Pop Off: Affleck doesn't deserve the flak
Published: Monday, August 26, 2013
Updated: Monday, August 26, 2013 22:08
You know, for the first column of the year I wanted to talk about something fun. Maybe look back at the best movies of the summer, or how the horror genre finally seems to be turning more than one good film every half-decade, but no. Apparently one routine A-List casting decision for a superhero film has the entire world’s tights in a knot, and I wouldn’t be doing my job correctly if I didn’t toss in my two worthless cents. I speak of course of Jamie Foxx being cast as Electro in “The Amazing Spiderman 2.” Oh wait, I’m being told nobody cares about that because Ben Affleck is the new Batman.
First of all, this news has received the biggest overreaction since Joseph Kony. #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck was a top trending hashtag on Twitter for three straight days. Even if Affleck bombs in the role, I really doubt there are that many people who can do it better than him. Secondly, where were all of you when Ashton Kutcher was cast as Steve Jobs? I’d also like to remind people this is not for another Christopher Nolan “Batman” project, but rather for Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” sequel, which is unofficially being called “Batman vs. Superman,” probably just for marketing reasons. This means Affleck’s role will not be a lead, it may even be second-tier. He will also likely reprise the role for the 2016 “Justice League” film, another ensemble piece.
I really thought after “Gone Baby Gone,” “The Town,” and especially “Argo,” the age of Affleck bashing was over. He’s a very respected and talented figure in Hollywood, and is no longer the celebrity punching bag he was while together Jennifer Lopez. “Gigli” came out ten years ago, get over it.
So my thoughts on Affleck as Batman, indifferent. It’s definitely a head-scratcher, but that’s not a bad thing, and at worst it can be called questionable. My only gripe is his time would be better spent writing and directing, but that’s barely a nitpick. There are certainly some positive aspects. He will be acting across Henry Cavill, whose career wasn’t negatively affected by “Man of Steel,” but it wasn’t the breakthrough performance many had expected or hoped for. So Affleck’s presence will probably give him a boost.
Afleck also has some experience in a superhero role. He played George Reeves as Superman in “Hollywoodland,” the first actor to play both Batman and Superman. He was also the title character in the “Daredevil,” which received mixed reviews (I haven’t seen it), but critics agreed Affleck isn’t to blame for its shortcomings.
Most importantly, Affleck might be perfect if you look at his filmography over the last several years. The characters he portrayed are often headstrong and physically capable, but are often faced with moral ambiguity and deep personal torture. That’s Batman.