The Batman Shebacle

Over the last few weeks, some of you have been watching along on my new Vlog on YouTube. Since I started that project over a month ago, I've slacked off on writing new entries. I'll be honest, when I've already spent my entire day staring at words on a screen, it becomes much easier to ramble into a camera than it is to force myself to write more as an update.

Those of you who have been watching may have noticed that last week's video featured me in my Batgirl shirt, because I like to pretend I'm Barbara Gordon. (I still have the wheelchair in my closet and everything.) For anyone who didn't catch the last video, it's right here.

Of course, mere moments after I had finished editing and had the video uploaded and scheduled for release, I heard the Batman bombshell. Immediately after I had decided to broadcast my Gotham fandom to the entirety of the internet, I found out that the next movie would not star Christian Bale again, but Ben Affleck. Now, because you are currently on the internet, I assume you have heard something of these rumors. You might be angry, or you might not understand what the big deal is. So, as someone who knows Gotham City better than the town I live in, I'll tell you why this casting decision has rubbed so many people the wrong way.

If you click on the names of either actor in that last paragraph, it will bring you to their IMDB page, which will tell you all about their previous roles. It even gives you reviews, so you know which performances are widely accepted as better than others. There are a fair amount of similarities there. They've both done some television one-offs, and some voice acting for kids' movies. Heck, remember when Bale was 18 and he did Newsies? Both men have expertly handled some less-than-badass roles.

"I am the Batman!"

That's where the obvious similarities end, however. In the 1990s, while Bale was taking on dark historical dramas, Affleck was making his name in Kevin Smith films. "But, Halliday!" You cry. "Surely you can't have forgotten about Ben Affleck's dramatic roles? He's had lots of those!"

Well, strange person who yells rhetorical questions at your computer screen, I am first going to take this opportunity to remind you that you're reading my blog. This is my perspective. Feel free to disagree with me, because this is the internet and that's what you're supposed to do (judging from all these examples I keep seeing). Theater and cinematic entertainment are hobbies I enjoy greatly, but there are many out there with more educated opinions than mine.

The types of dramatic roles the two men play are very different for the most part. Many Affleck's more highly renowned dramatic roles are romantic or otherwise emotional. Good Will Hunting, Shakespeare in Love, and Pearl Harbor are all great examples of this. Having not watched them, I'm not going to comment on Argo or The Town (except to say his Boston accent somehow sounds inexcusably phony).

Christian Bale, on the other hand, is probably best known for his action and thriller films. His resume is full of movies like American Psycho, Reign of Fire, Equilibrium, The Machinist, and 3:10 to Yuma. The violence and insanity he works with so often are the very stuff that make up Gotham City. As Batman, his cold resolve barely kept a brutal rage in check.

Affleck's rendition of Daredevil had much more emotional vulnerability. There was also a much greater focus on his character's romantic involvement. Seriously, think hard about that movie. Now, recall Batman's reaction when he had to choose between saving Gotham, and the girl he loves.


Simply put, this is likely to take the character in a noticeably different direction. Change is scary, especially when you've come to enjoy the current, and the new guy has made some mistakes in the past - mistakes like Gigli.

I have to say, I have a greater optimism for Affleck's ability to encapsulate some of the traits of the Bruce Wayne alter-ego. I think he's proven himself more than capable of affecting the apparently self-absorbed, smarmy businessman, who is really hiding something deeper under thick layers of manipulation.