In Defense of Ben Affleck as Batman
Let that sink a minute if you need to, even though you shouldn’t, because Affleck is a great choice. Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to realize that nothing you can do can change the fact that Affleck is our new Batman. If it bothers you THAT much, here’s something you can do: not go see the movie.
The amount of hate and vitriol that’s being spewed at the Affleck casting is a huge surprise to me. Has everyone forgotten about Gone Baby Gone, The Town, or Argo, which the man won a Best Picture Oscar for? Affleck has come an extremely long way from where he was ten years ago when he made Daredevil, which is the only reason people bring up for why he shouldn’t be Batman. If you’re using that logic, Chris Evans shouldn’t have been cast as Captain America because of the quality of the Fantastic Four movies he starred in as Human Torch.
Patton Oswalt put it best in his face book post the other day:
“Yeah, the dude’s made some bad films. Every actor has. Every actor does. Every actor will. It’s a huge, arcing career and NO ONE has control over where it goes. Movie to movie, year to year, you’re collaborating and trying and risking and, sometimes, yes — failing.”
Movies are not under the control of a single actor. Regardless of how many times you’ve heard that Tom Cruise gets full access to the editing room, or Johnny Depp got $20 Million dollars for Lone Ranger, by and large, the studio execs make the call. Daredevil was a misfire yes, but if you watch the director’s cut blu ray, you can see what the original intent was before Fox grabbed hold of it. It’s still not the movie that Daredevil deserves, but it’s way closer to the mark than the version that arrived in theaters.
Furthermore, Daredevil was made TEN YEARS AGO. What were you like ten years ago? Were you as good as your job as you are now? Hell, did you even have a job? People change, and over the course of ten years, Affleck has changed too. After having the crap kicked out of him in the press, being turned down for roles that he really wanted because he was in bombs like Gigli, he completely did a 180 and has become not only a respected actor and director, but one that has an Academy Award (to go along with the OTHER Academy Award he received for writing Good Will Hunting). Ben Affleck has completely overcome the professional (and I’m assuming, personal) obstacles in his way to become a better person. You know who else has overcome major obstacles and become a better person? BATMAN.
Bruce Wayne witnessed the death of his parents. He’s seen good friends turn to darkness, or die. He’s lost allies and even his own son in his war on crime. Hell, he’s even DIED and travelled through time to get back to his fight. If there’s any actor in Hollywood right now who would potentially understand the struggles that Bruce Wayne went through to better himself and honor the memory of his parents, it’s Affleck.
I have one last point, and then I promise I will shut up and let you return to whatever you’re doing. The amount of hate spewed about this is sickening. A petition to remove Affleck from the role? Are you serious nerds? Have we learned nothing from comic book movie casting in the past? The Heath Ledger Joker announcement had a very similar (and horrifyingly homophobic) reaction on the Internet when it was announced in 2007. Remember that? How’d that work out for everyone? I’m also told that Michael Keaton’s announcement as Batman was also met with a similar reaction to the Affleck casting. Hmm, I guess all the people who wrote into WB in 1988 really showed them, right?
Seriously, at what point are we going to shut the hell up and see what happens? Now that comic book films have finally reached the mainstream attention we’ve always dreamed they could, the world expects us to freak out like the basement dwellers they think we are whenever they make a new casting announcement. This weekend, you proved all the people who made fun of us in High School right. Again. Once again the mainstream news is going to follow up this casting announcement with “and millions of fans are protesting the news of his casting”, which will just perpetuate the false idea that every comic book fan spends every waking minute complaining about shit on the Internet from their parent’s basement. I bet the writers for Big Bang Theory are eating this up. Congratulations, you’ve just given them the story arc for this season.
Another bit I read online that boiled my blood was this: “If you liked Man of Steel, then this is the Batman you deserve”. What the hell is that supposed to mean? I liked Man of Steel, does that make me a lesser being than you? I also like the casting of Affleck as Batman, so if that does make me an idiot, I guess I should just go give my Master’s degree back to the University of New Hampshire and go get a job at McDonald’s (lord knows it will cut down on my student loan payments). While we can be upset with some adaptations of our favorite heroes, we should NOT make other people feel like shit for liking them. That goes completely against what we should be trying to do.
Here’s a new idea: instead of saying ” Green Lantern (or Man of Steel, or Iron Man 3, or Dark Knight Rises) sucks”, and making people feel like assholes for liking it, say this:
“I thought it sucked, but it wasn’t for me”
DO YOU SEE HOW TWO WORDS CAN COMPLETELY CHANGE THAT STATEMENT? Not only does it not imply that you are attacking someone, but it can also lead to a discussion of the film if you want it to. There’s too much negativity in the world as it is already for comic book nerds to be fighting over who’s playing Batman. How about we all come together and appreciate the fact that not only are our heroes getting huge, mainstream attention, but that BATMAN AND SUPERMAN ARE GOING TO FIGHT ON THE BIG SCREEN?
So there you go. I think Ben Affleck is going to do a great job. Everyone needs to take a deep breath, and think about what they are saying and doing.
Thanks for sticking with me through this long post. I need to go calm down now.