Seriously Though, Why Ben Affleck is a Terrible Choice For Batman

So apparently Ben Affleck has been tapped to be Batman in the sequel to the rather poorly received Man of Steel. Now that the initial wave of hate directed at this idea has waned a bit, I'd like to set the obvious jokes aside and talk about the very real reasons why Ben Affleck is a terrible choice to be the Caped Crusader.

The first reason is, as Daredevil proved, Batman is not really in Affleck's range. The second, and more important, reason though is this:


Batman is a modern American ideal. It is appropriate that we're talking about Batman vs. Superman. If Superman is the old American ideal, Batman is the new one. While both fight for "truth, justice and the American way" or something like that the approach is very different. Superman is essentially an invincible cop, Batman is more of a vigilante. Batman will work with the police, but the Batman fights crime while the police hunt Batman story is almost as old as the comic book. Superman has alien superpowers while Batman relies on skill and technology. There is nothing alien or supernatural about him. Perhaps most tellingly Superman is middle class, with an ordinary day job while Batman is fabulously wealthy.

In America in 2013, the middle class is nearly gone. There are people just getting by, people not getting by and wealthy people. Obviously, out of these three, most people aspire to be wealthy. Trust for the police, for the justice system and for authority is substantially less than it used to be. People still believe in 'justice' but they do not trust the system to deliver it the way they used to. Outlaws and vigilantes have always had a special place in American culture and in 2013 it seems to be even more pronounced.

What all of this boils down to is that if you asked many Americans (and others around the world) who they would be if they could choose anyone, Batman would be a very popular choice. The character combines physical intimidation, vast wealth, a considerable depth of emotion, and James Bond cool. None of that describes Ben Affleck. When you imagine Affleck saying "I'm Batman" it's funny, it's not in the least bit dark or intimidating.

This does not mean that he is a bad person, or a bad actor. He's good at playing the buddy or the boyfriend and he's a good straight man in comedies. He's the kind of guy you go for beer and pizza with, the kind of guy you have over for poker night, the kind of guy you're ok with your sister dating, in short he is who we are, not who we aspire to be. Ben Affleck is a talented writer, director and actor in certain roles but he's not Batman, he's almost the anti-Batman and that's why this is a terrible casting choice, a terrible career move and it's why the announcement caused an instant and severe backlash among people who have wanted to be Batman since they were five.
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