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LONG BLOG

The Boston Bat

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So apparently Ben Affleck is going to be the next Batman in Batman and Superman the Movie: World's Finest. This has set a fire under the collective butts of fanboys who have a ready internet connection and a lot of free time on their hands (you know like me). This could be one of those posts that breaks apart whether or not the actor is suited for the role, and maybe I'll get there, but be real about all this. DC Comics and Warner Bros. Pictures aren't making Batman Year One, Two and Three anymore. Christian Bale's grunting Batman is done for finally.

They stated that loud and clear when they actually started shopping around for a new Batman only a year after the last one. We're in a new era finally. This is going to be a new Batman and he will be trying to figure a way to look cool while Superman destroys the other half of Metropolis.

Enough about that though. What has irked me is that everybody who happens to want to capitalize on this backlash has one thing to say: "Didn't you silly little people do the same thing with Michael Keaton and Heath Ledger?" My answer to that is a flat "what the hell does that have to do with this?"

See the idea behind the question is just to naturally make the argument, "well this turned out to be better so obviously you guys are overreacting." They are right, but just about the overreacting. However, fan backlash against Michael Keaton and Heath Ledger was motivated for entirely different reasons. That backlash was motivated by the unknown and that is entirely different from what we are seeing here.



When Michael Keaton was cast as Batman, the only reference we had to the character was Adam West's campy but ultimately fun take on the character. Adam West's show famously changed the way DC portrayed Batman in the 1960s. He was fun loving much like the TV show. In the 1970s and 1980s however, the character had dramatically shifted.

What came to be was a character that was goofy in the 1960s, high tech and heroic in the 1970s and dark and brooding in the 1980s. This means there are 3 key generations waiting to see what will come out of the first blockbuster superhero movie. So many diverse demographics all anticipating what they will be doing in 1989 and you know what the first big news was? That Batman was going to be directed by the Beetlejuice guy starring the dude that played Beetlejuice.

Now let's actually forget for a second that Keaton does an ok job. Not fabulous mind you, but good enough. Think about Beetlejuice for a second, picture the scenes where he's hitting up the dismembered dancer. The scene where he's exiting the whorehouse. Picture this:



Think to yourself how that guy is going to do as Batman. Michael Keaton at the time wasn't known as anything more than a funny man. Johnny Dangerously, Mr. Mom or Beetlejuice is really all anybody could take from the man. He was a funny man going toe to toe with Jack Nicholson's Joker, and well it just didn't seem like he could fulfill the part.

In fact its more amazing that the movie was any good at all. Thankfully it was and it singlehandedly brought comic books back in to film. The fear however was still there. People were afraid because they didn't know what Batman could be on the big screen. This was something unknown and it ignited a fire under people's asses to speculate.

The same fear would ignite a fire under Heath Ledger's casting for an entirely different reason.



Let's explain how Heath Ledger's reveal came about. The Joker card had been left at the scene of the crime in Batman Begins. We all knew he was coming and we all had our reservations because Jack Nicholson did the job over a decade before and you would have to be crazy to think you could have one upped him.

"Surely Nolan was just teasing us with the Joker and we'll get somebody else," we all thought. "Oh, they are casting for the film. Wait a second, Heath Ledger? The cowboy movie guy?" That was the initial reaction. Then the image you see above appeared everywhere.

This was a shocking image. Let me accentuate this with a point, look at that image and try to picture Jack Nicholson or Cesar Romero as the Joker. You really can't after seeing that image. You have absolutely no basis to judge that character. All you know in your gut is, that this is not the Joker that I know.



So everybody is already timid, and now Warner Bros. is starting to go all out with marketing. "Why so serious?" became the movies catchphrase and nobody had any freaking clue what these people were doing. They created a decent Batman with Christian Bale, how could they follow it up with this?

Warner Bros. remained cryptic and their marketing created a speculative buzz surrounding the character and the development. They did their jobs and because Ledger did his, this film would become one of the most talked about films of the summer of 2008.

Then out of nowhere, Ledger dies 6 months before the release.

So imagine a group of people fueled by crazy speculation about a dark, edgy Joker that nobody has any frame of reference to tie him to. Then the character overdoses and everybody goes wild. "Was the role too dark for Ledger to come out of. What troubles was he having." It was nuts. Nobody knew what to make of this.

The unknown had captivated all of us and gave us something to go to the movies for. The fact that Nolan pulled off one of the greatest acts of villainy on film is nothing short of amazing and is a fitting tribute to an actor under appreciated in his time.


Which I guess brings us to the man of the hour. Ben Affleck AKA Daredevil AKA Superman AKA Batman. Does he have the acting chops? Depends on if you liked Argo and Hollywoodland. Does have the ability to do big action sequences? Depends on what you thought of Daredevil and Paycheck.

Can he play Bruce Wayne? Absolutely. He's a charming guy who has a bit of disgust with the playboy lifestyle after the whole Jenny from the Block phase of his life. Can he play Batman? He played a decent Daredevil a decade ago. So I don't see why not.

The reason the world is crapping all over Ben Affleck right now is simple. They know Ben Affleck. They know him as that kid with the thick boston accent in Good Will Hunting. They know him from when he was trying to buy J-Lo's love with easy money films like Paycheck, Gigli and Surviving Christmas. There is no fear of the unknown. We know Ben Affleck like he's our brother-in-law from out of town. Sometimes he's fun to be around, sometimes not so much, but you know one thing for certain. You sure as hell wouldn't give him the keys to your batmobile because it really is a toss up and something unexpected always seems to happen. For example, he might bring it back buffed out with a full tank of gas. That or he could have crashed it in to a tree.

All I'm saying is wait for your surprise.




Right now we have 2 years to wait until this movie is released. Zack Snyder is still working on it and better yet, it is a Superman and Batman crossover tale with Superman as the lead. This means there will be little to nothing for Ben to really screw up that Cavill and Snyder haven't already set forward. Really, sit back and think about this.

Superman is going to be on screen for like 20 minutes to open. Then Bruce Wayne shows up and shit starts getting kinda real for like 20 minutes. Then they team up with big Superman action shots going off for the next 40 minutes and Batman somehow being interwoven inside of them. End credits and Warner Bros. executives begin counting the money.

If anybody is going to screw this film up, it will be the Legendary Warner Bros. split up paired with Zack Snyder's shoot first ask questions later method of film making. Maybe Ben will help out behind the scenes since apparently he can write, direct and has played as both Superman and a character very similar to the role he is in. You never know what kind of weird tricks these AAA movies can bring. So can we stop freaking out and pestering the President about Ben Affleck playing as Batman for this and probably one or maybe two Batman films. Oh wait, and there is also that Justice League film that has been rumored about since 2006. So ummm....there is that as well.

Wait, are we really sure we want to offer this to Ben Affleck?
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