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The Ben Affleck/Batman casting has the internet buzzing, with things poping up all over Twitter and Facebook. The EF movie department share their thoughts on the recent casting for Batman VS Superman.
I’ve felt mostly indifference to the casting call since hearing of the news. Don’t assume that I’m not a fan of Batman or comic book movies because of that last statement. I know a lot people are upset and think it’s a poor choice. I can imagine it was a decision made to appeal the mass market. Yes, I know everybody on twitter and facebook is wailing about it, and while they’re getting attention it’s not representative of the entire film audience. He’s handsome, and most people will like him. He has a lot of good will left over from his recent awards season success (i.e. Argo), so I assume leisurely moviegoers will view him with some prestige. But I’m tired of the film market’s oversaturation of superhero movies, and it’ll take a lot more than this news to get me excited or riled up about them.
My initial impression of the news was more of an "okay, let's see where this goes," then I thought more about it. I remembered that when Michael Keaton was cast as the Caped Crusader back in the late 80's, standing at about 5' 10" and weighing under 200 pounds, fans were outraged. Especially since previously, Keaton was cast in Tim Burton's comedy "Beetlejuice". Fans were ultimately proven wrong as Keaton ended up being a great Batman. My feeling now is that of hope that we are proven wrong. I'm not thrilled that Affleck was cast as Batman and frankly, I feel that he is too well known, but I am open to the idea of letting him prove himself.
2003's "Daredevil" may not have been a great film, but I did like it. There are similarities in that character and Batman and I think that Affleck could put together something pretty cool drawing from his experience playing the character. Affleck has got the height and acting chops so it is conceivable that he might actually be good. I will say that I was hoping more of an unknown would be cast, someone I wouldn't have expected. Well, I never would have suspected Affleck would be cast, so I guess part of my wish came true. I just don't want to feel like I'm watching Affleck as Affleck on screen, but Batman. Will he be able to become the Bat? I'm open to finding out.
Whoever takes over from the Batman role from Christian Bale is always going to suffer great scrutiny and unless an actor has a Daniel Day-Lewis reputation then the role could easily become a poisoned chalice. Ben Affleck has clearly rebuilt his reputation since the days he was a popular culture punching: but many of his roles outside his own directional efforts are supporting roles. In The Town Affleck showed he had the physical fitness and he could easily be a good Bruce Wayne. Personally I would have l prefer to have seen Josh Brolin or Richard Armitage in the role, but remember how much hostility Michael Keaton suffered when he took and look how that turned out. Ideally Affleck would have been best suited as the director of a Batman reboot.
I'm all for Ben Affleck for being Batman, because we haven't really had a solid take on the character yet. I've enjoyed all of the actor's that have brought something to the role, but let's be honest, most of the Batman films made thus far we're drawn too because of the actor's playing the villains and not Batman. From Jack Nicholson's Joker to Cillian Murphy's Scarecrow, all of the actor's have brought their A-Game to Batman's rouges gallery and we've yet to see someone handle Batman in this capacity. While I hate Daredevil very much, I know that it wasn't Ben Affleck's acting that brought that film into a miserable mess. I'm gonna reserve my judgement and wait to see how all of this pans out and then make a solid decision on whether or not Ben Affleck can deliever a good Batman.
August 22, 2013: the day Warner Bros. broke the internet. After the surprise success of Man of Steel and the enduring popularity of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, the final casting choice for The Caped Crusader in Batman Vs. Superman (or whatever it will be called) was going to be met with some level of backlash. As it turns out “backlash” was a bit too soft a word.
It seems more like Warner Bros., who Affleck gave big acclaimed hits The Town and Argo, offered him the role more because he was in their good books than out of a creative decision. If that is the case it’s an unfortunate development. But really, despite my hate for Daredevil, who am I to prematurely judge this man’s portrayal when we haven’t seen so much as an image of him in costume. Everyone scoffed at Heath Ledger as The Joker when it was first announced and look how that turned out. So even though I am very skeptical, (and more than a little disappointed in the seemingly safe nature of this casting) I will most certainly wait to see more before I draw my line in the sand.