It finally happened, people. Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice has officially hit theaters, representing the next stage in a long line of cinematic DC properties. Critical reception to the film has been mixed (at best) but Dawn of Justice represents the jumping off point for a major world of DC superhero movies that could characterize the blockbuster landscape for years to come.
Having said that, we cannot deny that our absolute favorite element from Batman V Superman comes in the form of Ben Affleck and his take on the Caped Crusader. Although numerous actors have donned the cape and cowl over the years, we feel safe saying that Affleck may very well be the all-time best silver screen Dark Knight we have ever seen. He most certainly has some stiff competition for that title, but we’ve come up with seven distinct reasons as to why we believe Ben Affleck is in fact the best live-action Batman.
He Fights Like BatmanThere’s no getting around this one; Ben Affleck’s Batman is hands down the most physically dangerous live-action Caped Crusader we have ever seen. The fight scenes in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice are pulled straight from the wildly popular Arkham games, with the latest incarnation of Bruce Wayne beating hordes of men senseless while using everything in his arsenal. Gone are the days "BAM" and "POW" flashing across the screen as Adam West’s Batman would hit his opponents; we wince for the bad guys when Batfleck throws a punch. One thing is certain: if Ben Affleck’s Batman had been the star of The Dark Knight Rises, Tom Hardy’s Bane would’ve gone down a whole lot quicker.
He’s a Brilliant StrategistBatman has studied the art of war his entire life, and as a result his abilities as a brilliant strategist represent arguably his biggest contribution to the Justice League. More than any other cinematic incarnation of the character, we see Ben Affleck’s Batman regularly outthink his opponents and come up with ways to win. Whether it’s pulling out every single one of his Dark Knight Returns moves against Superman, or figuring out how to take down Doomsday when the third act really kicks into high gear, Ben Affleck’s Batman almost always seems two steps ahead of his opponents.
Admittedly, the faithfully adapted suit does a lot of the work for him, but Ben Affleck quite simply looks like both Bruce Wayne and Batman. During the daylight hours he pulls of a smug and stylish yet tormented look – one of somebody who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth but suffered nonetheless. As Batman, he looks as though he leapt straight out of the pages of a Frank Miller graphic novel, possessing the height, jawline, and menacing grimace we have all come to know and love from The Dark Knight. Everyone has his or her own idea of what Batman should look like, but Ben Affleck manages to meet every single requirement.
He Actually Looks Like Batman
He Trains Like BatmanWhen you’re going up against rooms full of armed thugs and a Kryptonian god, it’s really important to step up the workout routine. Over the years, the actors who have portrayed Batman have increasingly stepped up their fitness regimens to look like an actual superhero. Affleck has taken the idea to the very next level by not only getting into the best shape of any Batman to date, but by conveying the sort of brutal routine that Bruce Wayne goes through in order to remain the physical specimen that he is. He’s not slamming out some push-ups, he’s performing functional training exercises like weighted pull ups and sledgehammer workouts that convince us of his strength. It’s a minor detail, but one with incredible importance in the character’s source material.
He Pulls Off Bruce Wayne AND BatmanIt’s a feat that has thus far eluded every other actor who has taken on the cape and cowl. Michael Keaton proved himself to be an amazing Batman, but his Bruce Wayne always left a little to be desired; by contrast, Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne always seemed much stronger than his suited up version of the Caped Crusader. (Maybe it was the voice.) Ben Affleck manages to nail all facets of the character: Bruce Wayne as a rich playboy, the actual brooding Bruce Wayne lying beneath that façade, and the raw animal that is The Dark Knight. In every single one of his scenes, Affleck continuously showcases his comfort in the role, and uses it to steal the show on numerous occasions.
He Showcases Real Detective SkillsIt’s not all gadgets and punches. Batman is considered the world’s greatest detective for a reason, and Ben Affleck showcases that skill throughout the entire movie. Christian Bale’s version of the character did a bit of forensic work throughout The Dark Knight trilogy, but Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice really takes it to the next level by showing the Caped Crusader following leads, going undercover, and making deductions that would make Sherlock Holmes blush. By the end of Batman V Superman we as an audience genuinely believe that Batfleck is the brains of the operation when he teams up with other heroes from the DC mythos.
He Nails the Tortured Psychology of The Dark KnightEvery actor who has portrayed Batman has brought some degree of tragedy to the role, but Ben Affleck takes the idea of Bruce Wayne as a tortured soul to the next level. His Batman is not someone you would want to be friends with; he’s angry, paranoid, he lies to those he loves, and he seems to take at least some degree of joy in harming criminals. While that doesn’t exactly describe someone you would invite over for dinner, it completely gets to the core of what Batman is as a character. More than any other man to take on the role of The Dark Knight, Ben Affleck communicates the grief, guilt, and pain that this character has carried with him from the moment his parents died in that Gotham alleyway.