2016: The year that Hollywood A-listers achieved superhero redemption. In February, Ryan Reynolds eased the emotional scarring of Green Lantern (2011) by starring in the R-rated hit, Deadpool. In March, Ben Affleck's debut portrayal of Batman helped him overcome an irrational fear of spandex (unconfirmed) after portraying Matt Murdock in 2003's much-maligned Daredevil.
The criticism is perhaps a little harsh; in the opposite phenomenon of films that achieve cult status, Daredevil has, over time, become the film everyone likes to hate. That includes Ben Affleck himself, who seemingly wants to distance himself from the ghost-of-superheroes-past, revealing his disdain for the final product in an interview with The New York Times.
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But, as is the often the case, #BenAffleck's earlier misfortune spurred him on to positive change, and the result was saying yes to a role he may have been reluctant to take on: #Batman. When Warner Bros. approached him, he knew he had the opportunity to return to the superhero realm, a Dark Knight rising from the Devil's smouldering ashes. He said:
"Part of it was I wanted for once to get one of these movies and do it right - to do a good version. I hate Daredevil so much. It frustrated me."
Perhaps part of the cult hate-us (see what I did there) of Affleck's feature is hindsight; Matt Murdock has since been adapted successfully to the small screen, providing an unflattering comparison. The actor agrees, adding:
"The Netflix show does really cool stuff. I feel like that was there for us to do with that character, and we never kind of got it right. I wanted to do one of those movies and sort of get it right."
Batman Returns, Again
As a result, the Oscar winner agreed to take on the role of the Caped Crusader — a decision which was initially met with ridicule. While it could be argued #BatmanvSuperman (2016) was far from getting it completely right, Affleck's performance was universally praised, silencing the critics and completing his own personal superhero redemption arc in the process.
Things look set to get even better, too. Now an integral part of the #DCEU fabric, Affleck will reprise the role in next year's #JusticeLeague. He'll also be writing, directing and starring in a solo movie, possibly titled The Batman. Considering the 44-year-old's talent behind the camera, and the character's universal allure, all the signs suggest it could be a huge hit.
Just don't expect Halle Berry to return as Catwoman.
Are you happy with Ben Affleck's portrayal of Batman?
(Source: The New York Times)