So it’s pretty safe to say that the online response to the casting of Ben Affleck as the newest iteration of Batman hasn’t gone over so well with the entire internet. A position that I personally don’t quite understand, but differing opinions and yada yada. We’ve all seen the arguments against the casting. “He’s too boring of a choice,” “We want Christian Bale!,” and of course “But, Daredevil!” Most of these I can understand, but are they really valid concerns? Let’s examine them, shall we.
Affleck Is Too Boring/ Too Well Known
Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen relative newcomers cast in the roles of our superheroes. Brandon Routh as Superman in Bryan Singer’s failed reboot/sort-of-sequel, Superman Returns, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, and Henry Cavill as the latest Superman in this years Man of Steel. Even Christian Bale was little known when Nolan cast him in arguably one of the best trilogies of all time. We’ve all grown accustomed to seeing unknown actors thrown into these iconic roles. So I can sort of understand the shock of seeing such a well known actor cast in one of the biggest roles of all time. In fact, I was personally hoping for Karl Urban to be given the chance. So even I was thrown off by the casting a bit. His name wasn’t even mentioned on the purported shortlist that was leaked a couple of weeks ago. A list that included the likes of Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling. But having been a fan of Affleck’s recent work, specifically The Town and Argo, both very well made films in which Affleck both directed and starred in, I was immediately drawn into the idea of him taking on the role. He’s got the right amount of gravitas and ability to actually pull it off. Not to mention experience, which will lend itself to the role, seeing as how Warner Bros. is looking to portray an iteration of Batman who is late in his years, and experienced enough to play off of a rather amateur Superman. Imagine Affleck’s Batman guiding a young Superman, and training him in the morality he’s instilled in himself. As in, don’t kill your enemies, as in “Hey bro, you shouldn’t have killed that Zod guy,” and “Oh, maybe next time, take the fight outside of a giant metropolitan area so you don’t injure hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.” Because I guarantee that’s the role Snyder and company are cooking up for Affleck. Clark Kent may have learned how to be a man from Jonathan Kent, but he’ll learn how to be a hero from Batman.
The Christian Bale Syndrome
Look guys, Christian Bale just isn’t coming back. He’s stated several times in the past that he was done when Nolan was done. He was offered $50 million dollars to come back, and turned it down. It’s over. We got three fantastic films out of them, and now it’s over. But here’s the good news, Ben Affleck being Batman won’t ruin those films. Why? Because film is forever. You can go back and watch those films whenever you want. You can go see this Batman/Superman film on July 17, 2015 and then come home and watch The Dark Knight and enjoy it just as much as you did the 18 times you probably saw it in the theater. Ben Affleck simply won’t effect those films, because this is a new take on the character. And to be honest, it’s kind of exciting. There’s been different takes on the Batman throughout the years in the comics. There’s been the mysterious shadowy Batman, the over-the-top campy Batman, the grim, brooding Batman, the world’s greatest detective Batman, and the old, grizzled, should have retired long ago Batman. And Nolan’s films only really touched on one of those. I would personally like to see Batman using his keen detective skills to solve and fight crime. I don’t know if that’s what Snyder plans on doing, but I guarantee he’s not looking to retread what Nolan did. And I guarantee that Affleck isn’t looking to step on what Bale did either. Every actor wants to make a character their own, and that’s exactly what we’ll see with this new Batman.
The most popular argument. “But he completely fucked up Daredevil!” No, he didn’t. Mark Stephen Johnson did. Affleck was actually pretty good in a film that was poorly written and directed. He was able to discern between two separate personalities, Matt Murdock/Daredevil, and he looked the part of a larger-than-life superhero. But there’s no counter argument to Affleck making poor choices in the middle of his career. With Pearl Harbor, Gigli, and Paycheck, he seemed to just be floating along through work for just, well, paychecks. But let’s be clear, those were poor career choices, not poor acting. Affleck is a talented actor. Not only that, he’s a considerable writer and director. Make that Academy Award winning writer and director. Think of the possibilities for the future. Sure, Zack Snyder is directing the Batman/Superman film, but who’s directing the upcoming Batman solo films, and the already announced Justice League film? Affleck does like to direct himself in films.
And let’s not forget the backlash that Keaton received when he was cast in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, and more recently the vitriol spewed at Ledger when he was cast as the Joker. I’m sure there’s many of you out there that ate your words when you actually saw how well they performs in their roles. So, why not give Affleck a chance? If he doesn’t work, then as a diehard fan of the Batman character, I will be the first to throw my arms up. But we’re still two years away from seeing him onscreen.