I’ve been following with interest the response to last week’s announcement that Ben Affleck will take over the movie role of Batman/Bruce Wayne from Christian Bale.
It’s time for me to weigh in on this latest comics-related controversy!
First, a quick recap – I’ve been a big Batman fan ever since I read my first comic as a kid. It was an 80-page giant with Batman swooping around a castle in England. Like Frank Miller said of the first Dark Knight story he ever experienced, I fell in.
Since then, Batman has had a big influence on my life. I wrote several blog posts about this a few years back in which I noted Batman as one of my favorite characters because he could solve mysteries that no one else could. (I still wish he’d do more of that these days!)
IT’S TOUGHER THESE DAYS TO CHOOSE ACTORS TO PLAY THESE ROLES
Thanks to the Internet, information flows much more quickly than it used to. I remember not knowing who was playing what part until the movie posters were seen in the local theaters. Now, big announcements come long before we see the actor’s mug anyplace.
As someone who writes for such a website, I truthfully prefer it this way. Now, I don’t want to know all the details of a film before I see it, but knowing important tidbits of information often helps whet my appetite for a movie.
I’ve read a lot of criticism of how Warner Bros. released this information last week. They should have sent it out earlier in the day so “real” critics could have responded to it instead of just bloggers, some said.
ANYONE BUT HIM!
It always entertains me when an actor is chosen to take up a “classic” role. I remember the screams of terror when Michael Keaton was announced. Mr. Mom as Batman? Never! Yet he did a good job portraying him. The same happened with Christian Bale. Wait – American Psycho as the Dark Knight? He’s too thin, too weird, etc. But he’s become one of my very favorites to date. Heath Ledger, anyone?
This doesn’t hold true only for Batman. I remember the response when Matt Smith was the new lead in Doctor Who. People took one look at him and pronounced that he would never be accepted. Recently another actor was selected to take his place, and the same reaction took place. And I recall the outrage at choosing Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark. Now, people don’t think anyone BUT him could play the character.
We all have people we’d “like” to see take on famous roles, but almost always, that never happens. I’ve been at this so long that I’ve given up trying to set up my own “casting couch.”
ON TO BATFLECK!
He’s too tall at 6’4” since Henry Cavill is only 6’1,” and Superman should be taller than Batman. (They can pull a “Deanna Troi” with this situation. Marina Sirtis was noticeably shorter than Jonathan Frakes on Star Trek: The Next Generation, so she often stood on a box that diminished the height difference visibly when they spoke to each other.)
He’s made bad movies in the past, so we can’t trust him with Batman. (I could write a whole column on the bad movies previous stars made before becoming a success with a classic character, so that’s not something I buy.)
He’s too old! (Makeup!)
He’s a bad actor! (Well, compared to what? Mr. Affleck was a much better choice than some of the names that were tossed around. I rolled my eyes when I heard Orlando Bloom was possibly being considered. Interestingly, there are many people who still prefer him overall.)
WHY I AM GIVING BATFLECK THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT
I still see many saying to give Mr. Bale as much money as he wants to come back. But I understand his reasons for wanting to move on. The trilogy he starred in did very well, and I’m sure he’d like to flex his acting muscles by playing other parts rather than wear the cape and cowl in the near future. He’s still a class act, in my opinion, after turning down $60 mil.
Affleck played Daredevil previously, so he’s going to be much more familiar with playing a costumed hero than an actor who has never done that before.
I’ve seen Affleck in roles I’ve enjoyed, so I know he can do a good job.
There’s a whole cottage industry on the Internet that spends days at a time coming up with casting choices. I’ve never seen any of them pick the one eventually chosen by a studio who goes on to be a success.
And several people still don’t buy Henry Cavill after seeing him as Superman in Man of Steel. You can please some of the people some of the time, after all.
I have this habit of going to a movie, forgetting everything I heard about it before I enter the theater, and letting it work its magic on me, if there’s any to be had. I recommend that many of us give this a try with Superman versus Batman. We could be very pleasantly surprised! And if it sucks, we can all go to the Internet and complain about it!