Ben Affleck: The Caped Crusader?


     Well, that’s it folks. They didn’t choose Karl Urban to play Batman in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel. While he was never really a consideration (as far as I can tell) it would have been a welcomed addition to the film cannon. We’re going to be dealing with a slightly older, wiser Batman in this film, someone that’s been through it all and can really carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, so they chose Daredevil Ben Affleck. This revelation is somewhat unsettling to a lot of people, as they remember Affleck’s previous stint in the superhero business as a bit of a let down. We’ve seen extremes with his career, but lately I’ve been convinced that Affleck is certainly maturing into his career and I’m optimistic for this choice, despite the fact that this is someone I hadn’t even considered as a possibility for the role.

Argo was probably my favorite film to be released last year, and a lot of this is thanks to Affleck’s ability to carry the film. He’s been around the game long enough ,and has been actively involved not only in the acting aspect of movies, but he’s had more than his fair share of time behind the camera as well. I have to believe that someone at his caliber should be able to manage the role of Batman. We’re going to be dealing with a less active, older and more brooding Dark Knight, or so we assume. Affleck seems to have perfected the brooding and somber role, however my concern is the grit involved with the role. While we’ve seen him be serious and deal with weighty dramatic roles, I have yet to see him give a convincingly frightening “batman growl”.

I think it’s going to come down to the role that Batman plays in Superman vs Batman. Bear in mind, this is a sequel to Man of Steel, I have to believe it’s going to be more about Superman than Batman, but that remains to be seen. If that’s the case, the part of Batman could easily be tailored to fit Affleck’s style. And again, it’s going to come down to how the movie plays out. We’ve seen the tone of this Superman universe, and it’s close to The Dark Knight Trilogy of the Nolanverse, but not quite the same. Man of Steel is a much lighter movie, which will allow for, perhaps, a more traditional Batman setting which will allow for a bit more lunacy  with Batman’s style of weaponry and actions, allowing a greater flexibility in the portrayal of the character.

I’ve given my initial thoughts on Batman vs Superman, and I remain optimistic. This is too big of a deal to be screwed up. The danger is that the hype machine is being ramped up to unprecedented and dangerous levels. And now they threw in Ben Affleck into the mix. I honestly have no idea what to expect at this point, but I know I’m excited at the prospect of what this could be. Shmee, however doesn’t seem too excited.


Initial Thoughts on Batman vs Superman


    So, if you hadn’t heard, Batman and Superman are going to be in a movie together circa 2015. That’s right, I wasn’t there personally for the announcement, but Hall H at Comic-con in San Diego just about exploded after a A Batman logo appeared behind a Superman logo, announcing the imminent screen acquaintance between DC comics two tent-pole characters.  Each of these characters has a long and lucrative cinematic history and are easily the two most recognizable superheroes of all time. With the success of the Marvel film franchise in recent years, it’s  no surprise that DC wants in on that action now that they know the film media is more than capable of supporting multiple heroes from different franchises. I’m excited about this prospect of a crossover film; but that’s mostly just because I’m a sucker for crossovers. I remember when I was in the hospital at six years old due to a burst appendix. I had access to a butt-load of movies. When I saw that there was a Flintstones Meets the Jetsons movie, my appendix just about burst again. I love Chris Nolan’s Batman franchise, and Zack Snyder presented my favorite Superman movie of the lot, so I was pumped when I heard about this. After the initial excitement, however, I realize I have some genuine concerns with the prospect of a Batman vs Superman movie. Here they are:


1. Batman and Superman don’t have enough screen history to be at war.

It is positively chilling to listen to Man of Steel actor Harry Lennix recite Bruce Wayne’s speech to Superman shortly after beating him in hand to hand combat. It’s one of the most pivotal moments in the DC canon. However, it doesn’t happen until Clark and Bruce have spent a literal lifetime in each others stories. There is only a slight reference to the Batman franchise in Man of Steel and absolutely nothing about Superman in the Batman movies, so I find it hard to swallow that the next Batman movie we get will face the Caped Crusader against Sups. Batman and Superman don’t play nice, everyone knows that. But it’s going to be a mightier leap than Superman can muster to throw these two into battle and maintain a cohesive story line without drastically overstating the purpose of a film that is potentially titled Batman vs Superman.


2. The new Batman wouldn’t stand a chance.

If we’re following the Nolan universe at all, we have to face the fact that JGL’s character is taking over for Bruce Wayne. He’s got a lot of spunk, but even Bruce at the end of Dark Knight Rises wouldn’t stand a chance against Superman. Did you see Man of Steel? It would take a lot more than Fox’s toys to compete against Superman. Batman’s history is a lot more cartoony than Nolan let on, and Superman is nothing BUT an exaggerated caricature of grandeur, so they, under normal circumstances, would fit perfectly into each others universes. However the way the current DC universe is set up in film they wouldn’t cross over well. That being said, it’s a well known comic trope to have multiple universes, they very easily could present a different Bruce Wayne with an entirely new style.


3. They have a common goal.

I understand this is something the comics deal with, both have a common goal with different ways of doling out injustice. That being said, how will it work on screen? All we know of Batman shows him working, mostly, within the boarders of Gotham city. Gotham is Batman’s biggest concern, that’s his job; protect Gotham. Going back to concern number 1. There isn’t enough screen history for him to both expand his area of expertise AND perpetuate a war with Superman. On the other side of the coin, Superman certainly has bigger fish to fry than dealing with a lone vigilante who is cleaning up the streets of a single city.

    Those are my concerns. I am well aware that some if not all of them will be addressed and put to rest when the movie actually comes out. I really hope that that happens. If the movie doesn’t just focus on an ill-conceived grudge match between Superman and Batman it would work. Also, I think it MAY need to be established that we’re in an alternate universe than the “Nolanverse”, it just might be necessary, despite the fact that Nolan was involved with Man of Steel we’re dealing with a world that now has a hero with legitimate superpowers. In order to contend with that, you may have to get a little bit more colorful than a Batmobile/tank. I’m still “super” excited about the movie. We’ve been experiencing a veritable golden age of comic book films, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Warner Brothers and DC manage to pull this off, I know I’m certainly rooting for them.

Man of Steel



2006 ushered in the return of the single most overpowered super hero ever created with Superman Returns. The return, however, was short lived. Despite having fairly good reviews, the film failed to be all that compelling, a problem that I have personally felt has plagued the Superman films since the late 70s. What was intended to be re-boot of the always-popular franchise failed to produce a sequel. We now have another reboot in Man of Steel. Zack Snyder and Chris Nolan present us with a darker take on the coming of age of Superman, with beautiful cinematography and new insight into one of the most well known origin stories in cinematic history.


Man of Steel had to re-introduce the world to a character that literally everyone already knew. Superman’s origin story is, arguably, even more well known than Batman’s. We’re talking about the most recognizable icon in pop-culture history, and Snyder had to come up with a way to say “hey, this is Superman” in a way that would keep the audiences attention. He succeeded. We are given a far better look at Krypton than we’ve ever seen before, and we’re introduced to Kal-El’s back story with his human family through a series of flashbacks during the time that he comes to realize his full potential. What makes this retelling so interesting is that it’s more a coming of age story than an origins story. We know where Kal comes from and we know what happens with his family, but the details have always been a bit fuzzy. We get to see a young Clark Kent struggle as a child to hone his skills, struggle emotionally with situations on a level unparalleled with other chapters of Superman history. The story is told in a way that makes it evident that Kryptonite isn’t Superman’s only weakness, his emotions and psyche are often times just as dangerous to him. When General Zod attacks, the distinction is made that, despite being of the same race, Kal and Zod are on different factions of an inter-species war.


Visually speaking, this is the best of the Superman films. It’s not as light as Superman Returns which many people found upsetting, but it was time for something new. Superman Returns offered the general public what was expected from Superman, a fun and bright story with romance and lots and lots of kryptonite to keep things interesting. This failed. In Man of Steel there is little to no kryptonite to be found, the romance is kept on the back burner (though certainly not forgotten) and the darker tone ads a layer of seriousness that is unexpected from the films. The motivation of the villains is clear, and the choices put before Kal-El are intriguing. In one film we’re introduced to Superman as if he was an old friend that we gladly welcome back into our lives. The darkness was not without its laughs, however. Kent remains a Kansas farm boy at heart, and the film even finds room for some corny jokes. I particularly enjoyed during one of the most intense scenes, Superman bashing into a sign that boasts how many injury free days that work environment has enjoyed. As he ricochets off the wall and onto the ground, the numbers fall off the sign leaving a zero in their place. The fact is, the film deals with some incredibly huge stakes, and to bog that down with an overtly light tone would have been a detriment.


The acting is superb, Amy Adams is an interesting and true-to-character Lois Lane, Henry Cavill is a less clean cut Superman, but one that offers a nice change from the last few decades of Superman films. Michael Shannon gives an awesome performance as the zealous and terrifying General Zod. We not only get an interesting story with compelling characters and situations, we’re also given front row seats to some of the most awe inspiring “super fights” in recent cinematic history. Sure it’s all CG, but the cinematography and emotional attachment that’s used throughout the film prepares you for it, and for the first time in a long time, I found myself enthralled by the CGI.


Man of Steel is my favorite Superman movie. I understand those that will stand firm next to the Christopher Reeves films (at least the first two), but the removal of the slapstick humor and the advancement of special effects as well as an interesting story acted out by passionate and talented actors puts this film as not only my favorite Superman film, but one of my favorite films of 2013, so far.