So the news has finally come. We now know who the new Batman is. As the L.A. Times shared, Warner Bros. has selected none other than Oscar winner Ben Affleck to appear as the new Batman in the upcoming “Man of Steel” sequel from Zack Snyder.
In a lot of ways, it’s a huge win for both sides. Even though he’s reinvented himself as a bit of an auteur, writing and directing movies that are nominated for and even win Oscars (like “Gone Baby Gone,” “The Town,” and most notably Oscar winner “Argo”), Affleck is still a prominent actor in his own right and someone who can bring a lot of weight and gravitas to any role.
Likewise for DC Films and Warner Bros., going from Christian Bale to Ben Affleck is about as close to a lateral movement as you can get, at least in terms of star power. Pairing Affleck with the younger, less experienced (both in terms of box office success and acting) Henry Cavill gives the film a little something extra to hang its hat on besides the characters that are featured.
Those are positives, but I’m not about the positives. Why?
I don’t just think this is a bad choice for Batman, I think this is a bad choice for Ben Affleck, for many of the reasons I stated above.
Affleck had reinvented himself, making himself not just a success as an actor again, but as one of the best storytellers in film today. Not that he has to only direct and write films going forward, but he had come back from bottoming out as a star with Gigli by avoiding the decisions that got him there. Namely, he avoided paycheck roles. While you could make the argument that many comic book movies have been above average overall, this, to me, is undoubtedly a paycheck role. Roles like his one in “Pearl Harbor” and “Armageddon” and, fittingly, “Paycheck” found him getting leading roles in big budget moves that were creatively suspect at best. They led him down a dark path that it took years of careful creative choices to come back from.
Can someone really say that Affleck will gain anything from this? Creatively, he’d be better off sticking to even lower tier Terrence Malick films like he did this year or writing/directing more. Now, he’s in a position where if the “Man of Steel” sequel bombs for some reason, they could pin it on him if only because he’s the primary change from the very successful first film, potentially negating all of the good well he’s earned in his quest for redemption.
Meanwhile, I hate to be the negative Nancy in the room, but he’s just not that good of a fit for the role. When casting rumors were being thrown about, names like Joe Manganiello, Matthew Goode and Ryan Gosling were being discussed, and each of them seemed like good fits for either Batman or Bruce Wayne, but not both.
Affleck? I just don’t see him as a fit for either of them.
The magic of what Christian Bale accomplished – and it’s unfair to compare the two, but also natural – is that he excelled at making both roles completely different feeling but also very complimentary, while staying very true to the character. That type of divergent acting is extremely difficult to pull off, and something the transformative Bale is maybe the best at.
Affleck is a quality actor, especially in things like “Hollywoodland” (where he played Superman actor George Reeves), which recast Affleck as a subdued, introspective everyman, and that is something he’s carried over to his other roles since with great success.
Wayne as a character requires a palpable level of magnetism, an air of not just being rich but of being powerful and demanding of attention. Batman is a creature of sheer will, someone whose physicality is always second to his presence.
These are not things Affleck has been known to do well, and while no one expected Michael Keaton to be as good as he was – and he really was quite good – Keaton always had a darkness to him that translated well to Batman. I just don’t see that from Ben Affleck.
Could I be wrong? Sure. I really like Ben Affleck, and I have been very happy to see him turn his career around in a way that no one expected. But I want to see him keep that success going, and I want to see Batman done right.
In this case, I just don’t see that happening, no matter how much I hope I am wrong. What do you think, besides the fact it’s amazing I went nearly 800 words without mentioning Daredevil once?
SORRY ABOUT THE OTHER POSTS MODS!
im still just
idk man, a lot of people are saying to reserve judgement because of Heathus~ but he at least had some creditable acting skills BEFORE TDK imo
PLEASE POST UR SUPERIOR CAST CHOICES IN HERE