Hahahahaha Kevin Smith joke, Boston joke, Argo joke, Daredevil joke, Hollywoodland joke. I think I covered them all so I can now look at the new Batman casting with an eye for something other than easy pop-culture humor. Here is this Batman fan’s list of what to be optimistic and pessimistic about in the wake of this casting.
A. Star Power: No doubt about it, the Batman role still carries a lot of weight. Michael Keaton may have been arguably less famous at the time of his casting than successors Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and Christian Bale, but all of the above have had their time as true stars. Ben Affleck brings the same upper-echelon attention to the role. Of course, this is no guarantee of results, but it is a reminder that the cape and the cowl are never uncool.
B. Ben Affleck Is Suave As Hell: Did you see the Oscars?! This dude’s stubble on anyone’s face is enough to convince me that person is going through a dark and serious patch. I’d believe in the inner turmoil of a newborn if it had that stubble. Affleck has the skills to make me believe in a serious character and the charisma to make me think he can be Bruce Wayne.
C. He Is One Serious Dude: Affleck comes with creative abilities and control. He’s certainly no stooge, as his films The Town and Argo will attest. If he is motivated to create his own Bruce Wayne, he will do it and he will do it well. Of course, there is the subject of motivation when a dumptruck of money was just delivered to your house, which leads us to…
A. Ben Affleck Is Probably Taking A Money Bath Right Now: The announcement of both Affleck’s casting and THE RELEASE DATE OF THE MOVIE throws a lot of red flags my way. “Care about me,” pleads Zack Snyder, as he cries on his knees with his hands to the sky while Warner Brothers executives behind you try to pick your pocket. It’s an attempt to build the buzz Marvel, Star Trek, and Star Wars have built through established traditions and/or well-executed films.
B. Zack Snyder and David Goyer Are Still There, Guys: The horrifying love child of Michael Bay and Christopher Nolan, Snyder is here to profess love while simultaneously destroying everything about the characters you care about. Snyder’s fierce loyalty and dedication to violence, combined with the general tomfoolery with faux-moralistic crap concocted by Goyer, tainted Men Of Steel horribly. It will do the same here.
C. I’m Not Sure If You Understand Yet But You Don’t Matter: You don’t. You don’t matter to Marvel, you don’t matter to DC, you don’t matter to Disney, you don’t matter to Capcom. The minute these films are no longer profitable, they are gone. Affleck made headlines. Headlines make you come to the theater. The movie sucks or rocks, you don’t even know after being bombarded with grittiness and special effects. You are a statistic. Your silly petitions to cut Affleck are meaningless, fanboys. Give up. Accept what they give you or work really hard to give everyone something different. It’s hard to care about something so far out of my control that are made to be as popular as possible. It’s hard to be optimistic when Batman’s mythos, formed by Kane, Adams, O’Neil, Dini, Timm, Miller, Loeb, and more than I could ever name, are the tools of one director, producer, and writer to use or misuse. On July 17th, 2015, they will take my money again and I will walk out thinking about the moments that worked, and the many more moments that could have been. None of that will have anything to do with Ben Affleck.