Silver Linings Superhero is a regular column from Sean Robinson, which tries to show the more positive aspects of current comic events, and remind you that things aren’t all that bad. If you would like to suggest something for a future column, drop us a line!
I think I am one of the few who actually quite enjoyed Man of Steel. No, it was not a good Superman film, and yes, the film certainly had its problems with script and directing, but I thought it was a stylistic and exciting science-fiction film. So when Batman/Superman (or whatever they decide to call it) was announced, I got interested. Maybe the gang over at Warner Brothers and DC could turn the ship from brooding, post Dark Knight Superman, by contrasting him with the only one who could conceivably be actually darker, Batman himself.
Then Ben Affleck was announced, and I became more excited than I thought I could be. No, he’s not John Hamm or Karl Urban, two of the more inspired choices for the role.
He’s something better:
Let me begin by dealing with the elephant in the room. Affleck’s last superhero film, 2003’s Daredevil, was not good. In fact, it was bad. But that’s just it – it was ten years ago. The films being thrown around for the argument against the man are all from around the same point in time when Affleck was a gossip magazine hot-topic – and he has most definitely moved past that to become a decent actor and one hell of a director. It’d be the same if we judged Joss Whedon on his writing in Alien: Resurrection – it’s just not fair.
Now, I did use the word “decent” when I described Ben Affleck as an actor, because its an apt description of where he stands right now. To echo Matt Damon in regard to the role, it’s not some kind of Oscar-worthy performance – it’s Batman. Affleck has enough range that he can portray the billionaire-playboy Bruce Wayne, and also the dark and broken Batman, and he has done a similar role in Hollywoodland as Superman actor George Reeves. In that film he dances between depression and acting the complete opposite to an audience. Sounds like someone else we know, doesn’t it?
Returning to his directorial abilities, back around this time last year rumors circulated that Affleck was offered the Justice League film to direct – but he would only accept it if he could star in a main role. Fast forward a year, and we now we have Affleck cast as Batman, and no one set for the Justice League director’s chair. Could this mean that he has changed his mind? Is an Affleck directed Justice League around the corner? I sure hope so.
In regards to the Man of Steel universe, and this new darker and edgier version of Superman, we get an older Batman who “bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter”. We are already aware of Batman and his back-story – his last outing only finished last year – so the audiences don’t really need a retread of the story of Bruce Wayne. Does this mean that we see a Batman who has already mostly worked through the problems surrounding his parents’ deaths, and could in fact bring the levity back to what we want to see from Superman? If anyone could pull off a slightly lighter, and older Batman than we are used to, then it would be Affleck.
This could change up the relationship between the two – Batman is there to remind Superman about his humanity – Superman could be molded by Batman to the man he always wanted to be, but never could. It would be a fresh take on the mythos, without pulling too much away from what we already know, and it could act as damage control from the problems people had with Man of Steel’s script, returning us to the Superman we know and love.
I am not saying that Batman/Superman won’t have problems. David S. Goyer is back writing the script, and while he is a great writer, he never quite grasped the character of Superman in Man of Steel. Snyder is also a point of worry for some people, with his eclectic directing style a polarizing aspect. But in regard to Affleck – give the man a chance. He may just surprise you.
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