Volume Eight, Issue Five!
It’s official: Ben Affleck will not be returning for Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Whether that means that he won’t appear in this one film or ever again is still up in the air, but it sure sounds like Ben Affleck is done portraying the Dark Knight, which is a real shame. For as varying in quality as the films he was a part of were, Affleck’s depiction of Batman was always very solid, and I was holding out for him to get the chance to really shine in his own solo film. But unfortunately, that’s not meant to be.
Remember back in August of 2013 when Affleck was announced as Batman, and the internet went insane? Such a simpler time. It’s funny to look back on that with the knowledge that of all the things that were awful in Batman V Superman, Ben’s depiction of an older, battle-scarred Batman was one of, if not the, best things to come out of that movie (murdering criminals aside, of course). Yet the prevailing thing from that movie was “Martha” memes and the “Sad Ben Affleck” video, which would haunt the actor and the studio throughout his tenure as the character.
Affleck didn’t help matters much either. One of the things I like about Affleck is also one of the most frustrating things about him: he speaks before really thinking. Multiple times during the release of Batman V Superman and the production of Justice League, Affleck would give sound bites that would allude to him either deciding to leave the part early, or not re-upping his contract. “Ben Quits Batman” articles would pop up on a near weekly basis, leading to even fans of his casting like myself just hoping he’d quit so we could stop hearing about him maybe leaving.
When you get right down to it, Affleck deserved better. He gave up years of his professional life to this role, which meant that his directing (which he’s been nominated multiple times for) took a major backseat (the fact that his follow up to Argo, Live By Night, flopped HARD due to his BvS commitments had to be a major blow), and all he really got to show for it was a buff bod and a bunch of people yelling “Martha” at him. After winning Academy Awards, the reaction to Batman V Superman and even Justice League must have been a major disappointment to him, and after being burned so many times, hearing that Matt Reeves wants to cast a “younger” Batman for his film was probably the lifeline Affleck was looking for.
So now we’re back to a world where we need a new Batman, and the options are seemingly limitless. Who will it be? Hell if I know, but I’d love to see Armie Hammer suit up (he was my choice before Affleck was cast). But I won’t lie, it’s a bummer that Affleck’s tenure in the cowl is relegated to the lowest point in the character’s movie history. He could’ve been a great Batman, if given the material. But now he’s just a footnote.