Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman (the superhero alter ego of billionaire Bruce Wayne) in a still-untitled Warner Bros. Pictures movie that will feature Superman and Batman. According to Variety, Warner Bros. Pictures made the announcement on Aug. 22, 2013. A Warner Bros. announcement on Twitter and other media outlets stated that the movie has been scheduled for release on July 17, 2015.
Fans on the Internet have had mixed reactions to the news that Affleck has been cast as Batman. While some fans say they are pleased with this casting decision, many others are vehemently against Affleck getting this role and have expressed disappointment or anger. (See the end of this article for a sampling of comments on Twitter.)
Affleck has considerable clout at Warner Bros. Pictures, the movie studio behind "Argo," the Batman/Dark Knight movies and most other movies based on DC Comics. Affleck, George Clooney (who played Batman/Bruce Wayne in 1997's "Batman & Robin") and Grant Heslov won Oscars as producers of the 2012 thriller film "Argo," which won the Oscar for Best Picture and was a big hit with movie audiences and critics. "Argo" is based on the true story of how CIA operative Tony Mendez (played by Affleck) hatched a plan to rescue Americans who were held hostage at the U.S. embassy in Iraq in 1979.
On July 20, 2013, Warner Bros. Pictures and director Zack Snyder and actor Henry Cavill announced the Superman/Batman movie at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Cavill, who starred as Superman/Clark Kent in the 2013 blockbuster "Man of Steel" (also directed by Snyder and released by Warner Bros. Pictures), will reprise the role in the Superman/Batman movie.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Superman/Batman movie screenplay will be written by David S. Goyer, who co-wrote "Man of Steel."
Snyder issued this statement about Affleck being cast as Batman: “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”
This isn't the first time that Affleck has played a superhero in a movie. He played the title role in 2003's "Daredevil," which was a big hit with audiences but a major flop with movie critics, who mostly singled out Affleck's acting as being one of the worst things about the movie. Jennifer Garner, who played Elektra in "Daredevil" and the 2005 flop "Elektra," has been married to Affleck since 2005.
Affleck had indirect ties to the role of Superman in the 2006 movie "Hollywoodland," in which he starred as actor George Reeves, who was best known for playing Superman on TV.
Christian Bale played Batman in three movies directed by Christopher Nolan: 2005's "Batman Begins," 2008's "The Dark Knight" and 2012's "The Dark Knight Rises." Bale has said in several interviews that he will not be playing Batman in another movie. Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and Clooney have all previously played Batman in other movies. Adam West was Batman in the TV series. All of these previous "Batman" movies and TV episodes are available on demand, DVD, Blu-ray and digital download.
Affleck should also be in the "Justice League" movie that is tentatively being planned for release in 2017 by Warner Bros. Pictures. That movie is going to feature Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and other superheroes to be announced. Ryan Reynolds played Green Lantern in the 2011 movie of the same title, but it is unknown if he would be in the "Justice League" movie, since Green Lantern had multiple alter egos in the comic books. There is also a "Flash" movie being planned for release in 2016.
Affleck had been rumored to be in talks to direct the "Justice League" movie, whose director and cast are to be announced. Affleck's previous directing credits include "Argo," 2010's "The Town" and 2007's "Gone Baby Gone." Even though Affleck won an Oscar for producing "Argo," Affleck was famously snubbed for an Oscar nomination in the Best Director category for "Argo." In addition to directing "Argo" and "The Town," Affleck co-starred in both movies. He also won an Oscar for co-writing (with Matt Damon) the 1997 drama "Good Will Hunting." Affleck's other co-screenwriting credits include "The Town" and "Gone Baby Gone."
During the Comic-Con panel announcement about the Superman/Batman movie, actor Harry Lennix quoted a statement from DC Comics' "The Dark Knight Returns": “I want you to remember, Clark, in all the years to come, in your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you.”
In "The Dark Knight Returns" comic, Batman comes out of retirement at 55 years old to fight crime again. With Affleck cast as Batman, we know Batman in the Superman/Batman will not be that old, but at the end of "The Dark Knight Rises" movie, Batman did "retire." (For those who haven't seen the movie, there's a major plot twist at the end that won't be revealed here.)
After the news broke about Affleck being cast as Batman/Bruce Wayne, the phrases "Ben Affleck as Batman," "Better Batman Than Ben Affleck," "Batman" and "Bruce Wayne" became trending topics worldwide on Twitter.
Here is a sampling of Twitter comments about Affleck being casting as Batman:
"Ben Affleck officially cast as Batman in the Man of Steel sequel. For the first time in history, I kind of want Superman to win."
"Ben Affleck as Batman? You know who'd have been a better choice? Alan Rickman. #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck."
"Huge congrats to @BenAffleck for landing Batman! Here's hoping he gets to direct a Bat-movie down the road as well."
"Ben Affleck already butchered the Daredevil movie and now he's been cast as Batman??? Some men just want to watch the world burn."
"I love Ben Affleck as Batman tbh. Christian Bale is 1 of my fave actors ever but if he doesn't want 2 do it,someone else that wants 2 should."
"Ben Affleck as #Batman is another disaster waiting to happen! (again) Who's idea was this? Joel Schumacher's?"
"Ben Affleck as Batman? Where'd you get that decision? At the.. Toilet store?"
"Going from Christian Bale to Ben Affleck as Batman is like going from Brett Favre to Christian Ponder."
"Ben Affleck as #Batman is the worst thing to happen to the franchise since George Clooney's bat nipples...#WTF"
"Ben Affleck as Batman. Day ruined."
"RT if you think Ben Affleck as Batman is a GOOD idea."
"Ben Affleck as Batman? I didn't know who I wanted, but I know it wasn't him. Meryl Streep, maybe?"
"Ben Affleck as Batman in Man of Steel 2. Could be awesome. Could be Gigli."
"Ben Affleck as Batman is really just another Ben Affleck movie I won't be watching."
Sept. 16, 2013 update: Ben Affleck appeared on NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" to promote his movie "Runner Runner" on Sept. 16, 2013. During the interview, Affleck talked about the backlash over him being cast as Batman: "They said, 'Just don’t use the Internet for a couple of days' I handle sh*t! I'm tough! I saw the announcement, I look down the thing. 'Ben Affleck is going to be Batman.' The first comment? 'No!'"