Editorial | The Batman is Dead, Long Live the Batman

So you may have heard the news… there’s a new Batman in town.  Ben Affleck, of mixed Hollywood reviews, has been signed to play the caped crusader in the sequel to Man of Steel, which will feature both Batman AND Superman.

The internet reaction to Affleck’s casting has almost been visceral.  Twitter was aflame for most of the first day with angry fans declaiming the franchise.  Honestly, I see their point.  Affleck’s breakout starring role was in a movie he co-wrote with his best friend.  It would make sense that he would seamlessly morph into his character in Good Will Hunting, since the movie takes place in Affleck’s hometown of Boston, and features the places and social norms with which he grew up.

After the 1997 instant hit, however, Affleck’s career became a series of boring (and sometimes nameless) roles in ridiculous movies—and yes, I include Pearl Harbor among those.  In 2003, the actor spandexed up for the first time in the title role of Daredevil.  The movie did pretty well at the box office, but tanked in critic and viewer reviews.  His performance in this last superhero movie seems to be the main talking point for Batfleck haters.

To be completely fair, the early 2000’s were not kind to superhero movies of any kind.  Does anyone remember the first X-Men movie from 2000?  Hulk, which came out the same year as Daredevil?  Still, although there were other terrible comic book movies in that half of the decade, Daredevil was still a pretty awful representation.

While I don’t actually see any fans of the decision, a few people have actually tried to defend the move, citing Affleck’s recent move to the director’s chair with movies like The Town.  Here, I again have to point out first that The Town  would have made a TERRIBLE comic movie, and that it was also set in Boston—Affleck’s home town.

I find it telling that typing the words “Ben Affleck batman” into Google gives me 106,000,000 hits, and the headlines read:

Ben Affleck’s So-So Batman” (Daily Beast)

3 Out of 3 Former Batmen Agree: Ben Affleck Will be Fine” (Wired)

Matt Damon Defends Ben Affleck’s Batman: ‘You Know He’s Not Playing King Lear” (Huffington Post)

Matt Damon is secretly hoping to be cast as Robin…

Even those defending the casting decision point out that Affleck will be ok.  They say that the franchise will be fine.  Life will continue on.  No waves will be made.  Affleck will not do anything amazing with Batman, but neither will he destroy the movies.

Ultimately, I think that this is the best that any DC comic fan is going to be able to look forward to in the next few Batman movies.  To be perfectly blunt, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight brought an unparalleled level of brilliance to Batman.  Until his spectacular three-movie feat, DC’s comic movies have been mediocre at best.  With his departure, Batman will subside back to what it was before him.

Do you agree with the Warner Bros. decision?  Let us know in the comments!

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Filed under Editorial, Movies, Tracy Gronewold

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