Thursday, September 5, 2013

Batffleck, or why this might just be a good thing.

     Stepping out into the great big world of nerd culture lately, you'll see there's been a firestorm of controversy surrounding the next Superman film. Given how Man Of Steel kind of quietly sunk when compared to the majority of the recent Marvel films, this comes as a little bit of a surprise to me. I'm a little bit behind the times, and am kind of ashamed to admit I haven't seen Man Of Steel yet. Supes kind of bores me a little, but I am looking forward to that awesome armored Kryptonian depiction of Faora.

     I really hate the term nerd-rage, because it speaks to that whole 'new-wave of geekdom' that's all a little embarrassing (I'll get into why another time), but it's kind of fitting here. The day the announcement was made, my Facebook feed was, quite literally (as Erin had inquired) every other post nerd-raging about the casting news. The unthinkable had happened. Batman was appearing in the Man of Steel sequel, and he'd be portrayed by Ben Affleck.

     When I first spotted this, blearily scrolling through my feed at 5 in the afternoon, it took a few posts for my brain to make the connection. "...Affleck? Really?" I felt no nerd-rage myself, though. In my mind's eye, Batman has been fouled up pretty bad except for two actors: Michael Keaton and Kevin Conroy. Keaton was Tim Burton's Batman, and I think he did a magnificent job, especially considering his primarily comedy background. If you're not familiar with Kevin Conroy's work, this is the part where I say stop reading and go watch an episode of Batman: The Animated Series. Heart of Ice or Perchance to Dream, preferably. Two of my favorites. Or go play either of the excellent Batman Arkham Asylum/City games. I won't recommend Arkham Origins yet, as it's a different developer, and I haven't played it yet.

     I didn't like Val Kilmer's gloomy Bruce Wayne. I hated Clooney's goofy-ass Batman. As fitting as Adam West's campy Batman was for the tone of the show, I wasn't a fan. And I sat through three films wishing Christian Bale would a) take a lozenge and b) do some proper detective work.

     So I started fighting back. I started posting memes and images and random thoughts supporting Affleck, tagging the #Batffleck. Initially, this was just a joke. It amused me to be contrarion. Then I really thought about it. Then came a public declaration of "I'm going to sell you people on #Batffleck." I'm deadly serious now. I fully support Affleck.

     If you want to keep Bats true to character, there's exactly two physical features you need. 1) a white guy with 2) a strong jawline. Affleck has that completely locked. He's played a dark and brooding superhero with a flippant alter-ego before in Daredevil, and whether you liked or disliked that film, the point is he's got experience now. He'll have learned from it. Those douchebag roles he's played so well in the past? Can you really think of a better Bruce Wayne? I hear some of his later works, such as Argo and The Town were really quite good films, with a darker tone, too.

     Really, I urge you. Look past Gigli. It was a perfect storm of cinematic excretion. Forget Armageddon. Go dial up that Daredevil DVD and watch the scene when he comes in from his night job, strips off the suit, and you see the scars, how he moves in pain, popping the pills and slipping into that isolation chamber. Batffleck really could be the best live-action Bat we've ever seen.

     And, you know I'm obligated to say: Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, yo.


  1. My buddy was a hardcore Daredevil fan. His take on the film was that Matt Murdock wasn't depressed, he was PISSED and Affleck didn't go the anger route. It's funny now because Chris even screamed at the screen, "THIS IS DAREDEVIL NOT MOTHERFUCKING BATMAN!"

    Ben will do well.

  2. I dunno. I'm trying to reserve judgement till I see the movie, but it's hard to forgive the Affleck for completely ruining the Jack Ryan. Though, I know a lot of blame can also be placed with the writers of that steaming pile of a movie...

  3. I'm still pissed at Jonesy being changed from a surfer dude to Sonarman Diversity.

  4. I grew-up on Adam West in 2nd Grade and was way too young to see the camp or goofball tone. It was serious and the Batmobile was super-serious and awesome, like the Gemini Mission and John Glenn in outer-space. I liked the *BIFF* and the *POW* stuff thrown onto the screen, and me and my best buddy Steve would don a green or blue towel as a cape, and run around the back yard yelling and pretend fighting. But then I was torn from childish-hood and we went overseas, and I didn't watchor see any TV for four years.

    By the time I got back I was too old and too experienced, having seen and smelt the crawling underbelly of the 3rd World up too-close, and suffered the cold helpless loneliness of boarding school. I left my comic-books behind with my (full-size) Gi-Joes, sadly... When I later saw people playing Ren-Faire dress-up and then Goth games - just as freely as infants, dressing-up as Vampires and running around having social interactions, I could not join-in, something that might allow it was broken, so any of the re-makes just left me a bit numb...

  5. I love the Daredevil. One of my all-time favorite comic characters. I didn't hate Affleck's portrayal of him. Honestly I was more disappointed by Colin Farrell's Bullseye. I liked the tone of the Nolan Batman movies (read your comics, kids, Bats is a bad bad man) but I agree with you WRT Bale's take on the character. I remain cautiously optimistic about Batffleck.

  6. I have a small thread of hope. It's called Argo.

    I rented Argo and watched it, and it's a damn good movie. But the honest-to-Cthulhu truth is that Marvel's cinematic star has been steady or ascending for the last several years, while DC's (with the exception of the Nolanverse Batman movies) ... really hasn't. The movie may well sink not because of Ben Affleck, but because of the inability of the screenwriters to deliver a story.

  7. What we really need is another Superman movie. And Spiderman. And Batman too, cause really, they're not overdone at all...


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