Now that we’ve all had a few weeks to cool off, I think it’s time that we calmly and seriously talk about Ben Affleck as the new Batman. The most common consensus (or the loudest) is that Ben Affleck is a mind-boggling choice, to the say the least, and bringing Batman’s film cred back to the dark days of Batman and Robin. Yet, I want to offer you a different point of view. I want to show you why Ben Affleck could absolutely be an asset to Batman vs. Superman (though I’m not going to pretend that title is a good choice).
- Do you remember how everyone reacted when Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker? It was chaos. I remember being a little shit about it and saying crap like “What are they going to do? Name the movie 10 Things I Hate About Batman?” And then we all know what happened: Heath Ledger nailed the role, brought a whole new take to the Joker, and his performance in The the Dark Knight gave us chills in our friggin’ teeth. I wouldn’t underestimate Ben Affleck because he’s a pretty face with some bad movies in his filmography. Ledger was similar, and he didn’t let us down with a much more difficult role.
- BEN AFFLECK WASN’T THE ONE WHO RUINED DAREDEVIL. Yes, sometimes his movement as Daredevil was awkward, but the real problem with that movie was the writer/director Mark Steven Johnson, who wrote a humorless, stilted script and directed it like a kitchen sink drama with no understanding of how action works.
- Look at what Ben Affleck has become recently. Argo was a damn fine movie in which he both starred and directed, and it showed off some chops. Yes, Tony Mendez was a comparatively quiet Affleck performance, but it was the performance he chose in order to serve the film and it worked. Ben Affleck has proven that he knows how to gauge the drama meter and take it down a few notches, which is exactly the type of actor we need to play Batman (you can’t tell me that Christian Bale’s raspy demon voice was didn’t make you giggle your ass off when you first heard it).
- Ben Affleck is going to be playing a different sort of Batman that we haven’t yet seen in live action on the big screen. Zack Snyder said in a statement that this new Batman was going to be “older and wiser” and “bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter.” So, we have potentially a really cool thing here: an older, grizzled Batman who’s been wearing the suit for years now encountering a super-jacked new kid on the block who’s going to need to learn how to respect his goddamn elders. That could be pretty boss. So, they went ahead and cast Affleck, who is eleven years older than Henry Cavill, which goes to show that the possible purpose of Affleck’s/Snyder’s Batman isn’t to be a grandiose characterization, but a wiser, quietly intense contrast to Cavill’s young, smoldering Superman. A character we know Affleck can do if we look at his aforementioned performance in Argo.
- For the love of mike, FORGET about Gigli. FORGET ABOUT IT. Must Gigli always haunt the man? It was a mistake. A horrible film. You know who has also made horrible films? Anthony Hopkins, Marlon Brando, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Hillary Swank. Forest Whitaker was in Battlefield Earth, for christssake. If you’re going to climb the velvet ladder in Hollywood, chances are you’re going to make a garbage flick and you’re going to have to live with it being on your resume. I think Ben Affleck is branching away from mistakes like that beautifully (not to mention that he had promise four years before the Gigli atrocity, playing a wonderfully snarky Bartleby in Dogma) and I think he has the potential to be a decent, ass-kicking Batman.
But I suppose if we’re going to be real here, there was and is only one true Batman who punts all of the other Batman wannabes to the curb: Kevin Conroy. Recognize.