The stage was set at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con. Prior to the conclusion of the Warner Bros panel, it was announced Zack Snyder would be making a surprise appearance. Zack Snyder stated he had a special announcement, although actor Henry J. Lennix would better read it. Lennix took the stage and said “I want you to remember, Clark, in all the years to come, in your most private moments, I want you to remember, my hand, at your throat, I want, you to remember, the one man who beat you”.
The crowd became enthralled and ecstatic as Lennix concluded his announcement. At that precise moment, as the logo was presented to the audience, it became official. This event set in motion a series of events that would propel Warner Bros./DC Comics into a new era of super hero films . For the first time in cinematic history, there would be a movie featuring two of DC Comic’s most prominent and iconic superheroes, Batman and Superman. The Super hero genre was on the precipice of history in the making. With Henry Cavill returning as the Man of Steel, the audience along with the Fanboy nation was left pondering the questions, Who would be chosen to don the Cape and Cowl? Who would be cast as The Batman?
In August 2013, Warner Bros announced that Ben Affleck had been cast as The Batman for their upcoming Batman v. Superman movie. Following the announcement, the Internet went into frenzy; the backlash over Warner Bros casting choice was immense. As some would say, “that’s how it starts, the fever, the rage, the feeling of powerlessness, that turns fanboys…Cruel”. The decision to cast Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman was met with a great deal of negativity and outrage by the fans. The backlash reached the extent to where fans began a petition urging Warner Bros to recast the role of Batman.
Warner Bros was moving forward with their project and fans would have to accept that the “Batfleck” era had begun.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2016. There are now less than 90 days left until the premiere of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The criticism and backlash over the casting of Ben Affleck has subsided as more and more footage has been released. As Ben Affleck might have said, “3 years since I’ve been cast, how many doubters are left, how many stayed that way? I have a duty to the fans and myself to do this role justice, and I promise that I will!”. Despite all the controversy and criticism, surrounding the casting decision, ultimately Ben Affleck was the ideal choice to don the cape and cowl.
Following the initial announcement, one of the biggest concerns for fans was that Ben Affleck’s previous attempt as a superhero character was a failed endeavor. His role as Daredevil and the movie itself was met with criticism and was considered a box-office flop. A culmination of these factors could have led to Affleck having doubts about taking on the role of arguably one of the most iconic characters in comic book history. During the Jimmy Fallon show, Affleck spoke about his meeting with Zack Snyder. When Snyder initially approached Affleck for the role he was hesitant, as he believed he did not fit the ideal Batman prototype. He believed his age was one of the key factors as well. After Snyder pitched him his concept and they discussed the nuances of the Batman canon, Affleck agreed to take on the role.
This is where the notion of ambition became a prevelant factor. Affleck was fully aware that his first attempt at the comic book genre was a tumultuous endeavor. He said, “Indeed I have regrets about ‘Daredevil.’ I have regrets about all the movies that I don’t think were executed properly. Look, if I thought we were remaking ‘Daredevil,’ I’d be out there picketing myself.” While the fans viewed Affleck’s previous role as negative, it may ultimately prove to be a blessing in disguise. Having undergone the process once before, dealing with the scrutiny and the adversity that comes with the backlash, served as a learning experience. It enabled Affleck to learn what not do so that when his second chance came along he knew how to approach the situation.
It is within human nature to prove to oneself that you are capable of overcoming adversity. The will to achieve your goals is a powerful vehicle of motivation. It is also within human nature to seize an opportunity, especially a second chance. A second chance is all one can ask for, Snyder have Affleck his second chance. It is often said that everyone deserves a second chance in life, in Affleck’s case a second act. It is similar to when athletes hear criticism for their play on the field, they can drown out the noise, try to ignore it, but at the end of they day it’s out there. Similarly, Affleck was told to ignore the fandom, but it’s fair to say it only grew the chip on his shoulder. The doubters only added fuel to the fire. Fire breeds iron, and that doubt, the criticism, the backlash gave Affleck an iron will.
I believe that this notion drove Ben Affleck to put his heart and soul into this role. Affleck has displayed that he put in both the mental and physical preparation necessary to encompass the role of Bruce Wayne/The Batman. From all the dialogue he has spoken it is evident that he understands the psychological anatomy behind Bruce Wayne/Batman. The footage has also displayed his physique and it is evident that he underwent a rigorous amount of physically training for the role. Of all the cinematic Batman’s incarnations, Affleck’s version it’s by the far the most physically imposing audiences has seen. He will not have to rely on his armor, but his strength comes fro He incorporated the doubt and backlash as fuel to enable him to do the role of The Batman justice. Affleck said in an interview, “I felt very confident about it. I thought it would be nice to make one of these movies really, really good”. I believe the chip on his shoulder made Affleck the ideal choice for Bruce Wayne/Batman. It not only fueled him to pouring his soul into the role, but also as a result may have created the definitive incarnation of the character.
The Supporting Cast
Unlike the era in which Daredevil was premiered, the comic genre has developed and progressed over the past decade. Prestigious actors and actresses, prolific directors, and accomplished screenwriters have been drawn to the comic realm.
In Affleck’s second tenure as a comic hero, there are certain aspects that are drastically different. For example, the people he has had the opportunity to surround himself and work with has benefitted him tremendously. Starting at the top with Warner’s Bros Studio, to the director, producers, screenwriters, and the cast itself, Affleck has a strong supporting cast.
At helm of the DC Extended Universe resides Zack Snyder. One of Hollywood’s most prolific directors was entrusted by Warner Bros to preside over the DCEU and bring these comic book characters to the big screen. He is a man of detail and leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the DCEU. He is an individual who honors the comics and is dedicated to ensuring the DCEU is honored properly.
Another individual who was brought into the DCEU after Affleck was cast was Chris Terrio. He won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screen play for his work on Argo. He was hired to revise the script originally penned by David S. Goyer.
The cast that ranges from Henry Caviil, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Jessie Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons and Laurence Fisburne, there is no shortage of talent within the Batman v Superman cast. Each actor brings a unique perspective and attributes to the film. Therefore only ensuring that Ben Affleck would be at his best when it came to portraying the caped crusader.
Zack Snyder’s Vision
When Zack Snyder initially approached Affleck, he had a particular vision in how he would be portraying the new Dark Knight. He was drawing inspiration from one of Batman’s most iconic storylines, The Dark Knight Returns. The Dark Knight Returns depicts an older, darker, more world-weary Bruce Wayne/Batman. He has been Batman for over 20 years and has endured countless hardships. He has a history with all his rogues especially with the Joker. This Bruce Wayne has even lost a member of the Bat family and continues to pay tribute to his fallen comrade by displaying Jason Todd’s Robin Suit in the Batcave.
Zack Snyder wanted to bring an incarnation of this Batman to the DCEU and believed Ben Affleck was the ideal candidate. Throughout the filming process, Affleck explained Snyder guided him through the process enabling him to encapsulate the Batman persona. Bruce Wayne/Batman is one of the most perplexing and complicated characters to personify on screen and requires an actor of elite talent. Snyder has stated that Affleck does a phenomenal job handling the task of playing Bruce Wayne/Batman. From all the footage that had been released thus far further reiterates Snyder’s comments. Some reports have even stated that Affleck is considered the “definitive Batman”. Ben Affleck encapsulates all the aspects that Snyder wanted to bring to his incarnation of Batman.
The Batman Mantle
The character of Bruce Wayne/Batman is arguably one of the most complex and perplexing individuals within comic book lore. At an early age, Bruce witnesses the murder of his parents. Having been stripped of his childhood propels him into seeking justice. He leaves Gotham City to see the world in hopes of learning how to someday bring justice to Gotham City. It is important to understand that the Bruce Wayne that returns is not the same individual who left. Having been trained by the league of assassin, it gives him the necessary tools to carry out his mission.
This incarnation features an older Bruce Wayne and that is a vital component to the Batman Mantle. A Bruce Wayne who has been active for 20 years in Gotham City will react differently to the Black Zero event compared to a Batman still in his first year. The entire psychological anatomy of his moral compass has been shifted throughout those 20 years. His entire person will be unveiled throughout BvS. In this Gotham City, the caped crusader has decided to take the judicial process entirely into his own hands. This incarnation of Batman has endured many hardships during his time as the Dark Knight. Creating a more cynical jaded sense of morality. In hi early years, Bruce Wayne is shown to have more restraint. But a Bruce Wayne that has been embattle with the Joker, lost a sidekick, and witnessed the Black Zero event culminates into a very different persona. Therefore, this is why Ben Affleck was the ideal choice. He is the ideal candidate to portray this vision of Zack Snyder’s Batman.
Ultimately, the final product will determine the true essence of Ben Affleck’s role as Bruce Wayne/The Batman. Although it appears when it is all said and done, Ben Affleck’s performance may epitomize the true nature of the character thus leaving a definitive stamp on the Dark Knight.