Last night the internet practically exploded when it was announced Ben Affleck will be playing Batman in the inevitable Man of Steel sequel. Here at Cinema Blend we had the equivalent of DEFCON 5 emails flying back and forth, frantically trying to figure out what this means for Man of Steel 2, the future of DC movies, Batman’s persona, and Affleck’s career. You’ll see the results of our late night brainstorming session over the coming hours and days, but in the meantime let’s look at how the world at large responded shall we?
There was the obvious Batfleck photoshops:
Of course, there were many who were quick to decry this casting choice with the hashtag #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck. These picks ranged from understandable selections like recent Batman Christian Bale or Dark Knight Rises’s co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, to more outrageous calls like Justin Bieber, Damon Wayans, Meryl Streep, and Pauly Shore, as well as those below.
Ouch. We get it. Lots of you don’t see Affleck as Batman. It’s a debate we’re having here too. According to THR, over 96,000 tweets were sent in the first hour after Batfleck news broke, and of those 71% were against the idea with 10% of that citing Affleck's superhero bellyflop Daredevil. (15% were for Batfleck, while 14% were conflicted in their sentiment.) This negative wave has already resulted in a petition calling for Warner Bros to pull Affleck out of Man of Steel 2. As I write this, the petition that insists "His acting skill is not even close to being believable as Bruce Wayne and he won't do the role justice" has more than 17,000 signatures.
This is all pretty brutal. But I can’t imagine Affleck is paying too much attention to all this brouhaha because he had to know it was coming. Superhero movie casting calls are synonymous with fan outrage. Reddit pointed out a pretty prime example, offering this graphic of internet outrage after it was announced Heath Ledger would play the Joker in Dark Knight. Like Ledger from A Knight’s Tale and 10 Things I Hate About You?! At the time movie fans were flabbergasted. Of course in hindsight Christopher Nolan made a great call. Ledger’s performance was heralded as one of the best in his (sadly short) career, earning him an Academy Award and making his Joker the one to which all others will be judged.
Read the comments below, and then take a breath and realize this Batfleck backlash is just a little bit of history repeating.
Obviously, we can't begin to guess if Affleck's take on Batman will best his predecessors the way Ledger did. Really, it's just too soon to say if he'll be a boon or a blight on the Batman brand. Wisely, Affleck himself has stayed quiet on Twitter. His last tweet dates back to August 5th, and has nothing to do with Gotham. And for the time being, that's probably for the best...though I wouldn't blame him if he broke his silence with "Argo fuck yourself!"