The wait is over – it was announced today that Ben Affleck will play Batman in Zack Snyder’s BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN (or whatever it ends up being called), and I couldn’t be happier.
The reaction to the news was mixed to say the least. On Twitter especially, some fans seem livid (#BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck is currently trending), but I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Affleck has made some turkeys in his time, but what A-lister hasn’t? A lot of people are providing DAREDEVIL as their evidence that he should not front (or joint-front) another comic book film, but that was ten years ago, and the film wasn’t that bad was it? It wasn’t even the worst superhero film Mark Steven Johnson has done; it looked like a masterpiece next to GHOST RIDER.
One of the reasons I’m so happy about the decision is that Affleck has been on the top of his game for years now. He’s older, wiser, and has directed three critically-acclaimed feature films – GONE BABY GONE, THE TOWN and ARGO – in addition to playing a key role in the latter two. He’s also demonstrated his acting range throughout his career in fascinating films such as Gus Van Sant’s GOOD WILL HUNTING, HOLLYWOODLAND (where he played TV’s Superman George Reeves), Kevin Macdonald’s STATE OF PLAY and most recently Terrance Malick’s TO THE WONDER. The man has talent, both in front and behind the camera, and the choice should be applauded.
Also, Affleck should be able to embody the duality between the Bruce Wayne and Batman identities; he’s played extremes of darkness and lightness, and everything in-between. It’ll also be interesting to see what direction they take the Superman/Batman relationship. Clearly they’ll have their differences, but what will be the cause? Plot aside, will age and experience come into it? I quite like the idea of Henry Cavill’s youthful and relatively inexperienced Supes at loggerheads with an older, veteran Bats played by Affleck, and the actor’s real-life professional careers at present pretty much reflect this dynamic (though I’m sure they’ll get along fine off-camera).
I’m excited now, and fully anticipate that Ben Affleck will make a great Caped Crusader. He fully deserves some financial (as well as critical) success again, and he might just bring the spark that MAN OF STEEL lacked with him.
Plot details are still shrouded in mystery, but it’s widely assumed Lex Luthor will be playing a part in the super-duo’s conflict and inevitable team-up. So, the next big question is who should play Lex? SSP