Ben Affleck is… Batman…apparently.
It’s been announced that Ben Affleck will be replacing Christian Bale as Batman in the next Superman sequel (http://variety.com/2013/film/news/ben-affleck-is-the-new-batman-1200586881/). In all honesty, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react to this!
Like a lot of Batman fans, I was really apprehensive after the San Diego Comic Con announcement that the next installment in Zack Snyder’s Superman franchise would feature Batman. Batman Vs. Superman actually. It actually makes me cringe. Is this necessary? Can someone at Warner Brothers or DC Comics stop this?!
Christopher Nolan’s sophisticated and (in my opinion) nearly perfect Batman trilogy (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises) is a mature, somber and very serious take on a character that has been misrepresented for too long. Us Batman fans have suffered through Val Kilmer’s mumbles, Jim Carrey’s leotard, George Clooney’s nipples, Joel Schumacher’s happy-meal inspired visuals and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Ice to see you” lines…wait…I take that back…I use those jokes all the time.
Batman, as we know him today, is a dark and complex character. He’s an orphan, a genius, a detective, a billionaire, but above all, he’s human. That’s the fact that makes him such an interesting and compelling character. Christian Bale did an amazing job with the duality of the Bruce Wayne/Batman character, and with The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan provided us with the best superhero film to date.
When The Dark Knight Rises was released, both Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan declared that their trilogy was a full story, one that had run its course. Bale had decided that he wouldn’t be wearing the cape and cowl again, and Nolan confirmed that he wouldn’t be directing any more Batman films. I actually let out a sigh of relief – finally, FINALLY, my favourite superhero had a great trilogy, with a great actor and director at the helm. A series of films that were taken seriously and respected by critics and audiences alike.
And now this Batman Vs. Superman nonsense emerges…. I honestly didn’t think that they’d go through with it.
Let’s think back to The Dark Knight and the initial internet-rage focused on casting Heath Ledger as the Joker. Some people reacted like it was the end of the Batman-world. I’m just going to put this out there – as a fan of Heath Ledger, I fully supported that casting decision. I hate to say I told you so (but I will) – that turned out to be the best Batman-film casting decision, and the only Oscar-winning comic book character portrayal. I’m not necessarily against the casting of Ben Affleck. I really do like dem apples, as an actor and a director. But, Affleck as Batman?! I’m not sure that this even works. But if it does, I fully expect Matt Damon to be Robin. (Fun Fact: Bale absolutely refused to be involved if Robin was introduced as Batman’s sidekick). Initial reactions have been mixed, to put it lightly – I think people are remembering Daredevil.
In this case, I think I’m more opposed to the film than the casting!
Is this new Batman/Superman hybrid film even feasible?
DC’s rival, Marvel Studios has done a phenomenal job of weaving together story lines and character universes with the overall goal of The Avengers, which was in fact an absolutely great superhero and action film. They’d been leading up to that film for years, with after credit scenes and hidden easter eggs in films. It was a calculated and brilliant play on their part. DC and their respective film studios however, haven’t made any major moves in that direction. Talks and ideas about a potential Justice League movie have started up and fallen apart for years. There’s no cohesion between character universes, and the latest decision to “reboot” a character as central to the DC cannon as Batman, so soon after the conclusion of The Dark Knight Rises could make for some incredibly difficult comparisons. Will they have to re-introduce the character? An origin story? Pick up where The Dark Knight Rises left off? Has anyone thought this through? [Dark Knight Rises Spoiler Alert: Wouldn’t it have made more sense to cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt?]
Man of Steel was a disappointment (http://wp.me/p3pq8p-3d), but had the promise of possibly having a good sequel. Upon announcement of the imminent film (slated July 17, 2015 release date), Man of Steel actor Harry Lennix introduced the film with an excerpt from Frank Miller’s 1986 graphic novel series “The Dark Knight Returns”
The excerpt features Bruce Wayne speaking: “I want you to remember, Clark. In all the years to come. In all your most private moments. I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you.”
Can you, in all honesty, picture Ben Affleck saying that to Henry Cavill?! The graphic novel is amazing, and we know that Zack Snyder is really good at recreating Frank Miller’s work (from his visually interesting, but ultimately unfortunate adaptation of 300). What works in comics might not work on film (The Watchmen, Green Lantern). Batman vs. Superman, or Superman vs. Batman, or whatever they end up calling it is facing an uphill battle.
This could go one of two ways for Affleck: Argo-F***ing-Great! Or Argo-F***-Up-A-Franchise.