Keaton…Bale…Affleck…in that order!
If there is one thing comic book fans are protective of, it’s their source material. Actually, I’d say over-protective at times. In-fact, this isn’t even a trait exclusive to just the comic book fans (notice I’m resisting the urge to use the word nerd), as fans of any mythos can get a little touchy when you start fiddling around with the characters and story’s they love (take the Lord of the Rings films for example). So when Zack Snyder stepped outside the casting box and brought Hollywood heavy-hitter Ben Affleck into the fold to don the cape and cowl, people got a little up and arms.
So much so that Ben himself has finally weighed-in recently (in an unsuccessful attempt no doubt) to calm the fanboy waters.
In a recent interview with Playboy, here is what Affleck had to say regarding his previous exploits in the superhero movie genre, “I understand I'm at a disadvantage with the internet. If I thought the result would be another Daredevil, I'd be out there picketing myself. Why would I make the movie if I didn't think it was going to be good and that I could be good in it?” Now, let’s address the giant elephant in the room shall we? It’s this simple: in people’s minds, Affleck = bad Daredevil movie. By extension, they fear this could somehow translate to a bad Batman movie as well. After all, we’re on a pretty good role with the Dark Knight trilogy, and even Man of Steel gave us a pretty kick-ass Superman to be proud of. Never the less, it worries people having Ben in the role.
While his pleas may not convince you, I can give you a few great reasons why the Oscar winner can and will pull this off.
First, it’s important to remember that Ben Affleck is just playing a role here. He’s not writing his own part or directing himself in the film. We have a great design team, a competent writer and a proven director. They will craft the world that both Superman and Batman will live in. Secondly, Ben Affleck isn’t a bad actor (although, I concede he’s made some god-awful movies). However, the same could be said for George Clooney or Val Kilmer. The Schumacher films perfectly showcase what can happen when you put a good actor in the hands of a bad director. With Batman vs. Superman, that’s not the case. Affleck has the chops and is in good company with Snyder and the rest of the cast. The third point can be summed up with a single name: Michael Keaton. Many (including myself) regard him as an awesome Batman, if not the best. However, it was considered completely off the wall casting by Tim Burton at the time, due to him just appearing in Beetlejuice. No one saw it coming, but this turned out to be a phenomenal move. Will we look back and feel the same about Affleck one day?
Finally, I think Ben himself can sum up the strongest argument for his portrayal of the Caped Crusader. Once Affleck saw the new direction the director had planned for the film, he said, “…It was a unique take on Batman that was still consistent with the mythology. It made me excited. All of a sudden I had a reading of the character. When people see it, it will make more sense than it does now or even than it did to me initially."
So you see, there are many X factors that can make this work. While the casting might seem odd at first, it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. All the ingredients for the makings of an epic comic-book film are here, including a take on Batman that we’ve never really seen before. The rough and gruff, worn-out version of the Dark Knight could be a nice change of pace and compliment the clean-cut portrayal of Henry Cavill’s Superman nicely.
If you’re still not convinced, I suggest you go rent the ’89 Burton/Keaton Batman, and witness just how non-traditional casting can sometimes work out great.
I’m publically pulling for you here Ben so don’t make me regret it. And I swear, if I see one rubber bat-nipple…