Friday, August 23, 2013

Geek Rant: Bat-ffleck

Strange that my first post in a while is basically a continuation of the last one I did, but this time it's a little more defeated. It was announced yesterday that Ben Affleck has been given the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the Batman Vs. Superman sequel to Man of Steel 2. Here's how I'm reacting...
...I'm getting over it.

When I first heard the news last night, I was shocked, and a bit upset. Honestly I felt and still feel there are plenty of other actors I would have been far more excited to see take the role. I don't hate Ben Affleck, though I will admit I'm not exactly a fan either. While it seems the internet has drawn the battle lines over being stupid-excited over him or venomously despising his existence, I'm just more disappointed than anything. The front runners that had been mentioned for the part included actors like Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling, and honestly I wasn't thrilled about either one of them either. The problem I tend to see when it comes to casting Batman is that you are casting two characters at once.

What seems to be a hard thing for actors who take on the Bat is that Bruce Wayne is easy, Batman is more difficult. It seems in the history of the character being in film very few actors have been able to make the duality work in their favor. Val Kilmer focused too much on the dark and brooding Bat which leaked over far too much into his portrayal of Bruce Wayne, while George Clooney did the opposite of making Batman far too light-hearted and cheery while playing the swinging playboy he could easily channel from his own life. Out of the Gosling/Brolin battle I would have cast Brolin over Gosling, but I would still have been iffy about Brolin. Truthfully, the biggest thing that got me was that Affleck was out of left field.

A lot of people are drawing several parallels between Affleck's announcement as Batman and when Heath Ledger was announced as The Joker. It's true, a lot of people were up-in-arms about Ledger being cast to portray Batman's greatest foe, and as we have all seen Ledger blew the role out of the water, and has set the bar very high for anyone who would attempt to play him again. There is also the fact that when Michael Keaton was announced as the actor to play Batman in the 1989 film, apparently everyone was very confused and upset over that as well. Until that time Keaton was known for his comedic roles and no one thought he could pull off, you know, being an actor. Again, he proved everyone wrong. That is what I want.


I may not be the biggest fan of his acting, but Affleck at least won me over as a director. His recent work hasn't been bad, but he still hasn't proved to me he's anything special in front of a camera. My biggest fear for the whole thing is that I don't want to see Superman Vs. Daredevil.

I want Man of Steel 2 to be well done, to rectify whatever issues the first had, and I want to eat my words about the whole thing. WB and DC have disappointed plenty of times before, though. The fact that before Affleck was cast WB was reportedly offering Christian Bale $50 Million to come back and play Batman again in Man of Steel 2 shows how desperate they are. For comparison, that is around 1/4 of the entire budget they had for Man of Steel. WB didn't want Bale because they thought he was good, they wanted him because they still wanted to tie MoS2 to the Dark Knight trilogy and attempt to ride that train into even more money.

When I first saw Batman Begins I was just "ok" with it but I was still really excited the more I heard about The Dark Knight, and in the end it lived up to everything I expected. The more I hear about Man of Steel 2, the more it reminds me how much I was skeptical about Man of Steel and how much Man of Steel didn't exceed expectation. I do not want to write the whole thing off, and I do want to give Ben the benefit of the doubt, but I have very little left in the way of expectations. Man of Steel never saw any of my money (yes, I did see it though) so Man of Steel 2 really have to work to get those dollars.

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