Affleck as the new Batman
The announcement came in the middle of the night for those not in the US, the new Batman had been chosen and it wasn't Christian Bale, he had stuck to his guns and decided enough was enough for his Batman. The new Batman that would replace him, and perhaps only for one film, was a surprising choice, a man who had played a superhero character before in a film that undoubtedly ruined any chance the character had at a franchise. Ben Affleck.
On-line there appears to have been something of a backlash against the choice, and whether that comes from just film sites, ardent fans of Batman, and the sad but accepted overly negative and sometimes attacking persona adopted by so many on-line we aren't entirely sure. However there was a lot of negative feedback about the choice.
My first reaction was, as it seems to have been from a lot of people, a negative one, and that surprised me because I really do respect Ben Affleck as a talent these days, something that grew out of his move to behind the camera.
I have to admit that while Affleck was acting I didn't hold him in great regard, perhaps something to do with his character and film choices and perhaps because he hadn't found the talent he shows today, for since he turned to directing his acting talent seems to have increased incredibly.
There are a number of reasons that could be. He could genuinely have not been displaying his true talents until now; it could be that as he has discovered more of what is involved in directing a film he has learned more about acting from the other side; it could be that as he spends more time working behind the camera line he has had to be far more selective in his film roles; it could be that his attitude to working in front of the camera has changed as he has found more love for the job behind the camera. You know what? It could be so many things. I like to think that he's just discovered more love for the work when he has found how much he can carve his own production as a director and just how damn good he is at it.
So with all that in mind surely that means he's a perfect choice? Well then that Daredevil rears it's ugly head. The problem with Daredevil is that it was a horrendously bad film from the beginning and that was down to script, direction and casting, it can't be thrown down at the feet of Affleck and solely blamed on him. Yet the stigma of that film is following him as everyone thinks of him as Batman.
If we reflect on how good an actor Affleck is these days then we can see he's more than capable of carrying the role but I wonder if he is suited for the temprament of characters like Daredevil and more importantly Batman. This is a dark character, one who is tormented with decisions he's made and has to make but Affleck hasn't often played these type of characters. He's more suited to playing good characters, even when they have a bad side to them, no matter how bad that streak may be they're always doing good.
Another aspect to the characters he plays is a young innocence, a playfulness, you see it in just about every character he's played, even where he's playing in front of his own director's chair.
So does any of this sound like a Batman character? Well no, and I think that's one of the reasons he didn't feel right in the Daredevil suit, even if the failures elsewhere in the film were larger than his casting.
Batman is a dark and complex character, he's a vigilante struggling with a desire he has to carry out his own more instant justice rather than dealing with the corrupt authorities and the many failings of the judicial system. He's torn inside between accepting the darkness of his own character or what everyone else believes is doing the right thing. Now that doesn't sound like a character that Ben Affleck has played as yet.
There lies the issue though. He hasn't played a character like this before and everyone's concerned, they don't see the Batman in him. Yet he's such a great actor these days and the knee jerk reactions to his casting and the way we've seen him so far should actually be about his current ability and what he could do. I think he's in a much better place to deliver a strong darker character than he was when Daredevil was around, and we've got to realise that behind this Superman-Batman film we have much better talent than we had with Daredevil, or rather much better quality.
Zack Snyder, who directed Man of Steel and gave Superman his latest reboot with Henry Cavill in the leading role, is set to co-write the story with David S. Goyer, and together there's great experience of similar films.
Through the L.A. Times we heard what Snyder said of the casting of Affleck:
”He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can't wait to work with him.”
That's good praise from the film-maker and he's right, Affleck does have the talent to pull it off we just haven't seen that as yet, not in a role like this anyway.
Snyder has also categorically stated that the film will not be adapted from The Dark Knight Returns story which will be a sad move for fans but I think considering the casting it's a good thing – these two actors are far too young to be playing Batman and Superman in that time-frame and I believe that final film would have caused as much controversy, if not more than the casting, with the young actors trying to play grizzled old veterans.
What do you think? Are you one of the shouting voices against Affleck because of Daredevil or are you trying to balance out the decision a little thinking of what he could do?