The Nerd Collective suffered major heart palpitations last night.
Warner Brothers announced yesterday that Batman, rumored to be reintroduced in the upcoming Superman sequel as a first step towards an eventual Justice League movie, is going to be played by Ben Affleck.
You read that right: Ben freakin’ Affleck.
Upon hearing the news last night, I spent the rest of the evening in a stroke-induced mini-coma. I’ve recovered enough by this morning to move past the incoherent sputtering stage to offer my two cents.
My main concern with Ben freakin‘ Affleck being Batman is that we’re really not too sure which of the Two Faces of Affleck we’ll be getting. On the one hand, we’ve got the Ben Affleck of Argo and The Town, two serious and compelling roles that could easily be described with the words “tour de force” somewhere in the same sentence. In particular, I was blown away by Affleck’s performance in Argo, which single-handedly convinced me that Affleck had at least a teaspoon of talent in there somewhere (possibly tucked away in that over-sized jaw). When armed with a phenomenal script, Affleck is apparently capable of gravitas, which is cause for some optimism.
But then, there’s the Other Face of Ben Affleck. There’s Crappy-Movie-Bonanza-Ben freakin’ Affleck.
Lest we forget:
Notably, Ben Affleck has stunk up his fair share of action movies. Whereas Matt Damon (or, as I like to call him: “The Successful Good Will Brother”) kicked some major booty in the Bourne franchise, Ben Affleck has failed to demonstrate the talent to convincingly say words with his mouth while simultaneously doing action-y things with his body. This persistent inability to multi-task leads to Affleck’s bizarre tendency to let his face go utterly limp whenever he does an action scene. To wit:
It’s as if that massive chin is too heavy to keep up while also exerting the energy of running.
Now tell me you can imagine this slack-jawed face in the cape and cowl.
And tell me you’ll be able to stomach two more hours of this (I’m lookin’ at you, Keith).
Okay, I’m gonna stop brewing the Ben Affleck haterade. Maybe it won’t be too bad. After all, Christopher Nolan and the rest of the team behind the Nolanverse Batman franchise has really surprised me with their casting choices, many of which I swore up and down were terrible ideas, and for which I was proved embarrassingly wrong after the fact. Christian Bale as Batman? Never gonna work. Heath Ledger as Joker? You’ve gotta be high. Even Dark Knight Rises had its fair share of capable casting choices; I thought Princess Diaries Anne Hathaway was gonna suck as Catwoman and she was tolerably good.
And, let’s face it, JGL as Baby Batboy was just plain epic. (Aside: I was totally rooting for him to play a sort of Nightwing-esque Batman in Man of Steel 2).
Sure, Zack Snyder is behind the “Man of Steel” franchise (and as Keith pointed out earlier today, there’s plenty of bigger things to worry about with Zack Snyder helming the next Superman), but Nolan’s still got his fingers in that particular pie.
And even “Man of Steel” made some surprisingly good casting decisions. Sure, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams were eyeball-meltingly bad in their “emotionally deadened” interpretations of Superman and Lois Lane. But, Russell Crowe, whose casting I mocked for months, actually saved that movie as history’s most bad-ass Jor-El ever. Even Kevin Costner was pretty decent as Supes’ other daddy (stupid, easily avoidable, death scene notwithstanding).
So, maybe we just need to put our trust in the powers-that-be.
Maybe, Ben Affleck won’t suck too much as Batman.
Maybe it’ll all be okay.
Maybe, he’ll be serious, and compelling, and mysterious, and bad-ass, and…