That's right, Fred O'Bannion from Dazed and Confused is going to be playing Bruce Wayne in Man of Steel 2, and no one saw it coming. That small cameo serves as a clue as to why we'll be looking at Ben Affleck as Batman in 2015. The menace was there at a young age. Ben was the perfect bully, and he brought back some awful memories for nerds everywhere (much as he's doing today). He continued that line of work in Mallrats, playing a real douche that certainly had some very scary qualities. All perfect for when he pulls on that cowl and goes after the common criminal.
Where's your nice guy next door now, huh? Ben Affleck has been preparing for this moment for nearly twenty years!
A lot of names were batted about the Internet, as everyone and their Aunt speculated on who would be jumping behind the seat of the Batmobile. While the call was out that director Zack Snyder was looking for someone older to play millionaire Bruce Wayne, Affleck's name never rose to the surface. Instead, we heard everyone from Josh Brolin, to Ryan Gosling to Jon Hamm. And maybe they would have been good. But none of them are Ben Affleck! He may just have every quality needed for a new, different, unique take on the character as created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.
Its odd that Ben's name never came up, as Warner Bros. has wanted him to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in Justice League for a very long time. And he has a strong working relationship with the company. If the Man of Steel franchise plans to go the Justice League route, of course they needed to go with a good, tested actor to play opposite an unknown like Henry Cavill. It sounds like all the pieces are falling into place for DC Comics move to big screen domination.
Right now, Ben Affleck seems to be in the middle, in terms of fan support. Exactly half as many people love this decision as hate it. Hardcore Christopher Nolan fans seem to be weeping the loudest (even despite the fact that the man remains a producer on the project, so he did have some say in this). While other, more open-minded fans are okay with this casting decision. It all really depends on the final product, which we won't see for two more summers. But rest assured, that opening day box office is sure to set some records. And before we get there, maybe we can sway you towards liking, and accepting, and wanting Ben Affleck as your most beloved comic book hero of all time.
Let's face it, looking at the landscape of available talent, WB made a pretty smart choice.
Even though some of you don't think so. Fans have petitioned Warner Bros. to remove the actor from the project: There are also plenty of Memes running rampant through the Internet, making great fun of the casting announcement. Want to see some of the best:
We're standing on the opposite end of this noise. Here's our argument for why he's the best guy Hollywood has for the role at this moment in time.
1Ben Affleck Understands the Superhero Psyche and The Actors that Play Them
Its not been mentioned too much since the news of this casting spread across the globe quicker than the Simian virus. Sure, Ben Affleck has played a superhero before, appearing as the lead in 2003's Daredevil. And some angry fans point to that as why he shouldn't be Batman. The film was a learning process for Ben Affleck. Let's look at it as 'batting' practice, which makes perfect sense, right? At the time, superhero movies were just coming into their own, and the hired actors were the least of Daredevil's problems. It didn't know what it wanted to be, giving Ben room to try new things. He was able to see what did and didn't work, retaining all of that as an actor. Here, removed ten years from Daredevil, the actor has done a sufficient amount of work in perfecting his craft. Look at his decisions after this. Most of the roles he took on were more serious, and dark. He's never played the same guy twice, which plays into the duality of the Bruce Wayne/Batman role. He knows how to be charming, and sweet. Someone people can look up to and love. And as we mentioned in the introduction, he knows how to be a real dick. And Batman is just that. A fucking dick. More importantly, though, and this is what some of you have missed. Ben Affleck has also previously played Superman. Three years after taking on the role of Matt Murdock, the actor jumped into the role of George Reeves, TV's Superman, who died under mysterious circumstance. Not only had Ben Affleck played a superhero, here he was jumping into the skin of a man who was playing the most popular superhero of his time. He studied that half-deranged psyche of fame and wealth, and what being a real superhero to millions of people meant. He's played both sides of the coin. And he was nominated for a ton of awards for that performance. Even though a lot of you have never seen the movie. If any modern actor (besides Hugh Jackman) knows about the ins and outs of playing a superhero, its Ben Affleck.
2Kevin Smith is the Greatest Batman Mentor an Actor Could Have
Say what you will about Kevin Smith as a filmmaker, one thing the guy knows is comic books. Especially the character of Batman. He runs a very popular podcast about the subject called Fatman on Batman, which you can listen to right now: . He also writes Batman comic books, so he knows the psyche behind the character, and he will be able to serve as the best source of information when Ben begins to form and shape his version of Bruce Wayne. The two are long time collaborators, and it was Kevin Smith who gave the actor one of his first breaks. They've stayed friends for a very long time, and you know that Smith has doused his buddy in Dark Knight folklore like gasoline. No other previous actor has had this kind of wealth of information at his fingertips. Its possible that Christian Bale didn't even know as much about Batman as Ben Affleck does. Its almost as though the actor has been preparing for this ever since he first stepped onto the set of Mallrats. He's basically been groomed to play this role. Like it or not.
3Christian Bale is Not The Greatest Batman
When Christian Bale was cast in Batman Begins, he wasn't the actor we know today. Neither was the Internet. Though, fans were loud enough to let us all know back then that...Hmm, maybe he wasn't right for the part. Here, 8 years removed from that first film, its obvious that Christian Bale had put his own unique stamp on the character. But is he better than Michael Keaton? Or even Val Kilmer (creator Bob Kane's favorite actor over even Christian Bale)? No! He's not. Nor is he the worst. It's a huge debate that brings all kinds of people into the fold, folks who aren't even comic book fans. In the eye of the beholder, there isn't a greatest Batman. It's not a finite thing. Which means, there can always be a new Batman. Like James Bond. It's a character that can be altered, and changed, and form-fitted to a particular arch-type. He'll always be 'Batman', but certain actors, if they are right for this role, will be able to pull new and wonderful things out of that vast mythology. No one actor has played the character the same way. Ben Affleck is an interesting enough guy that he'll be able to bring something to this debate. He's no better or worse than Christian Bale, he's simply different. A lot different. He's a different kind of actor. He has a different aura surrounding himself. He's not as dark. He'll have a "behind door three" kind of artistic voice in his approach. Which is exactly what we need, someone to pull us away from the Christian Bale Batman that we all know and love today. There needs to be some distance between the actor types, and Ben definitely brings that. Other actors might have mimicked what Bale did. Ben Affleck, on the other hand, will take it 360 degrees to the left. And in establishing a new take on an age-old character, that's exactly what we need. Also, Christian Bale's Batman was never the most interesting thing about those movies. It was always the villains and gadgets that surrounded him. Maybe we're wrong, but isn't Ben Affleck as Batman the most interesting thing Man of Steel 2 (aka Batman Vs. Superman} has going for it right now? Don't deny it.
4Ben Affleck can Put the Detective back in The World's Greatest Detective
One thing Christopher Nolan's movies are not are detective movies, even though the Batman character is built on that foundation. Sure, that's fine and all, but in making a new, different Bruce Wayne, maybe we can get back to that conceit. And who better to play a great modern day super hero detective than Ben Affleck? Like Batman and the whole comic book genre, Ben also knows the mystery genre, and that will come into play in terms of the Man of Steel 2 storyline functioning on all available levels. Hollywoodland, which we previously mentioned, is a great detective story wrapped up in Superman's bloody cape. Ben has also played a sheriff/detective in Phantoms. And he played the iconic Jack Ryan in The Sum Of All Fears, so he knows his way around a character that has been played by various actors in a mystery surrounding. Daredevil was a detective of sorts. And the roles he's taking on in recent years all fall into a similar category. But it's his work as a director that make us think he knows what he's doing in the mystery genre. Gone Baby Gone is one of the best mystery thrillers of the last decade, while The Town and Argo prove he can bring weight to a serious issue while still playing to the entertainment value of it as a movie. He knows light and dark, and can balance that perfectly. We're just saying, the guy has sleuthing skills to spare.
5Ben Affleck Looks the Part
Zack Snyder wanted an actor that could put Henry Cavill in his place. He wanted an older actor, a mentor. And at 41, Ben Affleck is the right person to do that. He's eleven years older than Superman. And the milage shows. Sure, Ben Affleck looks great for his age, but he also brings a certain type of baggage, both professionally and personally, that a younger, less tested actor wouldn't be able to manage. Even tough Kal-El can destroy half of Metropolis with just his fists, Ben Affleck looks smart enough to outwit him. And he's cut. The guy has stayed in great shape. We also here that he's already in training, for what should be a pretty sexy chiseled old man. Basically, Affleck is able to check all the boxes on the Batman check list. He's 6'3-12, which is perfect for the suit. He'll tower over the shorter Cavill, giving him some advantage in that department. And Bruce needs all the advantages he can get. You can take issue with the actor's previous roles and acting skills, but there's no denying that his age, build, and screen presence are tailor made for a believable crime fighting veteran faced with mentoring a younger man such as Clark Kent.
6Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill Look Good Next To Each Other
This is the last thing we'll say, and it may be the most important. These two actors look good standing next to each other. We haven't seen them act opposite each other yet, so we have no idea about their on-screen chemistry. But visually speaking, we can see that chemistry has a lot of potential. Imagine any of the other names mentioned, and you sense the pairings are a little off. In terms of teaming Henry Cavill up with someone that can play with and against his type is very important, and right now, we can't think of another actor that will be as able to do that as Ben Affleck. Maybe we're wrong.
What do you think? Did we make our case for why Ben Affleck is the perfect Bruce Wayne? Or did we turn into a real, good old fashioned Ben Asslick? Let us know why he still sucks in the comments below.
- Avengers 2
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