Batfleck. A hybrid term that has been vibrating the internet since it was first announced. Fan-boys and girls alike rejoiced at the news, and also cringed massively. “The guy from Reindeer Games?” they exclaimed in unison. Yes, that guy. The sensitively witty everyman of indie cinema had just been cast as the world’s foremost superhero. Who asked for this? The answer is: nobody. But Warner Bros must have thought he was a safe bet because he is such a great guy. And who doesn’t want to work with a great guy?
Affleck is like a less average-looking Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks never played a superhero, unless you count [Captain Phillips](movie:267936), who whipped pirate ass all over the high seas. Affleck has already clocked in time as a superhero in the critically and audience-acclaimed Daredevil. That is what we call a joke. While he did an admirable job, the movie overall couldn’t find its wings, and Ben’s ass-kicking persona did not get fully developed. Now he gets his second much bigger shot at combat glory. The problem is, it’s going to turn out the same way.
What we need is The Dark Knight, not the upbeat cousin-like Knight. Affleck cannot bring the psychological gravitas to the Bat. He has trouble projecting emotion onscreen and really pulling you in to his portrayals. In short, I think America would agree that he is not the greatest actor. Doesn’t mean that I dislike Ben as a person or public figure, but they need someone who is willing to go a bit more savage.
Some fan-boys may tear me apart for this, but I thought Christian Bale was the best Batman. Yes, even over Keaton. Bale was the only actor to portray the character in three full movies, and I thought he brought the vigor and attitude to the role that only an intense thespian like him can provide. Affleck has not displayed any such intensity throughout his entire career. Can he surprise us and reveal the beast inside himself? Maybe, but I’ll be damn shocked if it happens, as will the general audience. We can’t have a Batman - or Bruce Wayne, for that matter – who’s constantly flashing that friendly, non-threatening smile. He has to be a reserved bastard with a douchey streak. All that said, Ben will surely look the part, especially with the mask on; his jaw structure is exactly what Gotham needs.
Now don’t think I am pre-ragging on [Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice](movie:711870). I actually expect Batman vs Superman to be solidly kick-butt. I came around on [Man of Steel](movie:15593); initially waffling on my opinion of it, I now consider it quality-level entertainment with an excellent original soundtrack. Zack Snyder has aced the look of comic book movies before, and no doubt will he come through again with bombast. Batman vs Superman is an adult nerd’s playground. The production team has made statements saying that they will utilize Batman’s fighting skills in a way that we’ve never seen. They are trying to ratchet up the action to the utmost degree.
Affleck is going to have a lot of supporting help from the ensemble cast. Co-star Henry Cavill actually had a very Affleckian vibe in his first turn as Superman: limited acting range, but looks the part to a tee. These two will allow themselves to be posed and re-posed like so many action figures in front of zillion-dollar green screen activity. It’s going to make for an entertaining weekend jaunt to the cinema. With the other Justice League actors nestled in there, it’s going to be a diverse enough gumbo to hold the attention of every geek and normal person out there looking for a good time. Batman vs Superman is too big to fail. The studios nowadays realize that they have to pay attention to their golden goose comic book properties. They may not have the wisdom to pick a better leading man than Benjamin Affleck, but they will make up for it on the back-end.