Mad That Ben Affleck's Playing Batman? Well, then Remember His Superman
Christian Bale's Batman is a hard act to follow. Not only did the actor star as the character in the superhero's best trilogy to date — Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and the slightly disappointing The Dark Knight Rises — but audiences agreed with critics, earning the films a collective over $2 billion worldwide. So the news that Ben Affleck — the man whose Daredevil already brought blind rage to comic book fans — would be taking over the character in Zack Snyder's upcoming Batman vs. Superman has some very, very angry. And no one likes the Internet when its angry. (Sorry, wrong franchise.)
After the news was announced Thursday night, the Web was inundated with complaints from fans of the character, who fear he might meet the same fate as the blind lawyer-turned-superhero Affleck played in 2003. So they've taken it upon themselves to craft a petition, pushing for the actor to get pushed out of the superhero franchise. And, because there's clearly nothing else in the world to fight against, the petition has already collected 2,000 signatures overnight. Reads the petition:
His acting skill is not even close to being believable as Bruce Wayne and he won't do the role justice. He's not built, nor is he intimidating enough for the role of Batman. His portrayal of Daredevil was atrocious and he's not remotely close to an action star. Please find someone else.
But are these folks judging Affleck unfairly? Of course they are. There's little doubt that Daredevil was a disaster, but those who are pointing to the movie are forgetting another, much quieter superhero movie starring the Argo star: Hollywoodland, a 2006 film in which Affleck played — believe it or not — Superman.
Well, more accurately, he played George Reeves, the actor who starred in The Adventures of Superman. But he played him so well, that the Golden Globes nominated him for Best Supporting Actor, and critics noted the return of the formerly A-list actor, whose career had transformed into one giant Gigli joke prior to Hollywoodland. Said Rolling Stone reviewer Peter Travers about Affleck's role in the film, "In his generous spirit toward a forgotten icon, Affleck turns the death-obsessed Hollywoodland into, of all things, a film about resurrection." And if that doesn't seem in the spirit of Batman — a man whose anger about his parents' death sent him on a downhill spiral before crime-fighting brought him redemption — I don't know what does.
That said, it was plenty easy to root for Affleck when he was down. At the time of Hollywoodland's release, audiences had grown tired of zinging the man formerly known as Bennifer. The Hollywood landscape is different now for Affleck, who just this March picked up an Oscar for his Best Picture-winning Argo. So while it's curious that audiences would rise up against Affleck's role in Batman vs. Superman — if The Town and Argo didn't teach us to trust the actor, what will? — it's not all that surprising. After all, the last time we relished in teasing Affleck, he was hot off the heels off big releases like the disappointing Pearl Harbor and The Sum of All Fears.
Still, knowing his past as Superman, we should trust Affleck as Batman. Affleck is not the same man who took on Daredevil 10 years ago. He's survived life as a millionaire playboy, and, in recent years, has only used his Hollywood powers for good. And that sounds familiar, doesn't it?
And if that still doesn't convince you, well, Affleck has some words for you Internet commenters: