Affleck is Batman. Remain calm.
So, Ben Affleck is Batman.
Go ahead, get the horrified screams, rending of garments and gnashing of teeth out of your systems.
OK, everybody donned their sackcloth and ashes? Good.
I haven’t, because frankly, I don’t think this is the end of the world.
I’ve never boarded the visceral-hatred-of-Affleck train. Was “Gigli” bad? Absolutely, but we seem to have forgiven Jennifer Lopez, Al Pacino and Christopher Walken. Was “Daredevil” on par with “The Avengers” and “Iron Man?” No, but there have been a lot worse (“Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” comes to mind).
Was “Armageddon” an unfairly maligned and in fact awesome movie? Darn right!
My point is that while Affleck is definitely an out-of-left-field choice, it’s not the most absurd casting move ever made. Years ago, I might have considered Heath Ledger as the Joker for that title, but that one worked out OK. Signing Affleck doesn’t doom the “Superman/Batman” movie to failure. I’m more concerned about it going downhill from “Man of Steel” which left a good setup for future films but had its flaws.
I don’t really get all the outrage directed at Affleck’s casting, but I know comic book fandom (myself included) can get pretty bent out of shape when we think moviemakers are disrespecting our favorite characters. I can also think of a few Batman choices that would have had fanboys’ blood boiling and the Internet exploding even more than Affleck.
5. Idris Elba – He’d be awesome, but changing the ethnicity of a character is often controversial. It’s pointless to say, “We need some diversity; let’s make this guy (insert ethnicity here).” But if an actor or actress is a great fit and happens to have a different skin color than the original character, so what? I can’t imagine a white actor that would have made a better Kingpin in “Daredevil” than Michael Clarke Duncan. Elba’s role as Heimdall in Thor wasn’t so obvious, but a black Norse god didn’t hurt that movie.
4. The Rock – His insertion into franchise after franchise has become a punchline, but the man makes a good action hero. But not a good Batman. That version would be breaking Bane’s back over his knee. Batman should not be bigger and more ripped than Superman.
3. Adam Sandler – Some folks still shudder over the never-materialized Jack Black “Green Lantern” film, and the makers of “The Green Hornet” went the against-type-comedian route with Seth Rogen. But putting Sandler in a role as iconically grim (Adam West aside) as Batman? About the only way you could infuriate fans more would be with
2. George Clooney – If there’s anyone whose credibility with comic fans based on a previous superhero role is worse than Affleck’s, it’s Clooney, who donned the cape and cowl in the near-franchise-killing “Batman and Robin.” His performance wasn’t the only, or even primary, reason that movie didn’t work, but imagine if Warner Brothers said, “We want to give George another shot.”
1. Robert Pattinson – Not on my original list, but after I saw an image by The Geek Strikes Back Facebook page referencing this, I couldn’t rank anyone higher. Most comic book fans hate “Twilight.” HATE it. (It’s not my cup of tea, but we comic readers are into some pretty goofy stuff, and not all of it is as good as “Watchmen” and “Runaways.”) Casting Edward Cullen himself as the Dark Knight? The sheer amount of rage-filled memes and comment board posts would cripple the Internet.
But in the end, it’s just a movie. If they mangle it, they’ll do it over in a few years. Or you can just watch the Nolan trilogy again. It’ll be OK.
Evan Bevins is the writer of the webcomic Support Group.