August 22, 2013 will forever be known as the day the internet exploded. After announcing the Man of Steel sequel would include Batman in a surprise announcement at Comic-Con, geek speculation began: Who would portray the Caped Crusader in said film? Would Christian Bale accept a small island as payment and return? Would it be an unknown? An established name? Well-known Bat-film mainstay, Batman-On-Film.com, broke the news that the studio was looking for an actor in their forties. This fueled the flames even more so and, for a moment, it seemed as though Josh Brolin was the man to beat.
Brolin seemed to be a solid choice. He certainly has the acting chops and the blockbuster experience as well as fitting the older mold that the studio was looking for. However, speculation on the negative press that his recent divorce from returning Man of Steel cast member, Diane Lane, began to circulate. Whether that had an effect on his casting in the film or not, we may never know, but I’m certain that no one would enjoy traveling the world answering questions from the press with their recently divorced spouse. That side of things is all purely speculation, of course. What we do know now is that, for whatever reason, Brolin was not the man who got the part.
August 22, 2013, we found out who did… and then the internet exploded.
Ben Affleck, a man whose Hollywood reputation has seen unbelievable highs and depressing lows, has been cast as Batman in the upcoming Batman/Superman film across from returning Henry Cavill as Superman and returning Man of Steel director, Zack Snyder. Had Affleck been cast as Batman in Batman Begins back in 2005, I honestly believe that the negative reaction would have been huge. You have to remember, 2005 was before Hollywoodland. It was before Gone Baby Gone.
The mainstream opinion of Affleck in 2005 was that of Matt Damon’s less talented friend. I would argue that that opinion was unwarranted given that, when given a meaty role as he was in 2002′s Changing Lanes, he proved more than capable as a three-dimensional actor. However, there’s little doubt that the American movie-going public didn’t think much of him outside of considering him a halfway decent heartthrob type. Capable of headlining a special-effects film, sure, but not a serious actor.
In 2013 though? Ben Affleck is a much different name. Ben Affleck has since proven himself to be a legitimate talent in the eyes of the mainstream. Not only has he improved his image greatly as an actor, his status as a top-name director is indisputable. With critical darlings in both categories (in more than one instance, in the same film), Affleck has positioned himself to the point to where putting his name in the same conversation as one Clint Eastwood would not be a stretch. Suffice to say, Gigli is far in his rear-view… and that is why the internet exploded.
Despite all that he’s accomplished, there is still an identifiable group of fans that do not accept this decision in the least. To them, Affleck is still that guy from Armageddon who isn’t tough enough to be Batman. He’s still just a pretty boy actor on par with any other male actor from a late nineties teen drama. The stigma still exists, just as it did in 2005. Only now, given his obvious success, there’s just as large a group there to decry such claims.
So, now, we have something of a Batman Civil War on our hands. One that will only intensify right up until actual footage of Affleck as the Dark Knight surfaces to quell-or qualify-any doubts. Seeing as actual footage isn’t likely to surface until late next year, I believe we are looking towards a long, heated debate that will stretch across the comic fan landscape far and wide. It is in the spirit of this debate that I felt the need to provide five solid reasons why we who are lifelong Bat-fans have no reason to worry about the once-Daredevil taking on a different masked hero. While Affleck honestly wasn’t my first choice for the role, I find the vocal denouncing of his casting completely ignorant of his development as an actor and very short sighted as to what it could potentially accomplish. Therefore, I present the top five reasons that Ben Affleck as Batman is a good idea.
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