The long-awaited casting news for the Batman and Superman mash-up finally broke, and the answer has sent shock waves through the fan community. Zack Snyder, in the controversial press release, announced that Ben Affleck would take over the role, saying that, “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”
Fan reaction has been less than overjoyed, to say the least.
I’m also worried, but not for the immediate reasons that fans seem to be splashing across the internet. I’m not concerned about the failures of Gigli, Jersey Girl, or even Daredevil. He’s proved to be a reasonably talented actor despite those flops. The uneven past of his career and his previous appearances in the gossip rags don’t bother me either. What does? The fact that Ben Affleck has turned into one of the best directors Hollywood currently has to offer.
While I have my doubts as to whether Affleck is the right stylistic fit for the current DC cinematic universe, I’m willing (and hoping) to be proved wrong. It doesn’t make much sense to me, but then again neither did Christian Bale’s leap to a mainstream comic movie world at first.
However, my main hang-up about Affleck is that this could be a potential long-term commitment. If this movie goes well – and possibly even if it doesn’t – he could end up being tied to a franchise. While great for fans, franchises take a huge amount of time from the creative teams and actors behind them. This potentially means that the next Argo, the next The Town, could be put on hold indefinitely. I for one have been extremely pleased to see Affleck turn his career around and produce some fantastic films – and quite frankly, it’s a path I want to see him continue down.
So where do I land on this decision? Dubiously hopeful is a good phrase for it. To Zack Snyder and the studio, I hope you know what you’re doing. To the fans, I hope you give Ben Affleck the chance he deserves. And to Ben – please don’t keep us waiting too long for your return to the director’s chair.
What are your thoughts?