I had decided to start at least a semi-regular Friday post that's based in just the bizarre nonsense I find on the Internet. But today's news from the world of film has knocked what I was planning to write on today back a week. But don't worry, it'll be worth the wait!
Ben Affleck is going to play Batman in the upcoming as yet untitled sequel to the Superman movie "Man of Steel", which will be released in 2015. On my birthday, in fact! In turn, this movie is intended to set up Warner Brothers' production of "Justice League", which is supposed to compete with Columbia's (and I betcha Sony and Fox will have cuts before it's done) Marvel franchise featuring "The Avengers".
(Incidentally, 2015 is also supposed to bring us the seventh installment in some film series called "Star Wars", too.)
The Internet is burning up with criticism over the casting. And why not? Ben Affleck is a talented writer and director. But in his quest to become the Orson Welles of our time, he's trying to convince us all, really hard, he can act. OK, he did decently in "Argo" and "Good Will Hunting" and in a couple of more forgettable films. But I can also remember the two other action franchises he killed. Namely, the Marvel superhero film "Daredevil", which never even got off the ground as a multi-film property (no, Jennifer Garner's "Elektra" spinoff doesn't count) and even more spectacularly, the way he utterly annihilated the Tom Clancy book franchise by f'ing up beyond all recognition the Jack Ryan character in "The Sum of All Fears".
(Oh, how bad was "Daredevil"? My son was about 8 or 9 when it came out, and he told me last night it was the first mlovie he ever saw that he knew was bad.)
Here is where I am going with all this. I love Batman. I put up with George Clooney as Batman and bad henchmen on ice skates and Uma Thurman wrapped up in vines and Alicia Silverstone. I would see a Batman movie if Patrick Ewing portrayed the Caped Crusader.
But as an actor, Ben Affleck doesn't have the range to pull off Bruce Wayne and Batman. The way I see this going down, he will be good at one, and absolutely suck at the other. And since apparently Lex Luthor is going to show up in this movie, industrialist Bruce Wayne will probably be onscreen as much as the Dark Knight. And Ben can't do two roles in a movie. He just can't.
How can this work? At least so damage can be minimized? One, no more solo Batman movies. Not until Warner Brothers comes to its senses and chucks tons of money back at Christian Bale to come back, or really does an adaptation of "Dark Knight Returns" and hires a badass actor in his 40s or 50s to play the older Batman. That actor does exist. His name is Daniel Craig. Busy right now but in 5 years, won't be.
Two, cast "Justice League" well. Henry Cavill is a very good Superman but there need to be sound selections for the other hero roles-- Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman. Ben has acted well when part of a larger, more ensemble-y cast. Note the two movies I list above.
Gentle readers, we will survive this. July 17, 2015 will come and it will be what it will be, then 2016 or 2017 will come and it will be what it will be. We have had bad Batmen before, and the character has endured. In fact, it has done so for 75 years.
But as fans being asked to spend our hard-earned money for a two-hour escape that we're going to anticipate for years, we want something that grabs our imaginations. And the mastermind behind "Gigli" and former beau of Jenny From The Block just ain't cutting it.