When it was announced that Ben Affleck was going to be Batman/Bruce Wayne in the ‘Man of Steel’ sequel I did check that it wasn’t April Fool’s Day.
The ‘Batman vs. Superman’ film, or something to that effect, has been in the works seemingly forever with the basic premise featuring an older and embittered Batman, and Superman, plus some fighting.
Ben Affleck’s previous superhero film was ‘Daredevil’ – which is undeniably a rather cringe-inducing film, apart from Michael Clarke Duncan’s fab turn as the Kingpin/Wilson Fisk, so it isn’t a huge surprise that Ben Affleck’s involvement in another superhero film set off alarm bells.
The internet appeared to have hysterics over the casting, which were mostly expressed via amusingly-bitchy altered photos featuring Marvel and/or Christian Bale laughing uncontrollably and random petitions demanding a recast (not to be confused with the ’50 Shades of Grey’ recasting petition).
I will admit that my first reaction featured some fairly extreme reservations and a lot of laughing at the prospect of Matt Damon being cast at Catwoman.
(Photo from all over the internet)
However with some reflection and after rewatching ‘Dogma’ I think Ben Affleck will actually make a good Bruce Wayne. In ‘Dogma’ Affleck plays Bartleby, an angel who was banished from Heaven after encouraging a drunken Loki (Matt Damon) quit his job as the Angel of Death.
Just to make things worse they have been exiled to Wisconsin; however a Catholic Church desperate to increase attendance announces that they will offer plenary indulgence, so the masses (including Loki and Bartleby) can have the punishment of their sins removed by passing through the doors of that church, which means that upon death they can go to Heaven.
Unfortunately if this happened to Loki and Bartleby then this would overrule the word of God and destroy all existence.
It is a good film which is really made by both Angels being fantastic characters and they are very well-acted by Ben and Matt. Affleck channels Bartleby’s anger and raw emotion when talking about “being dumped” by God in a way that is both palpable and awesome in its intensity.
The role of Batman is to growl in the dark, even George Clooney almost pulled that one aspect off – although I try to pretend that I haven’t seen ‘Batman and Robin’ for a multitude of reasons.
It is the role of Bruce Wayne that requires acting ability, in particular if the film requires an older and betrayed Bruce who has been used and abused by the society and city that he sought to protect at huge personal expense. That Bruce would have a lot of anger and betrayal issues.
In that sort of plotline then Affleck’s bringing the same anger and intensity that he portrayed as Bartleby would ensure that he owned the role and will be unforgettable in it.
So now I am a little excited about an angry Bruce Wayne and I’ve still got a fair bit of ‘Dogma’ left to watch!
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Curtsy of Internet Movie Database is one of my favourite quotes from Bartleby in ‘Dogma’:
“The humans have besmirched everything bestowed on them. They were given Paradise, they threw it away. They were given this planet, they destroyed it. They were favoured best among all His endeavours, and some of them don’t even believe He exists. And in spite of it all, He’s shown them infinite fucking patience at every turn. What about us? I asked you… once to lay down the sword because I felt sorry for them. What was the result? Our expulsion from Paradise. WHERE WAS HIS INFINITE FUCKING PATIENCE THEN? IT’S NOT RIGHT, IT’S NOT FAIR. We’ve paid our debt. Don’t you think it’s time? Don’t you think it’s time we went home? And to do that, I think we have to dispatch of our would-be dispatchers.”