Weeks after the news that director Zack Snyder would be adding the iconic Batman to his upcoming Man of Steel sequel, now slated for release on July 17, 2015, the speculation of who will be filling the famous cape and cowl can now be put to rest.
The man filling the giant shoes left vacant by the amazing Christian Bale is...Ben Affleck?
It's true! In a press statement released by Warner Bros themselves here earlier tonight (8/22), Greg Silverman (President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production) and Sue Kroll (President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures) dropped the news that Affleck, who has garnered massive critical acclaim with last year's directorial effort Argo (not to mention earning the once-maligned actor a Best Director Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Picture), would become billionaire Bruce Wayne and his superhero counterpart.
Normally, this news would make me happy, causing my geek side to do back flips in my soul. So why isn't it?
Many people may not recall, but Affleck filled another cowl and tight-fitting costume -- as the titular hero in Daredevil. While some would consider this one of the blemishes on Marvel's record, it's hard to deny that Affleck was perfect as the Man Without Fear, even though the film was certainly not up to the standards we've come to expect with Iron Man and The Dark Knight.
Apparently, the experience left a bad taste in Affleck's mouth, saying in November 2006 "by playing a superhero in Daredevil, I have inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero... Wearing a costume was a source of humiliation for me and something I wouldn't want to do again soon."
Granted, in context, he was saying this about a possible reprisal of blind Hell's Kitchen lawyer Matt Murdock and his superhero identity, but look at the quote again. He said "wearing a costume was a source of humiliation for me and something I wouldn't want to do again soon." That would indicate he doesn't want to play any superhero again.
So, why the sudden change of heart?
Now, admittedly, since Man of Steel made an absolute killing at the box office (at least in comparison to what Superman Returns did in 2006), and, seeing this is the first time that Superman and Batman will share a live-action screen together in the history of DC films, it is the role of a lifetime. But it's still an odd choice for someone who has been so vocal about never playing a superhero again.
Okay. Ben Affleck has come along way over the last decade. Even after winning an Oscar for Good Will Hunting, filling Harrison Ford's shoes as Jack Ryan in The Sum of All Fears, and earning some credibility playing George Reeves in Hollywoodland, Affleck could not shake his critically maligned turn in Gigli, which is still considered by many to be the worst film in cinematic history. Affleck's one-two combo of directing and starring in The Town and Argo -- both for Warner Bros. -- finally earned him the respect of not only his peers, but the film-going audiences at large.
Affleck taking the role of Batman may be the role of a lifetime, but it's also a huge risk. His producing partner and friend George Clooney played Batman in 1997 in Batman & Robin, and it almost ruined his career. Granted, Zack Snyder is easily superior to Joel Schumacher, and so the same risk of camp is not there. However, after proving his artistic merits as a writer and director the last couple years, taking such a role may look like he's selling out -- especially since he essentially vowed never to take on another superhero role.
Will Ben Affleck do well as Batman? Of course he will. But it doesn't change the fact that it's an odd, risky move on Affleck's part, and hopefully it won't cause his new career trajectory to falter.