Ben Affleck is the next big-screen Batman.
Now that the news has settled in a bit, we’d like to tell you why it happens to be brilliant, even inspired casting for the character.
When George Clooney was cast as Batman in the final film of the first big iteration of the character, people scoffed – unfortunately, it turned out, they were right. The film was a disaster, and that may be a little rude to disasters.
But what Warner Brothers was trying to do wasn’t – they tried to pair their highest-profile character with a high-profile actor. This time, they may have done that the right way.
Affleck is no Clooney, in all the right ways. He is a well-known, name actor, but he doesn’t just play himself in various roles the way that Clooney tends to. You can pretty much change out Danny Ocean for Doug Ross for even Michael Clayton and it would all work somehow – it’s all very Clooney. That’s not to say he’s a bad actor, he just is very set in who he is as a person, and brings that into roles.
Affleck, whether it’s because he started directing, because he married the right person, or because he simply aged and matured, however, has found a way to inject character into himself – it’s a subtle distinction, but an important one. He may have a reputation as the “Boston Boy,” but Tony Mendez in Argo proved that Affleck is anything but a typecast actor.
It also just so happens that Ben Affleck loves and respects comic books as a storytelling medium. He talked about his love of comics in the past, when making other movies near and dear to our preferred format. Whether he’s playing a comic book fan in Chasing Amy or the titular character in Daredevil, Affleck knows what these characters and stories mean to the fans – he is one himself – and he wants to do them right. Daredevil did many things wrong, and a few important things right – and the right things were very much in Affleck’s range.
So, we have a name actor who loves comics and also happens to be an accomplished director – meaning he knows how to take himself out of the scene and see how it works better for the film, regardless of what his ego may want to drive him to do personally. He’s eleven years older than Henry Cavill, our Superman, which gives him an air of authority – again, the gruffness of Mendez who could take over a room full of desperate individuals is the same sensibility he’ll need to pull from for a role like Batman, especially when the person he’s commanding happens to be a demi-god with the ability to move mountains.
So, people may scoff, citing Good Will Hunting and The Town (two of his fifty-seven credited roles on IMDB - and really, if people are so concerned about Batman having a Boston accent, we'd point them to three critically acclaimed Batman movies starring some Welsh guy) as reasons that he only plays one character, but he has made it clear through his dedication to film that he cares about the medium. And don’t forget, names like Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer, and yes, Zack Snyder (who if nothing else has proven his love of taking comic books to film) are also all involved. This can work, folks, and until we see footage that tells us otherwise, in Batman Affleck we trust.
And hey, ultimately, Warner Bros' #1 job is to get people talking about this movie, and get them to see it. People sure are talking.