Ben Affleck is the new Batman. That was the official announcement late yesterday by Warner Bros. He’ll be replacing Christian Bale and will be the next to don the cowl in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel against Henry Cavill‘s Superman.
According to Man of Steel director Zack Snyder:
Ben provides an interesting counterbalance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.
Says Greg Silverman, Warner Bros.’ president of creative development and worldwide production:
We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular superheroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some. His outstanding career is a testament to his talent, and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character
For those with a good memory, Affleck is hardly new to playing in the comic book sandbox. He starred in Daredevil as the titular hero, portrayed George Reeves as Superman in Hollywoodland, and was in talks to direct a previous incarnation of a Justice League movie himself. Add to that the many spoofs and comic gags that have come from working with his buddy and fellow director Kevin Smith, and you have a person who, while an odd and unexpected choice, isn’t necessarily an insane one. True, his directorial skills outweigh his acting skills, but he’s actually becoming quite a decent actor now. Again, perhaps it’s easier to take direction from yourself, but I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt. To be clear, I’m skeptical that he can pull this off, but I also don’t think it’s impossible. The same things were said about Heath Ledger and Michael Keaton when they were first cast and now they’re two of the most beloved character portrayals within the comic property.
If you break it down a bit, divorcing yourself of the knowledge that this is Ben Affleck we’re talking about here, what you have is a certain number of things. You have a good looking guy who can easily pull off the lifestyle, the bravado, and celebrity of a Bruce Wayne. You also have an actor who in recent years has been playing increasingly tougher, grittier, or haunted characters. And he’s done so convincingly enough to garner those films praise in their own right. This actor is also no stranger to action, having already played a superhero, as well as a filmography that includes Armageddon, The Town, and Smokin’ Aces. In truth, I think the biggest battle he’ll face in this role is just his own celebrity as Ben Affleck. I would have preferred more of an unknown since Ben brings with him all the things that you think of when you hear the word Affleck, whatever that may be. But as the choice for Batman, I wouldn’t even say it could be worse, because the truth is we don’t know if it’ll be bad. It could be, but it’s not a definite. Do I think they could have casted better based on the talent that’s out there, yes. But until we hear and see more, I’m completely fine to just wait and see.