9 Random Thoughts On “Batfleck”

23Aug13
When “major” Batman news strikes, I have a responsibility to my reader to react and respond. Some of this repeat from my earlier public statements on Twitter and Facebook, but I doubt anyone will care. This one’s for you, Greg.
1.) Christian Bale or No, Nobody Can Overcome the Douche of Zach Snyder. Call me pessimistic, but the eye rolls and anger people are feeling about this casting decision? I felt all of that two years ago when Snyder was announced as the director of “Man of Steel” and again this year when he was named director of the sequel. When Batman shoots a guy with an exploding arrow, I will not blame Affleck. I’ll blame the guy who gave Night Owl super strength.

2.) The Up Side: Maybe We’ll Get a Less Annoying Bat-Voice. This may be my own problem, that I can’t get past a relatively small detail, but… it’s so persistently, consistently lame. Even weirder is the fact that Bale goes through all of “Batman Begins” and the first half of “Dark Knight” before getting to the worst part of the voice… and then he sticks to it for another movie and a half. Nobody reigned this in? Nobody said, “Hey, remember the voice you had when you said, ‘You rattled his cage,’ and ‘I’m Batman,’ was a little less forced?” Maybe Affleck will just be a lower voice instead of a strained growl. A growl which made Bale talk like a baby (“WHERE’S DA TWIGGER?!”).

And really, nobody is Kevin Conroy except Kevin Conroy, so it’s all second tier to me.

3.) Batfleck. The fact that Affleck’s name Easily gelled with silly pop phrases is wonderful. “Bennifer” felt like a weird starting point for so much of Meme culture, and now that Twitter came up with “Batfleck”… it delights me.

4.) Will This Be Filmed In Boston, like how they filmed the Nolan/Bale movies in Chicago? That’s it. That’s the whole joke.

5.) Good Will Trashed. The story of Ben Affleck is not over, but it’s taking some weird turns with this casting. He started out as a rags-to-handsome riches guy, won an Oscar, then started taking ill-advised roles in blockbuster movies, quickly becoming the symbol of lame. With his coupling to Jennifer Lopez, his nadir reached a peak, and it seemed there was no way the movie-going world would embrace him again. But then he worked really hard to re-invent himself as a director and — by making a string of good movies — climbed that mountain all the way to the top, winning a Best Picture Oscar. Even more important, by being “robbed” of a Best Director nomination, he still remained an underdog, and therefore likable. It was perfect.
Now he’s accepted the role of Batman, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if culture turns on him again. We (I think) got behind Affleck during this re-invention period because it felt like a conscious decision he made to distance himself from his lesser work. From his “paycheck” work. Now he goes and accepts the most blatantly obvious and visible “paycheck” work you could imagine. It feels like a step back. Clooney escaped the Batman curse and hasn’t looked back. I don’t wish him ill, but in terms of career trajectory, this is a weird move to tempt the ire of internet nerds. There’s no way to win… outside of the money. I guess he’ll probably be able to make 20 “Argo’s” with this cash, so maybe it’s for the best.

6.) Continuity, Shmontinuity. As I’ve told anyone who will listen, continuity is over rated. I don’t know why it feels like I’m the only person who doesn’t care about this stuff, but I just don’t. It didn’t bother me when Kilmer became Batman, because that movie could (and ostensibly did) take place in a different universe from the Keaton films. Why does it have to be the same actor? The character is 70+ years old. It is the blind adherence to continuity that leads to the kind of odd choices made in the making of “Superman Returns.” Will people really be confused that a different actor is playing Batman? They might prefer one over the other, but would they really get lost? I get why you’d do it for the Marvel movies… but even they didn’t have to with the Hulk.

7.) Big Week For Kevin Smith, Right? First he got some weird tangential internet point boost for the whole Grant Morrison/”Killing Joke” thing, and now this. The dude he’s advocated for so long has reached a kind of promised land. He’s gotta have a bit of “I was RIGHT!” going through him now, doesn’t he?
8.) “Rises” Message. Don’t get upset, internet. As we all know from stupid “Dark Knight Rises,” it doesn’t matter who Batman is. He’s just a guy in a suit, right? Anyone can put on that suit. It doesn’t matter. And Bruce Wayne can quit, because he can make crime go away from a major metropolitan city.
Sorry. I’m still upset at that.
9.) Really, Who Cares? The movie’s a year out from being released. Don’t we have bigger things to worry about? Like the casting of young Han Solo? That’s gonna be HUGE!
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