Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

Christian Bale made it relatively clear that portraying Batman is no walk in the park. Only a select few can drive the Batmobile and operate Wayne Enterprise the way Bale did. With a grappling gun in one hand and a martini in the other, Bale turned the role of Bruce Wayne into a selective process for Warner Bros. casting agency similar to Sean Connery’s influence over the James Bond franchise.
The selective process for the upcoming “Man of Steel” sequel was not thought out. In fact, Warner Bros. casting of Ben Affleck is the crowning achievement of mediocrity and flagrance. For Ben Affleck to beat out frontrunners, Karl Urban and Josh Brolin, is simply absurd. Examining Affleck’s dubious catalog in pieces will surely reveal his weaknesses as an A-list actor and illustrate his inability to fill Bale’s void.
Deciphering Affleck’s acting style isn’t rocket science. While he’s capable enough to carry a lead role, the projects he undertook earlier in his career weren’t entirely attractive to film scholars and moviegoers as opposed to the sensational endeavors of performers such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Denzel Washington. Despite winning an Oscar for “Good Will Hunting,” Affleck was never able to duplicate the success of his magnum opus until later in his career. Affleck was never fully committed to his roles nor did he take risks in his early days of stardom. Actors such Robert De Niro and Bale were dedicated to playing their respective characters through a form of method acting in which the performer immerses him or herself into the role. The end result of this classical technique develops a life-like character. De Niro, for instance, lived in Sicily for “The Godfather Part II;” he gained approximately 60 pounds and learned how to box in preparation for his portrayal of Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull; he ground his teeth for Cape Fear; he worked as a cab driver for several weeks for “Taxi Driver” and taught himself to play the saxophone for “New York, New York.” Even Bale was ambitious towards the beginning of his career when he lost a considerable amount of weight in order to achieve to the proper physique for his role as a narcissistic investment banker in “American Psycho.”
Other than “Good Will Hunting,” “Argo,” and “The Town,” hardly any of this craftwork has shown up in Affleck’s work and if these methods were visible they were poorly executed, like “Pearl Harbor” and “Paycheck.” If Affleck followed suit much like Bale or De Niro earlier on, he most likely would have made better choices selecting his roles.
In the early 2000s, Affleck saw his stock as an A-list actor plummet after the colossal failures of starring-vehicles like “Gigli” and “Daredevil” in which the latter was a superhero film created by Marvel Studios. Affleck’s stiff performance in “Daredevil” alone is enough to convince the masses that the actor is far from Bruce Wayne material. “Daredevil” as a film was an all-around mess.
To further sum up Affleck’s performance, his dialogue as the velvety-masked vigilante was simply laughable, his general personality was relatively dull, and his overall backstory was uninspiring and uninteresting. I remember seeing “Daredevil” in theaters with extremely low expectations as if I were a stooge taking his girlfriend to see a dreadful “Twilight” film. Strangely enough, I couldn’t help but think the film was eventually going to scrape the bottom of the barrel. It didn’t become a realization until America left the theaters repulsed by Affleck dressed in bright red elastic attire. With that being said, Affleck’s character in the film was drab and pathetic, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of its audience. After the unfavorable results of “Daredevil,” Affleck confirmed he would never reprise his role for a sequel, stating wearing a costume and portraying a superhero was simply degrading.
It’s pretty hypocritical coming from the actor who just undertook the role of Gotham’s triumphant. If Affleck can’t surmount to the role of a lesser-known superhero such as Daredevil what makes you think he’s adequate enough to grasp the role of Batman? In a nutshell, Affleck is too soft and martially-inexperienced to play the dark knight. It has been over eight years since the release of “Batman Begins” and approximately sixteen years since the lackluster smudge of “Batman & Robin.” The franchise has seen a wide range of ups and downs over that span. From the bizarre Tim Burton renditions to homosexual innuendos found in Joel Schumacher’s ill-fated adaptations, the Batman film franchise has come a long way from the humiliation and campiness emphasized in those films. The maturity and illumination of Nolan and Bale’s films were not only unanimously profound but widely respected. Warner Bros. decision to go with Ben Affleck isn’t a truly awful one as George Clooney and Val Kilmer truly gutted the series in the late 1990s, but it is certainly a step back.
Now here’s my biggest gripe with Warner Bros. Pictures: why even recast the role of Nolan’s Bruce Wayne? Why not instead develop a new character that will succeed Wayne as the protector of Gotham City? Before you throw out your issue of The Quad and go about your day, hear me out. No one ever said that Batman was solely the property of Bruce Wayne. In fact several characters have taken over for Bruce Wayne within the series. In the late 1990s, Warner Bros. created a new animated Batman television series entitled, “Batman Beyond,” which was set 40 years into the future and revolved around a retired Bruce Wayne and his successor, Terry McGinnis. Wayne served as an elderly mentor to a younger McGinnis after he suffered a mild heart attack in his final years of defending Gotham. Due to the infestation of crime and the evolution of technology and weaponry, an aging Wayne was forced to abandon his lifelong principles by threatening his enemies with a gun. He finally came to the conclusion that he was no longer physically capable of preserving justice and hung up his Batsuit. He vowed never to return as Gotham’s gallant hero and handed over his primary duties to a virtual unknown whom he trusted and strongly related to.
The overall style of “Batman Beyond” closely resembles the dark eerie macrocosm Nolan created and if contemplated would serve as an excellent tie-in to “The Dark Knight Rises.” If Warner Bros. were to venture down the “Batman Beyond” avenue instead of constantly appending Nolan’s trilogy with a different actor, the fan reaction a month ago would have been slightly positive. Another reinterpretation of the Batman series would produce stale results and a gruesomely predictable origin film that we’re too used to seeing in theaters today.
Looking ahead at the future is just as important and exploring a new character assuming the role of Batman would be a refreshing start. Bale previously stated in an interview this year that he would only reprise his role if Nolan were attached to the film, but unfortunately for fans, Nolan declined to make another sequel, claiming the story of the dark knight has concluded indefinitely.
Nolan, however, has assumed the chair as a consultant and an executive producer of the Man of Steel franchise, aiding Zach Snyder and Warner Bros. with the story arc of Superman. There are plenty of logical options laid out for Warner Bros. Pictures to choose from. They could easily recast Affleck with a more classically-trained actor; they could undergo a new story treatment involving another character carrying out the responsibilities of Bruce Wayne, or they can discontinue Nolan’s Batman altogether as the Dark Knight trilogy is told impeccably well. Warner Bros. had a golden opportunity to really delve deeper into the Batman series and deliver the news of a fleshed-out Nolan-esque picture, but if history serves correctly, the studio’s incompetency has blinded them and instead they acquired
Daredevil to portray their beloved hallmark character. Quite personally, I would rather have Al Pacino portray Bruce Wayne on the big screen because at least he can raise the film’s intensity with his strapping vocality.
I place my trust in Pacino to commandeer the franchise more than I do with the man who starred in “Surviving Christmas” and “Jersey Girl.” With all joking aside, I firmly believe Warner Bros. will regret their abrupt decision to sign Affleck for the upcoming Man of Steel sequel. Nolan or not, Batman was Bale’s character. He essentially rectified the grizzly image of the dark knight and transformed the hammy juvenile Adam West-veined series into a dystopian novel of epic proportions. Ben Affleck has enormous shoes to fill, and if he falls flat on his face as the Dark Avenger Gotham’s grown accustom to, expect a national uprising. It may possibly be our reckoning in Batman’s defense.
Drew Mattiola is a second-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at RM814408@wcupa.edu.

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