Naturally before I begin with my thoughts on Affleck in general and if could he work or not as Batman. We must admit that yes, there is a chance he might be a good Batman. You have to leave the chance open that anything could happen for one, second acting choices of past have surprised many so could do the same and it is premature to spew out hatred. However there is a difference between hatred and disappointment, hatred and annoyance and hatred and the honest truth. When you've been spoiled with Nolan and Bale being the dynamic duo of bringing seriousness to comic book films. We will have to really lower the bar very low with the duo of Snyder and Affleck.
announcement and reactions:
It all started with the announcement of a Superman/Batman film. Most came out to speculate who's going to be the next Batman and what kind of Batman will the film have. An older more seasoned vigilante Batman or a young upcoming superhero just like Man of Steel's Superman. Some of the choices were terrible, others were very risky and some were actually reasonable. Then the official announcement came of Ben Affleck and most were caught off guard and for good reason.
My personal problem with the reaction was not only the utmost hatred for Affleck, but also the complete pass and approval he got from the entertainment media, fanboy favorite sites and in general cinema establishment. I understand everybody wants to play it nice and lenient. But it just seems that I don't hear that much emotion from writers anymore. The immediate reaction was "give him a chance", "Michael Keaton wasn't thought to be a good choice originally". What I didn't hear from most people were the simple words "I probably would have picked someone else". That's all I wanted to hear and think most other fans would agree.
Now fans weren't only negative to Affleck, but also to other choices made in the past. Michael Keaton for one, but I was probably 2 years old at the time. Then there is Heath Ledger as Joker, which at the time I had already seen "Brokeback Mountain" & "I'm Not There" and had no qualms or fears on the casting and his acting capabilities. Anybody who hadn't probably were petrified not knowing his true acting talent. Same with Hathaway and Catwoman. Who in her whole career she had been a chameleon. With her Princess roles and rom-com choices. Then again, if anybody had known of her performances in "Havoc", "Brokeback Mountain" and "Rachel Getting Married". Would have known how much of a great and diverse actress she really is. What I'm trying to say is if you've seen actors choices, their whole repertoire, individual performances and a little bit about their life. You know what to expect. Same with Affleck.
Affleck has played various roles and different types of characters. Some good and some very bad. We all know he ain't no Matt Damon in acting chops and he isn't close to Bale in commitment to a role, process and with ability to be a method actor if need be. As well as the fact that Affleck isn't known for his acting range. You might say because its a comic book film and he's playing Batman and not Othello. You don't need to be that good, but I disagree. When you have a actor that can encompasse such traits. You not only get a good performance you bring realism and finally money to the project. And I won't compare him to Bale, but instead to Downey.
Originally when he was chosen for "Iron Man" he was considered a left field choice, but everybody was behind it. Why? Well it wasn't only because he could rock the goatee. But also because the man had acted in almost every kind of role from drug addict, to double crossing agent, to Charlie freaking Chaplin. As well as the fact that he had the personality to go with the character.
personality & character:
Now back to Affleck he isn't close to Bale or Downey in acting chops. What about personality? He's a cool and likable guy. Straight forward, understanding & respectful of fans, critics, the media establishment and additionally highly intelligent and political for an actor. Finally never the man who wants to tip over many toes or do something controversial. Does that sound like a Bruce Wayne type of guy or a man carrying a ton of bricks because of his troubled youth?
marketing & retaining assets
Which leads me to why he was chosen. Marketability and business relationships. Affleck always has been a well liked guy in the business and at the box office. Particularly with women and female oriented projects. He's also admired by critics as an actor/writer & director. So you've got Academy Award Winning actor playing Batman, even though he hasn't won one an award for acting and also critically admired and Hollywood loved actor playing Batman. Furthermore his last two films have been at Warner Bros and his next film will be again at Warner. So Warner keeps the relationship going with the Academy Award winner and he himself gets the big dollars, the budget for his projects and lots and lots of publicity.
So lets be clear about it, he didn't get the role for all the right reasons. Then lets think of one more facet to the casting. When Tim Burton picked Keaton for Batman back in 1989. He had worked previously on "Beetlejuice" together to see something in him to choose him as Batman. Also Christopher Nolan picked Bale for his Batman films. Having already seen "American Psycho" and "the Machinist" to know how great of an actor he really was. But we also knew that Nolan could direct actors in great & edgy performances. Having seen already Guy Pierce in "Memento" and also Al Pacino & Robin Williams in "Insomnia".
Leading us to the men behind the camera & choice of the new Batman. Not only did the marketing and business department of Warner Bros make the choice. But also the director and writer of Man of Steel Zack Snyder and David S. Goyer. Two people who haven't made a masterpiece, landmark film or genre defining escapade. With no real great pieces of performances under their belt and neither with many films to come out extremely beloved either by fans & critics. Did we really expect them to get the best man for the job and maybe turn out an intriguing piece of work afterwards? Be honest..
Affleck might surprise us in the end and even could bring a different incarnation of the character. Nonetheless for me he still was the wrong choice and someone else could have been picked and possibly worked out to everyone's benefit. It wouldn't have to have been necessarily Ryan Gosling as the rumors had indicated, but more to the likes of a Karl Urban style of actor. That has the voice, integrity, viciousness to be Batman. Instead of picking the man who had already played a similar character in "Daredevil" and didn't convince, not the man who has had a terrible track record at picking projects to act in and not the man that is a better actor at times when he doesn't speak and is a worst actor at times because he isn't as emotional or sympathetic as other actors can be. In short like it or not he has been picked and we shall have to remain patient until the next Batman incarnation.