Unless you've been living under a rock where there isn't any Internet service, you know that Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman in the upcoming sequel to Warner Bros. summer hit, 'Man Of Steel'. You also know that the Internet lost its proverbial mind over the film studio's decision to cast Affleck. Some were supportive, many were outraged beyond all comprehension. Why beyond all comprehension?
A, because it's just a movie, folks, and B, we've all seen this before.
Anne Rice lead the charge against Tom Cruise when he was chosen to play the vampire Lestat in 'Interview With A Vampire', telling the Los Angeles Times that Cruise was 'no more my Vampire Lestat than Edward G. Robinson is Rhett Butler'.
When the late Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker in 'The Dark Knight', an uprising very similar to the one that has risen against Affleck reared its ugly head. Anonymous folks from all over chimed in on forums such as Reddit.com to voice their opinions and many of the comments ranged from anger to homophobia.
Whatever your personal opinion on either of these films is now, they both did well, the apocalypse was averted and we all moved on to complain another day. But is it possible that the complaining is misplaced? This dust up over casting big name stars is a very effective smoke-and-mirrors technique that distracts from a much more important issue, the validity of the film being made itself. It's not so much that we've seen casting called into question before, though we have, it's more that we've seen this film before, and perhaps, enough.
To date, 'Man Of Steel' has made close to $650 million worldwide, easily making it the highest grossing Superman movie ever. It carried a budget of $225 million. Superman has been appearing in some form of live action film since the first film serial in 1948. Since then, we've had 'Atom Man vs. Superman', 'Superman and The Mole Men', the Superman film series, which consisted of five films if you include the 1984 spin-off 'Supergirl', 'Superman Returns', the aforementioned 'Man Of Steel', and now, of course, the upcoming sequel slated for 2015 which will star Mr. Affleck. None of this counts Superman's incarnations as cartoons, television shows and comic books since the character's introduction in 1938.
That's a lot of Superman. Not to mention the copious media installments of Batman since 1939.
Perhaps it's time for something new.
The fact that these characters have endured to be adored by so many for so long is an admirable feat and a credit to their creators to be sure, but maybe it's time to hang up the capes and allow for the introduction of new creators to introduce us to new characters we can adore. There are many great scripts and stories that languish in the what is commonly referred to as 'development hell' in the studio coffers that are overlooked for the creative regurgitation of films, stories and characters that we have all seen before.
The entertainment business is a business, yes, but it should still be a creative one. It should not have to depend on overused stories to keep the lights on. The audience should be given more credit.
As for Mr. Affleck's casting, only time will tell.