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.
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!