Should Kevin Smith Work With Ben Affleck On Batman?

By Katey Rich And Sean O'Connell 2013-08-26 14:10:46discussion comments
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SEAN: Now, of course, everyone is an armchair quarterback in this day and age. But Smith genuinely seems to care about the DC universe. His Batman comics have been well-received by fans. His critiques of Nolan's TDKR are extremely valid (and the mistakes he points out are simple, basic Batman characteristics which anyone with passing knowledge of the character wouldn't make). Given how far off the rails Rises flew, I think it would be comforting to have someone with past Batman writing experience in the writer's room simply saying, "Wait, Batman wouldn't retire from crimefighting for nine years just because his girlfriend died. The dude watched his parents die. If anything, Batman would grow more committed to fighting crime in the wake of his girlfriend's death. You guys should know that."

The fact that Smith wrote dialogue for Affleck on multiple films is merely a cherry on top. I would have recommended SMith for Script Doctor on any Batman project moving forward. The dude knows his Dark Knight. Having Affleck in the suit only makes it a no-brainer .... to me, anyway. Still not convinced?  

KATEY: You make good points, and not having read the Smith comics I just have to go with your word on it that he did right by the character. But it's the "Batman wouldn't do this" part that bugs me. Batman leaving Gotham for 8 years before his girlfriend died was kind of silly, but that's because TDKR didn't sell it to me, not because Batman "wouldn't" do that. Superhero movies are not how a superhero ought to behave based on 80 years of comics... it's based on what the movies themselves tell us. The thing I worry about in any case when a superfan takes over a property-- and that includes Snyder's Watchmen-- is that they stay way too devoted to the legacy of the comics to bring anything new and to make sense out of it cinematically. If anything, I'd argue a major problem with Man of Steel is that they were too obsessed with Superman's legacy and getting away from it-- hence that ending that drove everybody crazy.

SEAN: True. That can be a real problem. And it's a serious issue for all of the parties involved heading into Batman vs. Superman. As you can imagine, it likely will be the most scrutinized blockbuster of our time ... moreso, even, than Episode VII, as the Star Wars fanbase seems to have settled into the "It has to be better than the prequels" coma. The reaction to Affleck's casting in Snyder's sequel hints at the passion people have for these characters and this proposed team up. I stand by my notion that Snyder can react to that passion -- balance it, if you will -- by bringing in a tested Batman expert like Smith to help him figure out how best to balance two of the biggest superheroes on our planet. (No exaggeration.)

KATEY: Doesn't David S. Goyer qualify as that expert though? And he has the added bonus of actually having written a good movie in the last decade? I grant that they could probably use some fresh blood in the room, but Smith is so, so far down on the list of people I'd want in there. Plus, isn't he all about being an outsider these days anyway? Signing on to a giant superhero film would betray all the ways he said he was totally done with Hollywood like three years ago. 

SEAN: The Goyer issue is something entirely different. I'm not sure how that dude can sleep at night knowing that he now has to reinvent the hero he put out to pasture. True, Goyer didn't write TDKR, but he and Nolan take credit/blame for "retiring" the not-dead Bruce Wayne. Now Goyer has to dig in to a different Bruce Wayne, with completely different motivations, and give us something equally brilliant ... if not better! "Katey, I love this story you wrote. Really, it's perfect. It might win you a Pulitzer. Now, can you write the same story, but differently? And make it better. Thanks!" Fresh blood is crucial. I wouldn't have Goyer anywhere near this movie. Then again, I wouldn't have Snyder, either, but what do I know?

KATEY: Yeah, we're maybe avoiding the elephant in the room, which is Snyder directing the whole thing to begin with. Adding in a consultant to treat the character better would basically be like putting a band-aid on a wound... but Smith is soooooo not that band-aid to me. 

SEAN: I understand your hesitation. I really do. I'm not even a big Smith fan, and I feel strange cheerleading him so. All I'm saying is that the director of Elf doesn't strike me as the right choice for Iron Man, and the director of Firefly shouldn't have been handed the keys to The Avengers. But Marvel has taken ballsy chances, and it has paid off. Warner/DC should take one. It can't get worse than Man of Steel. Right?

KATEY: And with that, Sean, you have invited the entire Internet to spend the week yelling at you-- and Kevin Smith's many fans to yell at me. I guess we can take some of the pressure off Affleck, at least. 

SEAN: It's the cross we bear, Katey.

Should Kevin Smith get involved with new Batman movies?

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