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DCEU Once More Reportedly Benches Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck, Which Isn’t Really Their Fault

Hello darkness my old friend...

ben affleck batman

Oh, the DCEU. With the highest of highs (Wonder Woman) and some pretty low lows (nearly everything else), the DCEU has been going through some growing pains. Many of these pains are centered around the characters of Batman and Superman, who were the founders of the DCEU; Man of Steel did not receive critical praise, Batman V. Superman also got a critical butt-kicking, and Justice League did not see the box office returns DC hoped. Now, as news about the Flash standalone movie has been released, Variety dropped a small note on the future of Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne, saying:

Following the box office disappointment of Justice League, Warner Bros. has been reevaluating its approach to making movies based on DC Comics characters. The studio is not moving forward with Batman and Superman movies featuring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, respectively. It is expected to recast the Dark Knight with a different actor.

Now, barely a month can go by without some reports of the DCEU considering rebooting or recasting or what-have-you. Recently, news broke that the studio and Henry Cavill had parted ways, which was denied by reps for both studio and actor, but now might actually be the case. If you want to go down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories, any DCEU subreddit is full of “leaks” about how Warner Bros. ruined Zack Snyder’s ultimate vision and how everything is on fire and whatnot. It’s a blast.

The sad truth is is that yes, there’s a not insignificant chance we probably will not see another Cavill or Affleck fronted DC movie, and it has nothing to do with Affleck’s personal life. None of the films they led were well-received, even with the diehard fans they earned. The characterization was messy at times, the plots nonsensical, and it lacked what made the MCU work. Not humor, but a cohesive plan.

The DCEU did not seem to be really building towards any real endgame in the same way that the MCU did. While Iron Man 1 and 2 didn’t have the big connection to the overarching picture outside of a few Easter Eggs, Thor and Captain America introduced villains and plot points that tied together in the first Avengers, which ended with the promise of a larger threat they were building towards. The DCEU tried that with the Knightmare scenario in Batman V. Superman, but that barely registered.

There was a chance in Justice League to establish a Big Endgame when Steppenwolf murmurs “for Darkseid” as he goes about whatever the hell his plan was (seriously, I’ve watched the film three times and I couldn’t tell you what his goals were). But it’s a once off line that I only picked up on on the second viewing. Unlike the Thanos reveal, which sent me screaming to the Internet to understand who he was, I felt no urge to find out what Darkseid was up to.

Based on Infinity War, it is clear Marvel has had a plan for their films and characters since close to day one. The DCEU doesn’t seem to have that. Characterizations clash between films — are we not going to talk about how Diana ends Wonder Woman saying she’s full of love and wants to save the world, but in Batman V. Superman the death of a guy she knew for like a week max made her shut herself off for good? The endgame that the DCEU might be building towards is in constant flux — is it Darkseid, or Batman’s Knightmare?

DC failed these characters by trying to replicate what Marvel did without putting the effort into making it a cohesive narrative in which the character arcs made sense and were building towards a set goal. The worst part is is that they assembled an excellent cast and then completely squandered their talents.

This especially goes for Cavill and Affleck. Cavill, when he was allowed to be Superman in his purest essence, was charming and radiated a goodness necessary for the role. He looked the part too, 100%. Affleck has never been my favorite actor, but there’s a few moments where his best Bruce Wayne shines through, especially in Justice League and in his first scene in Batman V. Superman. Neither of them were particularly miscast, and if they’d had the right script they could have really done something special.

However, they were not given the right material, and it is not fair to blame them for the shortcomings of the DCEU. If Warner Bros. is blaming the actors for the failures of the franchise, or if Cavill and Affleck are disillusioned and want out, that’s a shame. The grand restructuring of the DCEU, however it looks, will automatically generate some negativity if it involves recasting Supes and Batsy. There has to be a better way to fix their problems, but if Cavill and Affleck want out after the umpteenth “Martha” joke, that is 100% their choice.

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(via Variety: Image: Warner Bros)

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Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.