MATT REEVES CONFIRMS BEN AFFLECK IS STILL ATTACHED TO “THE BATMAN”
Ever since Ben Affleck dropped out of directing The Batman there has been some concern over whether he would still playing the Caped Crusader in future DC Extended Universe projects, with rumours suggesting he “wants out” of the DCEU in the wake of the mixed reception to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. His exit is admittedly an unlikely scenario, but fans love Internet speculation.
Now, in an interview with Getty promoting the upcoming trilogy capper War for the Planet of the Apes [read our review here], director Matt Reeves was asked about Affleck still being involved with the solo movie, stating: “Yeah, right now that’s exactly what’s going on, for sure.”
Now I know I haven’t written and posted a review of BATMAN V SUPERMAN (read Zaki Hasan’s, if you will), I’m sure that anyone who is familiar with my views of its predecessor, MAN OF STEEL, won’t be surprised to hear that I didn’t like it. Although like Man of Steel, where I enjoyed the flying scene, BvS had one good scene that made it worth watching.
Yeah, I’m talking about that warehouse fight scene.
Now THAT is the Batman fight that I’ve been waiting to see since the 1989 Batman film.
Here’s the thing, even way back when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, I remember everyone else freaking out, but I immediately thought he was a good choice. Affleck has never been a favorite actor of mine, but I’d seen him in enough films to know that he was great actor. And at this point he was now an accomplished director as well. So casting him seemed like quite a coup of Warner Bros. Now, while I still didn’t like the film, I thought the was still a good choice, much the same way I think Henry Cavill is a great choice for Superman, despite the bad scripts he’s given. Nevertheless, with Affleck having a hand in writing it, I think he has the potential to give us a really epic Batman film. The fact that they’re using Deathstroke as the villain, with Sofia Vergara’s husband playing him, is a an interesting choice. Although personally I still think it would have been better to bring in Will Smith as Deadshot, and have him be the villain.
This time removing the “anti-hero” aspect from Suicide Squad, and just have him being a flat-out bad guy, something Smith hasn’t done yet, but I’d like to see how he’d pull it off.
Anyway, another reason I liked Affleck’s casting is because he’s older. Picking a Batman who is in his 40’s, at the beginning of a new “cinematic universe” is quite brave. BvS was inspired in large part by Frank Miller’s classic comic-book series The Dark Knight Returns, but in that one both Batman and Superman are in their 50’s, because it’s near the ends of their careers, which have always been portrayed has having began around the same time. But this film is at the beginning of Superman’s career, and yet they have Batman already having been around for 20 years before Superman has gone public. I think that was a wise choice.
First, there’s the fact that being 40 isn’t so “old” anymore. In Dark Knight Returns, Batman is 54, having been retired for 10 years. And much of the story revolves around him feeling his age, not being able to move as well as he used to. Well, back in the 80’s when I read, especially since I was just kid, the idea that Batman would have retired at 44 made sense, as that practically sounded ancient. Now that I am around Ben’s age myself, that doesn’t seem that way.
Look, we have films like the Expendables, led by Sylvester Stallone in his mid-60’s, and filled with other action stars around the same age, and it’s not a parody or a satire. These guys kept themselves in shape. Wouldn’t a real-life Bruce Wayne, with all of his resources, be able to do the same? Even as age just catches up with you, as it does everyone, I suspect that Bruce Wayne would adapt his methods. He’d rely more on gadgets and strategic planning to take out bad guys, saving the strenuous hand-to-hand combat for moments when it’s really necessary (such as in the warehouse scene).
Seriously, I can’t get enough of this scene!
In fact, the idea that Batman is older and been around for 20 years before Superman and the other superheroes showed up makes so much sense, that if I were in charge of DC Comics, that’s how I would reboot their universe. I went over this with a friend on Facebook once, and I may write up my proposal and post it on my creative blog eventually. While I’ve always loved Batman, the truth is that on paper he really doesn’t belong on a group like the Justice League, as he has no super powers. With people like Superman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash around, why is he needed? Yet, we’re always supposed to believe that somehow Batman is not only good enough for the team, he’s actually the most dangerous member, who could take them all out if he wanted.
But if we established that he’s basically the “grizzled veteran” on the team, the “Nick Fury”, for lack of better comparison, of the DC Universe, it works better. And I’m glad to see that that’s apparently the role he’s playing in the Justice League movie, judging by the trailers. No, he’s not as powerful as the others, but he’s been around longer, he’s the most experienced (besides Wonder Woman, since they’re going with the idea that’s 100’s of years old, but she doesn’t have as much experience operating in “the modern world,” so that’s still an edge Batman has), and so the other heroes respect him and are willing to follow his lead. He may not have powers like them, but he can analyze a threat and direct them in the best way to use their powers to eliminate it. He’s the field team leader, who only gets personally involved when absolutely necessary. It makes total sense.
It also explains how he has raised and trained multiple sidekicks over the years, who have all started as kids and grown older, while Bruce Wayne seems to remain the same age. A mid-40’s Batman is old enough to have raised a mid-20’s Dick Grayson, early-20’s Jason Todd, late-teens Tim Drake, and now have pre-teen Damien Wayne by his side.
So, in conclusion, I’ll just re-iterate how much I’m looking forward to seeing Ben Affleck play Batman in his own solo feature. I think if there are any doubters about his ability still around, he’s going to shut them all up.