Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is receiving a lot of press before its much-anticipated debut next March, and interviews with the cast and crew are becoming more regular. In the movie, Ben Affleck will become the sixth actor to play the Caped Crusader on the big screen (in live action movies anyway), and the limited evidence on display seems to hint at a more tortured, experienced, and downright broodier Batman. However, the focus will be on his portrayal of the character, one that seems to undergo a subtle transformation each time a new actor brings Batman onto the big screen, and with Affleck, it looks like he will be taking Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego in an entirely new direction.
In an interview with French publication Studio Cine Live, Ben Affleck commented on the differences between his version of the character and previous incarnations.
“I don’t want to compete with other incarnations, nor do I want to emulate them. Those versions belong in another universe. Christopher Nolan used his Batman to tell a finite story. My version is different, but remains faithful to the Batman mythology and all the themes associated with it.
“The other difference is that Nolan’s Batman isn’t part of a universe where other superheroes exist as well. Here – because we’re working towards the Justice League – there’s Superman, and it’s a world populated with super beings. This situation generates an altogether new reality.”
Affleck’s comments make a lot of sense in the grand scheme of things. Zack Snyder’s universe started in Man of Steel, and is more fantastical than Nolan’s dark, realistic spin on the story. This opens up a world of possibilities for the characters and gives the creativity a little more wiggle room. Let’s not forget that Nolan’s trilogy charted Bruce Wayne’s journey to becoming Batman, whereas Affleck’s incarnation is a more experienced version, with 20 years of dogged, vigilante justice beneath his utility belt, not to mention hints of retirement and severe burn-out/exhaustion.
But Snyder’s version is in welcome, unchartered territory. Sure, Tim Burton’s Batman toyed with his origin story — told in flashback, and tweaking it slightly to involve The Joker in his parent’s demise — and showed Wayne as a semi-experienced crime fighter, but you never really felt he was in danger of being pushed over the edge, never at risk of his escapades catching up to him. Clean-shaven and witty, confident and smart doesn’t really push the burn-out envelope, a trait that seems to be evident in Affleck’s portrayal. As is always the way, Alfred, Wayne’s trusted confidante, has told him to hang up the cowl on more than one occasion, and it seems we might be seeing that happen for the first time on screen, albeit briefly. Fans can be excited; a new spin on a revered, popular character is always a welcome direction to head in, especially if it remains faithful to the mythos like Affleck suggests.
With Batman playing a small piece in a bigger jigsaw, tuning into the character 20 years into his career, and joining his journey as a veteran crime fighter, would be a wise move. Let’s not forget that Superman is still relatively new in Snyder’s universe — people fear and worship him in equal measure — and Wonder Woman is merely a silent sighting in the trailers right now. The people of Gotham and Metropolis need someone to look up to, and with the trio ushering in the Justice League, Batman’s knowledge of all things humanity will be all the more important during the evolution of the other, non-human characters. Let’s not forget, Batman is merely a human, a hero, there is nothing super about him, so expect this to come into play at some point too — after all, which man can compete with Gods, aliens, and the like?
So Bruce Wayne/Batman will be more experienced, more tenacious, and certainly more dog-eared. Will it be an interesting spin on the character? Find out when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice arrives on March 25, 2016.
[Image via Warner Bros. Pictures]