Reel Life: Ben Affleck as Batman – Get Over It
The uproar was and remains as ludicrous as it was and remains deafening – no sooner had the announcement been made did the blogosphere, and most dubiously, Twitter and Facebook, rain a firestorm of resentment, disgust, humour, shock and actual concern with such ridiculous exaggerated abandon you would think that Brett Ratner was hired to co-direct “Schindler’s List” with Michael Bay as an action musical starring Mel Gibson as a homosexual Jew.
Dear everyone (especially you geeks): seriously, calm the fuck down. If not-great/not-bad actor (yet a terrific director) Ben Affleck has your blood boiling for being the latest Batman then perhaps it’s time to put down the latest copy of whatever superhero comic you’re reading, log off The Nerdist, pull your underoos out of your asses and take a deep breath. After all, it’s only a movie.
But, you want a nerd revolt? Fine. I respect your passions, no matter how supercilious and misdirected. So, here’s a good one – focus on the more perturbing fact that Zack Snyder is directing the still-untitled project (it’s being called “Batman Vs. Superman” around the web, though that’s not official). From “300” to “Watchmen” to “Sucker Punch,” all the way to this summer’s dreary, poorly acted existential gobbledygook “Man of Steel” (where was the uproar over Henry Cavill’s lackluster, sterile performance?) – the man is responsible for some of the most abysmal, unwatchable pieces of pop culture drivel of the past decade. THERE’S your mutiny – one I happily endorse.
And come on – didn’t we all complain when Christian Bale was announced as the new Caped Crusader? (Yeah, stop lying.) Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight,” and “The Dark Knight Rises” decimated the cheesiness of the previous series and elevated the comic book movie to an artform. I won’t state falsely that Bale’s brooding Batman hindered the trilogy – but at the same time, I won’t say that it was his grunting or mumbling that raised the trifecta either.
Those protesting Affleck love throwing around “Gigli” and “Jersey Girl” (his dreaded Bennifer phase), and most risibly “Daredevil.” These were bad films, sure, and surely miscast (in regards to “Daredevil”) – but let’s face reality: no one – not even Bale – could have hoisted the films as anything than what they were/are. Of course Bale is the infinitely superior actor. But Affleck is no dunce (nor is he the second coming of Olivier either, natch). But if you’ve seen his performances in “Chasing Amy,” “The Town,” “Hollywoodland,” the underrated “Changing Lanes,” and of course, the recent Oscar-winning “Argo,” you’ll just have to come to terms and admit the fact that he doesn’t deserve to be the punch line, and he should never be underestimated.
For what it’s worth, I wasn’t a fan of Tim Burton’s “Batman” or “Batman Returns,” or Michael Keaton’s role as Batman, though Keaton brought a cheekiness and charm to the role. Yet people tend to forget that, once upon a time there was no Internet. And few remember the shock and dismay when Burton chose Keaton to star. And just recently. the pre-twitter pre-Facebook online world hated Heath Ledger as choice of The Joker. We know how both turned out.
Will Affleck’s Batman be a total disaster? Of course it could be. Of monumental proportions. Or, not – maybe he’ll surprise everyone. Thing is, no one knows – especially the tsunami of naysayers and wannabe critics whose risible tweets and FB comments have saturated social media in the past 24 hours.
But let’s face it – no matter how bad Affleck will (or will not) be in the role, I can predict, sight unseen, that he’ll be light years ahead of Val Kilmer and George Clooney.
In fact, I almost all but guarantee it.