When Ben Affleck was announced as the new Batman in Zack Snyder‘s upcoming Man of Steel sequel the world screamed out “No”. At least initially. While the majority of the nerd verse is still shaking fists and voicing their rage across the interwebz with hate filled comments and hilarious memes (see below), there is a movement of change. A shifting of opinion has started. Could Batfleck be the surprise no one saw coming?
Personally, I feel the duty of a director is to make a casting choice not what the public thinks they want but rather give them what they never knew they wanted. Which is why roles of epic proportions go to relative unknowns or established actors that nobody would expect (Heath Ledgers Joker would be a shining example). For the most part, these wild casting choices yield positive. With that said…Ben “fucking” Afleck!? Man, no one saw that coming. A bizarre choice indeed.
While a talented actor (excluding films like Bounce, Reindeer Games, Gigi which were nothing but a pay check. Oh, yeah, can’t forget to add Paycheck to that list) and an even more successful director (see films like Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Argo) this man of Hollywood is still fighting the come back trail. The stigma of bad celebrity and public scrutiny from his days dating J-Lo has haunted his career greatly. Furthermore, the most troubling thing about his acting career is that Affleck is, well, Affleck. He’s never been an actors actor; never once letting us (the audience) get lost in his roles. We always see Affleck being Affleck. Same guy, different setting. This, my friends, is what we struggle with most when trying to picture him look and act like The Dark Knight. I myself would find it hard to take a a suited up Affleck seriously without hearing the song “I’m fucking Ben Affleck”.
There is, though, a startling possibility. Affleck may very well surprise. He could, despite a mega ton of doubt, be the best Batman yet. I’m not the only one to think so either. Two nerd heavy weights, Joss Whedon and Patton Oswalt have offered their approval. What they say (particularly Oswalt) speaks true.
Whedon hit up Twitter and said the following…
There you have it. The all-father of all this is nerdy and true has given his stamp of approval. That alone should be enough to quell the beat of hate. If you thought he was just being nice about the whole thing, listen to what Oswalt had to say.
On Facebook, Oswalt put out a passionate plea demanding fans to show patience and give room for surprise.
No matter how many times you post your stupid “Fire Ben Affleck from Playing Batman” petition, I’m going to delete it and block you. Take a deep breath, and think for a second:
Yeah, the dude’s made some bad films. Every actor has. Every actor does. Every actor will. It’s a huge, arcing career and NO ONE has control over where it goes. Movie to movie, year to year, you’re collaborating and trying and risking and, sometimes, yes — failing.
Plus, everyone seems to forget that he had the world dropped in his lap when he was YOUNG. And, judging by how other suddenly-famous youngsters do in the same situation, he fared pretty well. Even when it went wrong, he seemed to keep a self-deprecating, long-view philosophy about the burning freak carousel he’d found himself on.
And then what happened? I mean, he’d fallen from a HEIGHT. You know what happens to 95% of people who weather a descent that steep? They come apart, fray at all of their sanity nodes, and give up.
But then there’s the 5% who embrace crushing defeat and see it for the gift it is. And here’s the gift: when you fail, and fail UTTERLY, you wake up the next morning and see that the world didn’t end. And then the fear of failure is gone. And you’re free. You’re free to proceed on your own terms and pace — if you have the ego that permits you to.
Ben brushed himself off, realized he’d kept his eyes open on the movies he’d done, and started directing. And he’s become a damn good one.
A Batman portrayed by someone who’s tasted humiliation and a reversal of all personal valences — kind of like Grant Morrison’s “Zen warrior” version of Batman, post-ARKHAM ASYLUM, who was, in the words of Superman, “…the most dangerous man on the planet”? Think for a second and admit that Ben Affleck is closer to THAT top-shelf iteration of The Dark Knight than pretty much anyone in Hollywood right now.
I’d write more, but I have to go work on my post about how an overweight 44 year-old comedian with bad feet and insomnia would be a bold choice for The Joker.
So, after hearing two of the most influential minds in nerd culture give their thumbs up, what say you? Are you for or against Ben Affleck as Batman? Sound off below!