Ben Affleck was announced as the new Batman last night by Warner Bros. and the Internet took a deep breath and let out a sonorous “DO NOT WANT.”
It was as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
Now, while there exist many good op-eds for why Ben Affleck as Batman is a bad thing (cue Mike Ryan, Huffington Post), some of us are beginning to think “Come on, guys. It can’t be that bad.” But then we saw 13,000 signatures on a Change.org petition asking Warner Bros. to quote “Remove Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the Superman/Batman movie.”
“His acting skill is not even close to being believable as Bruce Wayne and he won’t do the role justice,” writes John Roden of Ludlow, Kentucky. “He’s not built, nor is he intimidating enough for the role of Batman. His portrayal of Daredevil was atrocious and he’s not remotely close to an action star. Please find someone else.”
It’s interesting that people were fired up enough to start a Change.org petition, but not a White House petition though, right? Actually a White House petition to actually make it illegal for Ben Affleck to play Batman was launched and existed for about 10 seconds before the site admins decided there are better things to worry about.
Roden did backtrack a bit, posting an update which said that the petition is “not meant in any way to harm Ben Affleck” and that he does “respect Affleck’s work.” He just doesn’t think he’s right for the role.
But let’s take a closer look at Roden’s criticisms of the next Dark Knight.
1. He’s Not Built
Exhibit A: 2010’s The Town:
Exhibit B: 2012’s Argo:
We also just reported that Ben Affleck is training for two hours each day to bulk up more. He’s going to be a gorilla.
2. He’s Not Intimidating Enough
Ben Affleck is 6’4″ tall. Henry Cavill (Superman) is 6’1″. Christian Bale, the previous Batman, is 6’0″. Now, you could say that intimidation is not simply based on height, and I would absolutely agree with that. But we’re talking about Batman here. Can you tell me the secret to Batman’s intimidation? It’s not Bale’s growly voice or his weird “elbows” karate. The secret is in the camera work. Don’t believe me? Two words: Michael Keaton.
3. Daredevil Was Atrocious
On this point, we cannot agree more. Daredevil was easily one of the worst superhero movies ever made. But that was 10 years ago. Maybe it’s time to pop the DVD back in so you can ask yourself “is it really Ben Affleck’s fault that this is so fail?”
The single demerit against Ben Affleck for Daredevil was a Golden Raspberry Award, which he did win. But while critics were divided about the film, most of them actually praised the cast and characters as the only redeeming quality of an otherwise flat, poorly-paced movie. Empire’s Kim Newman said it best when he said audiences “will like the characters more than the film.”
Again, is it Ben Affleck’s fault that Daredevil was bad? Nah. Ben Affleck was a perfectly fine Matt Murdock/Daredevil. It was really just bad Ben Affleck juju from Gigli and JLo that makes you say that. Your problems with Daredevil are problems with director Mark Steven Johnson, who also wrote the screenplay. Don’t believe me? Two more words: Ghost Rider.
Yeah, I was a little surprised that Ben Affleck was chosen to be the next Batman. I was pulling for Jon Hamm, and as far as rumors go, Jeffrey Dean Morgan was the only name attached that piqued my interest. But let’s give him a chance. Let’s at least see the freakin’ Batsuit before we decide. Ben Affleck’s Batman isn’t following Bale (which was a very flawed portrayal in its own right), he’ll be a new Batman, and we have no idea what that’ll look like yet.
Strange, nonsensical, and incredibly controversial casting decisions have a habit of paying off more often than they fall flat. Don’t believe me? Two more words…