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Faceoff: Ben Affleck for Batman

  • Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck (Getty Images file photo )
August 26, 2013|By Jim Walsh and Lindsey Romain | RedEye

The Question: On Thursday night, we learned the identity of the next Batman -- Ben Affleck. Is this an awesome idea, or a terrible one?

Awesome

Jim Walsh

“Multiplicity.” “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” “Batman and Robin,” for God’s sake!

In the annals of box-office Batman, we have seen a long and face-palmy tradition of the men playing the Dark Knight also having starred in less-than-stellar movies.

Michael Keaton was the dude who made genetic copies of himself so he could get more done (1996). Val Kilmer was nominated for a Worst Supporting Actor Razzie after “The Island of Dr. Moreau” that same year. And George Clooney introduced us to Batman’s nipples in the 1997 installment of the franchise, the one that made the viability of a fifth flick seem less likely than another World Series win for the Cubs.

And then, after an 11-year hiatus, Christian Bale -- who has never made a bad movie -- happened. And director Christopher Nolan. And Heath Ledger. They were the exception, not the rule.

If you remember, people back then were super suspicious of Mr. “10 Things I Hate About You” taking on the heady role of The Joker. Turned out it was one of the most memorable performance of his career.

Do I care that Ben Affleck has been in “Daredevil” and “Gigli?” Not at all. He’s been in some great ones too (“Argo” and “Good Will Hunting” to name a few). Past success or failures really don’t mean that much -- let’s just wait and see what he does with the character.

Now let’s all settle down and talk about whether the Batman voice is good or bad for society at large.

Terrible

Lindsey Romain

Let me be clear: I don’t hate Ben Affleck. I thought “Argo” was great and his performances, while uninspired, are technically fine. I’m actually more of a Ben Affleck fan than a Matt Damon fan, which in certain sectors is considered blasphemy.

But Ben Affleck as Batman? Massive sigh. It’s such a typical, boring, by-the-numbers choice. I expected more from Zach Snyder, who chose little-known Henry Cavill as his Superman. When the studio said they were going for an older, more rugged Bruce Wayne, I thought, “here it is, the perfect opportunity for something different.” Instead, we get beige wallpaper Affleck, the least rugged man in Hollywood. Post-Bennifer Ben Affleck might have excited me, but distinguished Oscar-winning director Ben Affleck? It’s so basic it’s almost insulting.

The rumor mill list cultivated some pretty awesome prospects: Josh Brolin, Timothy Olyphant, Richard Armitage. Even everyone’s favorite Hey Girl Ryan Gosling would have injected a bit more chutzpah into the Caped Crusader than Affleck, who, in my opinion, has never delivered a convincingly deep performance.

My personal pick was Idris Elba, who has that sort of bleeding, demanding sex appeal and seriousness that would be great for a 21st Century Bruce Wayne. Sure, he’s a black guy and Bruce is almost painfully white, but if DC wanted to update their cool factor and rattle some tail feathers, flipping the race on their most famous superhero would have been a great start.

Maybe I’m just bent that we still don’t get a Wonder Woman movie. Seriously, what gives?

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