So, Ben Affleck will be the next Batman. You may have heard something about this last week, if you happen to have a Twitter account or, really, any kind of access to the Internet.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t particularly thrilled when I first heard about this casting. And now . . . well, now, I’m still not all that excited about it, truth be told, but I’m trying to put myself in a more optimistic frame of mind. Cause, one, I don’t think anyone is ever going to give me the Batman I desperately want. Namely, this one:
Not to say I haven’t enjoyed other interpretations of Batman, clearly. Christian Bale did a great job with Bruce Wayne, and I like his performance a whole lot — but my Batman is, and will always be, Kevin Conroy. I’m not sure exactly who I would want cast in the part.
But also — I just feel bad for Ben Affleck. Some people have spoken out in support of the actor, like Patton Oswalt and Joss Whedon, but others — like nearly everybody else on Twitter — have crucified the guy, and at this point, it’s just starting to feel a little mean. Also, Affleck has grown as an actor. Argo was almost certainly a career best, and I’m not entirely sure it’s fair to judge him on movies that were made a decade or more ago. Like, I can see how Daredevil seems like it would be a relevant credit, being that it’s a superhero movie and all, but let’s be real for a second here: nobody was really approaching superhero movies as serious films back in 2003. People expect so much more from them now, particularly the Batman films. Christopher Nolan kind of changed the game. (Although it’s also fair to say that it’s been ages since I saw Daredevil, so I suppose it could be 80 bazillion times worse than I’m remembering. Still, I think the point stands.)
And really, here’s the thing: there are plenty of actors out there who would have made a worse Batman than Ben Affleck. Let’s look at a few, shall we?
1. Channing Tatum
Er, NSFW. Unless your boss is big into male strippers.
Tatum is pretty huge right now with a few box office successes and a number of action films under his belt. He is also, despite appearances, not a terrible actor. (I could have used a clip where he has, you know, dialogue, but I decided to use this one instead because I’m a giving sort of person.) Despite the fact that Tatum is supremely not my type, he’s got a nice smile and seems kind of endearing, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him in different types of roles.
But he would be profoundly miscast as Batman. Other superheroes, whatever. I’m sure he could play someone who likes witty one-liners in between punches, but the Dark Knight? The world’s grimmest vigilante? No fucking way. It would have been a horrible idea.
2. Sam Worthington
Sam Worthington doesn’t quite have the star power he did a few years ago, but he’s still a pretty big name in science fiction and fantasy franchises. He made his big break in the abysmal Terminator: Salvation — where, to his credit, he actually outacted our most recent Batman — but then proceeded to follow that movie up with incredibly uninspired performances in Avatar and Clash of the Titans — and, presumably, Wrath of the Titans.
These weren’t thrilling scripts, mind you, but Worthington brought almost nothing to the table with him. He had absolutely zero charisma or presence, and I fear what his broody Dark Knight would have been like. I’d expect a lot of staring out windows and not much in the way of inflection or facial expression of any kind.
3. Leonardo DiCaprio
Once again, I could have picked any number of clips from this decade . . . or at least an actual scene instead of a terrible music video . . . but I didn’t because I’m an asshole, and this cracked me up.
DiCaprio is a really good actor. While he’s not well known for playing action heroes — outside of cop and robber dramas, that is — he’s been nominated for three Academy Awards and could bring a certain gravitas and prestige with him. Which I think would appeal to Zack Snyder, since — from everything I understand — Man of Steel was going for the same super dark, gritty realism that the Nolan verse had, and the Batman/Superman movie will likely be more of the same.
But the idea of DiCaprio as Batman . . . I can’t even properly imagine. Can you really see him in the suit? Cause I can, and it makes me laugh every time. God knows what kind of accent he’d put on for Batman — because you know he’d come up with one. I wonder if his Batman voice could be any worse than Bale’s over-gravelly one. I have a sneaking suspicion that it could.
4. Mark Wahlberg
Okay, I really was going to post something with Mark Wahlberg actually in it, but this skit was the first thing on my Youtube results list, and it cracks me up every time I watch it. I feel like it’s a fair representation of why the idea of Mark Wahlberg as Batman terrifies me.
And again — Wahlberg isn’t a terrible actor. (Well. He was good in The Departed anyway. Most of the movies I’ve seen him in are somewhere between not-so-great to pretty-terrible.) But I can just picture him as this ridiculously muscled, super angry, in-your-face Batman that yells about his dead parents, and . . . yeah. No.
I’ve read a lot of oh-so-clever tweets about Ben Affleck’s Boston accent, but if I had to pick between Bostonians . . . it’s Affleck, all the way.
5. James Franco
NSFW? Maybe? I mean, there’s drug use. And they say the word “vagina.” Shocking stuff. (Actually, it kind of is. Anybody who talks about the smell of pot in a complimentary fashion weirds me out. That shit smells TERRIBLE. I don’t understand you people.)
Franco has an Oscar nomination. He’s hot off of This is the End — not likely an Academy movie, I’ll grant you, but a movie that’s gotten a lot of good buzz recently. He’s done superhero films before, albeit as the best friend/bad guy, and he has something of a broody/intense reputation. I could see why he might have been cast.
But I would’ve hated it. Hated hated hated it. This is probably going to sound weird, but I don’t entirely trust James Franco as an actor. You know? Like this is the same guy who decided to go do General Hospital for a few seasons. And remember the Oscars, when he did the co-hosting? I know that’s hosting, not acting, but it was so immensely terrible — like I don’t understand why he did it at all, if he was going to put that little effort into it. I’d worry about how serious he’d take the role of Batman. And even if he did take it seriously, I see him getting the brooding down and forgetting all about the badass. Cause, yeah. That’s kind of important. Batman is a BADASS.
I may be wary about Ben Affleck, but I’m going to try and give him an honest shot because there are definitely worse casting decisions that could have been made.
It’s important to have hope, or at least that’s what Hollywood keeps trying to tell me.