Since Ben Affleck was announced as the new Batman last Thursday, we've been talking about it… a lot. But before we leave the topic behind and go back to speculating about the rest of the superhero universe, we had to deal with the wild suggestion that Sean made to the entire staff a few days back. Now that Ben Affleck is Batman… he should bring his old buddy Kevin Smith along with him. Sean stands by it, and Katey debated him to figure out what the hell he was thinking. Check out the Great Debate below!
SEAN: Katey, the biggest story of last week, and possibly of the year to date, is the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman in Zack Snyder's as-yet-untitled Batman vs. Superman movie. And obviously, when you drop a "stone" of this size into a metaphorical "pond," it sends ripples. So many questions need to be answered in light of this casting. Why would this established director backpedal to the realm of superhero blockbusters when his last foray ended horribly? How much screen time will Affleck actually get as The Batman? And how can we prevent Snyder's sequel from disappointing, a la Man of Steel. I made a suggestion, which you found so ridiculous, we had to debate. I suggested that Affleck recruit his close friend and former colleague Kevin Smith to help guide this production. Before you tear me a new one, let me explain.
KATEY: Start talkin', O'Connell, because I need answers!
SEAN: Smith, obviously, is known for his stoner comedies, Clerks and Mallrats and the like. He and Affleck have a rich history. The actor carried what Smith probably still feels is his best film, Chasing Amy, and also co-starred in Dogma, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back and other efforts. They are friends, and former collaborators.
But Smith ALSO is a renowned Batman fanatic. He has been writing Batman comics for years. His story arc, Batman: Cacophony was packaged into a trade paperback that spent weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. He hosts a respected weekly podcast titled "Fatman on Batman." Smith, if nothing else, knows the character of Batman inside and out. In addition, he knows how to write for Affleck. I think bringing Smith on board the project in a small role -- consultant, co-writer ... something -- can really help Snyder figure out how best to use this new Batman.
But you are vehemently opposed. Tell me why.
KATEY: Well, I'm vehemently opposed to Smith in general-- I loved him so hard when I was in high school (like lots of people) and then just completely turned on him around the time I had to unfollow him on Twitter. So part of this is just me getting over my general distaste for him personally at this point-- which I admit, is not a valid reason to want him to work on a Batman movie!
But your argument for bringing him in seems to boil down to two things. 1) He and Affleck know each other and are theoretically still cordial, though I bet Affleck unfollowed him on Twitter too. And 2) Smith is a big Batman fan. But I'm not seeing any argument that says Smith as a filmmaker, or as a storyteller, should have a hand in this.
SEAN: My argument leans more toward point No. 2, and it goes beyond Smith being a "fan." I think that his experience writing for DC Comics, and writing for Batman specifically, can help correct several of the mistakes that Warner has made with Batman in recent years ... specifically the way that the hero was treated in The Dark Knight Rises. If you listen to Smith's "Batman" podcasts -- and if you are a Batman fan, they are a must -- you learn a lot about the character, the motivations, the legacy of the series and the history of the hero. I have been surprised by Smith's deep Batman knowledge, and he often catches me off guard on a podcast by bringing up elements about Batman and the past Batman films (going back to Burton and Schumacher) that could have worked better with simple changes.