Last week the Internet nearly exploded with the news that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman in the upcoming Batman/Superman film from Zack Snyder. The fanboy rage was practically palpable and discussion among people on the pros and cons of the casting have been ongoing. It’s sparked a lot of conversation among us here at the Cinelinx team, so we sat down to give our individual reactions and thoughts on the casting decision. Come inside to see them, and share your own!
While I focus in video games now, I’m obviously a comic book fan and still in school to write movies along with helping out in those areas. So of course I paid attention to the announcement. What amazed me was that there is literally hardly anyone defending this choice at all. You have a few people going “well it wasn’t his fault Daredevil completely sucked,” but thats about as far it goes.
I think the outrage stems from Ben’s early career. He wasn’t exactly the greatest actor around. I mean what actor in Kevin Smith’s early indie hits were? Maybe Jason Lee in Mall Rats, love that movie, but really. However a good majority of all of them have gone on to do something great. Ben Affleck actually went on to win Oscars for both creating a movie and as an actor. His latest movies are much more impressive and he has grown into a strong actor.
That doesn’t seem to be enough though. While he has won awards, a good majority of them were for writing or doing something other than acting. He has had great performances, but hasn’t become a box office hit. So the decision to pass up actors like Ryan Gosling (which would have helped draw in a female audience as well) is what has me thinking. Perhaps as Jordan stated in his article, Ben was in line to write or help direct a Justice League movie, but WB found someone else and didn’t want to leave him out entirely? Or perhaps he is still in line to do that?
Overall I can easily see him pull off Bruce Wayne, I don’t think he will have any issues with that. It’s seeing him as Batman that has me wondering. I think he does need to bulk up a bit and will play a much more masculine Batman. The voice though is what I’m curious about. I’m glad we don’t have to put up with Bale's Batman voice. That and where will they (WB) come from? Will they utilize anything from Nolan’s universe? Will they lead into Beyond? Overall this what people should be talking about. Ben Affleck isn’t a terrible choice, maybe if it were 10 years ago, but not today. He has an opportunity to prove himself, or destroy his career and jump in the long line of terrible Batman portrayals. I think he will be fine, the problem is people think they want Bales Batman when in actuality they want Nolans. That’s still very possible with Affleck as Batman, and if it’s pulled off I think people will be impressed.
Probably the most shocking thing about the casting announcement for me...was that we got one! Seriously, I thought it’d be at least another few months (or at least in September as it was rumored) before we heard who Warner Bros. was casting as the next actor to don the cowl. I can’t say I’m entirely surprised by the move either. I remarked on this when we posted about the news the other day, but this isn’t the first time Ben Affleck’s name has come up in conjunction with the dark knight.
Back when he was rumored to be directing the Justice League movie, it was also said he’d be taking on an acting role in the film too; most likely as Batman. While many people dismissed this as pure rumor, I’m thinking there was something behind this, and that the timing wasn’t right for Affleck to take on the dual duties of directing and starring in that big of a superhero movie. Something tells me, Affleck has been on Warner Bros.’ mind for quite some time now.
Frankly, I’m perfectly fine with this casting. While I can’t say he was my first choice to play the role, I think he will do just fine at the role. He can play the brooding do-gooder, and can bring a gravitas to the character in a way others might not. While many denounce his casting due to previous films that sucked, the truth is even the greatest actors have been in horrible movies. It happens! Judging a man’s possible performance based on a character he played over a decade ago, rather than any of the award winning stuff he’s done in the last few years, is just kind of ridiculous.
Argo was one of my favorite (if not THE favorite) films of 2012 and it wasn’t just his directing that impressed me, it was his acting performance as well. The entirety of his character consisted of a man with issues taking on a persona in order to help save lives and fight for justice...Sound familiar? While it’s obviously a bit different, it shows that he can tackle (emotionally) a role like this. Physically, it’s just a matter of bulking up.
The rest is really going to be up to the quality of script and story given to the film. Affleck has the chops, he just needs the material to make it work.
Honestly, I’m torn. Ever since Chasing Amy, I’ve always had a fondness for the work of Ben Affleck. He truly is capable of some terrific performances, many of which have been evidenced in the last couple of years. But that doesn’t let him off the hook for dropping the ball when he clearly wasn’t ready to carry it. Carrying a superhero film is often a herculean feat as I’m sure many actors have discovered. The demands of the production coupled with the demands of the fans, can make any shoot seem sisyphean at best.
However, I can’t forget how pissed people were when Keaton was cast as the Dark Knight, how rabidly negative they were when Ledger was cast as The Joker. And what did we receive? Some of the best work in the history of the genre.
I intend to avoid slinging mud or dolloping praise on anyone. I, as I did with The Dark Knight, will wait until Affleck shows up on screen as Batman and when he opens his mouth, I will have my answer. Crucifying Affleck, WB, or Snyder is pointless. The man is a professional and should be given the opportunity we all would love: To do his job. Let’s see what he churns out in the end.
And for anyone who simply can’t get over it, just snuggle up to the knowledge that Bryan Cranston might be Lex Luthor. That should help you sleep at night.
While Ben Affleck was not high on my list of people to play Gotham’s caped crusader (actually, he wasn’t on my list at all), I am not as outraged as other people seem to be about his casting in the Man of Steel sequel. On the surface, he seems an odd choice, but when you look at it more closely, he doesn’t seem like such a bad selection. There are pros and cons to the choice.
Pros: Ben Affleck is actually a good all-around talent, being an Oscar winning writer (Good Will Hunting) and the director of last year’s Best Picture (Argo). This is useful if Affleck has input into his character or script approval for the film. As for his acting, he is capable of giving very strong performances, such as he did in Hollywoodland and Argo. He actually has a better resume than some other Bat-actors did when they took on the role (Keaton and Kilmer.)
He also has the height. Batman has been described in the comics as being 6-foot-2, and Affleck is 6-foot-3, making him the tallest of the actors to portray Batman on the big screen. (Keaton was the shortest.) He has a year to bulk up his physique.
Cons: There’s a big age difference (11 years) between Affleck and his soon-to-be co-star Henry Cavill, so either this version of Batman got a very late start in the cowl, or Affleck’s Batman will have to be portrayed as much more seasoned and experienced than Superman. This changes the whole nature of their relationship as peers, making Superman seem like the junior partner. Adding to this is the height factor, because Affleck is two inches taller than Cavill. Will this make Superman seem too much like a super sidekick? This is my main issue with Affleck as Batman. His presence may put the focus on Batman at the expense of the Man of Steel (the guy who actually stars in the franchise.) On top of all this, Affleck has previously demystified Superman in Hollywoodland by portraying him as a silly comic character in a ‘monkey suit’. I don’t think Affleck’s presence helps Superman at all.
Other issues: The specter of Daredevil haunts Affleck, and many people use that as an excuse why he should never play a superhero role again. However, this argument has holes in it. After all, Chris Evans appeared in the pitiful Fantastic Four films, but was still able to portray an effective Captain America.
People are saying online that Affleck is “not intimidating enough” be play the Batman, but the same could have been said about any of the previous Batman actors. So much of Batman’s intimidating presence is in the lighting, the costume, the background music, and other intangibles. Given the right setting, Affleck could possibly be just as intimidating as his predecessors. All the complaints about Affleck’s ‘bad acting’ go back to his early performances. He’s improved immensely as an actor over the years.
Overall, I think it’s too early to write Affleck off. After all, if DC/Warner had listened to fan’s impulsive gut reactions in the past, we wouldn’t have had Heath Ledger as the Joker or Michael Keaton as Batman.
At first, I honestly thought that it was a bad choice. Now I don’t want my decision to be based off of Ben Affleck’s acting ability. I will concede he has shown real improvement with his latest work. He’s got the look of Bruce Wayne and would probably rock the cowl. However Affleck does bring some baggage to the role. Can we criticize every actor that has ever made a bad film well yes we can but that’s besides the point. Did the internet lose its collective mind when Cavill was announced? No, mainly because people were wondering who the hell Henry Cavill was. That being the case I believe that they could have repeated that by casting a relatively unknown actor to continue the role. They're trying to create not only a movie but a universe, further down the road an actor with less star power could be more easily negotiated with. Also Affleck is 41 now. With Warner Bros. timeline for making movies he may be well into the big 50 before they get Justice League off the ground. But at the end of the day I don’t really have that big of a dog in this fight since I have an on again off again relationship with DC. In closing I would like to say Make Mine Marvel! Excelsior!
Of course upon initially hearing the news I didn’t like it one bit. However I started seeing more and more Affleck Bashing and it made me smile. Then comes photos, but one stood out to me and it’s a scene from Jay and silent Bob strike Back:
"The Internet is a communication tool used the world over where people can come together to bitch about movies and share pornography with one another."
Holy Crap I had fallen into the geek Trap, it was no longer about him being older, getting better at his craft, all I saw was daredevil and *BAM* I hated the choice. Then I saw stories of him getting death threats over the role and at that point I was ok with the choice.
Not only OK with it but I hope he shatters all expectations with his performance in the upcoming movies. I know it's been mentioned time and time again, but we always have to go back to Keaton who when cast all we heard on the street and in headlines was 'Mr. MOM cast as Batman'. I liked Keaton as an actor then and kinda knew he'd do ok, and as far as I'm concerned he is the BEST Batman they have ever had, yes THE BEST, no one else comes even close because everyone said he couldn’t do it. Yet he pulled it off.
So all I can say is Good Luck Ben and don’t do what Bale did and once the cowl came on he started speaking 'BAT', or whatever he was growling at people. Now excuse me I need to go share my pornography with people.
I’m just going to hold out for a win from Affleck. I’m a huge Batman fan, and i’m pretty sure I’ll kill someone if Warner gives us another Batman and Robin.
This is what some of us here around Cinelinx think of the Ben Affleck casting as Batman (or Batfleck if you will) and as you can tell most of us are trying out the “wait and see” concept for it. Now it’s your turn to tell us what you thought of the casting decision and what your initial reactions to the news was!
-The Cinelinx Team