MMM Podcast #140: Ben Affleck Is Batman

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All of superhero fandom was shocked by the news of Ben Affleck being cast as Batman opposite Henry Cavill’s Superman in the forthcoming sequel to MAN OF STEEL (assuming we can still call it a sequel). The backlash has been staggering, but there’s no reason to expect Warner Bros. will change its course. Ben Affleck is going to be the man sporting the cape and cowl when moviegoers sit down and watch the film on July 17, 2015. The Gentlemen have convened to provide their thoughts on this casting decision and some of the more intense fan reaction.

Download the show HERE.

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  • T.T.

    When they made the first Superman, the studio wanted Robert Redford to play Superman and Richard Donner had to talk them out of it because as he put it, the audience won’t see Superman they’ll see Robert Redford in a cape.

    This is my main problem with Ben Affleck, he’s just too famous a guy to be dressed up as Batman, like every time I see “Batman and Robin” I think George Clooney is a pretty good Bruce Wayne, but he looks ridiculous dressed up as Batman, I think this fan made photo of Affleck in the cowl looks ridiculous as well.

    So telling everyone what a accomplished guy he is really isn’t convincing me this is a good idea. The real problem isn’t acting chops, it’s how do you put this famous guy in in a rubber outfit and not get snickering and eye rolling from the audience, and I don’t think Zack Snyder is a clever enough director to figure it out

    • stock

      “Every time I see Batman and Robin?” You’ve seen that more than once? On purpose? Well sir, I hope you’re in the military because you should be training our guys on how to deal with torture or traumatic brain injury. You are one tough SOB!

      • T.T.

        It’s on T.V. all the time, every 2 months or so some channel runs all the 90’s films back to back, but I kinda like it, it’s like “Plan 9 from Outer Space” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, it’s like a drinking game just waiting to happen, every time Arnold makes a pun… Drink! The optimal viewing conditions for “Batman and Robin” are sometime after midnight, and once you’ve had a few cocktails, ironically this is the movie they made for children

    • mrhenry24

      Were you around when Michael Keaton was cast as Batman? “Mr. Mom is going to play Batman?” The reaction to the casting was almost as stupid as the Affleck reaction has been. The problem is not that Affleck is playing Batman, the problem is, he’s not directing.

      • T.T.

        Yeah I was around back in the 80’s but I’m not an idiot, I could tell that the guy who played Beetlejuice and the guy who directed Beetlejuice would probably make a great Batman movie together, but the reaction to Affleck is the opposite to the reaction of Michael Keaton.

        There’s a pretty good history of people winning Oscars, or gaining some kind of acclaim for a film, and then thinking “I can do anything now!” and then making complete asses of themselves. Like Kevin Costner won a bunch of Oscars for “Dances with Wolves” then went off an made “Waterworld”, Mel Gibson won a bunch of Oscars for “Braveheart” then completely lost his figgin’ mind, Halle Berry won an Ocsar for “Monsters Ball” then decided to be “Catwoman”. John Trovolta and Tom Crusie have both shot themselves in the foot on and rebounded, only to shoot themselves in the foot again…

        So this is my concern with the whole scenario, Ben Affleck, sorta has a history of making an ass of himself, Zack Snyder ain’t exactly Steven Spielberg, and Warner Bros. is currently being run by the guys who brought you “The Hangover part 3″ this seems like a potentially bad situation to me

      • mrhenry24

        I’m with you on the real issue being Snyder’s severe lack of ability and WB’s lack of brains at the top. Affleck is being directed in this film by a guy who he can direct circles around. I love the Affleck casting and it has given me renewed optimism for this film, but I still have very little confidence Snyder and Goyer.

  • Geoff

    I have much bigger concerns with this movie than the actor who plays Batman, from it being rushed out in two years, to Superman being lost and overshadowed in his own sequel, to not having the greatest confidence in Goyer and Snyder as a writing team.

    • Adam

      Agreed. RE: Goyer and Snyder as a writing team…don’t get me wrong, I liked Man of Steel well enough (hell, I might even say I really liked it), but I didn’t like it nearly as much as I expected I would, given it’s pedigree. I guess that just goes to show how wrong I was about the pedigree factor to begin with. The Dark Knight trilogy was an absolute masterpiece, and from what little I know about its development, Goyer seems to have had a major role. But not, I’m now convinced, anywhere near as great a role as the Nolan brothers. Goyer seems to have had a lot to do with story development, and for that he deserves tremendous praise from all those who love those films. That said, it was the Nolan’s who actually penned the scripts. For Man of Steel, however, the screenplay was all Goyer. Don’t get me wrong, there were exceptional moments (esp. those scenes between young Clark and Costner); but overall the dialogue was pretty poor, in my opinion.

      My biggest problem with the Man of Steel sequel including Batman, however, is just that…that it includes Batman. I mean, we were just treated to what will probably prove to be the definitive portrayal of the Batman mythos on film, ever. Oh how I wish Warners could just let that breath…at least for a decade. It sucks, being reminded of what a relentless ‘business’ Hollywood is. At the beginning of the podcast one of the Gentlemen mentioned how he understands this fact only too well, noting that studios certainly have the ‘right’ to try to make as much money as they can. He’s absolutely correct, of course. But rights aside, I just wish it weren’t so utterly naive on my part to hope that maybe, just maybe, these studios can show a little bit of respect and good taste from time to time.

  • Charlie

    Great podcast. My feelings on this are pretty much the same as most of the guys where I’m pretty indifferent to the film itself as it’s just way too soon for this and Superman is basically getting screwed over in favor of Batman. I’ll say Affleck’s casting makes me just a little more optimistic for the film because as you guys said, his career trajectory really didn’t seem like it would go in this direction and after being in Daredevil you’d think if he were going to do a superhero movie he’d have to be pretty damn sure about it and that it’s not something that’s going to be a total suckfest. Also, the fact that he may have a hand in the writing and maybe have some suggestions for Snyder and his directing along the way can only help the film imo.

  • pud333

    Before I say anything, I just wanted to say that I agree with most of what you guys said, and that I’m sure Ben Affleck will be a good Batman. People keep bringing up Daredevil, and rightly so, but rather than hinder him I think what happened with Daredevil is a motivating factor for Affleck. He’s not signing on to be humiliated again. More than anyone, I think he’ll be motivated to put his entire focus and energy into this role.

    My issue with all this stems from the fact that after the Dark Knight Trilogy, I felt Superman deserved an epic trilogy of his own. Just when I felt we were about to get it, they pull the rug out and throw in Batman. I get it. I get why he’s in the movie. But I feel bad for Cavill, having been overshadowed in his own sequel, and now, no matter how the box office comes out, Man of Steel 2 will forever have an asterisk beside it, because Superman will never get the credit he deserves. People will say, “Yeah, but it was Batman that really did it.”

    I’ve realized that it wouldn’t matter who they hired as Batman, I was never going to be able to get over the fact that Superman’s movie got hijacked. If I am being honest, the moment that was announced at SDCC, the wind got knocked out of my sails. I’m sure I’ll enjoy the movie; I just, like you guys, feel pretty indifferent to it. And as it has been brought up many times on various MMM podcasts, it’s about a feeling, and I don’t feel anything right now. It might change when the trailers come out, but for now, It’s a “we’ll see what happens” attitude.

    Another thing I wanted to touch on is this “It could have been worse” or “Well, I’ll take what I can get” behaviour all us DC fans seem to have adopted when it comes to WB films. This is terrible. I hate that. I feel like DC movie fans are the guys sitting at the bar, desperate to pick up a girl – any girl – as last call happens before the lights turn on.

    At any rate, I know these guys can deliver a fun movie. These guys can deliver fun, they can deliver spectacle; they’ve built up enough credibility for us to give them the benefit of the doubt. I’ll go see it, probably multiple times, because I’m a Superman slut, but fun isn’t the same as meaningful. With DC films, my standard is higher than your average superhero film. Blame that on Nolan, but I expect something more than just a popcorn flick.

    I know most of this is due to my hangups on what I expected for Superman, but whatever, it is what it is. Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go work my mojo before last call.

    • Adrian

      I agree with a lot of what you said except that I can’t give the people in charge the benefit of the doubt. I was very disappointed with Man of Steel and I’m not feeling better that Snyder and Goyer are still the fellows in charge and that Nolan is in the process of distancing himself from the project, now an executive producer instead of a producer. It’s his right, though. He’s done his part for the WB brass and can make whatever he wants with almost any budget he wants.

      I have no problem with Ben Affleck as an actor. He seems like a cool, funny guy and he’s definitely proven to be an awesome director and screenwriter, one of which he earned an Oscar for. That’s not including his Golden Globe, of course. It’s just hard for me to be anything more than indifferent when I think he can do much better at the jobs that Snyder and Goyer are doing.

      In general, Affleck is a big dude, a capable actor, and I highly doubt he’d go into this intending to make a fool of anything or anybody. That said, he doesn’t quite have the edge I’d want my Batman to have. Controversial as it is, I haven’t really gotten the comics Batman that I want yet. I’ve gotten bits and pieces from most of the actors who’ve portrayed him, but he hasn’t been perfect yet. We’ll see what happens with Affleck’s upcoming villain role in Runner Runner.

      • pud333

        I love TDK trilogy, but I am still waiting for my Grant Morrison “Bat-God.” I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

      • Adrian

        Yeah, I like Batman Begins a lot, I love The Dark Knight, and I was a bit disappointed with The Dark Knight Rises. To each their own, of course. All are well-made with great production value.

        I think I just want the full package. I know that’s pretty vague but I’m of the mind that we need the detective, the bad ass, and the loner that can exist in a bigger DC Universe somehow.

  • Marie

    i agree w/some views. to begin with i wasn’t happy about batman appearing in this sequel b/c we just ended w/the dk trilogy last year. i didn’t expect to see batman on film for a while & thought the focus would now be on superman. the annoucement in july felt like it came out of left field, rushed & i was shocked. i was even confused on whether it would be an actual mos sequel or a world’s finest film where superman & batman would share an equal amount of time on screen.

    now w/a new batman on the way, i honestly had no idea who should play him. i’ve read & heard a number of names thrown out, but i was shocked to see the official word of ben affleck. i didn’t expect the annoucement to come out right now and never expected his name. i think i’m at a place where i don’t know what to think about this decision b/c i never saw affleck as batman & still can’t see him (my feelings doesn’t come from him playing daredevil). yet, i’m trying not to judge and i’m going to keep an open mind until we see some footage (trailers) to get a sense of what we’re going to get.

    still, i can’t help but feel sad (don’t want to use that word) for cavill & how batman’s annoucement in the sequel will (has) overshadow the film. i feel like when audiences see this film, it’s not going to be about superman/clark & what he’s facing, it’s going to be where’s batman, when is he going to show up or is he going to show up & we’ll just see bruce wayne. furthermore, with affleck’s casting, people are going to be curious w/his portrayal. i don’t know.

    obviously, this decision seems to be set in stone and we’re pretty much in a wait and see mode.

  • Adrian

    While I’m disappointed in the casting, I’m not shaking my fist at the sky like some people are. That said, I thought this was pretty funny:

    http://24.media.tumblr.com/6dba1489cb854ffba47b78db833b74c7/tumblr_ms2cvver5H1s20k5po1_500.jpg

  • Clarkkent113

    I’m not thrilled about the pick because whenever I see Affleck in a movie I think “that’s Ben Affleck” and he overtakes the character BUT I am remaining optimistic because I LOVED Man of Steel so I trust Snyder to continue to deliver.

    I’m actually much more worried about the whole Frank Millerization/TDKReturns adaption rumors. I DO NOT want a Frank Millerized version of Superman, Frank Miller is atrocious

  • Adrian Edmondson

    I’m willing to give it a chance . If they were going to replace Bale , best to get someone who could best fit the cowl . Not overly concerned whose directing what or whom , just looking forward to a great sequel . Good points brought out by all .

  • Chomachi

    on to characters that haven’t been cast yet… Bryan Cranston as Commissioner Gordon would be sick

    • Bayne

      Bryan Cranston as Batman would be sick lol

      I like the casting. Too much negativity. Affleck is a smart dude and freaking looks the part. My only concern is how well he’ll be able to pull off the suit without looking goofy, but I think they’ll get it right.

      Exciting times.

  • http://www.batman-on-film.com/ Jett Batmanonfilm

    Well done boys, well done. You make me proud! ;) You’ll probably get a kick out of this. >>> http://www.batman-on-film.com/batman-coolness_a-quick-history-lesson_8-25-13.html

  • Paul Soares

    This is just uninspired casting. It’s not that I dislike Affleck, it is just that he is not suited for this role. I am getting the same feeling I had when Ryan Reynolds was cast as GL. It just smells of flavor of the month casting. Ben is coming off of an Oscar for directing so he will come complete with name recognition. He just doesn’t have the powerful presence that I think many have been waiting for in an interpretation of the Batman character. I even found Bale to be somewhat lacking at times. There are such better actors out there who can more personify the Batman character. My hope has always been to cast an actor and make a film that was more in the vein of Batman the Animated Series. The first time I saw Jon Hamm portray Don Draper in Mad Men, I thought he would be the perfect Batman. He looks like the Animated Series Batman come to life. I am just disappointed. Couple this with the underwhelming Man of Steel, my excitement for the prospect of a cinematic DC Universe has diminished.

  • MrDean245 .

    Hey, you should listen to Kevin Smith’s Hollywood Babble-on podcast, where he talks to Ralph Garman about his friend BATFLECK getting the job. There is also some comments direct from Ben regarding the recent outrage over his appointment as the Bat. Very funny and insightful. The podcast was just uploaded.

  • JPA

    I don’t agree with how you think this film is being rushed I did my self at first but realistically speaking this is the right time in a storyteller point of view for a superman batman film. If batman was gonna confront supes he would do it straight away and especially after the events of mos. Yea would have been nice to get a solo sequel for supes for further character development and supporting cast development but supes can also develop along batman showing they both grow as characters through their interaction

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  • Greig

    Great podcast as always guys, but John is a little mistaken by stating Affleck’s debut was the wonderful “Good Will Hunting”. School Ties, Dazed & Confused, Mallrats, Chasing Amy (his first leading role), all came out before GWH. But I’m nitpicking here. I agree with Justin 100%. While i wouldnt have chosen Affleck myself, (like John I too was hoping for a Bale miracle) Affleck certainly has earned the right to be judged on his performance as Batman and not on mindless troll/fanboy speculation.

  • Greig

    PS. Sean, how do i go about writing an article for MMM?

  • Jarvis

    We shall see.

  • matt

    Great podcast guys:
    First of all, I was shocked that MOS was getting hijacked. I agree with the panel that this is rushed and financially driven although I feel $700 million is a success. A big part of the rushed feeling is that Nolan’s universe just ended 13 months ago. A new casting of Bruce/Batman seems to soon. I, like John, was hoping for Bale to return somehow without hurting TDK Trilogy, but thats a fart in the wind now.
    At first, I couldn’t believe that Affleck was cast for this part. I really do not think he is the best choice but off the top of my head as Sean said, I cannot think of anyone else that would be superior to him in this roll. I still stand by my feelings that he’s an average actor. I however feel he is a very good director/writer. Until he is officially involved outside of acting for this film, I do not see how those credentials apply to this casting as a positive notion. Yes, he would be a great fit to replace Nolan as the next director of a Batman solo film. But, most people who legitimately have an issue with Affleck share this same concern. I remember thinking that Ledger was an odd choice to play the Joker but never shared the concerns or outbursts that others conveyed. I feel the same for this casting. I’m not excited at all, but I am willing to give him a chance. If this was announced in 2015 I feel there would be more disconnect from Bale and Affleck would perhaps be more accepted for this role.
    Hopefully, we are ALL wrong and will be very pleased and excited in 2015. Thanks for a great podcast!