were “Equilibrium” and “Reign of Fire”. While both were decent action flicks, neither had made Bale a household name nor did they instill confidence that he could be Batman. Now eight years removed from the release of “Batman Begins”, no one will argue that Bale wasn’t or isn’t the living embodiment of Batman/Brice Wayne in those films. Eight years from now could we be saying the same about Affleck?
4. The Dark Knight trilogy is over, so get over it!
The Dark Knight series of films were not just great “superhero” movies, but they were great movies period. As sad as it is to know that Nolan, Bale, and the rest will never set foot in Gotham again, we must come to grips with the fact that it’s over. It’s time to have a new Batman story told. Unlike other comic properties that have been rebooted fairly quickly, Batman is one that seems uniquely able to thrive and grow with new storytellers at the helm.
5. It’s not really about Affleck, it’s really about Zack Snyder being able
successfully delivering our biggest geeky wet dream.
The Dark Knight series was Christopher Nolan! Yes there was great screenwriting from Goyer and great acting by the cast, but it was Nolan’s vision and direction that gave us a series that was visually striking with performances that captured the essence of the characters and plot that was being presented. “Man of Steel” was good, yet Snyder’s body of work (as much as we love it) hasn’t really shown that he can tackle two of comic’s biggest heavyweights in one film. Snyder’s ability to pull off Superman/Batman will have more to do with the quality and success of the film than Affleck’s wearing of the cape and cowl.
After all of the arguments and debates are over, the fact still remains that not a single script has been read nor has a single scene been shot. The verdict on Affleck as Batman will ultimately be decided in 2015. Until then we just need to wait to see what the future holds.