Unless you are reading a printout of this article from a cabin in the woods because a friend of yours sent it via carrier pigeon, chances are you’ve heard the news that Ben Affleck is the new Batman. Probably 95% of you read the headline, “BEN AFFLECK IS BATMAN OMG ‘MURICA” and pissed yourselves as you unleashed your nerd rage in various social media networks.
It is true that Ben Affleck will be the next Batman. The fine print of that fact is Ben Affleck will be Batman in the next Superman movie. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be the next Batman in the Batman movie franchise itself.
I can live with that. Personal thoughts on how Ben Affleck is only good at acting like an asshat because he is an asshat aside, as well as the urban legend rule that an actor can’t play two superheroes, I am comfortable with Affleck taking on the Batman role. In fact, I think that Ben Affleck playing Batman in a Superman movie is the best thing that could ever happen for the Batman franchise. No, I am not drunk at the moment.
The Batman franchise has always been cyclical. One actor takes on the role of Batman and Bruce Wayne and makes it awesome. The next actor comes in and causes a lynch mob, which makes way for the next actor to seem brilliant because, hey, he’s not that other douche.
Think of the line of Batman actors in film and television:
Lewis Wilson- GOOD. Full of propaganda, but GOOD.
Robert Lowery- FAT. And BAD.
Adam West- GOOD. FUNNY GOOD. CARTOONISHLY GOOD.
Michael Keaton- GOOD. Maybe Jack Nicholson just makes every movie and its actors seem better, but I stand by it. GOOD.
Val Kilmer- BAD. Batman started getting a little too cartoonish after Tim Burton, and the introduction of bat-nipples didn’t help. BAD.
George Clooney- I HATE GEORGE CLOONEY FOR RUINING MY FAVORITE SUPERHERO! BAD! BADBADBADFUCKYOUFUCKYOUFUCKYOUBAD!
Christian Bale- GOOD. I LOVE YOU AS MUCH AS A HETEROSEXUAL MAN CAN LOVE ANOTHER MAN. THANK YOU! AWESOME! GOOD!
I don’t know if it’s a conscious decision or not. With Hollywood, it’s hard to tell. What I do know is that every good Batman is usually followed up by an absolutely horrible Batman. Does that mean that Michael Keaton was an amazing Batman, or did the world just want anything darker than Adam West’s slapstick comedy? Was Christian Bale really that great of a Batman, or did the world hate George Clooney and his bat-nipples so much that any other actor would have automatically be crowned as the greatest fucking Batman who ever lived?
Ben Affleck is, at worst, another dip in the Batman legacy leading to something even better. At best, who knows? Maybe he’ll do a decent job. It’s a win-win situation compared to the alternative.
If, for example, Daniel Craig (my choice of the ultimate Batman at the moment) was to be the next Batman, there would be a bloodier debate than when Heath Ledger took the role of The Joker from Jack Nicholson. Fans would be divided into “TEAM CHRISTIAN” and “TEAM DANIEL.” Comic-Con attendees in rival Batman attire would fight to the death in discussion panels. (PS- John Ham fans, just switch out the name “Daniel Craig” with “John Ham.”)
Instead, Hollywood will sacrifice Ben Affleck on the alter of fan-boys. Who cares? It’s not even a Batman movie! It’s a Superman movie, so our Batman film collections won’t have to be sullied by Ben Affleck, yet we will have such a low level of hope for Affleck in the role that whoever follows up (Daniel Craig, John Ham, whoever. Anyone that can pull off old-man Frank Miller Batman) would be a king among superhero actors.