Monday, March 7, 2016

Five Aspects of Batman Ben Affleck Must Get Right

If you haven't heard, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is coming the theaters soon. I'm a big Batman fan, I liked Zack Snyder's take on the Man of Steel, so I'm looking forward to this movie but I'm approaching it cautiously. I want to believe in Ben Affleck's ability to pull of a convincing Dark Knight. The trailers have left me unimpressed.

Christian Bale's recent self-deprecation on his performance through Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy also got my mind running. I enjoyed his performance but he was right; something was missing. The gravitas he brought to both Bruce Wayne and Batman in the first two films felt watered down in Rises. A great performance, but he left something on the table.

I've been reading Batman my whole life, even through DC's dubious New-52 run. The ideology is something I aspire too, so as we once again prepare to take on a new (controversial) face in the Cape and Cowl, I wanted to take a moment to figure out exactly who and what Batman is, and what one must bring to the character to match or exceed Keaton's outing.

1). Conflicted Darkness.

Campy Adam West aside, the Batman is a dark character. Not black like Wolverine or the Punisher, but dark. This is a guy carrying around the trauma of witnessing the most horrible thing in the world every single day of his life. His relation to criminals is layered and deeply ambivalent. He hates the criminal act but believes in redemption, a fact he struggles with. He has a burning hatred for the irredeemable but will not take a life, even when he believes the taking of said life would serve a greater good. He internalizes or lashes out at his allies with this hatred, which costs him in the long run. This is an aspect of the Dark Knight Christian Bale explored well in the Dark Knight, but not its prequel or sequel.

The Dark Knight Hit A Breaking Point in Infinite Crisis



2). Fear.

This is one aspect Christian Bale got right, and where I wonder if Ben Affleck will struggle. The Batman, even today with ubiquitous, omnipotent technology, is a scary dude. He comes out of nowhere. He disappears. He seems to dodge bullets. He gets into your head. He knows you better than you know yourself. If you see him, it's too late.
The Dark Knight Rises failed miserably to get this aspect of the Batman right. Maybe because Batman spent so much time in the light or Bale's campy delivery of "WHERE IS IT?!" after he beat down Bane, but in the final film, Batman was no longer frightening.
Ben Affleck is all but typecast as a nice guy at this point, making his assuming of Batman a challenge. In the trailers of Batman V Superman, he evokes no fear or intimidation. He does the Dark-Knight-Returns, world-weary vibe well, but this Batman doesn't seem scary.

Christian Bale's First Appearance In The Light in "Batman Begins" Was Spot-On

3). Physicality.

I was unexpectedly impressed with Ben Affleck's showing in the Batman V Superman trailer and Christian Bale made Batman a nightmare-hitting, formiddable adversary. Batman is one of the greatest fighters in the world. He often appears invincible. You can surround him with ten of the most trained warriors on the planet and somehow, he will come out on top. Michael Keaton provided a fast, agile Batman while Christian Bale just knocked the holy shit out of you. I preferred the latter. The few action sequences we've seen of Batman V Superman lead me to believe that Ben Affleck will pull this off.

4). Brilliant.

A woefully underused aspect of Batman's mystique in Dark Knight Rises, Batman is, first and foremost, a detective. In possession of a keen, analytical mind and almost superhuman powers of observation, his powers of deduction rival Sherlock Holmes. Watching Michael Keaton delve into this helped make the 1989 Batman film so enjoyable, and Christian Bale did the facet justice in the Dark Knight. It would be a waste to not have Ben Affleck's Batman plot out the process of taking down one of the most powerful beings in existence, and simply throw him headlong into battle. Ben Affleck can pull off the mind of the Dark Knight. I hope he gets the opportunity.

5). Bruce Wayne.

Arguably the greatest weapon in Batman's arsenal.
Michael Keaton got it right.
Christian Bale mostly got it right.
There is no reason why Ben Affleck, the nice guy of cinema, can't get this right.
Bruce Wayne may be a facade, but he's a necessary one for Batman to be successful. The nonchalant playboy without a care in the world, but if you look into his eyes for too long, you'll see who he is. Any successful Batman must have Bruce Wayne's carefree ignorance and Batman's deadliness. This is the greatest tightrope to walk when playing the Dark Knight.

Both Bruce Wayne and Batman
No one wanted to see Ben Affleck get this part, and that uproar has subsided somewhat since trailers started coming out. Now that we've settled into wait-and-see mode, let's see if Ben Affleck has what it takes to bring one of DC's most iconic characters to life.




I wish him luck.
"Tell Me. Can You Do This?"

Thanks for reading.

I’m an author living out of place wherever I am, and right now that’s Eastern Washington. I’m an avid gamer, storyteller, and dedicated troublemaker. Want notifications and discounts? Sign up here.
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