Given that Ben Affleck will never, ever cite “Daredevil” as his favorite movie experience (even though he worked with his future wife, Jennifer Garner), the news that the Oscar-winning “Argo” filmmaker will soon play the Caped Crusader in the upcoming Batman-Superman production with director Zack Snyder was more than a little surprising.
But Affleck, who remains one of Hollywood’s hottest directors and is about to start shooting his adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel “Live By Night,” might not be the most unusual pick to play Bruce Wayne and his crime-fighting alter ego in the history of the DC Comics franchise.
Comic book fans pilloried Tim Burton for selecting Michael Keaton for the lead role in 1989’s “Batman” and 1992’s “Batman Returns.” But the movies were huge hits, and Keaton was more than up to the part.
In 1995, Val Kilmer took over the title role for director Joel Schumacher, and things didn’t turn out quite as well. His “Batman Forever” was commercially successful, but critically drubbed.
Of course, George Clooney’s “Batman & Robin” was the franchise’s low point. By far. Schumacher’s S&M take on the series in 1997 was a disaster on every level, and nearly killed the entire franchise. It also briefly derailed Clooney’s career, but gave the actor a lifetime of jokes about the prominence of nipples in his Batman costume.
In 2005, director Christopher Nolan cast Christian Bale in the lead role, and the results were spectacular. Not only were “Batman Begins” (2005), “The Dark Knight” (2008) and “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012) embraced by reviewers, but they were also among the most successful releases in modern box-office history.
In a statement announcing Affleck's casting opposite Henry Cavill as Superman, Snyder said, “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.”
Do you agree? How does Affleck rank among Batmans?
Even with his Batman-Superman production sight unseen (the movie doesn’t come out until July 2015), where does his selection stack up in Caped Crusader casting calls?
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