Late last night, I received a text message from a good friend with only two words: BEN. AFFLECK. Naturally, I assumed the star of Gigli and director of Argo had been announced as the lead of the next Star Wars film, and emotionally prepared myself for what that meant. Instead, I was confronted with the news that Ben has been cast in the Zack Snyder-directed follow up to Man of Steel, and he’s playing… The Batman.
But I don’t think Ben will playing “The Dark Knight” we’ve come to know over the past decade, instead, my feeling is that Ben Affleck will be playing a lighter version of Batman. Ben is playing “The Caped Crusader.” Is this not the hero we wanted, but perhaps the one we’re getting anyway?
I understand the press releases are already saying that Affleck’s Batman will be an older, wiser Bruce Wayne, and act a foil for Henry Cavill’s newly rebooted Superman. But, for some reason, I can only picture Affleck’s Batman in the style of Adam West’s iconic and hammy 1960’s portrayal. Can’t you picture Ben Affleck lecturing Henry Cavill on basic decency? Adam West’s Batman refused to kiss babies when he ran for Mayor of Gotham City for fear of spreading germs. Will Affleck’s aw-shucks persona create a similar vibe? Will Casey Affleck be cast as Robin, giving the Boy Wonder the chance to finally start using the word “wicked” all the time?
All joking aside, Ben Affleck does seem like a strange choice for Batman/Bruce Wayne, not because he’s not a great actor or a cool guy, but because he seems like a nice guy. It’s not that we don’t want Batman to be a likeable dude, it’s just that we want to be a little afraid of him. I’ve liked pretty much everything I’ve ever seen Ben Affleck in, including Daredevil. (Daredevil is a terrible film, but it’s not Affleck’s fault.) The fact he’s starring in this bizarre Superman/Batman mash-up instead of directing it is totally baffling. A superhero team-up movie directed by Affleck could actually be very interesting, and might have a little more heart than the bombastic tendencies of Zack Snyder.
I’d sadly say the answer is no. Though Michael Keaton was a nice/goofy Bruce Wayne, that was a long time ago, and Keaton was pretty young. Ben Affleck is one of our sort of older leading men, and opposite Henry Cavill, I’m afraid he’s going to seem less cool. Which should be the opposite. Batman is more hip than Supes. This casting seems to have inverted that notion.
But, I suppose maybe it’s time for that. Maybe Batman will become the Adam West boy scout of the past while Superman is now the dark, brooding werido. You never know. It could work. I just really hope Jennifer Garner doesn’t play Vicki Vale.
What do you think about the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman?