Saturday, August 24, 2013


So, the announcement has been made: Ben Affleck will be playing Batman in the as-yet-untitled Batman/Superman movie, and the internet has lost its mind . . . again.
Here are a few thoughts to perhaps help us maintain a little perspective.

1. Before Twitter, Facebook, or, really, before the internet was really any part of the public conscious at all, we all still managed to freak out about Michael Keaton being cast as Batman. I was a big Michael Keaton fan, but even I balked at the idea of Mr. Mom as the caped crusader. I - and the rest of the world - quickly changed tune on that one, and now Michael Keaton stands on the cinematic pedestal as the quintessential Batman.

"I am the Batman. This is my city.
At nap time it belongs to me."

2. Everybody freaked out about Heath Ledger being cast as the Joker. I was less concerned than most, but even I was reticent. Next Halloween count the number of Heath Ledger Jokers you see stumbling out of pubs.

"...cause I'm a picker, I'm a grinner, I'm a lover, and I'm a sinner...."

3. Daredevil (2003) was pretty bad, yes, but how much of that was a bad performance on Affleck's part? Not much. (Jennifer Garner is another story.) The major problem with most bad superhero movies is the inability of the screenwriter and director to effectively find a tone for bringing a comic book - particularly a long-running comic book - to a movie screen for 100 - 150 minutes. The temptation can be to try to shove everything interesting about the character into one movie, and that often means that the story suffers. I will similarly defend George Clooney as Batman and Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern. These guys showed up, put on the masks, and did their best at bringing their characters to life in the worlds that were created for them. Batman and Robin was a disaster, but Clooney didn't make it so. (Schumacher did that. Bat-nipples.) Reynolds was a great Hal Jordan in a Green Lantern movie that couldn't decide what kind of movie it wanted to be.

4. The real concern with the Batman/Superman movie shouldn't be Affleck. Affleck will be fine. I'm a little concerned about what his Batman voice will sound like as he is no Kevin Conroy, but that's nitpicky. The concerns - or at least my concerns - are as follows:

a. Man of Steel was not that great. (The worst of the Iron Man movies was still better.) The Krypton sequences were the best part of the film. The rest of it was proselytizing on . . . well, I'm not really sure. Was it that humanity was good or that humanity was bad? Also, spoiler alert: Superman saves the planet (Metropolis is basically FUBAR, though), but he loses. It's not the cape or the flying or the super-strength that makes Clark Kent Superman, it's the boundaries that he places on his powers that really make him the hero. And what does he do in this: his origin film? ::crunch:: Yup. I think we need to see a better Superman film (same cast and crew is fine) before we see a Superman team-up film.
"Oh yeah, look behind me. That's what this movie is all about:
corporate advertising."

b. The Christopher Nolan Batman universe was not designed to fit into the large DC universe. This was by design, and it worked. Also, it's all pretty well wrapped up in the Dark Knight Rises. This means that the Batman will need to be re-booted in order to fit into the Man of Steel universe. It doesn't have to be a major re-boot, and it can even happen in the same movie. We don't need another origin story. We just need to establish that this Batman is not the same one played by Christian Bale. Alfred is there (played by a different actor, naturally), Bruce Wayne is still moonlighting as Batman (or vice-versa), and there's probably a different look to the costume. (Hands off, Schumacher!) The problem is not with having to re-boot Batman, it's that I'm not crazy about Zack Snyder's Superman re-boot. (Paranoid Jonathan Kent? Really?)
Alan Rickman as Alfred.
And now you're wishing you'd thought of it.

I'm far less concerned about Ben Affleck playing Batman in a Batman/Superman team-up movie than I am about the fact that they're making a Batman/Superman team-up movie. It seems a little presumptive to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment