Ever since Warner Brothers announced they were doing a film centered on Batman fighting Superman, there have been mixed emotions among fans. After all, we just finished what is considered to be one of the most successful comic book series with the Chris Nolan Batman films (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, & The Dark Knight Rises). Those films, containing some flawed moments, are considered masterful, so why bring Batman back so soon? While Christian Bale’s Batman was not necessarily iconic, he did serve the purpose very well and gave us a very earnest Batman. He played Batman as a detective who just happened to wear a cape and a mask.
Another thing that gave some fans pause was Warner Brothers’ approach to an extended universe. Many people were very comfortable with Marvel’s “slow crawl” to opening up their film universe. Marvel started with Iron Man and through each subsequent film continued to peel the onion for their universe, and through different phases until they have become the cinematic powerhouse they are today.
With their first expanded universe film being Man of Steel, it would be assumed that DC Comics would go the same route. However the sophomore film in the DC Universe would be almost an Avengers-like mashup involving not only Batman and Superman, but also Wonder Woman, with rumors of Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash. Perhaps this approach might work, but if Batman v Superman isn’t successful, then they would have spent all their currency and all upcoming films might not work. Audiences like to become invested in characters before the big payoff. But working against conventional thinking might work in this instance, only time will tell.
One thing that has really split fans has been the casting of this film. When it was announced that Jessie Eisenberg was announced for Lex Luthor that was a real head scratcher. After all, nothing from any of his past performances screams “criminal mastermind.” He doesn’t even seem like he could be a competent henchman for Lex Luthor, and the film will rest on the idea that he is the true villain.
But the biggest pill to swallow was Ben Affleck. When Ben Affleck was announced to play a seasoned Bruce Wayne/Batman, similar to the one from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel, fans seemed to be repulsed to the idea of him as Batman. There were immediate predictions that this film would be a failure based on the casting of Affleck alone. Names like Karl Urban, Richard Armitage, hell even George Clooney and Michael Keaton would be old enough to properly do the role well. Fans referenced Daredevil, Jersey Girl, and other films to point out that he cannot act or has a habit of phoning it in. But of course, there are films like Argo and The Town that display his acting skills.
With each subsequent trailer released, that apprehension has begun to secede. One improvement fans seemed to like was instead of having the raspy “smokers cough” yell of Christian Bale in the Dark Knight trilogy, we have a Batman was a voice modulator. After all, Batman needs to protect his voice and not give away he has the same voice as the most popular person in Gotham City, so in previous films, he just simply lowered his voice. It became a shell of itself in the third Batman film because at times you could not understand him. Another improvement slowly discovered was that Ben Affleck plays a good Bruce Wayne. Through the trailers and Superbowl Ads for Turkish Airlines (weirdly brilliant), he displayed everything that radiated what Bruce Wayne was. He was always dressed to kill, and has a certain suave presence. He displayed his wealth, but not the smugness and personality of an uber-rich person.
The one thing that finally brought fans back on “Team Batfleck” was the third and final trailer for Batman v Superman.
The first 38 seconds of the trailer say everything we need to know about this Batman: This is the Batman we have been waiting for since 1988!
Batman has always been a ninja, then a detective. Many of the film iterations wanted to focus on Batman’s intelligence and his use of gadgets to help fight crime, but neglected that he is pretty much one of the greatest fighters in DC Comics. He has studied various disciplines of martial arts in preparation to become Batman. Batman is considered to be one of the world's greatest martial artists and is proficient in:
Some martial arts sorcery
Training with Zen warrior monks
The best quote Batman gave was from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns as he was about to be attacked: “There are seven working defenses from this position. Three of them disarm with minimal contact. Three of them kill. The other-- [KRAKK!] --hurts.”
The opening scene of the trailer gives the audience a glimpse of what this iteration of Batman could do. It is also very similar to the fighting of the Arkham video games. In these games it is all out brutality as Batman often has to face up to 20 people at a time, much like in the trailer. Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred also works in concert with him as providing operational support and often remote controls batman’s technology, much like in the trailer. As you can see, this trailer is pretty much showing that the Batman from Batman v Superman is the same Batman from the Arkham video game series. While Christian Bale’s Batman was good, it did not scream “ninja.” In many of the fight scenes, it did not scream “action packed,” more like drunken brawls. It looks like we will finally see a brutal, methodical Batman, who knows how to surgically deliver justice.
So it seems that Ben Affleck has won over the fans! There are even some online claiming he will probably be the best iteration of Batman we have seen on the big screen. Some are even saying he will be a better Batman than Kevin Conroy. It remains to be proven if he’ll be the best Batman, but it seems that we are finally getting a Batman that closely resembles what we have read on the screen for some time, and that’s getting the Batman we deserve!