Christopher Nolan’s latest film, Interstellar, is currently playing and generating a wide variety of opinions (read our review), which is a slightly different reaction his previous works have received; namely the Dark Knight trilogy. Nolan’s take on the Bruce Wayne mythos proved to be critical hits, box office smashes, and even Oscar winners. Its impact on both the superhero genre and the film industry as a whole is still felt today.
Nolan’s Batman was, rather infamously, its own standalone entity – meaning that Christian Bale’s Caped Crusader really did work alone and wouldn’t fight crime alongside Superman, Green Lantern, or Aquaman. So when Warner Bros. wanted to push forth on their shared DC movie universe and set up an on-screen Justice League, some rebooting was in order.
As you all know by now, that rebooting came in the form of Mr. Ben Affleck, who will be portraying Bruce Wayne/Batman in Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Arriving just four years after the last Dark Knight film, the Oscar-winner has his work cut out for him if he is to eclipse Bale as this generation’s defining Batman. Fan opinion is all over the place on that regard, but Nolan is confident in Affleck’s abilities.
In an interview with the Daily Beast, the director (who is an executive producer on Batman V Superman) expressed enthusiasm over Affleck’s casting:
“When they told me that Ben was interested in doing it, I thought, ‘How thrilling!’ This is the guy who just won Best Picture as a director and as an actor, and I thought it would be a great thing that he’d be willing to do this. I think the guy is incredibly talented and I’m very excited to see what Zack and Ben do together.”
Affleck became something of a punchline during the 2000s with films like Gigli under his belt, but he turned his career around in a big way this decade. He emerged as a strong director with The Town and Argo, and he’s also demonstrated solid acting chops – not just in his own movies, but also projects like David Fincher’s Gone Girl. It was those qualities (among others) that made him the first choice for Batman V Superman‘s producers.
Comic book movie fans still have visions of the much maligned Daredevil feature when they think about Affleck taking the lead in one of these adaptations, but signs are pointing to a different kind of experience this time. The actor has had nothing but positive things to say about Snyder’s vision and WB as a whole; and Oscar-winning scribe Chris Terrio (who penned Argo) is behind the Dawn of Justice screenplay. After reviving his career very recently, it’s unlikely Affleck would risk his new reputation by fronting something that was questionable (he’s even said as such).
Now that the initial wave of surprise has cooled down and official images of Affleck in character have been revealed, there are more and more people going towards the “pro-Batfleck” side of the debate. The general consensus is that the man looks the part, it just remains to be seen if he can act it as well. Given his recent output, we’d have to say Nolan’s belief in Affleck isn’t misguided and that he’ll make a worthy poster boy for WB/DC the next handful of years.
Now if only we could see that Batman-heavy teaser trailer to make sure…
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters March 25, 2016.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.