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Ben Affleck Is Batman: 5 Reasons Why Everything Will Be OK

The news that Warner Bros. had cast Ben Affleck as the next Batman sent the Internet and Twitter into a frenzy on Thursday night. He's not Christian Bale! Daredevil? Oh, god, why? #wrongchoice. If you didn't know better, you would assume that Affleck had actually hunted down the real-life Bruce Wayne and murdered him.

I'm here to tell you that everything will be OK. No matter how much the Internet throws a giant online tantrum, Affleck is Batman. And he's probably going to be Batman for a long time now, providing Warner Bros. can use this Superman/Batman movie to launch a Justice League movie franchise.

This Affleck isn't the Daredevil Affleck
Affleck has spent years ditching the Daredevil/Gigli image that he was once burdened with. He withdrew from movies for some time. He turned his focus to directing, helming Gone Baby Gone, then The Town (a movie many believed should have been nominated for Best Picture) and most recently Argo. In case you forgot the story around Argo, it begins with Affleck getting snubbed for a Best Director nomination and it ends with him becoming the figure the entire movie-going population rallied behind as Argo wins Best Picture.

The days of Daredevil and Gigli are long behind Affleck. I actually feel bad even bringing them up. He's been extremely careful recrafting his career over the past few years. According to some reports, Affleck even passed on directing Justice League last summer, a choice that appears to be based on the fact that the script for the movie was awful. I'd like to think that Affleck hasn't signed on to play Batman just because he wants to be a superhero. He's already done that. In all likelihood, Affleck got pitched the part by Warner Bros., director Zack Snyder and David S. Goyer, and he saw potential in the project. Will a Superman/Batman movie make a ton of money? Sure it will. I don't think that's what interests Affleck anymore though.

Batman can now move beyond Bale's shadow
Even though everyone from Bale to Christopher Nolan to Snyder has repeatedly sworn that the Dark Knight Trilogy is complete, that Bale was done playing Batman and that Snyder's version of the character would exist in his own universe, this movie just couldn't shake the belief that, in the end, Bale would come to his senses and reprise the role of Bruce Wayne. Maybe Warner Bros. would have to write him a $50 million check, but Bale would be back.

Casting Affleck pulls Batman out of Bale's shadow. Very few other options could have done that. A Josh Duhamel or Jim Caveziel wasn't going to make the world forget Bale's Batman. Even the idea of carrying on Nolan's franchise with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the Caped Crusader would've been tough. Those actors would have forever been forced to deal with that comparison. Sure, Affleck will still face that comparison, but this choice has instantly changed the conversation. The question isn't, "Can anyone make us forget Christian Bale as Batman?" The question is now, "Holy crap, can you believe Ben Affleck is Batman?"

We won't be seeing a Batman origin story
At the beginning of August, it was reported that Warner Bros. was looking to go with an older Batman to pair up with Henry Cavill's Superman. Well, Affleck is 41, 11 years older than Cavill. According to those reports, the Superman/Batman movie will see a Batman who "will be a grizzled veteran who has been on the job, if you will, for several years." Don't expect to see an origin story this time around, folks.

You know what? That's a good thing. We've already seen Bale play out Batman's origin story better than anyone, especially after Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney all poked at bits of that origin story over the years. Dead parents, got it.

Affleck's casting cements this expectation. There's no way Warner Bros. brings in a big name like this and wastes his talents for an entire movie just to get in an origin story that everyone already knows.

Affleck is the highest profile actor to ever don the cowl
Despite Bale's stature now, he wasn't a big name when Nolan cast him as Bruce Wayne for Batman Begins. The Batman role opened up an entire career for Bale, allowing him to work with directors like David O. Russell, which led to an Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Clooney played Batman when his biggest claim to fame was E.R., long before he became a Hollywood god. Back then, there was no The Descendants or Up in the Air or even Stacy Keibler.

Affleck has nothing left to prove at this point. He came out of the gate quick, winning a Best Original Screenplay Oscar with Matt Damon for Good Will Hunting. He's earned huge critical praise for Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo. And, as I mentioned above, he became a Hollywood underdog who was easy to cheer for after the Academy stiffed him when it came to a Best Director nomination for Argo.

In a perfect world, Affleck would be the man behind the camera for the Superman/Batman movie too. He's proven that as good of an actor that he is, he's an even better director. Warner Bros. already has Snyder locked in, but we can always hope that this movie will be Affleck's gateway drug that could lead to directing Justice League. Who knows — this was the big rumor last summer.

And finally, it's a superhero movie. Relax
We're talking about a movie where a guy who dresses up as a bat and a guy in spandex with a cape will probably fight each other. Is Affleck really going to destroy that? Chill. I love this stuff as much as the next guy, but this news shouldn't cause anyone to ruin their night or swear that they'll never see this movie. Fine. Don't see it. I won't have to worry about you sitting next to me in the theater and hogging the arm rest then.

With Man of Steel taking place in Metropolis, there's the chance that this sequel could see Batman visiting Superman in his home city. Yes, that means that Affleck's version of Batman could put Gotham in his reahview.
Ben Affleck Is Batman: 5 Reasons Why Everything Will Be OK Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 8/22/2013 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. I like your perspective on this. I, personally, wasn't angered, nor bothered, when Ben Affleck was cast. My only question was: How will he do it? In fact, that's still my only question. I'm looking forward to seeing him portray a character that is unlike any other character he has ever done before, and with all the negativity surrounding his casting, I am almost certain that he will nail the part and blow people away--much like Mark Ruffalo did as Hulk in The Avengers.


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