Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Director Wore A Batsuit: Why I Think Ben Affleck Is Wrong For Batman

For some context: I loved Man of Steel and have absolutely no problem with Henry Cavill or Zack Snyder. Everyone was rooting for Zack to top everything he's ever done, and despite some of the kinks, he did just that. Man of Steel may not have been the Dark Knight that we wanted, but it still proved to be a fuckton more fun than Superman Returns, which is really what counts. But this is not really about that.

Then came the crossover announcement. So it's not the Justice League uberfilm that WB needs to fully counteract the wallet-exploding effects of The Avengers, but hey, we get a Superman-Batman mini-feud movie! They even used a Dark Knight Returns quote to make the official announcement! Fkn eh!

Wait...Ben Afflleck!? Oh shit no, bro.

When I heard, I pretty much had the same reaction as when Chris Evans was cast as Captain America. It wasn't pretty. There were casualties. But I also wanted to wait until the news settled for a bit to properly form an opinion about it instead of just banging my head on the keyboard and hitting Publish. When the Internet learned that Ben Affleck was to be the next Batman, it was so mind-blowingly maddening that I think we all went through many of the stages of beloved-franchise-defiled nerd grief. I don't know about you, but my immediate reaction was that it was a joke. Even after multiple sources reported it. That's denial. Then, of course, I got angry.

That was weeks ago. I've grown as a person since then, but I still can't admit to having reached the acceptance stage. Don't get me wrong: it's not that I think Ben's a terrible actor; it's that he is just not the right type of actor to suit the role. The fact that I still feel this way after all these weeks says something. My opinion isn't changing; it's just becoming clearer.

So, sorry Ben, but I'm going to have to stay with the "Ben Affleck is a terrible choice to play Batman" side, probably permanently. No more waiting for it to sink in. It's true, goddammit. But unlike the rest of the Internet, I can offer to you actual reasons as to why the fans are reacting the way they we are, and mine is guaranteed to be at least 97% free of words like 'pwn' and 'fag'.

Ben is not a character actor. His range is not exactly the vastest, and his demeanour is not exactly the darkest. When was the last time you saw Ol' Baffles play a mysterious, loner character? And don't say Daredevil, because he was all charisma outside the suit. Before Argo, Bartleby from Dogma was probably the most badass role he'd done, but he was still a very charismatic character, and not a huge stretch for Fleckers. Sure, he can carry a movie as a serious protagonist, but has never really succeeded in showing us a dark side. 

Ben is charming. In fact, unless I am mistaken, I think Argo may have been his first starring role where he's not trying to seduce some chick. The absolute last thing you want in your Batman is charm, and as an actor, that's really what Ben is good at and known for. Ben is much too friendly - or at least, perceived as being that way by us movie folk who have been watching him all these years - to play Batman.

One might make the argument that Bruce Wayne is a always described as a billionaire playboy, but I seriously doubt that will be an important plot point in a Superman sequel. 

Ben already played a comic book hero, and nobody liked it. Can you really blame the fans for remembering this? 

Ben doesn't have a very deep voice. Hey, we're all thinking it.

Fans prefer up-and-comers as opposed to big stars to play their superheroes. Obviously this isn't true for everybody, and there are exceptions like Iron Man, but it's a very general observation I've made when it comes to casting.  Most of us agree that the problem with Superman Returns was something other than the casting of Brandon Routh, and those who do have major problems with man of Steel aren't really targeting Henry Cavill en masse. Val Kilmer's and George Clooney's Batman "movies" are widely considered to be the worst of all time, and can you find anyone who gave the Ghost Rider movies five stars?

Maybe worst of all, Ben will spend less time directing things. And not only during filming; he'll be attending ComicCons and Bat-events all over the place. Kids want to meet the actor who plays Batman, not the director of Gone Baby Gone. Well fuck that, I want him directing things.

So, who should play Bats then, smartass? Turn on literally any movie, and chances are there is an actor in it who is better suited to don the cowl. But to answer your my question, considering the Dark Knight Returns connection, I think it would have been more suitable to hire an older actor that people are familiar with - remaining truer to the original comic (Bruce Wayne is in his sixties in TDKR), and furthering the distinction between this new franchise and the last one - someone like Josh Brolin (45), James Remar (59), or Aiden Quinn (54) would probably work. 

But since they're going with the just-entering-middle-age version, then I would have gone with an up-and-coming TV actor like Antony Starr (Banshee, age 37), Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels, age 40), or maybe even Nathan Fillion (Firefly/Castle, 42).

What do you think?


  1. Wait......your argument is Ben Affleck, a multiple Oscar winning creative talent that has recently revived his career who not only looks the part and overall seems to be a pretty cool guy should be replaced with TV talent? STFU, your opinion now has no meaning. You are a joke, this website is a joke.

    1. So... you're against Bryan Cranston being the choice for Lex Luthor? One vote for Anson Mount and one vote for Bryan Cranston, got it.