DC's live-action universe has had a fascinating journey. Full of ups and downs, DC attempted to create a shared universe to compete with the behemoth MCU. Unfortunately the results have been mixed, with Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman being the only critical success thus far. But that doesn't mean every aspect of the DCEU is bad. One of the most divisive aspects has been Ben Affleck's characterization of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Affleck brought a jaded and hardened version of the Dark Knight to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, one who has no qualms about killing criminals. Many comics fans took umbrage with this change in the character's code, while others thought Affleck's performance was BvS' most redeeming factor. Director and comic book aficionado Kevin Smith is in the latter camp, and recently defended his Dogma collaborator, saying:
I think if you think back to when Batman v Superman came out, he was the one that actually skated. He got a lot of fucking praise. There were people going, 'This movie's got a lot of issues, ironically, Affleck as Batman is not one of them.' That was my recollection of people's reaction to BvS. They had issues with the tone and the darkness and shit like that, but he was the one thing that most people agreed was really good in the movie.
He's not wrong. While Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has generally been considered a disappointment among comic book and film critics, many have regarded Ben Affleck's version of Bruce Wayne as the film's saving grace. That's certainly how Kevin Smith seems to see it.
Kevin Smith's comments from his recent Fat Man on Batman podcast also acknowledge how Batman v Superman was a far from perfect blockbuster. Rather than trying to defend all of the pieces of Zack Snyder's second DC flick, Smith acknowledged that Ben Affleck was the only one who "skated" away from the massive criticism. Comic book characters are deeply personal to fans, and there are few heroes quite as iconic as Batman.
When Ben Affleck was first announced as DC's newest live-action Batman, there was some original backlash and trepidation from comic book fans. Ultimately he showed up in Batman v Superman, playing a physically imposing Dark Knight who had a history from trauma and new brutal methods. While he lightened up a bit in Justice League, Batfleck still remains one of the highlights of the entire shared universe. And with Affleck's future in the DCEU unclear, especially with recent return to rehab, it seems possible that both Matt Reeves and the DCEU as a whole may need to pivot to another Batman.
The next installment in the DC Universe is James Wan's Aquaman on December 21st, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.