Everybody’s talking about Ben Affleck being cast as Batman in the new Superman movies. Well, almost everybody. I doubt the Dalai Llama is talking about it. But you know what, that’s not really fair of me, just assuming that His Holiness isn’t a fan of superhero movies. So I’ll rephrase it: a lot of people are talking about Ben Affleck taking over as Batman.
My immediate reaction was pure disbelief. And while I don’t want to let my instinctual, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” prevent me from giving Affleck a fair shake, it’s really pretty tough to imagine him as the Caped Crusader. Do we have to get into Daredevil?
All right, let’s get into Daredevil. Superhero movies were just beginning to breach the mainstream. The X-Men and Spider-Man franchises were such undeniable hits that Hollywood decided to dip into the Marvel canon to see which other costumed crime fighters might make for successful big screen blockbusters.
And that’s how we got Daredevil. It was a cheesy movie. And I’m being nice here. Go ahead and search the Internet for other opinions or reviews about Daredevil. Some point to it as the reason why Hollywood should be out of the comic book movie business all together. And fair or not, Ben Affleck is the lead. Draped in his red leather jumpsuit, Ben Affleck is Daredevil.
Affleck should feel lucky that Daredevil didn’t derail his career in the same way that Catwoman destroyed Halle Berry’s. And we as an audience should feel fortunate that Daredevil didn’t prevent the studios from going ahead and green lighting future superhero projects. Just imagine what could have went down if the exec who approved Batman Begins had happened to catch a few minutes of Dardevil playing on FX right before he was scheduled to sit down with Christopher Nolan. I shudder to think of a world absent of The Dark Knight.
Which is why casting Affleck as the new Batman amounts to six steps backward after three monumental steps in the right direction. I kind of understand where DC is coming from. Marvel Comics clearly holds the advantage in terms of its ability to turn even its tertiary characters into big screen behemoths, and after The Dark Knight Rises wrapped up one of the most successful trilogies in movie history, everybody was eager to maintain the momentum.
That’s why we had Man of Steel earlier this year. And I get it, in terms of its money making ability, the new Superman was an undisputed success. But was it a good movie? I didn’t think so. It was too serious, and once the fight scene that comprised the entire second half of the movie got underway, it was too boring.
Still, numbers don’t lie, and adding a rebooted Batman to the equation, especially in light of The Avengers super-group success, it was the next logical decision. What doesn’t make sense is Ben Affleck. With moviegoers around the world more than willing to pay upwards of twenty dollars to see a movie that hasn’t even begun filming, why risk spoiling the fun with a man whose talents clearly belong behind the camera rather than in front?
I realize that I’m not even giving Ben Affleck a chance to prove me wrong, but he just doesn’t make sense as Bruce Wayne. I don’t see pain, I don’t see a lifetime of training to fight crime, I just see Ben Affleck, I see Daredevil, I see the guy in the Runner Runner commercials screaming over-the-top obscenities at Justin Timberlake.
I hope that I’m wrong. Nobody wants to see a successful Batman/Superman movie more than me. Well that’s probably not true, there are probably other people who want to see it succeed more than I do, like people who have a vested interest in its performing well. Like Ben Affleck, I’m sure he wants it to succeed more than I do, to prove everybody wrong, to give the Bruce Wayne performance of a lifetime. If I see it, and it bombs, I’ll just be like, well, that was a bad movie. If he makes it and it’s no good … well, I guess he’ll still be OK. He got past Daredevil. Right? Yeah, Ben Affleck’s going to be OK either way.