Ben Affleck is Batman – Let the Outcry Begin!

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Warner Brothers has picked their man. For the few who may not know, it was announced at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con that the upcoming sequel to “Man of Steel” would feature the one and only Batman. Yet Christian Bale was adamant that “The Dark Knight Rises” was his last time donning the cape and the cowl. So speculation has run wild over who would be the next incarnation of Batman. That question has been answered. It will be none other than Ben Affleck.

The debate over whether it’s a good idea putting Superman and Batman together in the film has been beat to death. Now the discussion shifts to Affleck’s casting. You can put your money on this – there will be plenty who automatically condemn this to failure and who immediately begin a campaign of negativity. Let me be clear, I certainly don’t want to be dismissive of any concerns or opinions on it. But this reaction is nothing new. In fact it’s expected. But it can also be way off the mark and let me give you two of the very best examples.

Remember several years ago when Marvel Studios was searching for their Tony Stark? Names popped up everywhere but nobody expected the choice that was made. I was as guilty as any at criticizing the casting of Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man. It was a decision that I felt was terribly off and I was pretty vocal about it. At the time Downey, Jr. hadn’t reached the superstardom that he has now and I was unable to reconcile his past movies from what would be required for Iron Man. Yet look at what happened. The casting if Downey, Jr. was pure genius and I honestly can’t envision anyone else taking on that role. But I wasn’t alone. The Internet lit up with negativity and backlash over what was perceived to be a really bad decision.

AFFLECK

There was another bit of casting that seemed really peculiar at its time. The late Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker, arguably the very best comic book villain. I was a huge fan of Ledger and I wasn’t shy about declaring him the best young actor in Hollywood at the time. But that doesn’t mean I thought he would make a great Joker. Yet while skeptical, I remained confident in Ledger’s acting to give him the benefit of the doubt. But not everyone was that forgiving. Many slammed the decision and were ridiculously vocal in there dismay. But do I need to spend much time on how wrong and misguided all the negativity was? Ledger would go on to deliver an unmatched Oscar winning performance that no one saw coming.

So what have we learned? First, we tend to get emotional and write off things on a whim. We often have our vision of what would be good and completely discount what a writer and director are visualizing. Second, we seem to write off what a talented actor or actress can bring to a character especially when there is good writing behind it. This current Batman treatment has been a huge improvement over the Joel Schumacher debacle and I have no reason to assume the casting of Affleck would even slightly resemble that garbage. So lets all take a breath, lean back, and see where this thing goes. Personally, I think there’s some great potential here!

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40 thoughts on “Ben Affleck is Batman – Let the Outcry Begin!

  1. Nice analysis. I’m still uneasy about this. The problem I have is that Affleck is such a noticeable actor I’m not sure I could accept he’s Batman. On the other hand, I originally thought the same way about Heath Ledger and he gave a great performance.

    • Exactly! I find Affleck to be a pretty solid actor although it doesn’t always show. But I put a lot of emphasis on the writing. I think he can be great if the writing is there and the character is handled right. Definitely not a choice that should automatically rain down negativity.

  2. I am perfectly ok with Affleck in theory. Daredevil was not a masterpiece of superhero storytelling, however Daredevil is likely Marvel’s closest Batman-esque character and I had no problem with Affleck as Matt Murdock or the gruff Daredevil. So, after a few more years to reconsider how to play these opposite ends of the spectrum, perhaps he can hit this a little better – maybe it will be a Bullseye (that was some bad comic book humor for ya!).

    • I’m with you 100%. I don’t think Daredevil was a terrible movie. It had a few glaring problems but I don’t attribute any of those to Affleck’s performance.

      A lot of comparisons are being made to the Clooney casting. I don’t see that at all. First off Clooney’s material was horrible. Second, Clooney is a great actor but he doesn’t really have that gritty side. Affleck certainly does and Batman calls for that. I think this could work.

  3. Just to quibble, lots of people predicted Downey as Iron Man; in fact, he was by far the most common fan choice I saw before the casting was made, as well as my own pick.

    But yes, the internet backdraft on this is just the usual dose of “hate the casting because it’s not super-obscure guy I picked” combined with the latent “hate Ben Affleck” sentiment that never seems to have completely gone away (and which I never understood.)

    • Interesting. Because I distinctly remember the strong opinions about Downey, Jr’s rumored casting. I remember all of the heat on the Marvel forums. I certainly don’t doubt you, but I don’t remember hearing any predictions of him in the role. But I certainly remember the debate, mainly because I was one of the naysayers. I’m proud to say I was wrong!

    • Oh, just a quick second thought. Not everyone is being negative on the Ben Affleck casting. Much in the same way as it sounds for Downey, Jr. But there has been some undeniable, instantaneous sour reactions. My main point was that people have had those feelings before and everything turned out wonderfully. The same could happen here.

      • Oh, I know not everyone’s being negative about Affleck as Batman. In fact, I strongly suspect most people are OK with it. It’s just that the negative people always shout.

        As for Downey, I’m surprised you saw so much negativity, but then, I didn’t frequent Marvel’s own forums (wretched hive of scum and villainy, it seemed to me.) Seems a little baffling to me that people would object. I mean, the character of Tony Stark is a super-rich playboy with a cocky attitude and addiction problems who physically resembled RDJ before RDJ was even acting. Seemed like a perfect casting call to me. If I may ask, what objection did you have? Was it just concern about RDJ’s acting ability or reliability?

      • Sure thing. It wasn’t that I doubted his acting. It’s just that he had been off the mainstream map for sometime. With the exception of Zodiac, there wasn’t much in terms of recent work to gauge him on (unless you count Alley McBeal).

        I also wasn’t seeing enough of him to be convinced he could handle to handsome playboy/physical superhero requirements. Obviously he proved me wrong.

  4. You can’t blanket over the problems with hiring Affleck by talking about Ledger and Jr.

    They were relatively unknown at the time, we know Ben’s acting chops and we have seen him many times and I have never been impressed with his work.

    I can imagine him as a billionaire maybe but as the dark crusader who brings fear to hardened criminals I don’t see it at all!

    My interest in this film has dropped significantly, only a spectacular trailer will win me after this.

    • Sorry you think I’m blanketing over things because I assure you I’m not. Obviously you have your opinion and that’s fine. I on the other hand have liked some of Affleck’s work and have no problem seeing him as the caped crusader. In fact, I can initially visualize him as Batman much more than I could Ledger when I first heard he would be the Joker.

      I think Affleck has enough grit to pull this off. I completely respect those who don’t like the guy. I actually do.

  5. You wrote on ruth’s blog it’s not fair to compare Affleck and Clooney, I agree but for different reasons as Clooney is a great actor and Affleck should be behind the camera. I’d say iy’s unfair to bring up Ledger and RDJ, terrific actors who have plenty of charisma and delivered many wonderful performances here. I think Affleck is an awful choice, but with Snyder in director’s seat the film doesn’t stand a chance either way.

    • Hey I respect your take on it. And who knows, you may be right. But I also think there’s just as good of a chance that this could be really good. I just don’t think Affleck is so bad that he could be the death of it.

      My Clooney comparison is based on the style of actor he is. I agree, Clooney is a great actor. But he’s not Batman material. I keep coming back to the word grit. Clooney doesn’t have that. I think Affleck does. That doesn’t mean I think Ben is better than George. They are just different actors and I think Ben is better suited for this role than George. Clooney has plenty of range. He is perfect and dramas, thrillers, and even comedy. Ben doesn’t have that yet for something like this, I think it could work.

  6. Well Keith, since you already know my opinion… I gotta say something I forgot to mention, at least it’s NOT Gosling, ahah. I can’t imagine a worse Batman movie than what Joel Schumacher did (and Clooney as Batman w/ his BatNips!!!), but really, I was hoping we DON’T use that movie as a benchmark. Heck we should’ve discarded that from our memory. I think Man of Steel has got a lot going for it as a solid base to a franchise, now I’m quite baffled as to where WB is going w/ this.

    • I’m with you on everything you said. Thank goodness it wasn’t Gosling! And you’re right, no movie should ever be compared to Batman and Robin! And I agree again, Man of Steel layed a very good franchise foundation! Here’s hoping they don’t barf it up with the next film. 😉

      • I still wish they had gone w/ an actor w/ an authoritative deep voice (hence RICHARD ARMITAGE!!) but at least Affleck doesn’t sound like a chipmunk or someone who just sucked on helium *cough* Gosling *cough* 😀

  7. I can’t wait to see Big Teeth Affleck take on Superman. That will be pure, unfiltered joy.

    Frankly, the news isn’t terribly exciting, because I think there’s other actors they could have chosen, but I guess it could have been worse.

    • Love your points although I don’t think Affleck was the reason Daredevil didn’t work. You mentioned his recent work that has really shown him as a quality actor. The Company Men, The Town, To the Wonder, etc. I have a lot more faith that this can work than many.

  8. I really had to give this post a mental round of applause!! Such greatly significant points were made about casting choices and how things can be so blown out of proportion. I remember both announcements and the outcry, and was ecstatic to know Bale, Ledger and Eckhart were going to be in one movie together.
    On to Ben – I think he’ll surprise people, and it’s presumptuous for everyone to think the sequel fail because of him. Zac Snyder is directing! ;D

    • You hit the nail on the head. The casting if Affleck is no cause to write this film off as a disaster. I’m excited and anxious to see where it goes. I also appreciate your comments. Glad I’m not alone in my excitement! 🙂

  9. Growing up in early 1990s such actors as Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Matt Damon were nothing more for me than second-rate actors who just came out from some TV series and whose place is, at best, in some big comedy film. We came a long way from there, and even now its hard for me to reconcile Affleck, Damon and Clooney’s careers with first class flyers. Honestly, if it were not for ‘Argo’ I would never have pictured Affleck in anything decent. Now its not the case and I can confidently picture him in my beloved character of Bruce Wayne/Batman.

    • I like Affleck in several things lately. The Company Men, The Town, and even To the Wonder. I really think he’s growing as an actor and making some better decisions for himself. Hopefully that translates into a good Batman.

  10. Nice piece.
    I agree Heath Ledger was superb as the Joker. Sad what happened to Ledger. But like James Dean, he managed to leave behind a good legacy. Some great work.
    It would be interesting to see Affleck as Batman, it’s his acting skills that matter. Who knows, he might pull it off.
    The worst Batman I’ve seen, was that portrayed by George Clooney. Superb actor (whom I have great respect for as an artiste), but he made a pathetic Batman.

    • Oh I agree 100%. Some of Clooney’s problem was the horrible material. But I also think he was just miscast. To me it seemed like he was constantly smirking and winking at the camera. He never seemed to take the role seriously.

  11. Pingback: Movie Review – Dark Knight, The |

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