Following the news that Ben Affleck had been cast as the next big screen iteration of the Caped Crusader for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel 2, currently referred to as Batman vs. Superman, die-hard fans along with casual filmgoers took to the water cooler, online forums, or their local morning show to express an opinion. The result? A mixed bag of rage, support, and internet memes – along with countless references to Daredevil, Gigli, The Town, and Argo.
Now that the initial tsunami has subsided and potential viewers are starting to calmly ponder Ben Affleck as Batman and Why it Could Work, we’re taking a look back at the most interesting reactions to the news – as well as the best Bat-Affleck announcement memes.
Of course the list is not all-inclusive, so once you’ve had a chance to read our picks, share your favorites in the comments.
In the minutes, hours, and days after the announcement, Twitter kept abuzz with one witty (and/or sarcastic) dose of insight after another. Everyone from Richard Dreyfuss, Comedy Central, Kevin Smith, and The Batman, himself, among countless others, all chimed in with witty responses – representing the broad, and equally divisive, range of opinions that made Ben Affleck a trending topic on Twitter for three days.
Richard Dreyfuss: “You read for a part, you feel good about it, you feel confident, then they cast Ben Affleck.”
Comedy Central: “Casting Ben Affleck as Batman sounds like something The Joker would do to create a distraction at the nerd bank.”
Kevin Smith: “Holy shit… Ben Affleck is the new Batman!!! Do you know what this means? It means that I’ve seen Batman naked!!!”
The 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.”
Image courtesy of Twitter user @BuckeyeEmpire – HERE.
In a whirlwind of divisive opinions, actor/comedian Patton Oswalt posted a sobering response to his public Facebook page – imploring Batfans to take a deep breath. Instead of lecturing at length about the actual casting (though we wouldn’t mind if he worked Affleck into his next Parks and Recreation filibuster), Oswalt spent the majority of his post discussing why Affleck’s film failures and time in the paparazzi spotlight have paved the way for a more promising career – as an actor, filmmaker, and (now) Batman that people can actually take seriously.
Patton Oswalt: “A Batman portrayed by someone who’s tasted humiliation and a reversal of all personal valences – kind of like Grant Morrison’s “Zen warrior” version of Batman, post-Arkham Asylum, who was, in the words of Superman ‘the most dangerous man on the planet‘? Think for a second and admit that Ben Affleck is closer to that top-shelf iteration of The Dark Knight than pretty much anyone in Hollywood right now.”
Read Patton Oswalt’s entire reaction post on Facebook – HERE.
The Ben Affleck/Batman announcement didn’t just effect the hardcore comic book faithful. For a few days it seemed as though everyone was discussing the news – and, in some (less-informed) cases, wondering why Christian Bale would not be returning to don the cape and cowl. The UCB Comedy YouTube Channel captured the post-Ben Affleck is Batman atmosphere in their video “Where Were You When Bat Affleck Happened?” – asserting that, in a way, the casting reveal was a good things because, if nothing else, it brought everyone together:
UCB Comedy: My next door neighbor, Tina, came over […] They just wanted to know how I was […] It felt good to be united with people because of how they were feeling […] You really saw human compassion on that day […] I purposed to my girlfriend that night because, cuz life’s too short, you know […] There’s this way that we all felt like, we all knew we were American […] We will endure this. Ben Affleck movies will come and go.
You can watch the “Where Were You?” UCB Comedy video – HERE.
Another example of bringing individuals together, John Roden posted an online petition calling for the removal of Ben Affleck in the Batman vs. Superman movie. While online petitions rarely make a dramatic impact on movie studio decisions, the Change.Org posting has created an organized place for fans to voice their collective disappointment. At the time of this writing, Roden’s petition, “Warner Brothers: Remove Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the Superman/Batman Movie,” has received over 87,000 signatures and continues to bring in new supporters.
Josh Roden: “[Affleck’s] acting skill is not even close to being believable as Bruce Wayne and he won’t do the role justice. He’s not intimidating enough for the role of Batman. Batman is someone that strikes fear in the hearts of men. His portrayal of Daredevil was atrocious and he’s not remotely close to an action star or a superhero. Please find someone else and deliver to the fans what they want.”
Sign Josh Roden’s petition “Warner Brothers: Remove Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the Superman/Batman Movie” – HERE.
Arguably, the most supportive notes that a new (and controversial) Batman actor could receive would be from former (and beloved) Caped Crusaders – since they’ve already dealt with the heat of popular opinion (and the actual Batsuit). Select few actors have donned the dual-role of Batman and Bruce Wayne (not to mention a hot and heavy Batsuit) for a live-action production. While Christian Bale and George Clooney have yet to weigh-in (Robert Lowrey as well as Lewis G. Wilson are deceased), fan-favorites Adam West, Michael Keaton, and Val Kilmer offered their thoughts (and advice) for the latest Dark Knight:
Michael Keaton: “He’s been getting a lot of Af-flack but he’s going to be great.”
Val Kilmer: “Give Ben a chance!”
Adam West: “Remember Ben, with the cape and cowl comes great responsibility (and lots of heat). Bring deodorant.”
Christian Bale image courtesy of Reddit user TVGrim02 – HERE.
A lot of frustrated Batfans have been passing around a meme depicting Marvel Studios executives laughing-off the Ben Affleck casting reports. However, within hours of the announcement, Joss Whedon, one of the biggest comic book enthusiasts on the planet – and the only man who has successfully built a shared cinematic superhero universe – offered his excitement and confidence in Warner Bros.’ new Caped Crusader. According to The Avengers director, who secured $1.5 billion at the box office for Marvel Studios, the big question mark isn’t Affleck (or his super-friend Henry Cavill), it’s getting the story material right. Whedon, who is already hard at work preparing for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, even marked Affleck’s controversial “Butt Chin” down as a plus. As a result, if Marvel is laughing, Whedon isn’t joining in.
Joss Whedon: “Affleck’ll crush it. He’s got the chops, he’s got the chin — just needs the material. Affleck & Cavill toe to toe — I’m in.”
Marvel Studios meme courtesy of iklegemma – HERE.
Despite carving out a pair of successful careers without recent overlap, the Internet responded to Ben Affleck’s casting with a plethora of memes about the actor’s equally famous BFF – frequently teasing the prospect of Matt Damon playing Robin. In response, Damon both reassured fans that he has no plans to don a yellow cape and black mask as the Boy Wonder while also advocating for Affleck. The actor emphasized that Batman is the easier part, and that Affleck has the necessary talent to bring a nuanced version of Bruce Wayne to the big screen.
Matt Damon: “I am a little older than Ben. I never saw Robin as older than Batman […] But it’s safe to say I won’t be Robin […] I think [Ben] will be great. It will be terrific. I know there are a lot of people grousing on the Internet […] Batman just sits there with his cowl over his head and whispers in a kinda gruff voice at people. Bruce Wayne is the more challenging part of the role, and Ben will be great at that.”
Easily one of the most-heard criticisms after the Warner Bros. announcement went something like this: “I like Ben Affleck and he was great in The Town and Argo but I just don’t picture him playing Batman.” It was a fair way to express skepticism without undercutting the actor’s growing list of quality acting and directing work. That is, until fans started playing around in Photoshop and creating quality (and some admittedly funny) images and memes that gave viewers a taste of how bad-ass (and terrifying) Affleck could look suited up as Batman – making it a little easier to picture the writer/director/actor in the Batsuit. A number of artists took to their digital software of choice to mash-up Ben Affleck with Batman but here are two of our favorites:
“Batman – Ben Affleck” (the featured image to the left) came courtesy of DeviantArt user alemarques21. Check out an updated version – HERE.
“Ben Affleck as Batman” (using the Daredevil poster) was created by Screen Rant reader Nicholas James Reardon. Check out the image in our Geek Picks post – HERE.
The only thing better than pictures of Ben Affleck as Batman is motion pictures of Ben Affleck as Batman. Plenty of actors would look fine covered head-to-toe in black Wayne Tech bat-armor, with only a chin, mouth, and set of eyes exposed, but could those actors nail the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman? YouTube user solyentbrak1 gave still skeptical Dark Knight enthusiasts another reason to be optimistic about the scarred but charming iteration of the billionaire playboy and his Caped Crusader alter ego we’ll be seeing in Batman vs. Superman – with a fan-made Man of Steel 2 trailer cobbled together using footage from Man of Steel, Breaking Bad, State of Play, Daredevil, and The Dark Knight, along with several others.
While the unofficial teaser features Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor, a potential casting option that has not been made official yet (we’ve still got ideas for other actors), the assembled footage shows how the dynamic between Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill can work – as well as reminds viewers that Affleck isn’t new to dark and gritty characters with a complicated personal code.
You can watch solyentbrak1’s fan-made Man of Steel 2 trailer – HERE.
Surprisingly, one of the most insightful reactions to the recent Batman casting news came from Affleck himself. However, Affleck’s comment wasn’t from an official post-announcement interview or studio press release (in fact, he has yet to speak publicly about the role), the sound bite came from the film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back – released a full twelve years before Man of Steel 2 was announced. In the clip, Holden McNeil (played by Affleck) offers Jay and Silent Bob a lesson on Internet criticism – a lesson with fitting insight into blowback the actor is currently facing:
Holden McNeil: “The Internet is a communications tool used the world over where people can come together to bitch about movies and share pornography with one another […] This is a site populated by militant movie buffs: sad, pathetic, little bastards living in their parents’ basement, downloading scripts and what they think is inside information about movies and actors they claim to despise yet can’t stop discussing.”
Watch Ben Affleck breakdown Internet movie hysteria in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back – HERE.
We still have two years before Ben Affleck appears onscreen with Henry Cavill for the superhero showdown/team-up in Batman vs. Superman – meaning that there’s still plenty of time for fans, skeptics, and artists to offer updated thoughts, criticisms, and artistic expressions on Ben Affleck’s Batman. In the coming months we’ll be offering updates (and podcast discussions) on Man of Steel 2 as they’re revealed – which will, no doubt, include shots of Affleck in a redesigned Batsuit as well as official footage (and trailers) from the film. Stay up to date at our Man of Steel 2 movie page – HERE.
In the meantime, make sure to check out one of our favorite honorable Bat-mentions from our time scouring the Internet, Peter Dinklage as Batman (pictured to the left), courtesy of Reddit user DarthPredator – HERE.
Man of Steel 2/Batman vs. Superman will be released July 17, 2015.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future updates on Batman vs. Superman as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.