Here’s the latest Hollywood news in case you haven’t known. Daredevil Ben Affleck is back in the superhero genre as the new Batman in the Man of Steel sequel.
It’s hard to decide whether Affleck was the right choice or if he’s right to choose the project. After all, he’s the reigning Best Picture helmer for Argo and he’s got a number of high-profile films lined up: the potential Oscar bait Runner Runner and a new drama-thriller co-starring Bond Girl Rosamund Pike. The crossover between Batman and Superman was announced on last month’s Comic Con and several actors were considered, including Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men) and Ryan Gosling (Ryan Gosling, duh) but Affleck was never mentioned as the potential Dark Knight.
The irony was that Warner Brothers is initially pitching Affleck to direct the still-under-the-wraps Justice League movie, so him being cast as Batman came as a huge surprise.
According to reports, WB is eyeing an older Batman (around late 30’s to early 40’s); the age reflecting his experience on crime-fighting. Affleck is 41 but former Batman Christian Bale is 39. So why not him instead of Affleck? I’m not saying that Affleck is a wrong choice, but there could have been someone better. Affleck starred in the critically panned Daredevil (which was shown during his Bennifer days) and that could jeopardize his re-imagining of Batman. Critics will definitely compare Affleck’s take of Batman to Daredevil. His success of doing so will be critically important for the film. To add, I don’t think Affleck could even match Bale’s intensity and if you’ll imagine the latter finally fighting Cavill, they would have been the better dynamic duo.
Bale, on the other hand, was a fine actor, although you just can’t (debatable) line him up alongside Johnny Depp, Robert Downey, Jr. and Hugh Jackman as Jack Sparrow, Iron Man, and Wolverine, respectively. There may have been seven Batmans as of 2012 (and Affleck’s the eight) but can you imagine a different actor playing Logan or Tony (did you get my point?)? I reiterate that Batman can be played by different actors but Bale so far rightfully fits the cape that the Dark Knight director (the great) Christopher Nolan gave him…
Which leads to my second point. Nolan also produced Man of Steel. WB hired him because of the success he brought in The Dark Knight Trilogy that spawned a new era of superhero films (ever wondered why The Amazing Spider Man and The Wolverine became too serious all of a sudden? Ask Nolan). Nolan was the only one who was able to transcend and sell TDKT not just as a superhero film but also as a crime drama and that material will be difficult for other superhero concepts to replicate. Nolan got to become the producer in MoS but the end-product didn’t achieve the same effect. Critics had only used one word to describe the film: brooding and it only rated 56% in Rotten Tomatoes despite having Nolan at the back seat.
MoS crossing US$500mn worldwide gave the green light for the sequel but the biggest task is to give justice for this Batman vs. Superman playoff (no pun intended for the silver screen assembly of Justice League). It’s make-or-break for Affleck, Cavill, Nolan, and all the people involved in the sequel. It could either pave the way for The Avengers to meet their big screen DC counterparts or lose even before the actual face-off. It’s not yet sure if they’ll build up Batman’s character after the The Dark Knight Rises’ events or what comic book premise will these two battle on.
On the brighter side, Affleck is a renewed man and the question if he’ll deliver will be answered in less than two years (July 17, 2015 is the untitled sequel’s showing). For now, we just have to wait… who knows, Affleck would have the final laugh?