So…Ben Affleck is the new Batman. My brain has been whirring with thoughts on this ever since I found out yesterday morning, but I thought it would be safe to sleep on it before I made any comments. Sleep achieved. Here we go, kids…
Let me first bring out the disclaimer that I really like Ben Affleck. I think he’s an excellent filmmaker and a pretty good actor. Argo was my favorite movie from last year, so I was overjoyed when it won the Oscar for Best Picture. Despite what I’m calling a “rough patch” of acting choices in the early 2000’s, Affleck’s work of late has been pretty remarkable.
All that said, I’m having a really tough time wrapping my head around the idea that he’s going to be donning the pointy cowl. Some of you regular readers are already aware of my undying love for the Batman. I think part of the problem here is that I just can’t picture Affleck in the suit. I can see him as a Bruce Wayne type, but that’s as far as I can mentally go at this early stage.
Maybe we’ve been ruined by the perfect casting of Christian Bale as the previous incarnation of our hero. That Christopher Nolan storyline (and the 3 movies) lived in its own separate universe as opposed to the previous Batman films which all sort of latched on to one another. Bale was Batman!
I think we’re so embedded in Nolan’s universe, that it’s hard to see the other potential Bat universes that are out there. I love the Nolan universe! I really don’t want to leave. But I know that I have to in order to move on.
I’ve decided that I’m probably underestimating Affleck. After all, when Michael Keaton was cast as the Bat for the 1989 Tim Burton production, people freaked out. Mr. Mom / Beetlejuice was going to be Bruce Wayne??!! It didn’t even compute. And guess who is my favorite Batman after Christian Bale? Yep, Keaton. Maybe we are in the same boat here with Affleck. So, after much thought, I’ve decided that I won’t be one of the naysayers. I’ll lend my meagre support to Mr. Affleck. Good luck to you, sir!
Besides, this casting decision isn’t for a stand-alone Batman flick. It’s a Batman and Superman movie that will act as the sequel to this summer’s Man of Steel. I confess that I have yet to see MoS. It’s on my Netflix queue. That counts for something, right? I digress.
If Batman and Superman team up in the movie, then okay, cool. That will be interesting to see how the smartest man in the world works with the strongest. However, if they clash…if they find themselves at odds with one another, oh boy! I’ll be the girl cheering for Batman. If Affleck’s the one in the suit, I’ve still got his back.
Like most people, I had an imaginary friend when I was little. Her name was Wonder Woman. We had many adventures together fighting crime in my backyard or down the street with the neighbor kids.
Wonder Woman was awesome. She held her own against Superman, Batman, and all the other dudes who worked within the Hall of Justice on Super Friends. She flew an invisible jet. She had good hair, and wore insane red boots. Thanks to my 80s childhood, I got to watch WW in two different formats: animated on Super Friends and then the live-action form of Lynda Carter on Wonder Woman. I used to spin and spin hoping to activate my own super powers. Instead, I activated some dizziness.
So you would think that when I read in this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly that a Wonder Woman movie had finally been greenlit, I’d be doing the Dance of Joy. That’s not the case. Instead, I was filled with nothing but dread.
I’ve seen what Hollywood has done to any female superhero/comic book character who gets her own movie. They ruin her. Let’s look at a few examples:
- Super Girl: This is the end-all, be-all horrible movie for female superheroes. I remember seeing this when I was a kid and having high hopes. I also remember being disappointed. Helen Slater plays the titular character, and she tries. She really does. But the story played out too much, and it just was BAD. Peter O’Toole and Faye Dunaway couldn’t help this stinker. I’d really just love to banish the whole film to the Phantom Zone. I think that would help.
- Elektra: This movie was a spin-off from Dare Devil starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. DD did very well in theaters, and folks really liked Garner. She was on Alias at the time where she was happily working as a kick-ass spy with an endless supply of wigs and disguises. The movie was supposed to be an origin story for her Elektra character that we met in DD. The movie came across as really flat, and I’ll mention here that I’ve never been able to watch it all the way through.
- Catwoman: Oh Halle Berry! Catwoman was just awful. Horrible! Bad, bad bad. [*using my water gun* Bad kitty!!]
Now, if a female superhero is part of an ensemble, it’s a whole different scenario:
- Black Widow: The only chick in The Avengers movie this summer (well, the only superhero chick) and she holds her own just fine. She also kicked some ass in Iron Man 2.
- Rogue/Jean Grey/Mystique/Storm: The X-Menmovies were fun, and even though I really only had eyes for Wolverine, the aforementioned characters were noticed. My favorite is Rogue even though by the third movie, she’s a bit of a whiner.
- Catwoman: What, again? Yes, only this is Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns. She was insanein this movie. Awesome.
I’m not sure why it works out only when the lady is part of an ensemble cast, but based on the evidence, that’s what we’ve got.
A number of months ago, there was talk of a Wonder Woman tv series. It would be the long-awaited return to the small screen. I think a pilot was shot, there were some promo pics of our heroine. The photos were of some chick in a Wonder Woman costume. She had the hair, and she had the outfit. Yay-rah. But she didn’t stand out as WW. She just looked like a chick in a costume. I quietly celebrated when the plug was pulled on that one. It just felt wrong.
I’ve read a number of times that Joss Whedon had been very interested in doing a WW movie or tv project. I was all on board for his rendition. So far he hasn’t let me down. However, for some reason or another, he’s not our man for the proposed WW project. Nope. Instead, we have Michael Goldenberg writing the movie. He was co-writer for last summer’s The Green Lantern. Man…oh man. That movie was, in my opinion, not very good. I remember enjoying it while watching, but I wasn’t blown away. I was kind of bored. I even (and this is a huge insult as far as I’m concerned) forgot I saw it about a week after I saw it. So I worry.
I hear word that the DC Comics folks are working on a possible Justice League flick. They’ve seen the success of the Marvel characters, and now they want to try it out with their own folks. That’s cool. And like the Marvel folks, they probably want to set up individual movies first to get the public interested. Man of Steel with Henry Cavill will be out next summer. We’ve already seen The Green Lantern, and I’m very interested to see if DC tries to work Batman into the mix. They can’t leave him out, can they?
It makes sense that DC wants to do a Wonder Woman flick at this time. I’m just so worried that if this film falls into the same spot as the previous solo heroine films, a childhood icon will be forever tainted. I’d almost rather no movie be made. If a WW movie was done right, however, I would be first in line for tickets. Maybe Joss Whedon can write one just for me?