Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ben Affleck is Batman

Ben Affleck is the next Batman
Well, we no longer need to speculate about the upcoming "Batman vs. Superman" movie coming our way in 2015, because the Caped Crusader has been officially cast. Ben Affleck will do battle with Henry Cavill in the upcoming, highly-anticipated superhero movie.

I have to say, even I am a little surprised by the pick. Especially after all the names that fluttered around the role since the concept announcement at Comic-Con. Will Affleck be a good Batman?

As I posted an article on my Facebook about the casting, I couldn't believe what some people said about it. I figured this casting choice would be polar and controversial. This casting is going to be a disagreement pissing contest until 2015 gets here. But, there is a big argument that still has its seeds planted in many movie buff's minds. 

Many people are already writing Affleck off because of "Daredevil."

Let's back up a bit. I will be the first to tell you that Affleck's career isn't flawless. Particularly his early career, which was filled with ups and downs. I have a guilty love for "Armageddon" and his writing and participation in "Good Will Hunting" is superb. But Gigli? Reindeer Games? Pearl Harbor? Paycheck? Forces of Nature? Those are all horrible, horrible life decisions. Yes, I was very unimpressed by "Daredevil," just like so many of you, but here's the thing: "Daredevil" was NOT Affleck's fault. The script, story-structure and character development was sloppy. And after "X-Men" and "Spiderman" were hits in 2000 and 2002, what else is a studio suppose to think? Of course Marvel thought they were untouchable! Of course it is easy to see what happened next. They just began greenlighting anything and everything, sure that people would follow them blindly. Sadly, they were wrong. The go-ahead for "Daredevil" also led to "Hulk," "The Fantastic Four franchise," "Elektra," and "Ghost Rider." Marvel nearly lost all its credibility just for thinking so highly of themselves. A bad performance by Affleck was the least of "Daredevil's" worries, the damage had already been done. So leave Affleck alone about "Daredevil," its time to move on.

In hindsight, Affleck's career really hasn't been that awful. Sure, I detest everything I mentioned above. But we always have to remember that while "Reindeer Games," and "Pearl Harbor" were coming out, so was "Dazed and Confused," "Boiler Room," "Dogma," "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" and "Changing Lanes." His career isn't bad per se, just inconsistent. His Kevin Smith days are very good, simply because I feel Smith understood what Affleck could and could not do. That's the secret about Affleck, if you can understand his strengths and weaknesses, he's puddy in your hands. I think more and more directors now are getting that about Affleck. And if you look at Affleck's directing career, it seems he is starting to get that about himself. It seemed like huge floodgates inside of Affleck opened up after he directed "Gone Baby Gone" in 2007. He's had creative juice like never before ever since then. After getting an Oscar this year, its safe to say Affleck is on fire and has certainly found sure footing.

All of this leads though, to the fact that can Affleck play Batman?

My answer is yes and no...leading more toward no. I know I did lots of ass-kissing above, but I am just not sure Affleck is able to tackle something so iconic as Batman. If he was attached as a producer or writer, I'd raise an eyebrow, but as the actual character himself? That is going to be a tough sale, and Zack Snyder better have something very special up his sleeve that makes us believe Affleck as Batman. Can Snyder bring out the best in Affleck? It is hard to say, as I believe Snyder's work has been inconsistent too. Sure, I love "Man of Steel," and "300" and the "Dawn of the Dead" remake. But at the same time I felt "Watchmen" was very limp and "Sucker Punch" is quite possibly the biggest "coulda, woulda, shoulda" of the last 5 years. I am not sure if Snyder can bring out the best in Affleck, and since Affleck won't be directing himself, its hard to say where this is going to go.

My biggest fear is that Affleck is going to end up like George Clooney. We will remember Affleck for being a great Bruce Wayne but a horrible Batman. Affleck has all the tools to be a playboy full of swagger, but does he have the depth to really be grim and edgy? He has yet to prove it, and it makes me nervous. I am nervous because Warner Brothers is already taking a huge gamble to put a Batman/Superman movie on screen right now. It's full of ambition, but will that ambition be enough? Snyder already proved it wasn't with "Sucker Punch," I don't want Snyder to fall from grace all of sudden. Which leads to...

Good luck to Snyder, Affleck and the rest of the crew. It will be interesting to see where this vision will lead us. But one thing is for sure, Snyder better know what the heck he is doing. Affleck may have had a monster hit recently with "Argo," but he is still involved with dreck like "To The Wonder" and "The Company Men." Can he pull off the Dark Knight? Right now, I am too afraid to answer. Let's just hope now, with Affleck involved, that Bryan Cranston will sign on as Lex Luthor.

Oh and I am not sure, but is Affleck the first actor to wear three popular superhero outfits onscreen?

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