Real Things That Are Happening: Ben Affleck Is Batman

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The Dark Knight is upon us once more. 

Ok here’s the deal. I’m going to give you the straight news first then go into fan mode. That way, if you’re already annoyed by people making a big deal over the casting, you can just stop reading at a certain point. You have been warned. Ok? Ok.

Warner Bros. announced yesterday, Oscar-winning Ben Affleck will play Batman opposite Henry Cavill in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel. The press release said this Batman will be “an entirely new incarnation of the character.”

Snyder’s statement: “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”

Warner Bros. executive Greg Silverman’s statement: “We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some. His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character.”

The news portion of this post is over.

God help us all, Affleck is going to be Batman.

I know not everyone shares my dismay at this announcement but here are some reactions in GIF form from The Mary Sue staff:

Susana –

Rebecca –

Me –

Now, I’ll be honest, my very first reaction was a bit more inflammatory. It actually made Buzzfeed’s roundup of casting reactions. But what in the holy hell is going on over at Warner Bros?

It’s unusual these days not to hear hints of who may land a high-profile role such as this, and Affleck’s name wasn’t in the most recent round of actors rumored to be playing Batman. I know a lot of people will discount this since it was a while ago and many other factors were involved, but Warner Bros. seriously picked the guy who played Daredevil.

My issue with Affleck isn’t that I think he’s a bad actor (he was great as George Reeves) but that he’s too famous. Also, he pretty much always plays Ben Affleck. I know him so well from his time in the public eye that he’s all I see while he’s acting. Much like Robert Downey Jr. who is now Robert Downey Jr. in every role (whether it’s goofy RDJ or serious RDJ). Though the difference between Downey and Affleck is Downey had been low-profile for a while before he landed Iron Man and once he did, he turned Tony Stark into RDJ. The two are now practically synonymous.

I think Affleck is a bad choice for Batman, the wrong choice, but that’s just my opinion. While nerd raging last night on Twitter, I had a lot of folks telling me to give it a chance, that they probably had good reason to make this decision and it will probably turn out fine – just like Heath Ledger.

Now let me stop you there. When Ledger’s casting as The Joker was announced, I thought it was weird, not bad. It was unexpected but I personally rolled with it because I’d seen Ledger do some interesting work. To me, this is not the same as my reaction to Affleck’s casting, but probably not for the reason you’re thinking.

I’m not boycotting the film, just expressing my initial reaction toward a casting choice for a character that means a great deal to me. Did I think it was stupid when Chris Evans was cast as Captain America since he’d already played another Marvel character? Yes. Did it turn out really well? Yes. But I also wasn’t emotionally invested in Captain America. It’s too much to try and explain here (I’ll be appearing in a documentary soon speaking about how much Batman means to me) but Batman is my character. The one I will follow til the end of days. So no, to me, Ben Affleck is not Batman. To me. And thinking about him playing Bruce Wayne makes me want to vomit in my mouth a little.

Does that mean he never will be Batman? I can’t answer that until I see the film. We don’t have a lot to go on for the plot of Man of Steel 2 but we know Snyder was looking to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns as inspiration. That he’s going for a more experienced Batman. Part of me wonders if Affleck even read for the role or if the decision was made over bourbon and cigars. Something tells me it’s the latter.

But this strange decision also makes me wonder if perhaps they are going to pull out something phenomenal from their hats. I mean, Affleck has come a long way since Daredevil, Argo was a great film, this feels like a huge step backwards for his career. Are we missing something? Or is this just a grown man saying yes to the chance to play our collective childhood hero because how could anyone say no?

Personally, I’m washing my hands of it for now. Not like there’s anything I can do to make it better for myself. Oh wait…

(via everywhere on the internet, image via Batman Bad Days)

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Image of Jill Pantozzi
Jill Pantozzi
Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."