‘Old’, ‘wise’ and ‘extraordinary actor’ aren’t usually words you might equate with Ben Affleck and his acting career. But both Greg Silverman at Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder are singing his praises with the announcement of Affleck as the next in line to take up the black mantle as the world’s most beloved vigilante. The interwebz has had people losing their shit all over the place since the news broke, with a vast vocal majority pooh-poohing the decision and swearing off the sequel to Man of Steel in defiance of what they perceive to be the worst casting decision since Heath Ledger was picked for the Joker, and look at how that turned out.
But before you start rioting and leading the mob of pitchfork wielding maniacs to Warner HQ, let’s consider why this might not be such a bad decision after all…
1. The Dare Devil Snafu
In 2003 Affleck brought Marvel’s Matt Murdock to life in Dare Devil, lurking in rafters and prancing around rooftops in a shiny scarlet leather jumpsuit. The almost unanimous verdict was that the film was a flop, failing to deliver on all counts.
What did Affleck himself have to say about the debacle?
“by playing a superhero in Daredevil, I have inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero… Wearing a costume was a source of humiliation for me and something I wouldn’t want to do again soon.”
Well, he soon got over that with his portrayal of George Reeves in Hollywoodland and he did a pretty nifty job.
What is benefit of all of this? Well, having acknowledged that Dare Devil didn’t quite live up to expectations, and having played a man who begrudgingly took up the role of a TV superhero, Ben Affleck has had 10 years to ponder on aforementioned humiliation and the general disdain accrued as a result, and I don’t think he’d sign up for another superhero role lightly. The evolution of the genre in that decade and gravitas we’ve come to associate with it won’t be lost on an Oscar winning writer, so it’s safe to say he’s aware of what’s expected and won’t want to be the one to destroy Nolan’s legacy.
Also there’s the added dimension of him having bedded Supes’ mummy dearest when he played opposite Diana Lane in Hollywoodland…
2. Physical Prowess
Batman is an honorary graduate from the school of whoop ass. It wasn’t until Nolan’s take on the franchise that we really saw him dishing out serious beat downs, so it’s a given that the next actor to suit up in the cowl and cape needs to prepare themselves for a gruelling physical regime to achieve the pinnacle of physical perfection that is the Batman.
And that’s where we’re in luck. Ben Affleck trained with Cheung-Yan Yuen on Dare Devil to familiarise himself with martial arts and, admittedly, a fair amount of wire work and we all saw his magnificent torso in The Town. You could pop the Adam West bat suit on top of those abs and still end up pissing your pants if he jumped out at you in an alley. Anyone with a physique that sculpted means business. So we can be fairly confident in the assumption that Affleck’s Batman will do justice to the gritty brawler we’ve all become accustomed to.
3. The Chin
Traditionally, Batman has always had strong jawline, emphasising just how macho he really is. Throughout the years, the cinematic portrayals of Bats have featured some big name actors – but where did they leave their chins? Even Christian Bale’s throat rending vigilante voice couldn’t distract from his slender girlish face in that abomination of a cowl.
Not quite the intimidating figure from the pages of the comics. With the exception of Adam West’s Batman, the chin area has been left wanting. But with Ben Affleck donning the iconic cowl, our days of weak chinned superheroes could be over.
4. His Age
When he took on his first superhero role, Ben Affleck was a fresh faced 31 year old – the same age as his soon-to-be Superman co-star Henry Cavill. Now he’s a grizzled 41 year old, rocking a tux and an Oscar.
If there’s one thing Adam West’s Batman got right, it’s that Bruce Wayne works so much better on the other side of 40.
Snyder’s Batman is to be portrayed as “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,”. Whether you want to call it charm or sheer smugness, Affleck now has the years to pull off either, as a successful silver-haired billionaire schmoozing his way onto Clark Kent’s territory.
5. It’s a Superman Movie
The saving grace of all of this is that if Affleck truly sucks, well, it wasn’t a Batman movie. Warner can chalk it up to overeager optimism and when they roll out the next Batman or JLA movie, they can recast to their heart’s delight. Unless of course, he’s signed up for multiple films as the caped crusader…in which case, we’re screwed.
Do you think Ben Affleck can pull follow in Bale’s footsteps, or are you fashioning a torch and looking for your nearest agricultural store?
Author Gamer Girl is a podcast co-host on FrontTowardsGamer Radio. It is highly recommended you follow her on Twitter.
Previously in Poison Popcorn: Street Trash. See previous Poison Popcorns right fucking here!