Ever since the announcement that Ben Affleck has stepped down from the helm of The Batman, the DCEU's Batman solo film, the internet has gone insane with rumors and theories. ("Is The Batman in trouble?" "Is Affleck leaving the DCEU?") But all of this talk is just causing more negativity than necessary. Ben Affleck himself stated that he just wants to focus on his performance:
"It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world."
Kevin Smith Says Affleck Doesn't Need The Pressure
Comic book nerd king Kevin Smith has now added his voice to the discussion. He isn't too worried about the film, addressing the Affleck news on the latest episode of his podcast Fatman on Batman.
Here are Smith's thoughts on the matter:
"Let’s talk about why? Why would this happen? I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to [Affleck] in years, but here’s my take on it. Here’s my hot take. What’s the upshot? Seriously. Everybody wants that to be the greatest Batman movie ever made, and you know, in many cases, maybe the greatest Batman movie ever made has been made, called The Dark Knight, it’s a pretty wonderful film.
"If that’s your bar for a Batman standalone, Chris Nolan couldn’t even measure up to himself with The Dark Knight Rises. I liked it but it wasn’t received nearly as well. Let’s be honest, like, that Joker portrayal is for the ages. Fucking beyond brilliant and shit.
"While The Dark Knight did set a bar, I do remember when people had the mindset that no film could ever top Tim Burton's Batman from 1989 and until that movie came out, not many had faith in what Tim Burton was doing to the Caped Crusader simply because he cast a comedic actor to play the Batman. Perhaps Affleck's solo film will be as much of a surprise as the two previous attempts?
"It’s a tall order man, so maybe he’s the kind of guy who’s just like, ‘Why bother? Why am I going to step up to the plate, no matter what I do people are going to bitch? If it ain’t fucking The Dark Knight, I’m fucked, but if I’m just acting in it, my name’s Paul and this is between ya’ll, I’m just the Bat, that’s it. The guy or girl tells me what to do and go, and so you got a beef with the movie? Talk to these motherfuckers.' That’s easier. That’s an easier life. You don’t have to sit there and take the slings and arrows.
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Affleck Has Never Worked On This Scale Before
Smith makes a good point: the pressure of trying to top The Dark Knight, along with delivering a performance as intense as the one in Batman v. Superman, was probably too much for Affleck. We can sympathize with the man; who hasn't felt the pressure of having to juggle multiple tasks at once?
So Affleck stepping down to focus on perfecting the character of Batman sounds like he truly cares about this iconic figure. Even many fans who weren't fond of Batman v. Superman called Affleck the best Batman on film to date.
Directing smaller scale drama/thrillers like Argo, The Town or even Live By Night is a totally different animal than writing, producing, directing and starring in a giant blockbuster about arguably the most beloved comic book character in history. This has been the case for a few directors like Josh Trank, who showed talent with his smaller budget film Chronicle — but when he made the jump to blockbusters with 2015's Fantastic Four...the result was definitely less than stellar.
Perhaps it was simply too big of a jump for Affleck, so maybe him stepping down and letting a partner work alongside him on the project could be for the better.
Smith Knows How To Direct Affleck And DC Heroes — It's The Perfect Comeback Opportunity
Fans have been asking for several talented people to take over: Matt Reeves, David Fincher and George Miller are common fan choices, and Gore Verbinski once attempted to make a Batman movie — perhaps he should try again? Patty Jenkins also shows potential; here's hoping Wonder Woman proves to be as great as the trailer.
But the most common choice among fans is Kevin Smith himself. Smith would be great considering that he has already done some directing for superhero projects with episodes of The Flash and Supergirl on The CW, and his episodes have become fan favorites.
Another reason Smith as director would be a good choice: he and Affleck have worked together in the past. Affleck played a villain in the surreal but hilarious Dogma, and he was the star of Chasing Amy. These two definitely know how to work together.
The Batman is not coming out until late 2018 or early 2019, so please, have some patience, keep an optimistic mind and let's just see what happens — but Kevin Smith may be just what the DCEU needs right now.
Who Should Direct 'The Batman?'
What do you think? Who should direct The Batman? Let me know in the comments!