Reflecting on Ben Affleck's performance in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, filmmaker and comic book nerd Kevin Smith says that Affleck actually "skated" in reviews, and that his Batman is one of the few universally-praised aspects of the movie.
While Smith and Affleck aren't currently close, Smith was instrumental in Affleck's early career, directing him in movies like Chasing Amy and Dogma, As a result (and also because of his general comic book cred), Smith is often asked to weigh in on Affleck's recent superhero movie career - and recently the topic came up again.
Smith was asked about the general attitude towards Affleck's Batman in the latest episode of his Fat Man on Batman podcast. The discussion of Affleck's Batman begins at around the 57:40 mark of the podcast, when Smith is asked why he thinks Affleck's Batman is "unfairly maligned." He counters the question by pointing out that Affleck's performance was one of the few elements of Batman V Superman that received near-universal praise:
"If you think back to when Batman V Superman came out, he was the one that actually skated, he got a lot of f***ing praise. There were people going, 'This movie's got a lot of issues - ironically, Affleck as Batman is not one of them.' That was my recollection of peoples' reaction to BVS. They had issues with the tone and the darkness and s*** like that, but he was the one thing that most people agreed was really good in the movie."
Smith picks out one scene from the movie in particular that demonstrates the strength of Affleck's Batman: "That f***ing scene where to takes out like twelve guys trying to save Clark Kent's mom... is a fantastic f***ing scene." When a follow-up question is asked Affleck being viewed less favorably because he was following on the heels of Christian Bale's performance in the Dark Knight trilogy, Smith agrees that there was a lot of extra pressure. "In a world without Christian Bale's performance to judge it against, most people wouldn't be as s***ty about Ben's Batman," he says.
It's true that Affleck had a tough uphill climb for people to accept him as Batman. When his casting was first announced, the initial tide of reactions was overwhelmingly negative, with people criticizing everything from his filmography to his body. Then, after Batman V Superman came out and received a thorough lashing from critics, an edited video of an interview with Affleck and co-star Henry Cavill went viral, becoming the "Sad Affleck" meme. In the wake of Justice League's disappointing box office and critical reception, it's little wonder that rumors are circulating about Affleck retiring from the role. Those who love Batfleck, however, are still holding out hope that one day he'll get to star in a movie that really lets his performance shine.
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