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Let’s get to the real, pressing issue of our time… Batman.

23 August 2013

So, if you were anywhere near Facebook or Twitter last night, you saw the Internet collectively lose its shit when Warner Brothers announced they had decided who would play the role of Batman in the new Superman/Batman film:

 

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His beard will get credit as the stunt coordinator.

I, for one, was happy to see Affleck get cast. I know a lot of people are upset about the Daredevil film, and think that he’s going to do the same to Batman. But let’s break it down into reality for a second:

  • First, no actor is solely responsible for a film, good or bad. Take a look at the end credits, and you’ll see that there are more names on Daredevil than “Ben Affleck.”
  • Second, Daredevil was ten fucking years ago. Should we judge every creative person on the work they put out a decade before? Should I judge your writing on where you were in 2003? Should I judge a comic book artist on his first layout ever? Should you ignore everything I’ve written since 2001 (I wasn’t writing in 2003), and base your opinion of my storytelling on the one novel that unfortunately managed to make it to the public?
  • Third, Argo. Motherfucking Argo. It was fantastic. I will fight anyone who says different. (The Academy seems to agree with me, too… except maybe the fighting bit.)

I’ll admit I’m coming from a place of bias. I like Ben Affleck. I like him as a writer, a director, and an actor. That wasn’t always the case — in Forces of Nature days, I used to shake my head at the choices he made. Paycheck wasn’t exactly worth watching (though, again, see point 1 above). But that all changed around Hollywoodland

Affleck had been off the radar for a while, but then he appeared as George Reeves in the flashback scenes in Hollywoodland. I thought it was an odd choice, initially, until I saw him act. He gave that character a pathos and sadness that made me forget I was looking at the same guy who once tried to outwit a homeless Gary Sinise in Reindeer Games. He made me forget about Ben Affleck, and only made me see George Reeves. And every film I’ve seen him in since then, I thought he was great in.

But even then — if you can’t stand Affleck, I understand. I understand tastes differ… but him playing Batman should in no way affect your relationship with Batman. The version of Batman that made you fall in love with the character, whether it was The Killing Joke, the Tim Burton Batman film, the spectacular late-90s animated series, or even the 1940s movie serials… that stuff is still out there.

You can choose your Batman, and exclude all others you don’t like. If I don’t want to watch Batman and Robin, no one’s forcing me to sit through it Clockwork-Orange-style. If I think Bat-Baby was the pinnacle of Bat-Development, I could sit there and re-read that same comic until I died, and no one could stop me.

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For the record, I don’t.

But here’s the thing — art is about taking chances. It’s about doing something different with the things we see around us. 

But it’s also about giving chances. Instead of condemning art that hasn’t even been made yet, why not wait until it’s done to condemn or praise it? Why not see what the filmmakers come up with?

Or tell me to fuck off, because Ben Affleck isn’t and will never be Batman, and you’ll fight anyone who says different. That’s cool too.

 

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