The internet went into meltdown this week over the announcement of Ben Affleck as the next Batman.
He comes into the money spinning franchise for a 2015 DC superhero nerd-gasm, involving a team-up between the caped crusader and Superman. Henry Cavill has already paved the way as the original hero constantly mistaken for a bird and/or plane in this year’s Man of Steel to lukewarm effect. So its sequel is basically the studio looking for a way to capitalise on what made Marvel’s The Avengers so great.
In my humble opinion, I believe Ben Affleck will make a great Batman. He’s got the look and the serious stern face down pat, as well as being a generally brilliant actor and filmmaker; as seen in Argo and The Town. My only problem is that because it’s so soon after Christopher Nolan’s game-changing Dark Knight trilogy, it’s hard to see where anyone else will go with it. How do you top what is probably the greatest superhero franchise of all time?
Out of respect for Nolan’s genius, any plan for new Batman movies should be put on the back burner for at least five to ten years. But I’m not a big wig film exec, and not responsible for a multi-billion dollar franchise that would earn the studio major bucks if milked for all it was worth, so my opinion is irrelevant.
Many have strong opinions on which Batman was the greatest. Traditionalists prefer Adam West of the original, unashamedly camp 1960’s TV series.
Some prefer the stylised, gothic tone of Tim Burton’s versions, with Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne. And others, like me, favour Christian Bale in Nolan’s ominous and ultra-violent Dark Knight trilogy, where Batman grew into more than just a crime-fighting cartoon, and Gotham City became a catalyst for broader, heavier themes and issues.
Despite fans’ differences, almost everybody agrees that George Clooney was the worst. The worst. If anything for the ridiculous nipple suit alone.
But honestly, how many reincarnations of Batman can there be? Is there ever going to be a time where superhero films just aren’t as popular as they once were? Or will the studios just pump out blockbuster after blockbuster with a conveyor belt of Bruce Wayne’s? I mean, this isn’t Doctor Who.
I feel that there are way too many CGI-laden, action-packed sequels and reboots hitting cinemas nowadays. Yes, they are a major cash cow for the industry, but sharp storytelling, innovative set pieces and the general thrill of watching a blockbuster on the big screen seems to be slipping away. The Avengers and its subsequent spin-offs are doing it right, but all it takes is a Man of Steel to show that a big budget doesn’t always equal a big success. Let’s hope Affleck can take Batman, and DC, in the right direction.
Oh and there’s rumours Matt Damon will play Robin.
Let’s just leave that for another time.