On Friday it was announced that Ben Affleck has been cast in the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman for the forthcoming sequel to this year’s Man of Steel, and my first reaction to this news was something along the lines of, “WTF?”
Don’t get me wrong. I like Ben Affleck, and have thoroughly enjoyed a number of his movies, most notably films such as Chasing Amy, Dogma and Mallrats, in all of which he seems almost typecast as a bit of a quirky, sometimes loveable comedy straight-man, and it’s a role I think he’s well suited to. But whoever thought he has the acting talent to play someone as dark and brooding as Batman really needs to rethink their strategy. Have these people seen Pearl Harbour, or Daredevil? Or Gigli? Without wanting to belittle Mr. Affleck’s ability, I really don’t think he has what it takes to do the role any justice whatsoever. And speaking of Daredevil, isn’t that the movie that led him to announce that he’d never do another superhero movie again?
Apparently I’m not the only one having a problem dealing with this casting decision. Within hours of the announcement the Twittersphere had exploded with thousands of tweets bemoaning the choice, with the #betterbatmanthanbenaffleck hashtag quickly trending. By far my favourite of the bunch was from ubergeek Wil Wheaton…
Really looking forward to seeing Affleck bring the depth and gravitas to Batman that he brought to Daredevil and Gigli.
— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) August 23, 2013
Even more shocking (or amusing, depending on your point of view) however was the creation of a petition at change.org asking for him to be removed from the role, and apparently there was even one started at the White House website asking for the President himself to pass judgement, because you know, it’s not like Obama has anything more important to deal with right now (like Syria, for example?).
Now, not everybody is against the idea; director Joss Whedon (he of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly and Avengers Assemble fame) has weighed in with the following:
Affleck’ll crush it. He’s got the chops, he’s got the chin — just needs the material. Affleck & Cavill toe to toe — I’m in.
— Joss Whedon (@josswhedon) August 24, 2013
Who knows? Maybe Affleck will prove the critics wrong and hit us with a blindingly good performance as the Dark Knight but given his past record I’m not going to hold my breath on this one.
All that aside, the casting committee for the movie may have redeemed themselves a little with today’s announcement that the role of arch villain Lex Luther will be played by none other than Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston. Now that’s a casting decision I can get behind (once I can stop thinking of him as the dad from Malcolm in the Middle…).
Edit – 04-Sept-2013
It would appear that the news that Bryan Cranston has been cast as Lex Luthor is not actually true. I guess this just proves you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Ho hum.