So I've had less than 24 hours to digest the fact that Ben Affleck will be the next Batman.....like many fanboys, geeks and nerds, we don't ever agree on things, but I can safely say that there was a resounding chorus of HELL NAW's last night when Warner Brothers made the announcement.
Don't get me wrong here, I don't dislike Affleck. I'll never forgive him for Daredevil however (I'm joking), but again, I'm not in the legion of Ben haters. Sure, Ben is a very capable producer/writer/director, having graced the Oscar stage on more than one occasion. He's put in some decent performances in films like "The Town" and the award-winning film "Argo". On the other hand, he's had a string of misses at the box office that are too numerous to list.
Then I thought deeper. Ben has grown up a lot between "Paycheck" and "Gigli". He hasn't been given a role that will challenge him as physically and artistically as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Ben is a comic book fan and I'm sure he knows that he has a LOT of weight on his shoulders taking on such an iconic role. Ben will undoubtedly have to step his acting game up by playing dual roles: the brooding, troubled Bruce Wayne, who lives his life locked within the walls of Wayne manor plagued by his inner demons. Then there is Batman, the masked outlet for Wayne's angst. Physical, lethal, intimidating. Ben will have to pull off the intense physicality of the role as well as the dramatic arc.
Then I thought deeper...we don't know how Snyder and screenwriter David Goyer will present Batman to us. Goyer, having been part of the "dynamic trio" writing team with the Nolan brothers on Christopher Nolan's vision of Batman may distance his take as far away as possible to the Nolanverse. We may get an entirely new version of the character we haven't seen before. "Man of Steel", while we knew we were essentially watching a Superman film, gave us an original take on the character. Why not Batman? Why not take the character somewhere it's never been with an actor who's never done it? Why don't we distance ourselves from the previous incarnations of the character and open our minds to something new.
We complained that Hollywood doesn't do anything different, then Snyder gave us Man of Steel and the critics took a dump all over it. It was TOO different; drawing unneeded comparisons to other Superhero films, including the Christopher Reeves version. The fans loved it!
So I think deeper. The initial shock has worn off. Affleck, despite his missteps, is still a bankable star. He's a long shot. They could have gone with any number of actors to fill this role. All the "favorites", the shoe-ins. But isn't that what we miss about Hollywood? Isn't that what made Hollywood so great in the first place? THEY TOOK CHANCES!! Win or lose, succeed or fail, Snyder, like the filmmakers we grew up loving, has the balls to go against the fanboys, the critics and popular opinion and pick someone that will undoubtedly garner the ire of the comic book community and stand by his decision.
Don't forget that MANY people scoffed at the idea of a short, balding comedian from Pennsylvania playing Batman...but Warner Brothers took a chance and it paid off. So I'll give Ben a chance...he'd better be worth the risk!