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Ben Affleck as Batman

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In 2013 Ben Affleck was cast as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the movie “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” As the internet experienced a meltdown and some misguided fans even signed petitions to have Affleck removed from the project, I was always on board with him being cast as the iconic capped crusader. View my old blog post in the link below.

MY Thoughts: Ben Affleck as Batman

I wanted to follow up my recent review of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” with my thoughts on how Ben Affleck actually played this iconic dual role. I will begin by posting this quote:

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times remarked: “All the Internet resistance to Affleck being cast as Batman seems silly when you see him … There’s not a moment when we don’t believe Affleck as Bruce Wayne or as Batman.”

I agree with this completely. It is kind of funny that even though many Batman and superhero fans had a public meltdown over Ben being cast, there is nary a hater to be found these days. Another point I want to make is, although I supported Ben 100% in this role and could see him doing well, even I underestimated exactly how good he ended up being in the role. Ben Affleck disappeared completely into both Characters! While watching the movie I completely forgot I was watching Ben Affleck! He is just that damned good!

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Comparisons are inevitable and I hate to use the word “better” in my comparisons (I can enjoy many things equal without making such judgments) I will add that Ben has come to personify the role for me. I do in fact enjoy all live incarnations of the character. Believe it or not but as of this writing “Batman Forever” is my favorite solo Batman movie, but Ben is my favorite portrayal of the character. I do like Nolan’s Batman Trilogy even though I have issues with it, however, I never really had a problem with Christian Bale’s portrayal of the Dark Knight. After watching Ben play both roles I have come to see his performance as the one I have been waiting for, for decades. Finally Bruce Wayne and his alter ego “The Batman” are portrayed the way they have been portrayed in the comics for a long, long time. I look forward with great anticipation to the Justice League movies and the solo Batman movies where Ben will once again don the cape and cowl to strike fear into the heart of darkness.

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Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice…a review.

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I cannot believe I have not yet reviewed Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The first pairing in live action of the two most iconic Superheroes in the world. There was a ton of expectation riding on this movie. The movie was heavily criticized by the professional pundits and under performed at the box office although it still made the studio money. One of the reasons for this is that the studio did not put out the three hour extended cut of the films into the theater. What was released to the theater was a truncated version of the film that was not very coherent in places. Note to film studio. Leave Zack Snyder alone and let him do his job, he knows what he is doing!

Therefore this review will be of the theatrical cut.

All movies do have their flaws…which is simply another way of saying “I would have done it differently” and although this movie is no exception the Pros greatly out weight any Cons it may have. I really enjoyed this movie so without further delay, the Pros and Cons of this film. Cons won the coin toss so they will go first. 🙂

Cons:

The story, even in the Extended Cut, still has some issues. The scene in the desert where Lois is interviewing a terrorist and then all hell breaks loose, it really isn’t too clear what is happening. One example, Batman brands his criminals and they end up getting killed in jail/prison…but the movie never tells you why they are being killed in jail or the motives for killing them.

Alfred. I think over all Jeremy Irons did a good job but his cynicism got old after a while. Plus, if he thinks Batman was going down the wrong road and becoming something corrupt, then you would think that he would have confronted Bruce long before he did in this movie. It seems Alfred was just as jaded as Batman was in this movie.

Death of Superman. I do understand that his sacrifice was to show the world that he truly is a force for good in the world and that he will use his powers to help and not hurt. However, maybe my objection is more about the elaborate funeral they gave Superman, because it all seems too soon because it really doesn’t feel Superman truly earned the accolades and the grief. In the movie Superman has been around less than two years and there is much controversy surrounding him, he certainly isn’t universally loved.

Death of Clark Kent. This is unprecedented. Sure, they have shown Superman die in the comics and animated movies, but they always have found a way to excuse Clark’s disappearance until Superman returns. This movie paints quite a dilemma where they are acknowledging both Clark and Superman are dead! How can they bring both back without the world knowing Clark Kent is Superman!?

Pros:

Good Story. Despite the story being muddled at times the story is very interesting and engaging. It really is not a story about Batman and Superman fighting, it is a story of redemption for both iconic characters.

Superman’s character arc. I like the idea in this universe where Superman isn’t a Mary Sue Boy-scout where everyone except the villains despise him and don’t trust him. In the real world we would have people truly fear and distrust Superman so I like that realistic approach and  how Superman has to cope with that reality especially in the face of life taking disasters committed to tarnish his name.

Batman’s Character arc. I love how this is an older and cynical and jaded Batman who has gone through many tragedies himself. We see that Robin is dead, Wayne Manor has been burned to the ground and Batman is an outlaw. I loved the scene where we fist see Batman in the room where he just branded the criminal and he is lurking in the shadows. Classic Batman! I also like how Batman comes to once again have faith in humanity restored. The scene where he rescues Martha Kent in the warehouse is the best live action scene of Batman ever put to film.

Special effects. Excellent. I love any time Superman takes flight!! Doomsday is created with such life-likeness! Great eye candy!

Good pacing. Even though the Extended Cut is three hours long the movie flows well without any slow spots at all.

Lex Luthor. I think Jesse Eisenberg was great as Luthor…yes he is Lex Luthor and not the son of Lex as many claim, he was bitter, psychotic and unpredictable.

Wonder Woman. What can I say? She was awesome! Gal Gadot was simply amazing as Wonder Woman and Diana Prince and she stole the show! I also loved the cameo glimpses of Aquaman and The Flash and Cyborg!!

I want to close by speaking of the controversial Martha scene. Sure, it is a bit cheesy but I do understand what they were doing and I think it was a great idea and worked although all it needed maybe was one line of dialogue. That was the moment Batman realized how far he had fallen and that he had become the very thing he had dedicated his life to fighting against. If Batman would have said that to Lois and Superman in some verbal way, I think it would have helped.

I really enjoyed this movie despite some of its flaws. All-in-all a good introduction of Batman in the DCEU and I look forward to more movies with these characters!

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Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, trailer review

This past weekend the full trailer for the movie Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was released. My first reaction was Holy Crap! Holy Crap meaning that was excellent! I am certainly not one that hated Man of Steel so I am greatly looking forward to this next movie. In my participation in various message boards and groups Man of Steel (MOS) does have its fair share of haters. Those haters of course ceremoniously also are sticking their noses up at this movie before they see it.

One of the reasons people tended to hate MOS was due to the rampant destruction. They seem to side with Holly Hunter, playing the part of a Senator that heads a committee holding Superman responsible for the destruction. Another reason the haters hated MOS was its failure to addresses the mass destruction issue. However, it looks like this movie will be addressing that very issue! Plus, we see Bruce Wayne, who was apparently in Metropolis on the day of the fight between Superman & Zod, and this is the impetus for the distrust and rivalry between the two Superheros.

I would like to comment on the main focus of the movie. The fight and rivalry of Batman & Superman. I grew up in an era where Superheroes fought other Super villains and not one another!!! I grew up in the 60s and 70s with the Super Friends cartoons and Batman and Superman were the best of buds and on the same side. From my participation in fan groups and pages dedicated to Superheroes (I even run one myself) having Superheroes battle one another is all the rage. Personally, I find it a bit annoying. Sure, some rivalry and bruised egos and distrust will make for some good story telling, and I don’t mind it going that far, but these out and out hatred and battles between them are not what I really like to see.

Reading the official synopsis of the movie does give me hope that this rivalry will not last long as a bigger threat arises forcing Batman and Superman to join forces against a bigger threat.

Two more points before I end this. I was on board when Ben Affleck was chosen as the new Batman for this film. You would think the internet had broken when so many fans had a meltdown when Ben was chosen. Haters crawled out of the woodwork! Today, I am happy to say that haters have dwindled in number to a very small few. The same can be said of the casting of Gail Gadot and Jessie Eisenberg as Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor respectively, as we view more pictures and trailers more and more prople are coming on board.

The tone of the movie looks good, it will have a lot of action and adventure with good drama and conflicts. I like the fact that Superman is not universally loved in theis Universe. It is like the real world. If someone that powerful did live among us, I am sure there would be those who did not trust him or did not like him.

Who played Batman the Best: Part IV.

With my interaction with fans on the internet I have come to see that Christian Bale’s performance as Batman is by far the favorite. There are many who also prefer Michael Keaton as Batman but Bale does seem the big favorite. I have written in the past about my love-hate relationship with the Dark Knight trilogy but that is another topic. I want to stick to his performance only.

I recently read a negative review of Batman Begins and one of the things the author said was that Batman was not depicted as a detective which is a big part of his persona. I disagree. I think that aspect is in the Nolan trilogy, yet I don’t think it is a big part of what he does in any movie. I think Adam West and the campy TV series has been the best in portraying Batman as a detective! Bale’s Batman is the most intimidating I would have to say. He has come out of the darkness to grab and harass criminals and informants. Some have complained about the voice Bale does as Batman. It is very gravely and gruff. I personally have no problem with the voice he did and there are a few times when that is what made him intimidating. I like the part when he has an informant hanging over the street high up in the air and the informant yes ”I swear to God” and Batman growls “swear to me!” Great scene and this is the Batman many wanted to see. Overall an excellent performance as Batman despite my problems with the movies themselves.

I cannot end this without mentioning Ben Affleck as Batman in the upcoming film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Of course I cannot really comment on his performance since we have not seen the film yet. We have seen the suit and while I like it for the most part, what I don’t like is the size of the Bat-symbol on his chest. I don’t mind the smaller ears on the cowl either. I have written before that I was surprised he was cast only because he wasn’t even on anyone’s radar. After the momentary shock wore off I was 100% behind this casting and I could really see Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne and Batman. I am really looking forward to his performance and the movie.

Well, I think my two favorite Batman portrayals are Michael Keaton and Christian Bale. They are a virtual tie with Val Kilmer coming close behind those two.

Next week I will finally review the new Godzilla movie!!

Where are they Now?

Last August when Ben Affleck was announced to play Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice all of the internet was in a meltdown over fans screaming and crying in outrage over him being cast in the role. Last week, on the heels of Batman’s 75th birthday as a crime fighting superhero character, a picture was released of Ben in his Bat-cowl.

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But with the picture released above  of Batman in his cowl and this picture of him in his suit…

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A vast majority of the haters are GONE! Sure there are a few stragglers but the majority of the people now posting on Facebook or science fiction and superhero websites are in favor of Ben playing Batman. Well, if they are not out right in favor of him playing Batman they are at least now open minded and eager to see how he plays the role.

I was surprised when Ben Affleck was announced as Batman due only to the fact that he was not one of the names at all on the radar of those being considered for the part. It seems that those who were being suggested as being in the running for the role was pure fan speculation to begin with.

Once the shock wore off I did immediately think this was  creative casting and a great idea. I could easily see him as the playboy Bruce Wayne and if Michael Keaton could pull off playing Batman as well as he did, then I have no worries for Ben Affleck. I am sure he will do great. I am also happy that the hatred and animosity the fan base originally showed has died down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armageddon & Deep Impact

Every now and then Hollywood will put out two movies with the same theme. This year it was terrorists at the White House with such movies as Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down. I have yet to see those two movies and as soon as I pick them both up I will give you my reviews.

I recently watched both of the comet/asteroid doomsday movies Armageddon &  Deep Impact. They have similar themes but the movies are different in many ways. They both came out in the summer of 1998. Deep Impact starred  Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood, Vanessa Redgrave, Maximilian Schell, and Morgan Freeman. Armageddon starred  Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, Will Patton, Peter Stormare, William Fichtner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Keith David and Steve Buscemi.

In Deep Impact reporter Téa Leoni uncovers a secret that a recent ambassador resigned over an affair. Upon further investigation she discovers that it is a cover-up for a Coment that is about to hit the Earth. Morgan Freeman plays the president and Robert Duvall heads up the shuttle team that is going to land on the comet and drill a hole in order to detonate a nuke. There is also a side story featuring Elijah Wood who was one of the people who discovered the comet and how he tries to save his family and girlfriend from the coming disaster.

In Armageddon an asteroid the size of Texas is heading toward Earth and NASA recruits a rag-tag team of drilling experts led by Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck. The movie covers their training and launch onto the asteroid to destroy it before it reaches the point of no return.

The biggest differences between the two movies are the tone of the films. Deep Impact is played as serious drama and is rated R, and Armageddon, plays like a disaster film also full of drama, but one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Both films had mixed reviews although Deep Impact has a 47% negative rating at Rotten tomatoes while Armageddon has a 39% negative rating on the same site.

After watching them both back to back I really enjoy them both pretty closely but I have to give the edge to Armageddon because it is such a fun movie. Deep Impact has Morgan Freeman and Robert Duvall and that gives the movie high ratings in my book they are two of my favorite actors as well as two of the finest to ever grace the big screen. However, the movie is very sad and heart wrenching and the older I get the more I just want to have fun at the movies. I don’t often get in the mood to have my heart wrenched. ‘

Deep impact has the wise cracking Bruce Willis and the NASA official played by Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton. The movie also has a long list of very excentric and colorful characters led by Michael Clarke Duncan and Steve Buscemi. Having the beautiful Liv Tyler doesn’t hurt the movie either, along with the music provided by her father’s group Areosmirth.

My problem with Armageddon is that it falls apart a bit in the third act. It gets over th top in an already over the top movie. The actions get confusing with all the explosions and it is hard to follow what is going on at times and who is surviving and who is dying. There also seems to be one cliff hanger after the other. The movie does redeem itself at the end though. Armageddon was directed by Michael Bay the king of explosions and there are plenty in this film.

In conclusion both movies are enjoyable for me to watch I give Armageddon the edge because it is a fun movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Ben Affleck as Batman: My Thoughts.

It is a nice warm and sunny Friday morning as I write this. Late last night it was announced that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman for the upcoming sequel to the Man of Steel movie. My first reaction was one of disbelief and shock. He wasn’t even on the radar. He wasn’t even mentioned as being in the running for the role. I also honestly thought that they would select a relative unknown and not a big name such as Ben Affleck. I think that is why I am so shocked.  But the more I think about it the more I do like the idea. I think he can really pull it off. Today as I write this I am watching the majority of my fellow nerdlings have a meltdown as the interweb explodes with the fallout from this news.

I actually like the guy and his work. Like most of us, I was introduced to Ben Affleck when I saw the movie, Good Will Hunting. An excellent film. He and his friend, Matt Damon, crafted a great story and both acted superbly in that movie. Sadly, Affleck’s acting career had some misses as well as hits while Damon’s acting career really took off. I am also a fan of Kevin Smith’s movies and Ben has acted in several of them, my favorite is when he teamed up with Damon once again for the movie Dogma. Ben also had a highly publicized romance with Jennifer Lopez. Ben also was the star of Marvel’s superhero movie, Daredevil, which was not well received. All of this creates too much baggage in the minds of many fans of superhero movies.

But that is not the whole story. He starred in and directed in last years Academy Award winning film Argo. He also starred and directed the critically acclaimed film The Town. He played George Reeves in the well acclaimed film Hollywoodland. Ben Affleck does have  awide range as an actor. He can do comedy as well as serious drama. Not every actor can do that.

I do understand that the last Batman, played by Christian Bale, is the most popular actor to don the Batcowl. So Ben does have some awfully big shoes to fill and hopefully he will not be in Bale’s shadow during his portrayal of the character.

Another point I want to make as my fellow nerds are all upset this morning is that back in the late 80s there was a similar outcry when Tim Burton cast Michael Keaton as Batman. Even I thought that was pretty certain back then that Keaton was wrong for the part he proved all of the nay sayers wrong and did two great performances as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The other thing I find fascinating about the nerd meltdown is that they have a problem with long-term memory. When Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker for the movie, The Dark Night, many fans were all up-in-arms and outraged about that! Today he is, and for a long time will be, the standard by which any portrayal of the Joker will be measured.

I am “borrowing” some points by a blogger   and they are all points that I completely agree with.

Let us go back through the history of movie casting:

  • When Robert Downey Jr. was cast as Iron Man, people thought he would be TERRIBLE because of his past. This actually helped his character and made him the face of Iron Man.
  • When Christian Bale was cast, people still thought of him as a small actor who would be terrible.
  • Heath Ledger was BASHED up and down the street because of his pretty face when he signed on to play the Joker. Now most people now consider him the greatest Joker ever portrayed.
  • Daniel Craig as James Bond… people did go crazy about it which most of you should remember, since it was just a few years ago.
  • Chris Evans was the Human Torch and was thought of as a terrible actor. Uhh, have you seen London? And now he IS Captain America.
  • Chris Hemsworth looks like an Abercrombie and Fitch model and he was in Star Trek, but now he IS Thor.
  • Hugh Jackman was a broadway star. How in the hell is he going to be the ferocious Wolverine? Go remove your foot from your mouth now.

Read more at http://nerdreactor.com/2013/08/23/ben-affleck-batman-awesome-news/#P1HWDMlZFBvU2FXI.99

As I said, Ben Affleck was not even on the radar as being in the running to play Batman. Many sites on the internet listed whom they believed would be a worthy successor to Christian Bale to play Batman. The favorites were: Matt Bomer (my personal choice), Richard Armitage, Josh Brolin, Armie Hammer, Ryan Gosling and others. I think Affleck as a better choice than Brolin. I just don’t think he has the looks. I now am wondering if these were true rumors, that the studio was looking at these actors, or were they just the dreams of fan boys?

I am more than willing to give Ben Affleck a chance in the role and I think he will do just fine. There are more important things to consider such as the script and the tone of the film. I am more concerned about the script than who they cast as Batman. Look at Clooney in Batman and Robin. While I may enjoy the movie as an homage to the campy 60s show, Clooney did not do a bad job acting as either Wayne or Batman. The problem was people did not want a campy Batman movie, or at least the level of camp that was in that movie. So if Clooney had been Batman in a less campy movie I think people would not be putting the blame for that movie on his shoulders.  If they set the tone of this movie like they did with Iron Man then I think Afflack will do just fine.

I am sure the tone of the film will be similar or exactly like the one established in Man of Steel. If that is the case then I really have no worries about Ben Affleck being able to play Bruce Wayne and Batman. I just hope they have a good story to tell and that the script is well written.

85th Academy Awards

This Sunday the 85th Academy Awards will be broadcast. Also known as the Oscars it will award for the best in the motion picture industry. Today I will expand the focus of this blog and look at all the movies and actors for this years Oscars ceremony. All I will do is list the major categories and place in italics who I think will win. Next week I will see how close I was to being right!

Seth McFarlane, creator of Family Guy et al. who also is agreat musical talent and a man of a thousand voices will be hosting this years ceremony and that is one of the reasons I am really looking forward to this Sunday’s show.

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Amy Adams ~ The Master
  • Sally Field  ~ Lincoln
  • Anne Hathaway ~ Les Misérables
  • Helen Hunt ~ The Sessions
  • Jacki Weaver ~ Silver Linings Playbook

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Alan Arkin ~ Argo
  • Robert De Niro ~ Silver Linings Playbook
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman ~ The Master
  • Tommy Lee Jones ~ Lincoln
  • Christoph Waltz ~ Django Unchained

Best Actress:

  • Jessica Chastain ~ Zero Dark Thirty
  • Jennifer Lawrence  ~Silver Linings Playbook
  • Emmanuelle Riva ~ Amour
  • Quvenzhané Wallis ~ Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Naomi Watts ~ The Impossible

Best Actor:

  • Bradley Cooper ~ Silver Linings Playbook
  • Daniel Day-Lewis ~ Lincoln
  • Hugh Jackman ~ Les Misérables
  • Joaquin Phoenix ~ The Master
  • Denzel Washington ~ Flight

Best Director:

  • Michael Haneke ~ Amour
  • Ang Lee ~ Life of Pi
  • David O. Russell  ~ Silver Linings Playbook
  • Steven Spielberg ~ Lincoln
  • Benh Zeitlin ~ Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Film:

  • Amour
  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

I base my choices on who I would like to see win these awards. Sometimes the choices are difficult. For example, I really like both supporting actors Tommy Lee Jones and Robert De Niro so I will be happy to see either of them win. I am a big fan of Steven Spielberg and Lincoln so I hope they win many awards. What is controversial is that Argo, which may win Best Picture, was directed by Ben Affleck who was completely snubbed this year and not even nominated as best director!! How can the Best made film not have its director nominated!!?? Then again Quentin Tarantino was not nominated for his movie, Django Unchained, either. Ah, Hollywood. It does seem like High Scool with money!!

What’s in the Hopper?

A little movie rumor. It is being reported that Warner Brothers is thinking of hiring Ben Affleck to direct and star in a Justice League of America movie! I have to give it some thought. I think he has shown talent as a director and could pull it off. I am just not sure about what role he would play in it. I can’t see him as one of the super heroes.

 

Your thoughts?