Ben Affleck is Batman. There I said it. Anyone shocked? Awed, maybe? Ok, everyone already knows, but I thought that I would throw my hat into the arena just for old time’s sake. A lot of people ask for my opinion about the ‘comic book stuff,’ so I’ve decided to put a little proverbial pen to paper with some scribbled opinions and whatnots.
Unfortunately, Ben Affleck may have his work cut out for him in the public relations department, but here is why ol’ Ben will prove to be box office gold and how Warner Brothers made a wise and not so bold decision.
On the premise that Warner Brothers wants a more-experienced, grittier Batman I think that I have a pretty good case as to why these nine contender to the cowl wouldn’t cut the mustard and why Affleck does.
We start our list with the great and powerful Gos:
Ryan Gosling is personally not one of my favorite actors. I absolutely hated “The Notebook” (something about the mishmash of chromosomes put me at a disadvantage) as well as “Drive.” No matter how acclaimed “Drive” seems to be it was senseless, and the lack of dialogue just showcased…well, absolutely nothing, hence the problem. However, Gosling’s performance in “Gangster Squad” was fantastic, and along with a stellar ensemble, proved to be a wonderful mob flick. Warner Brothers is looking for an aged Batman, not a smartass pretty boy. Gosling is much too young, and at this moment a fad in time; not yet a long-lasting icon of Hollywood.
Fassbender hits in the middle for me. I’ve enjoyed most of the pictures that he has starred in (especially “X-Men: First Class”), but he doesn’t standout. I have yet to have that ‘Wow!‘ feeling like I did when I saw Hugh Jackman as Wolverine or Robert Downey, Jr. as the Iron Avenger. He seems to be just coming into his own with roles like Magneto. I can’t wait to see what he has in him, but at the moment I don’t think his ability as an actor could uphold the mantle without scrutiny and legitimate critique. I think fans and audiences would have a hard time separating Magneto and Batman, and would be disparaged by the radically different characters (rather than emboldened). He wouldn’t be the first to cross between universes (e.g. Ryan Reynolds); however, being torn between two roles of that magnitude I think would be more muddling than Reynold’s one-film stint as Deadpool and obvious heavy investment in Green Lantern. Ultimately, Fassbender is close…but no cigar. Next.
Josh Brolin is a perfect fit to play a dark and f*cked-up Batman, but he is a known spousal abuser and thus he doesn’t deserve the cowl. The media shit storm would be fun to watch though, huh? I’d pay for that. “Extra! Extra! Lawbreaker and abuser becomes Batman!” That kind of publicity wouldn’t be good for a fledgling DC and would be a risk for Warner Brothers. Trust me, I am not naive enough to believe that a lot of actors don’t have some sort of jaded pasts or rap sheets, but in the end would it be a wise business decision to cast someone whose nature directly opposes such an American icon as Batman? Probably not.
Whatever happened to Viggo? It seemed like after his tenure as Aragorn he disappeared! If I were to guess, he is probably chilling with Frodo on the beaches of Valinor the Undying Lands sipping a Mai Tai trading Stephanie Meyer novels. Mortensen could pull off the cowl, he’d be an underdog for sure, but he has the presence for it. Anyone see “Eastern Promises”? However, I think fans would again be surprised since he hasn’t done much since the “Lord of the Rings” and also he is on the other side (age-wise) for a believable Batman. You need someone in that 40 to 50 range who is experienced, but can still believably bust a henchmen’s cap onscreen for two-hours with Henry Cavil.
Andrew Lincoln is great, but momentarily a fad. It pained me to write that. “The Walking Dead” is a roaring comic book turned television show success, but it is still niche. Warner Brothers and DC need gravitas, and someone with a bit of a background in the business. Give it a couple more years, and Andrew Lincoln will be a household name, but till then he needs to keep slaying zombies and goin’ crazy.
Holloway had great success on “Lost,” but I haven’t seen him since, and again (like Andrew Lincoln) doesn’t yet have that universal, TV-in-your-home appeal. Holloway is the perfect age and look that Warner Brothers are looking for, but because Disney has been kicking their asses in the film arena with their Marvel Universe, I think that they want someone who could be considered a heavy hitter (akin to Sam Jackson, Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, etc., etc.) Holloway just doesn’t have that long standing career like the aforementioned actors. Perhaps one day Holloway, perhaps one day.
Proposing that we have the voice actor of Batman from “Batman: The Animated Series” is ridiculous. He is a voice actor for a reason. That would be like suggesting we pull Mark Hamill from retirement to play the Joker in the new Batman/Man of Steel crossover. As talented and wonderful as Hamill is, he voices the joker in cartoons and video games. Long story short, Kevin Conroy as Batman would be a joke. If Lincoln and Holloway aren’t household names, who the hell is going to know Kevin Conroy?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt would have been a perfect successor to the throne. He is young and iconic. He could have a long-ish run as the Caped Crusader, and Nolan’s trilogy practically gave it him on a silver platter, but the wonderful Execs at Warner Brothers decided that if they couldn’t have Nolan or Bale’s involvement then it was time to start fresh with an older, more ravaged Batman…it makes perfect sense. So, unfortunately because of his age, and the direction that Warner Brothers wants to run with their newest iteration Levitt doesn’t fit the bill in the new model.
Bale doesn’t want to do it. He has practically proclaimed it from the mountain tops that he does not want to be Batman anymore. Even with Warner Brothers reportedly offering him $60 million dollars, Bale declined. That is three times the going rate for Hollywood’s top paid actors. I don’t want a Batman who doesn’t want to be Batman. It’s like Charlton Heston in “Beneath the Planet of the Apes.” Everyone could tell that Heston was done, but they greased his wheels and he muddled through the opening and closing minutes of the film. The happiest Heston was, was when he bit it and nuked the world. Let me remind you: this was pre-fridge days! I digress. Bale doesn’t want to do it, just like Heston didn’t. Bale left a great trilogy behind him; let us leave it at that.
Ben Affleck is the wise and relatively safe choice for Warner Brothers and here is why:
Affleck is a tenured actor and director. He knows his shit, whether we believe it or not. Whether it be from osmosis, or in my personal opinion learned knowledge, he is an experienced Hollywood man. His growth is apparent with his directorial efforts “Gone Baby Gone,” “The Town,” and “Argo.” All three were amazing films, and his efforts won him an Oscar. All-in-all, he has the chops for the part and scope of the franchise.
Affleck also has the right physical build, look, and age to fulfill the role. For what Warner Brothers want, Affleck is the perfect candidate. He is currently 41, which is plenty of straight-laced, un-wobley timey wimey time to logically be an experienced vigilante but not achieved Minutemen status.
Michael Keaton is my favorite Batman. If we can mold a comedian into the Dark Knight, we can mold the guy who starred in “Gigli” and “Daredevil.” No problem.