Ben Affleck's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has divided audiences this year like no other. For every fan who was blown away by this iconic showdown, there's another constructing voodoo dolls of director Zack Snyder in their basement.
The negative backlash isn't just from fans either; Warner Bros. restructured their executive division soon after the film's release and even Batman's loyal butler Alfred has chimed in, describing the blockbuster as "muddled...overstuffed." There's definitely a problem when stars like Jeremy Irons publicly deride the film that they've just starred in.
All of this negativity would be enough to get any actor down, especially if they've already endured a critical mauling in the past, but Ben Affleck has survived far worse than this. Did you see Gigli?
Fortunately for Affleck, our new Bruce Wayne has now received praise from one of the men who knows Batman best — the legendary comic book creator Frank Miller. It was Miller's work on the classic story arc The Dark Knight Returns that inspired Affleck's version of Batman in the first place, so the news must be extremely vindicating for the Oscar-winning actor, especially after the mixed reaction of the public.
The discussion came about at MegaCon 2016 in Orlando, where Miller was asked to give his opinion on Affleck's performance as Batman:
“I liked it, he’s a good actor. I mean, he’s obviously very, very close to this material and plays it with great affection.”
The material in question is The Dark Knight Returns, a futuristic story where an older Batman decides to break out of retirement early to save the world from a number of new enemies (and eventually Superman himself).
The comic quickly gained iconic status, changing the entire industry with its grim portrayal of super-heroics, directly influencing both Snyder's and Affleck's interpretation of these characters in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Surprisingly though, it appears that no one reached out to Miller for advice during the film's production, despite the clear parallels between Goyer's script and Miller's own work. When asked for more information on this, the writer simply responded by saying:
“They got my number.”
Perhaps if Snyder had consulted Miller, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice may have received a score higher than 27% on Rotten Tomatoes.
However, despite all of the criticisms leveled at Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Affleck's Batman actually received far less condemnation than fans would have predicted before the film's release. Warner Bros. clearly has faith in their star too, fast-tracking his solo Batman movie to an earlier release date, echoing Miller's glowing sentiments about the actor.
This is good news for fans who stand by Affleck's grizzled portrayal of Batman, so, hopefully, this will be the last time that the Sad Affleck video needs to be shared for laughs. Keep your chin up!
Who do you think played Batman best?