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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Last Thursday night, it was revealed that Ben Affleck was cast as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the upcoming Superman/Batman film due in 2015. It was later revealed that he signed on to play Batman for multiple films (I personally suspect that he will serve as the “Nick Fury” role for the DC Cinematic Universe). When the news hit, the internet reacted thusly:
Followed by this:
And it seemed to be all I read about for the next two days on various forms of social media and “mainstream” media (Um..hello..isn’t it looking like the US is getting into another war? Shouldn’t our attention be focused on that?). People seemed personally offended by this. My question: Why? Why is this Ben Affleck a bad choice? Or, better question, why has “the internet” attacked him with such vitriol? Hasn’t be proven himself to be a capable actor (and filmmaker overall) again and again who seems to have very little ego?
Affleck is a very capable actor. I think people are still thinking Affleck is still the same actor today that he was in 2002. That couldn’t be farther from the case. After his mid-00s fall, Affleck took time to rebuild his career in such quieter roles in Hollywoodland (where he played George “Superman” Reeves – very amusing looking back now), State of Play, and The Town. The Town, in particular, received rave reviews by critics and movie goers.
The Ben Affleck of 2013 is a very different actor than the Ben Affleck of 2003. People need to realize that. He has range. He has nuance (if they are going the conflicted Batman route). He can do action and he has good screen presence.
I have also seen the argument that Affleck is a terrible choice because of Daredevil. Yes, that movie did not fare well with the critics or audiences, but how much of that was Affleck’s fault. Keep in mind, superhero movies from 2003 were a very different beast than they are today. Additionally, that was a different movie from a different studio, made my different people, making different creative decisions. It is ridiculous to compare the two films. That is kind of like saying Batman & Robin was a terrible film, so that means Ocean’s Eleven will be terrible too because both starred George Clooney. No. That is a horribly misguided thought process.
Remember how everyone nerd-raged against Robert Downey Jr., Heath Ledger, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig, and Mark Ruffalo among others when they were cast in their respective superhero roles? They seemed to turn out just fine. But, it is funny how people are denying that now when that is brought up.
Also, when Michael Keaton was cast at Batman back in the late ‘80s, there was a huge public outcry against “Mr. Mom” as Batman, that Warner Bros. had to rush out a trailer in order to shut people up. Of course now when that is brought up, people are claiming that Keaton “had range” and could pull off the role. Uh… no. He might have range, but he didn’t then (to the public at large). And you also have nearly 25 years of hindsight blurring that vision.
Check out this awesome article about this very thing.
Also, Superman/Batman (or whatever it is going to be called) is being made by the same creative team as Man of Steel, which seems to be loved in geek-circles. Shouldn’t this team be given the benefit of the doubt? And, reports say that Affleck has been contributing to the story and production of the film. Considering this guy just won an Oscar for Best Picture, wouldn’t this be anything, but a good thing?
People are also raging on how he is “only” working out two hours a day. Do any of these slobs on the internet know anything about building muscle? You can’t overdo it. You just can’t! You risk injury which defeats the whole purpose. Plus, two hours a day for (presumably) seven days? That’s fourteen hours a week and the film isn’t going into production until next summer. I think Affleck will be looking just fine.
Finally, since when has Batman become a sacred cow? It is fucking Batman. He isn’t some highly renowned character that only the best-of-the-best of actors are allowed to portray him. I am not belittling the character, but let’s get some perspective on this.
What this all boils down to is that people have this irritating sense of self-entitlement thinking that only their idea is the right idea. And since Affleck was such a surprising announcement, it was met with ridiculously rage. In the end, who knows? Affleck might be terrible. He might be great. I know I am not casting any personal judgment until I see some footage like a trailer.
The Culture Cast completely stands behind the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman. We’ll be there in 2015. Will you?
(Of course you will, even if you plan to “boycott it”.)