Since Ben Affleck was announced as the next Batman, the internet has been a typically colourful and inflammatory place, spewing outrage and pompous, preposterous petitions to have him removed forcibly from the role (as if it is somehow cherished, and we can all lay claim to its preservation). Bloggers, journalists and even politicians have took it upon themselves to decry the casting as an abomination, a travesty and a downright betrayal of the fans, because, presumably, they’ve all seen Pearl Harbour and Armageddon.
But really, Affleck is not that bad a choice. Yes, he has made some stunningly bad movies, but his latest acting work – in Argo and The Town chiefly – has been exceptional, and it seems his move into directing has given him the same kind of insight into the art of acting that it gave to Clint Eastwood. And in the grand scheme of things, Affleck was far from the worst case scenario many are publically proclaiming him to be, because frankly, it could have been worse.
And such is the way with Batman casting – every time a new actor is cast, there is a multitude of rumours and almost castings that fans ignore, because their favourite wasn’t picked, or they felt aggrieved at the eventual choice (as with Michael Keaton famously.) But we should all be thankful for those dodged bullets, because we could have had some significantly worse Batmen than Ben Affleck could ever possibly manage to create.
Some of the actors tentatively attached to the role make Ben Affleck look like Orson Welles, and some were so misguided that they put this decision into perspective. You think Ben Affleck is a bad pick? Thank your lucky stars this lot were never hired to play the Bat…
The man with the incredible name might have suffered a bit of a blip thanks to The Lone Ranger dying on its backside (unjustly for some,) his star will remain in the ascendancy. But, while he has the golden era good looks and presence to make that a reality, it still feels like a dodged bullet that his casting as Batman was never actually committed to film, because, to put it simply, that Batman wouldn’t have been the one we needed, nor the one we deserved at the time.
Yes, the rumoured script details cast an interesting what if, but the presence of a stand alone Justice League film competing with Nolan’s Bat-franchise would have been a ridiculous concept all round (just as the initial idea to release two X-Men films) and Hammer’s Bat would have been pushed aside by the megalodonic Nolan fanbase (because that’s just the kind of thing that lights their fires.)
This article was first posted on September 1, 2013