In defense of Batfleck
"Man is still good. We break things, tear them down, but we can rebuild. We can be better, we have to be." — Bruce Wayne, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"
"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" opened this weekend to Box Office records. It also opened to an incredible level of critical scorn. Though, to be fair, much of that started long before the film was released.
In fact a lot of it went all the way back to the casting process, when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman. I didn't mind the choice then, and I was pleased with the way he handled the role. Some may have been dubious, but I think he was a good choice.
Here's a little defense of the Batfleck.
1. "Daredevil" isn't as bad as you think. Sure, "Daredevil" wasn't great. It probably isn't an all time classic and was, perhaps, a misstep. But that can't all be blamed on Affleck. There were a lot of elements of the film, which came out on the early end of the modern wave of superhero movies, that didn't totally work. But watch it again. It's hardly the worst superhero movie I've seen, and Affleck is solidly believable in most of the role.
2. Actors often do better with their second bite at the superhero apple. Think about Chris Evans. The guy was barely memorable in the FOX incarnation of "The Fantastic Four," where he played the Human Torch. But he's great as Captain America. Same thing with Ryan Reynolds. No one wants to see him as the Green Lantern again, but "Deadpool" just set R-rated Box Office records for February.
3. Affleck has a dark, gritty side that works in this role. This is supposed to be an older, jaded Batman. Affleck has done those kind of roles in the past, and he fits here. He's fine in the suit, but he's great as Bruce Wayne. And I think that matters more.
In fact, I'd put Affleck solidly third among those to done the Bat suit. Here's my all time list below.
1. Michael Keaton. I go back-and-forth about this, but there is something about Keaton's portrayal that I just love.
2. Christian Bale. He has by far the best Batman movies, and he was great, but it doesn't feel as big or iconic as Keaton in some ways.
3. Ben Affleck. I liked him as Bruce Wayne, and I liked him as Batman. I'm curious to see the stand alone Batman movie that Affleck will direct.
4. George Clooney. Again, sometimes being a good Bruce Wayne matters more. Clooney has an affable charm that sort of worked in the role despite the fact the movie wasn't great.
5. Adam West. There's a corny quality to his Batman movie, but he works in that kind of style. Just not my favorite style.
6. Val Kilmer. If I could make this lower than six, I would. Watch "Batman Forever" again. It's by far the worst Batman movie.