So … you may have heard by now that actor/directed Ben Affleck has been cast in the iconic role of Batman/Bruce Wayne in the planned upcoming sequel film to Man of Steel, which will feature Superman vs. Batman in the as-yet untitled film that is reportedly meant to launch a new era of superhero films for Warner Bros./DC Comics. IMHO, this is the biggest mistake ever. On the one hand, we have Ben Affleck: lauded and reasonably respected Academy Award winner. On the other hand, we have Ben Affleck: Razzie award-winning star of the flop superhero film Daredevil (not to mention Jersey Girl … AND GIGLI!!!!!!!!!!!). Honestly, because Batman is such an important character to me, I’ve been trying to be as positive as possible about this casting but I simply can’t get there … not yet, if ever :(
The actor will replace Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne in the upcoming untitled Batman-Superman feature for Warner Bros., the studio announced Thursday. Affleck becomes the eighth actor to play the Caped Crusader, following Bale, George Clooney and Michael Keaton. “We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some,” WB president Greg Silverman said in a statement. Directed by “Man of Steel” filmmaker Zack Snyder, the Batman-Superman feature will open worldwide on July 17, 2015, with Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Diane Lane reprising their roles. “Man of Steel,” released this past June, has earned over $650 million at the global box office. “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne,” Snyder said in a statement. “I can’t wait to work with him.” The announcement of a Batman-Superman film was revealed last month at Comic-Con to much excitement of fanboys, who will surely be watching as the studio begins to assemble its Justice League. The irony of Thursday’s news is that at one point Warner Bros. was interested in having Affleck direct the “Justice League” movie and his participation in this film will now spur interest if whether his casting means a possibility of directing that film.
Actually, I find it more ironic (or should I say, moronic) that Affleck played a Marvel superhero in Daredevil … which flopped so badly that it seemed unlikely that Marvel Comics would ever cast him as one of their characters ever again:
So Marvel Comics‘s gain is DC Comics‘s loss, I suppose. I know that many people are making the point that there was much fan backlash when Michael Keaton was first cast as Batman back in 1989 and he turned out to make a great Batman — the same goes for Heath Ledger, who was criticized when he was cast as The Joker and he went on to win the Academy Award for the role. IMHO, I don’t see Affleck in the Keaton/Ledger camp. I see him more in the Val Kilmer/George Clooney camp. Both Kilmer and Clooney were/are regarded as excellent actors and yet, they made such terrible Batman characters in their respective films (Batman Forever and Batman and Robin) that they damn near killed the Batman film franchise for good (you may recall, it took many years for the Batman films to be rebooted with Christian Bale as the new Batman).
Ugh. I’m feeling so many emotions over this casting … many of which are irrational, I know it. Over time, I’m sure my feelings will change and it’s even possible that Affleck may win me over as Batman (UGH!) but until that day comes, I will remain skeptical … and agonized. I just look at the collection of Marvel Comics movies that have come out in recent years and weep at how excellent they all are (even with their individual flaws, those movies are fantastic superhero movies) … then I look over at the recent DC Comics movies and weep at how less than they appear to the Marvel films (Green Lantern comes to mind, ugh, what a shit film). Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight Batman movies were a shining beacon for the future of DC Comics films. With Ben Affleck wearing the Batman suit from here on out … I fear dark days are ahead for the franchise. This all seems like a horrible joke to me … one that may ensure that Batman may soon become a laughing stock, punchline joke again :(