There’s no disagreement: Ben Affleck being cast as Batman was not what anyone, devoted comic book fan or casual moviegoer was expecting. Although the announcement was met with… mixed reactions – some claiming all hope for Man of Steel 2 and Justice League is lost, others waiting to pass judgement – we feel a little context and analysis is called for in this instance.
Director Zack Snyder may have decided to cast a relative unknown for the role of Superman in Henry Cavill, but interestingly, has decided that someone with far more star-power is required to put Kal-El to the test in his big screen sequel. Put him to the test in terms of character development as well as physically, that is – if writer David S. Goyer’s referencing the film as Batman Vs. Superman is any indication.
Assuming that Zack Snyder and executive producer Christopher Nolan actually know something about making movies, we decided to outline some reasons why Affleck’s casting makes sense for the 2015 super-sequel:
He Fits The Description
Given the previous castings of Christian Bale and Henry Cavill, Warner Bros. and DC Comics seemed to be following a similar route to Marvel: casting actors largely unknown to mass audiences. The thinking behind the decision being not only a commercial one (signing stars long term gets expensive fast), but that the casting of an unknown helps audiences suspend their disbelief, and not call to mind the actor’s previous roles or celebrity persona – just the character they are inhabiting.
With that in mind, we thought of other younger unknowns who could follow Cavill’s path, and inhabit the role for a brand new audience, becoming a name, not a face, in the process. But then came word that Snyder and co. weren’t looking to re-tread old ground by telling another Batman origin story: they were after an older, more experienced Batman to give Superman a run for his money.
As surprising as Affleck might be for other reasons, his age, size and experience in the industry checks all said boxes. At the seasoned age of 41 – but not what anyone would consider ‘old’ – Affleck still has the looks that a ‘Bruce Wayne-type’ requires. And anyone who saw Affleck in The Town knows the actor is still capable of filling out his 6′ 3-1/2″ frame (replacing Adam West as the most sizable actor to ever slip on the cowl).
Wherever comic or movie fans appear to offer their dream casting for Batman/Bruce Wayne, their suggestion is immediately slammed with criticism that the actor is ‘not big enough,’ or that they would ‘pack on muscle to be believable.’ While fair, those are attacks that simply can’t be leveled at Affleck.
Fans can take issue with his previous roles and thespian skills, but there’s no denying that Affleck has the age, the build, and the star-powered presence to play a veteran Batman believably.
And despite his fame, Affleck isn’t famous for a single role among mass audiences – something we held as a prime component in all of our potential older Batmen.