There’s no disagreement: Ben Affleck being cast as Batman was not what anyone 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 decided to cast a relative unknown for the role of Superman in Henry Cavill, and interestingly, has decided that someone with far more starpower is required to put Kal-El to the test. Put him to the test in terms of character development as well as physically, if writer David S. Goyer referring to the film as Batman Vs. Superman is any indication.
Assuming that Snyder and Christopher Nolan actually know something about making movies, we decided to outline the 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 helped audiences suspend their disbelief, and not think of 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. 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 41 – but not what anyone would consider ‘old’ – Affleck still has the looks that a Bruce Wayne requires. And anyone who saw Affleck in The Town knows that he’s still capable of filling out his 6′ 3-1/2″ frame – also replacing Adam West as the most sizable actor to ever slip on the cowl.
It seems that everyone who offers their dream choice for Batman/Bruce Wayne is immediately slammed with criticisms that ‘he’s not big enough’ or ‘he’d have to hit the gym for me to believe it’ – attacks that simply can’t be leveled at Affleck.
Fans can take issue with his previous roles and skill, but there’s no denying that Affleck has the age, the build, and the presence to play a veteran Batman believably.
And despite his fame, Affleck isn’t famous for a single role among mass audiences – something we looked for in all of our potential older Batmen.