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 Robert Galvan 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.
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.