August 22, 2013, the day the Batman film franchise died.
Or you would think so from the response of the news that Ben Affleck has been cast to take up the cape and cowl in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel, Batman vs. Superman.
I am not here to pile on the Oscar winner. Rather, I am here to say this…I really don’t have a problem with it.
No, Affleck was nowhere on my, or anyone else’s, radar when it came to casting rumors for the first ever movie team-up of the two greatest superheroes in comics history. We all had our favorite choices that we wanted to see play The Dark Knight. I was firmly set in the Jeffrey Dean Morgan camp and even was coming around to the idea of Wes Bentley, who Christopher Nolan was rumored to have been suggesting. So the Affleck pick was certainly out of left field, but let’s be completely honest, if this was Ben Affleck of ten years ago, some of the insane internet hate may have been a tiny bit justified.
This is not ten years ago when hating Ben Affleck was the “in” thing to do. Yes, there will always be the Gigli jokes and I will never own Reindeer Games, but this is the multiple time Golden Globe winner and Oscar winner for starring in and directing the Best Picture of 2012. It is easy to see why Warner jumped all over the opportunity to get him to play Batman. You can not watch The Town or Hollywoodland and tell me that Ben Affleck can not play Batman, a role that has been played by Val fu**ing Kilmer. To not even give him, or the movie, a chance is pure ignorance. I say this from experience.
“They got Heath Ledger to play The Joker. Yeah, the dude from A Knight’s Tale is gonna play the role Nicholson made his. Way to ruin the character. Schumacher would be proud.”
This is an actual quote from me when it was announced in 2006 that Ledger was cast in Nolan’s follow-up to Batman Begins. It would be easy to say I always thought he would make a wonderful Joker, but there is no use in lying. Since hindsight is always 20/20, we all know how asinine that line of thinking was five years and one Oscar for Best Supporting Actor later.
Am I saying that Ben Affleck will automatically make a great, good, or even serviceable Batman? No. Not by a longshot. I am saying that I will reserve right to judge the movie and Affleck’s portrayal of Batman for when I sit my fat ass in a theater seat in July 2015. Just with any performance, there is a chance he could be the worse thing to happen to the Caped Crusader since bat-nips and ice skates, but you also have to realize there is another set of possibilities out there where Affleck surprises a lot of people and brings something new to the role and actually makes the movie better.
I will end this by throwing something out there to Ben Affleck.
I respect the massive set of balls shown for taking this role. You just basically swept the awards season for Argo and have proved your worth in the director’s chair. You went from the joke to the toast of Hollywood. There is no way the internet community will ever give you a free pass, even after winning the biggest award in motion pictures. All you can do is prove them wrong. Don’t fu** it up.
But at the end of the day I know you really could care less what the ravenous masses that hide behind a computer screen say because you have two Oscars, get to play Batman and go home every night to Jennifer Garner.
Well played Affleck. Well played.