Okay, my Twitter and Facebook feeds just exploded with the recent announcement that Ben Affleck will be playing Bruce Wayne/Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel.
Anyone who’s ever seen Daredevil will automatically cringe at this decision — I know I did. When I started thinking about it, Affleck was not the problem with that movie, it was the screenplay. Think about it, both Matt Murdock and Electra have secret identities to cover up the fact that they are supreme martial artists. So how do they flirt? Overblown kung-fu fight, in a playground…in broad daylight. If you’re unfamiliar with Daredevil’s mundane side, he’s an attorney. And he’s blind.
So, yeah, the writing can screw the pooch. That to me is more fundamental than the casting. Ben Affleck is not a great actor, but this could be a workable role for him. More importantly, he’s actually a very good director, so if they let him behind the lens once in a while, that might make the film better. It still comes down to the script, and frankly, I’m a little worried. Man of Steel was a klooge. A good film visually, but if you knew anything about Kal-El/Clark Kent, you’d be left scratching your head. Logical decisions in the film aside (seriously, why terraform a planet that can already support your species AND give them superpowers?), the attempt to grimdark Superman was without a doubt one of the worst decisions made in super hero film history. DC has a grim dark superhero and he was played until recently by Christian Bale. In fact The Dark Knight Rises ended with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character being given the keys to the Bat Cave. Why not make him Batman in MoS 2?
Frankly, this all points to a greater, more systemic problem with DC, which has been shooting itself in both feet and walking the fire up its legs. They’ve made a number of dumb decisions since the reboot of their comic lines, ran a rigged Neilsen survey to cater to the results they wanted, and have been trying to make a product for the 18-24 year old male demographic ever since. At least that’s how it all looks in terms of PR. They’ve greenlighted a Justice League film, along with a Flash film, but have said squat about a Wonder Woman film. One rumor says DC was against it because the character’s back story is “too complex.” Meanwhile, as part of Marvel’s “Phase 2” we’re getting Guardians of the Galaxy which features a raccoon with a machine-gun. Based on the clamor in Hall H at the San Diego Comic Con, I’d say a lot of fans are buying into this.
Personally, I can’t help wondering if DC just gave up fighting the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). They’re making a late attempt at a continuity similar to the MCU, but there’s no drive. It feels half-assed, as if they’re just throwing things together in the hopes of riding the trend of superhero movies and making a little money on the side. That bothers me, because I’d love to see those characters on the screen as well.
I just want the films to do them justice.