Yes! Absolutely everyone has heard the big news on who the newest actor will be to don the cape and cowl as Batman. The newest actor is Ben Affleck. The news came and completely shocked everyone because no one for one second thought about him for Batman. Everyone thought it would be someone like Josh Brolin for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman; never did this name cross any of our minds. As with this shock came some instant backlash to this casting, and at first I’ll admit I had to think about the casting because I never considered him before as Batman. Here are my thoughts on the news of Ben Affleck as Batman.
Okay for those of you that don’t know, the film that Ben will be playing Batman in is the upcoming “Batman/Superman” movie that is the follow up to this year’s blockbuster “Man of Steel” (2013) and will be the 2nd entry in the DC Cinematic Universe, which is all leading up to the eventual “Justice League” movie. Like Marvel, DC plans on having all their major superheroes be a part of the same universe where they can interact with one another, except DC has the entire movie right to their characters, which Marvel doesn’t, but that’s a whole different article for a different time.
As mentioned before as soon as Ben was cast as Batman, fans instantly back lashed towards him and at first I was a little shaky on the casting choice. Simply because I didn’t know if he was a good fit but the more and more I thought about it the more and more I liked the casting choice.
Why Ben Affleck works as a casting choice for Batman
Ben Affleck is a very inspired casting choice and one that completely was taken out of left field. He is right for the role; he fits the age group that Warner Bros/DC wanted for their Batman, a 40 year man that has had several years of experience already in the crime fighting world. Ben is now in his early 40s, so that checks off that first part. 2nd he can pull off the alter ego of Billionaire Playboy Bruce Wayne, I don’t think that was ever questioned by anyone. He has the right look and charm for that part of the role. 3rd, he has got the physical part down for the role and 4th he has a lot of talent. People who say he doesn’t are simply stuck in the early 2000s.
His career has been for the most part up and down and no one can argue that. He started off in the Kevin Smith comedies, and showed hints of talent in 1997’s “Chasing Amy” and then as a writer in the critically acclaimed film “Good Will Hunting” (1997). Then he starred in such films as “Pearl Harbor” (2001)), “Sum of All Fears” (2002), and that god awful “Gigli” (2003), his career was taking a turn for the worst and it kept in a downward trend though the movies like “Surviving Christmas” (2004). These aren’t just bad movies I’m listing; these are bad movies with Ben giving some bad performances. Then there was a sharp turnaround he was good in “Hollywood Land” (2006), but that was just a stepping stone to something much bigger, his directorial debut, “Gone Baby Gone” (2007) which absolutely stunned everyone and had earned widespread critical acclaim. Then in 2009 he delivered an excellent performance in “State of Play” and also in “Company Men” (2010). It is as if he just turned a switch in his head and all of sudden he had found his stride acting wise and he hit his pinnacle with his 2nd directed film “The Town” (2010), where he pulls away from anything we have seen before from him and gives an outstanding performance. Then in 2012 he directed and starred in “Argo” which went on to win best picture at the Academy Awards that year. The guy has some serious talent and ever since 2007 he has been “on” as a performer and has delivered some amazing films and performances. Anyone who says he is a bad actor is just stuck in the past.
The 5th reason and most important is he does fit the role. He can play a dark brooding character and we know he can because his character in “The Town” was threading along those lines and all he needs to do is go a little further with that and there is no reason to think he can’t. The 6th reason this helps the production greatly. He is an incredible director and writer, now with him part of the collaboration team with Zack Snyder (who loves collaborating) means that adds a lot more creative energy moving toward the final product. The 7th and final reason is he fits the role. Yes that’s right he fits the role of Batman because this will be HIS Batman. He and director Zack Snyder have been in talks to play the role shortly after production ended on “Man of Steel” (2013). So everything that is been crafted story wise is being molded around what his take will be on the character. It’s not they wrote the story and then struck him in there because he was a big name; nope this has been in the plans since the beginning stages of this project.
“But wait don’t you remember “Daredevil” (2003)? Remember how awful that movie was?” Let me comment on that and there are several things about that worth mentioning about that situation. Ben Affleck wasn’t the reason why that movie was quote on quote “bad”. I don’t love the film but I don’t hate it, needless to say there is a reason that film didn’t get a sequel. However all that being said Ben wasn’t the reason the movie was below par. In a movie that was full of bad casting choices and horrible decisions by the studio, and changes to the final cut, Ben was not one of them. Was he a little too young and still hadn’t yet gotten the skills for that film yet? Yes but that was 10 years ago! He has grown so much as an actor and people who keep bringing that film up again and again are once again stuck in the past.
Ironically one of the things certain fanboys are doing is forgetting certain things in the past, where their outcries were completely wrong. Remember Michael Keaton being cast as Batman? Everyone was in an uproar, how could Tim Burton cast a comedic actor in one of the most broodings characters in comics? It was because he knew better, when “Batman” (1989) was released everyone began to sing a different tune and even today he is only 2nd to Christian Bale in the greatest performances as Batman (live action films wise). How about the unknown Hugh Jackman as Wolverine? How about Robert Downey JR. as Iron Man? How about Ann Hathaway as Catwoman? Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner? Most of all do you remember the casting of Heath Ledger as the Joker? Everyone was in an uproar about “that pretty boy from Brokeback Mountain” becoming the Joker. Nowadays people are trying to go back and rewrite history and go “well at least with Ledger, there seemed to be untapped talent”. No, no one was saying that during the casting. What did he do as the Joker? He went on to win an academy award and became an instant classic villain, one that became compared and ranked with the likes of Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector (the little things in life). Yes there have been a few where fanboys have been right in their predictions (Nic Cage as Johnny Blaze anyone?) but just think about the major fan boy freak outs before and a lot have turned out great.
Let’s face it a lot of the other rumored choices were just not right for the role at all. Josh Brolin could have easier pulled off the role of Bruce Wayne, but as Batman…he is a long shot. The difference between him and Ben is Ben since 2007 he has been consistent and hasn’t turned in a bad performance since. Josh either hits it or he doesn’t. He was incredible in “No Country for Old Men” (2007) and did a good job in “Men in Black III” (2011) but then he has movies like “Jonah Hex” (2010) (granted that had some other problems than just him) and “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” (2010), so he is inconsistent and I’m not saying he is bad because when this guy “is on” he is on and I can’t image him being on for Batman but no matter how well he does I don’t see him pulling off Batman.
My first choice was still Karl Urban, he would have been a perfect Batman but that doesn’t mean I don’t think Ben Affleck is a bad choice someone I just never considered him at first. So many people have stood up for him. Hugh Jackman, even Josh Brolin and Marvel’s own Joss Whedon has spoken in full support of him. Kevin Smith has as well and also tells of his love for comics and of his respect for the character of Batman and not only that, he is a huge fan of the Caped Crusader. He will give it his all with this, arguably his most important role ever. Let’s not forget he isn’t starring in the movie either, this is still a Superman movie. Also he doesn’t have to be as good as Christen Bale; all he has to do is be a very good Batman why does he need to top Bale believe it or not. DC fans just unite and be happy that the universe is finally moving forward and we have this and many more movies to look forward to.