None of the casting rumours seemed to see this coming, The Wrap has revealed that Daredevil and Argo star Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman in Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel 2, where he’ll take on Henry Cavill’s Superman in a Dark Knight Returns-inspired brawl to the finish.
“We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular super heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some,” said WB’s president of production Greg Silverman. “His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character.”
Added Snyder: “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”
Despite a poor reception for his take on Daredevil, the longer director’s cut has become something of a (tarnished) cult classic, and time has only increased Affleck’s range as an actor – his obvious chops in Argo and The Town making the role of an obsessive veteran vigilante a walk in Metropolis park.
Rewatch The Town and tell me you can’t see the Bruce Wayne/Batman dichotomy play out in the charming rough-edged Boston bro who strikes up a romance with Rebecca Hall’s Claire Keesey, while at night he pulls on a nun-mask as vicious, ice-cool armed robber.
More than that, his work as a director/writer on The Town and Gone Baby, Gone suggest he’s an understanding of the morally grey, life on the edge underworld that Batman inhabits. Not only is Ben Affleck a great choice to play Batman, but he would be a great choice to direct a Batman reboot as well, bringing it right back to the streets for a crime thriller/mystery that merges Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s seminal Year One, with the long-scale mystery of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s The Long Halloween.
It’s easy to be skeptical, after all he’s following the critical high of Christian Bale’s compelling method delivery in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series, but then Michael Keaton – still many people’s favourite Batman for his role in the 1989 Tim Burton movie – was subject to fandork outrage for the crime of being primarily a comedian.
Imagine the reception if Christian Bale had followed Michael Keaton, or Henry Cavill followed Christopher Reeve without a fat Dean Cain or watery Brandon Routh in between…