Screw It, I'm on Team Affleck

Now that the dust has settled over last month's big casting news that Ben Affleck, director and star of last year's best picture Argo, has been cast as the infamous caped crusader in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel followup, I feel inclined to share my own thoughts on said casting as they have evolved since the announcement. My initial reaction to the casting was, like that of many on Twitter, that of utter confusion. As I summarized on Facebook, my response went something like this:
1. Wait, seriously?
2. Really?
3. They saw Daredevil, right?
4. Wait, who am I kidding, nobody saw Daredevil, but they know Daredevil exists, right?
5. Ironically, he was a pretty great George Reeves.
6. Isn't he too famous? I mean, all previous Batmen have been famous, but none at Affleck's level. Even Clooney was just starting to take off when he took the role.
7. I'd kind of rather have Ben Affleck direct the movie and have Zack Snyder play Batman.
8. Huh, I wonder if this means that Ben Affleck with direct Justice League or another DC movie at some point.
9. This still could be good. I mean, he is a good actor. But it probably won't be good.
10. I mean, really?
"Hey, lets swap suits for the day!"
But now things have changed. I've flip-flopped on my position and wholeheartedly endorse Ben Affleck as the new Batman. Here's why.

Firstly, I'll admit how weird this is. It's still weird. No other Batman has been nearly as famous as Affleck at the time of casting. Even George Clooney was primarily known as that guy from ER. Affleck has had a roller coaster of a career to say the least, but I want to refute the primary fanboy argument against this casting: that Ben Affleck sucks. Ben Affleck actually doesn't suck, and is in fact a good actor. Don't get me wrong, he DID suck (Pearl Harbor, Gigli, Jersey Girl, Daredevil, etc.) and we all know he sucked. He sucked hard. In fact, I'm pretty sure that he knows that he sucked. He didn't even have any movies released between 2007 and 2008, probably taking time off to consider what he should do about his extreme suckiness. Since then, however, his movies AND his performances have gotten consistently better. The man has two Oscars for crying out loud. Granted, neither of which are for acting but…you know. If one were to make a chart of Ben Affleck's career, it would certainly be on the upswing as of late, having just last year starred and directed the Best Picture of the Year. Most importantly, however, Affleck has been dragged through the dirt and come out clean. He overcame hardships and pushed through, just like Batman.

The second point I'd like to make is that fanboys are idiots and the vast majority of them know nothing about how movies are actually made. Affleck himself put it best. Fan outrage over casting decisions of iconic characters is almost expected at this point. Studios just can't win. Until the movie actually comes out that is. No one would have expected Michael Keaton could be Batman, but he was fantastic. I was skeptical when they cast that skinny Welsh guy from The Mechanic as Batman but he ended up delivering the best superhero trilogy of all time. What about when we were going to get that "Jokeback Mountain"villain in The Dark Knight? Yeah, fanboys are idiots. Good actors are capable of giving good performances.

What I've learned to love about this casting decision is that it is against type, just like Heath Ledger's casting as the Joker. No one can really picture Ben Affleck as Batman (some have more trouble than others). Movies are all about surprising the audience and this is a pretty damn good start. Furthermore, superheros are the hardest to picture until you see it. No one could have pictured Christian Bale as Batman, and now he's our freshest frame of reference. I'm not saying Affleck is going to be a better Batman than Bale (in fact I highly doubt it), but hell, he could be. I haven't seen the movie. Like I already said, he's a good actor and he's at a great point in his career.

So at the end of the day, this isn't terrible news. I can now begin to picture it. He's age appropriate. He's got the chin. If he beefs up and gets the voice just right, he can pull it off. I'm far more concerned about the rest of the movie. Who's going to portray Lex Luther? Are there going to be any Batman villains? Please don't let there be any Batman villains. There are a ton of reasons that can make this movie not work. Ben Affleck is the least of them. But hey, even if it does suck, don't forget that we love hating on things ("Remember how terrible Batman & Robin was?!? That was so GREAT!").

At the end of the day, if this whole Batman/Superman thing doesn't work out it's going to be Zack Snyder's fault, not Ben's. So lets hope some of Affleck's far superior directing ability rubs off on the guy who directed Sucker Punch. If we're really lucky enough, the future of the DC Cinematic Universe may lie in the hands of a super talented director ala Joss Whedon to Marvel. In this scenario, that director also happens to be the new Dark Knight himself.


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