Ben Affleck had lots of fun playing a traditional version of Batman in Justice League. The actor made his debut as the Caped Crusader in Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016 and he briefly reprised his role in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad later that year. And although some consider Affleck’s version of the superhero the best live-action iteration yet, it’s fair to say that his portrayal, though comic accurate in some instances, was decidedly less traditional than past adaptations.
In Batman V Superman, the Gotham superhero was at his lowest since the death of his parents – especially after losing Jason Todd, the second Robin, to the Joker (and Harley Quinn) – and he was no longer acting like the superhero nor the inspiration that he was meant to be. However, after seeing Superman, his supposed enemy, sacrifice himself to save not only Batman and Wonder Woman but the rest of the city (and perhaps the world), Batman had a renewed faith in humanity, evidenced by his quote to Diana Prince (Gal Gadot): “Men are still good.” And Affleck got to explore that more traditional side of the Dark Knight in Justice League.
At the Justice League press conference in London, Screen Rant’s Rob Keyes asked Affleck about the irony of going from fighting a super-powered being (Superman) to forming a team consisting almost entirely of super-powered beings (the Justice League) and working alongside them to save the world.
“Well, you raise an interesting point. Batman, who is by nature, not necessarily anti-social, but [pretty much] a loner, and in this movie he’s thrust into the role of not only having to work with people but bring them together and convince them to come in and try to be some kind of gel with Wonder Woman to hold all of that community effort together and that was a really interesting thing to play for me, and it also does take us to a more traditional version of Batman in the Justice League comics and his role with the Justice League vs the less traditional version in Batman v Superman where he was blinded by rage and wanted to take on Superman. So, it was a lot of fun for me, I also got to have a kind of a dry wit, I got to play off Ezra [Miller], which was a lot of fun because he’s so funny and Bruce is always on the verge of exasperation. It was fun to show some other colors for sure.”
The overarching theme of Justice League and its marketing campaign so far has revolved around the team’s family aspect and how they can only defeat Steppenwolf and his army of Pardemons if they work together. That’s something that goes against Batman’s fundamental nature, seeing as he tends to operate without backup – aside from choice exceptions and in certain situations – and outside the confines of how superheroes traditionally serve the public. And seeing Batman play off the Flash’s childish personality is something that is already resonating well with audiences.
Justice League promises to deliver the traditional version of Batman that audiences know and love while providing a rebirth for Superman as well, who has also deviated from what comic book fans (and especially fans of Christopher Reeves’ Superman) have deemed as non-traditional.
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