It’s quite a surprise to see just how quickly Warner Bros. was able to snag the new actor to play Batman in the currently-titled “Batman vs. Superman” movie scheduled for 2015. Even more surprising, they got a popular actor that’ll have the challenge of being immediately compared in a negative light to Christian Bale, which means there’s a tremendous push here despite how underwhelming critical and audience response was to it (which is actually something the publishing side looks at as well as cash raked in). And the catch Warner was able to get was pretty darn amazing: a great actor who’s performed well in genres ranging from comedy to drama; has recently grown into being a distinguished writer, director, and producer; and is also a fan of superhero comics. If there was any reputation that could have me somewhat optimistic of what’s going to be the greatest juggling act for a superhero screenplay it would be this guy. This guy being Ben Affleck.
And how did the nerd culture via the internet take this ray of hope?
I’m not sure how to tackle this overreaction. Seriously, people, what the heck is wrong with this choice? He fits the physical attributes needed for the role, chin and all, and is talented at acting. I know that latter declaration already has some prepping the reactionary “but Reindeer Games, Gigli, and…DAREDEVIL!” type responses (as if Bale’s immune to having any flubs in his career), but the reality is this guy is someone completely different than what he was ten years ago. Any cinephile can definitely see a dramatic career revival occurred since his rather uninspiring start to the new millennium. When you actually get down to the nitty gritty of this idea’s inspiration, this revitalized Hollywood career story and character being played kind of mirrors the story of Iron Man/Downey Jr. (minus the drug addiction).
Unlike the unexpected pick made with Iron Man, this decision isn’t some didn’t-see-it-coming idea. Rumors in the late 2000’s swirled about Warner Bros. just starting with a Justice League film instead of catapulting it with Man of Steel and Affleck was their target for directing it with the catch of him being Batman. He passed on it back then but things have changed apparently. Could this offer also have us seeing him direct and/or write the Justice League and/or be part of the writing team for Superman vs. Batman? Even if that doesn’t happen, Batfleck’s signing seems to be a good sign that the filmmakers behind MoS got the hint and some levity will be tossed into this next film since Affleck’s recent characters have that dark, brooding tone while also feeling rather likable. So already it doesn’t feel like we’ll see the thuggish Batman with throat cancer personality being regurgitated here. Perhaps it might even have an air of fun in it.
To be perfectly honest, the only thing that’s killing my buzz over this great news for Batman is the fact the current creative team behind Man of Steel is still involved here and the current “setup” seems to have Batman and Superman as philosophical counterparts pitted against one another instead of friends as the main plot. The ‘who would win’ premise for the two main characters is a fine idea…for an action scene, not a whole movie; however, these sorts of fights can work in a whole movie if the two people fighting are surrounded by plot devices moving things along. The reason The Avengers worked so well is because it understood that and spent a couple of minutes pitting two heroes against one another using everything they got and then got on with the story. Batman setting up elaborate traps and gadgets to fight Superman isn’t a story.
In fact, isn’t the whole idea of Batman being dependent upon his “resourcefulness and proper planning” in order to continue fighting or even defeating a superhero such a dull cliché at this point? I can understand why the comics do it: he’s DC fan’s favorite character. But when you get down to the nitty gritty, his fixations for preparedness stem from the obscene amount of wealth he’s gotten solely through inheritance allowing him to acquire all of these skills in the first place. From the cartoons I recall about this, it’s framed like a “mere human” destroying a “god” trying to be analogous to some uplifting man’s drive vs. machine’s productivity tale. When this particular character arc of Batman is honestly combed over, it’s more aligned with ridiculous entitlement and essentially purchasing victory against another who symbolizes hope and optimism. The most annoying part is just how pervasive that attitude seems to be in most comics.
In conclusion, I’m giving a thumbs-up to the idea of Affleck becoming the next Batman and believe you should too. What really should concern everyone are the CURRENT story ideas given about this new project by the creative team behind the new film.