Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Monday, August 26, 2013

I'm NOT Batman

The twitter world exploded.  Facebook exploded. A number of comic book and movie sites explodes. It was announced that Ben Affleck is contracted as the new Batman.  Nerd rage went seemingly universal in a matter of seconds.  "Didn't you see Daredevil? He cannot act.  He is wrong for the role.  I want Josh Brolin.  I want Bale back.  I want Jim Caviezel. I think we should give it to..." On and on and on as if they had any choice in who Chris Nolan would pick for his movie.

As far as Daredevil goes, who do you blame for the movie when it goes wrong: the actors or the directors or the writers or everyone involved? (For the record, I don't hate Daredevil, but I never really followed the comic book either.) In any case, when most movies fail, its usually the director and producer that get the blame, except if they have a high profile star. Ryan Reynolds and Ben Affleck are cases, in point. Although, I don't see Bruce Willis getting blame for the stinkers he's done.  It appears to be a phenomenon in the comic book movie world.  This means actors are taking a much greater risk because they could anger the nerd base, be blamed for the movie's failure and be stamped as that character for the rest of their career.  Okay, I make an exception for Tom Cruise.  He gets blamed too when one of his movies fail.  

There were of course the jokes.  "I want Adam West. Will Matt Daymon be Robin? Glenn Close could play Batman.  Well, at least he has the chin.  Affleck can probably do Bruce Wayne but in no way can he be The Dark Knight."  There is a boat load of memes. There is even a  petition online to stop Warner Brothers from using Affleck as Batman in the new movie.

Then there are the arguments about revisiting actors who have already done the whole super hero thing.  Chris Evans who played both Johnny Flame in Fantastic 4 and Captain America is one example. Although the Josh Brolin folks have seemed to forgotten that he has done two comic book movies, Jonah Hex and Men in Black.  They have also forgotten that Halle Berry has done both Storm in the X-Men franchise and the much maligned Catwoman movie or that Liam Neeson has appeared in Darkman and The Dark Knight Rises, or Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool and Green Lantern.  Affleck actually has, until now, avoided returning to the cape world of super heroes. He turned down directing Man of Steel and has also turned down directing and starring in a Daredevil reboot.

There are a few voices that have asked a simple question, "What if it turns out Affleck is good at Batman?"  He will be the 15th Batman incarnation on TV, Movies, and Cartoons. His brooding Daredevil wasn't awful.  It was the movie that was weak. Affleck, like it or not, is an Oscar winning writer and director.  He has been acclaimed for his performances in movies like The Town.  Many were outraged by his lack of Best Director nomination for Argo. He also has more than a few action flicks in his resume. He is generally considered a nice guy.  So why shouldn't he get the part?  He made some bad movies.  Name an actor worth his salt that hasn't. Taking risk is what many actors do.  Some more than others.

There is also this.  I seriously question if Christian Bale is the best Batman, ever.  Don't get me wrong.  My favorite is the Dark Knight series.  But Bale's voice and delivery as the Dark Knight is more than a little over the top.  We also know that Nolan wants an older Batman for the Batman vs. Superman movies.  And finally, before we judge, do you remember this guy?
Or this guy?
Both these guys were considered to be the worst choices for the roles ever.  Michael Keaton brought the edge we've come to expect in the return to Dark Knight and away from the kinder and gentler Adam West of the 1960's.  Heath Ledger, coming off Brokeback Mountain and a Knight's Tale was considered a very bad choice for the iconic villain.  He was posthumously awarded the Oscar for his portrayal of Joker.  It was he who made the movie and perhaps the series. I would also remind you of the reaction to Daniel Craig being announced as the next Bond.  Like Affleck there were letters and petitions and a general outcry from the Bond nerds.

Finally, there is not one piece of film shot.  Not even a screen test. There are  zero pictures of Affleck as Batman, not even a costume test.  We have, in short, nothing that tells us that he isn't right for the role. I am not saying that I think Affleck is going to a great job as the Caped Crusader.  The fact is, we don't know.  I am willing to wait before I judge.