Casting of new Batman draws most summer attention

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[Photo courtesy of fandango.com]

By Jordon Hall, @jhoodswag

The summer of 2013 had some of the biggest blockbusters in film cinema history. The summer kicked off with the red hot Iron Man 3 starring the incredible Robert Downey Jr. reprising his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man and also helped kick off Marvels “Phase 2” events for the Avengers. We got to witness the reemergence of the Superman film franchise as Henry Cavil dawned a new Superman outfit as Clark Kent in Man of Steel. Hugh Jackman returned once again in his iconic role as Wolverine, as well as having other major blockbusters with films such as World War Z, Elysium, Pacific Rim, The Great Gatsby and other films. But the major buzz heading into this fall is none of the movies I just mentioned, it was actually a casting of a certain character that has the whole world buzzing. That casting was Oscar-winning actor Ben Affleck, as he will debut in the summer of 2015 as the new Batman in Man of Steel 2.

This is huge news coming from the film world since Batman is the American version of James Bond. Batman is the most successful comic book film franchise of all time, especially thanks to the past three Batman films better known as the “Dark Knight Trilogy.” Starring as Bruce Wayne/Batman in all three films was Christian Bale who was applauded for his performance and widely considered the best portrayal of the Caped Crusader. Yet when Bale was asked about returning to the Batman franchise he apparently rejected the idea.

On many accounts the past two years, director of the films, Christopher Nolan, said The Dark Knight Rises would be his last film to the Batman franchise, and he meant it. He had a strong bond with his entire cast including Bale. Since Nolan is now the producer for Man Of Steel, many were hoping for a miracle that Christian Bale would be brought back since his past two films as Batman both ended up breaking a billion dollars at the box-office. There were even reports that Warner Brothers offered Bale a whole 50 million dollars to return to the franchise. Bale rejected the idea, even saying that he would not do another Batman film unless Christopher Nolan opted for a fourth Dark Knight chapter, which Nolan said no. So once that decision was made, Warner Brothers made the announcement, at Comic Con San Diego, that they were going to reboot the legendary franchise and have Batman join forces (or fight against) with none other than the Man of Steel himself for the new movie, which sparked lots of mixed reactions. Many fans were happy and relived that the world would finally get a movie that had both Superman and Batman in it with costumes and everything. Then the backlash was: would Warner Brothers truly reboot Batman since the company just rebooted the franchise back in 2005 with Batman Begins? Some were furious that they would once again be redoing the film after the “Dark Knight Trilogy” was such a box-office and critical success.

Now that it has been officially announced that Ben Affleck will be the new Batman the world has been in uproar, even an online petition to have President Obama reject the idea, holy Batman! I am in the camp of those who believe in Ben Affleck, I mean he did just win the Oscar for Best Picture in which he starred and directed in. Listen I understand that in the earlier years Ben Affleck was kind of a laughing stock to a lot of people and reasonably so, but a lot has changed since his bad films with his corny acting of Daredevil, Gigli and Jersey Girl.

Fast forward years later and he’s in Oscar-nominated films. The movie that makes me believe that Affleck will succeed as the Batman is The Town. In that film is where it showed that Affleck can get down and gritty with the best of them, which is required to become the Bat. Affleck is 6’4 and as seen in The Town he can get jacked with the biggest and best of them. To me he will not be as good as Christian Bale, but he will play an excellent Batman. If I were to be worried about anything, it would be if he played the man behind the mask in Bruce Wayne. Wayne is such a fascinating character to the world of popular culture, he is more than just a comic-book hero, he is actually loved and an inspiration to millions. You just cannot put on a tux and say you’re Bruce Wayne; you must be able to show it and believe in yourself that you are the billionaire playboy. Wayne’s character shows a lot of heart, shows brilliance and yet must show off arrogance and rage when needed.

Yet when watching Affleck’s Oscar winning film Argo it shows that he can be play a hero without waving his fist around picking a fight, which will be needed to win over the fans for scenes when he is Bruce Wayne. Affleck’s next film coming out this fall Runner, Runner, is where he plays a wealthy criminal; so this fall we will get to see if he can play the Bruce Wayne character up to expectations. And if you’re thinking, “well he is playing a criminal and Bruce Wayne is no criminal,” well think again. Gotham City and the rest of the DC Comic universe sees Wayne as a fraud, Wayne puts on this ignorant act so nobody could ever imagine him as the Batman, so that is why it is needed to be seen if Affleck can pull off this smooth, arrogant performance.

It will be interesting to see come the summer of 2015 if Ben Affleck can fill in the shoes of the several other actors that have played Batman/Bruce Wayne. He has the world against him, yet the world was against Michael Kenton when he was cast as Batman and the world hated the idea of a guy named Heath Ledger when he was cast to be portray the legendary Joker. Both made out perfect.

halljv11@bonaventure.edu

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