Ben Affleck Isn’t the Batman We Deserve, But He’s the One We Need Right Now
The interweb has had a full weekend to recover from the fanboy nuclear meltdown after Affleck was officially tabbed to don the Dark Knight's cape and cowl in the 2015 Man of Steel sequel. And while many Bat-purists acknowledged this as a death sentence for a cinematic franchise so recently resurrected, there's still a glimmer of hope for those feeling trapped in an insurmountable prison pit of nerd despair.
It isn't necessarily the man behind the mask that makes or breaks superhero films. Most critics will agree Tim Burton's 1989 Batdaptation was a colossal success due mostly to Jack Nicholson's eccentric yet inspired portrayal of the clown prince of crime. Mr. Mom Michael Keaton also turned in an admirable performance as the titular role, but more or less played it like a good NFL backup quarterback. Nothing flashy. Put your guys in a position to win. Don't be the reason they lose.
Villains, my dear detectives, are what we pay $15 a ticket to see come to terrifying life on the silver screen. Convincing baddies, more specifically. We want to believe there's a chance, however microscopically thin, that the bad guy might actually win in the end.
Heath Ledger delivered in spades in that sense. His facemelting, awe-inspiring, maniacal turn as the Joker is something moviegoers will remember for the ages. Again it was the bad guy who turned The Dark Knight into a universal blockbuster, not Christian Bale's cartoonishly growling Bat voice.
Yet, before the film's 2008 release, people reacted in much the same fashion as the Affleck news when Ledger was initially cast. The Jokeback Mountain references almost outnumbered those now waving $5 Wal-Mart bin copies of Gigli and Daredevil in disgust.
So who will be the evil savior for this next Superman/Batman flick that will most definitely seal the fate of any pending live action Justice League hopes? If recent rumors are correct, that villainous messiah is already among us. Welcome to Lexcorp, Mr. White.
Affleck is one of the finest actors, and directors, of his generation. He should bring just enough as the caped crusader to leave us eagerly anticipating the full cinema lineup of all our DC childhood heroes. (Yes, even you Aquaman. Stop whining to all your fish friends.) Affleck is a safe choice with the acting chops to carry the somewhat stilted Henry Cavill through what will hopefully be a franchise to rival Marvel's Avengers.
He has director Zach Snyder's vote of confidence. Ditto for former man of Bats, Val Kilmer.
Consider me in Team #Batflek for now. Just as long as Matt Damon doesn't go changing his first name to Robin anytime soon.
About the author: Matt Ledesma is a millennial pop-culturist with access to an iPad. A former professional journalist, now amateur interweb blogger with no significant change in salary. When not presenting baseless opinions as facts, Matt enjoys the Dallas Cowboys, reading comic books and amassing the most formidable Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle collection in North Texas.