In case you missed it, social media erupted last night in a way I imagine it would if “World War Z” came true. “So livid right now,” said one of my Facebook friends. “I just threw up a little,” said a Twitter follower. The news that seemingly angered the planet is the announcement that Ben Affleck will be playing Batman in the upcoming sequel to “Man of Steel.” It seems everyone’s minds raced back to 2003 where Affleck played Daredevil in a film that has been labeled one of the worst comic book movies ever made. Before you burn all your Batman themed merchandise, I’m here to tell you why this isn’t such bad news. In fact, this is great news for DC and Warner Bros.
Holy Oscar Winner, Batman
The Dark Knight Trilogy was amazing. Chris Nolan and Christian Bale delivered big time with a franchise that was successful beyond our wildest dreams. So naturally everyone wanted Bale back as the Caped Crusader. But Bale is not one to be tied down. Frankly we are lucky we got him for three movies. He is a hardcore method actor whose filmography is filled with challenging roles that push his body to the limit. So with that tough to match dynamic, it was important for Warner Bros. to scale back the character a bit. They needed to cast someone who is able to gel with other heroes. Affleck’s more understated acting style fits. With Bale and Henry Cavill’s Superman, two tortured loners on screen would have been a bit much. Affleck can be a loner who is a bit more down to Earth. Oh and frankly everyone is forgetting how much they made fun of Bale for his growling voice in the last two Batman films. The grass is always greener.
Affleck has completely altered his career path since “Daredevil” came out. At the time he was a regular in the gossip columns, his movie choices were poor and he jumped at the chance to play a Marvel property while it was the hot new thing to do. Most of us would do the same thing if given the chance. The movie ended up being well cast, but with a weak script that wasn’t able to capture the true darkness of the character. Now Affleck’s list of roles is very different. He notably directed and starred in “The Town” and “Argo.” We all know “Argo” won best picture at this year’s Oscars, but what is overlooked is the fact that he was flat out snubbed in the director and lead actor categories for the film.
This guy is the real deal in Hollywood right now. The amount of movies that are coming across his desk must be massive. So the fact that he bit on a superhero movie must mean something. Maybe they threw the entire checkbook at him, but I don’t think that’s the only reason. His name came up months back regarding possibly directing the “Justice League” movie. Could this introduction lead into a dual role in front and behind the camera for the JLA? That’s possible. Maybe he just liked the direction Warner has been going with “Man of Steel” and “The Dark Knight.” Only he knows for sure, but I’m fairly certain he didn’t take the role with the sole purpose of ruining your day.
It’s tough to place Affleck in the bat suit right now. Those are big boots to fill. He’s a very well-known face from his past performances, not as muscle-bound as we’d expect, and with a very different public persona than Bale. We saw what Affleck’s buddy George Clooney did with Batman and the general public wasn’t pleased with “Green Lantern.” None of us quite know if we can trust Warner Bros. with the DC characters. I understand that skepticism. But this is a good move. Ben Affleck is a solid actor who also has an eye for writing and directing quality films. Ten years ago he made a movie comic book fans didn’t like. But maybe he’s trying to appease one of the demographics that still haven’t forgiven him. Maybe this is Ben Affleck telling you he’s sorry and wants you back in his life. Maybe it’s time we gave him another chance.