The initial response to Ben Affleck being cast as the new Batman was not good. Statistics showed that about 70% of all tweets were negative and there was even a petition started to sway Snyder to change his mind. Even with Affleck’s recent success with the film Argo, many feel that he cannot live up to the role he’s been cast for. After reading, researching, and putting my thoughts together, I thought I would give my two cents on the subject as to why this is a good choice and also why it may be a terrible one.
Ben Affleck is much older and wiser. Like many credible actors have done, he has made some bad film choices but more recently has learned from his mistakes. Let’s not forget that he has talent. He co-wrote Good Will Hunting and won an Oscar for it and added another Oscar to his mantle after his success directing Argo. He had also written and directed The Town and Gone Baby Gone before he had received his most recent Academy Award. Both of those films were also well received by critics. While these films display strengths in areas other than acting, they show that he is a man of many talents which could definitely be an asset on the set of Batman vs. Superman. Affleck’s strengths have definitely flourished behind the camera, but his abilities as an actor have improved as well and have shown a different side of him. The Ben Affleck we saw from The Town showed a much darker and tougher side which could fit well with the role of the Dark Knight and also showed that he definitely has the build for the character. Also let’s not forget the guy did play Superman once already in Hollywood Land…haha. The fact is, there may be some surprises that Affleck still has left seeing that he has just begun to recover from his past. At this point he is on a climb and honing his talents, so being cast at this period in his career could be an unexpected yet positive surprise for everyone.
Argo and The Town provided great roles for Ben, but they weren’t outside of his comfort zone. His role in The Town was one he could relate to being so close to home and his role in Argo was more or less a very one dimensional character. Despite that, these roles have put him on the rise but the problem some fanboys may be having is that everyone knows his name. Christian Bale was not the big name we know now when he was cast as Batman and neither was Henry Cavill when he was cast as Superman. When they were cast, the public didn’t have much to say because they didn’t know enough of their work to properly criticize them. Also being somewhat unknown gave them the advantage when it came to criticism of their performances. If they gave an adequate performance, some critics may deem it as an exceptional performance due to the lack of preemptive assumptions. While Ben Affleck will most likely not be a Kilmer or Clooney Batman, he will be subject to more criticism due to his public spotlight. He could give the best performance of his career and it still may not be good enough to hide the traits or mannerisms that make him recognizable as Ben Affleck. He’s an actor that many know well and for a lot of people it’s going to be difficult to view his portrayal of Batman without identifying him as Ben Affleck also.
What has people the most upset with Affleck are his career low points. When they think of him portraying a super-hero, they immediately think Daredevil. The problem with Daredevil is that it was campy and Snyder’s version of Superman and Nolan’s version of Batman is not at all campy. Many worry that he will not take the role as serious as he should and it could ruin a film that has been anticipated for so long. In addition to his campy super-hero role, he had a slew of other bad roles that build the idea of an actor with a thick Boston accent who can’t act. Gigli has been known as one of the worst films of all times. Gigli was followed by Paycheck, Jersey Girl, and Surviving Christmas, all of which dug his grave a little deeper. Christopher Nolan resurrected Batman after Joel Schumacher killed him and fans are scared of losing Batman again due to casting the role with someone who can’t live up to the current standards. If Affleck is going to pull it off, he will need to have a breakthrough performance like what Heath Ledger had for The Joker in The Dark Knight. The main concern (in my opinion) is not that he won’t do a fair job, but that he won’t give the unbelievable performance that he needs to give in order to make the public forget who is playing the part and not compare his Batman with the one we’ve just recently accepted (Bale).