OK, so you’ve heard the news. Ben Affleck is Batman.
It hasn’t even been a full week, but the internet has already had its way with the news, ravished it to death, dug it up, and did it again. To put it lightly, it’s probably been a very long and offensive few days for Ben Affleck. Sure, he’s an academy award-winning director and writer, as well as an accomplished actor. He’s worth a ton of money, too. But the dude has feelings, and words hurt.
I’m not here to defend Ben or apologize to him on behalf of the internet. Frankly, he doesn’t need me to.
But after almost a week of brooding over the news in my study, the proverbial bat has smashed through the window. I’ve thought about it enough, and as Everything Action’s resident Batmanologist, I’m ready to share my thoughts.
First and foremost, let me say that the news was shocking. Not because of who it was, but because of how it came out. It just sort of happened. Nobody was really ready for it or expecting an announcement when it happened. In fact, at the time, the last that some of the more reliable sources on the net had heard was that casting hadn’t officially begun. Things were in the early stages at best.
But then, seemingly out of nowhere, we had a Batman. I was in my car waiting to pick someone up and had a minute to kill. Not surprisingly, I was going through some news apps and then I saw it. I only missed the announcement by about 5 minutes, but it was everywhere.
“Ben Affleck is Batman”
At first, I thought it was a big troll. Again, not because of who it was, but because of the timing. Why not wait until New York Comic Con in October and blow the roof off of the place? Hell, they could’ve flown Ben in and let him wear a Batman shirt and give a brief speech. But the more I think about it, it would’ve been too much of a spectacle. When you hire an academy award winner and A-list actor to play Batman, you don’t need pageantry. You just need a statement.
And what a statement it was.
Ben Affleck is a powerful actor.
You’ve seen Argo. You’ve seen The Town. But maybe you haven’t seen Hollywoodland. And you should. Hell, you might even want to check out the director’s cut of Daredevil if you haven’t already. Yes, really. Before you throw rocks at me, realize that while Daredevil was certainly flawed, Ben Affleck was one of the best parts of that movie. His dark and tortured portrayal of the Man without Fear wasn’t perfect, but it was a strong point in an otherwise weak film.
But more important than what Ben Affleck has done is what he is yet to do.
Allow me to explain.
When Christopher Nolan cast Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight, a lot of people talked smack. A lot of people doubted Heath. I doubted Heath. But we all know how that turned out. And I say that as someone who prefers Jack Nicholson’s Joker to Heath’s Joker. But at the end of the day, whether it was my favorite iteration of the character or not, it was freaking genius. And if Christopher Nolan didn’t see Heath’s potential, we might be without one of the most unique and inspired performances in modern film.
Yet another example of this would be Michael Keaton as Batman in Tim Burton’s Batman. Nobody saw where Tim Burton was coming from when he made his choice for Batman. He passed on Bill Murray, Sylvester Stallone, and Patrick Swayze in favor of Keaton. To this day, Keaton remains my favorite Batman. He brought a darkness and duality to the role that nobody at the time saw coming and no actor wearing the cowl has been able to match. Not even Christian Bale, as great as he was.
What it really comes down to is that we’re going to have to wait and see some promotional images, maybe a trailer, and, of course, the film itself, before we pass judgement on how Ben Affleck pulls off the cape and cowl… But as far as acting chops and credibility are concerned, I’m not worried, and you shouldn’t be either.
If you’re not cool with Ben being Batman, that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But please, have some class and try to keep from spewing too much venom towards the man without so much as a line of dialogue or promotional still as Batman to speak of.
I am going on record as saying that Ben Affleck will be the best Batman yet. Not because I am an insider. Not because I don’t think I could be wrong. But because it’s how I feel in my gut when I think about what it means for the future of my favorite superhero on film.
I believe in Ben Affleck.