Saturday, August 24, 2013

Toaster's Ramblings: Batfleck Edition

Can everyone just stop and take a deep breath? Okay, Ben Affleck certainly would not be my top choice to play Batman, but this level of insanity is a bit much. How can anyone honestly know that Affleck would be terrible as Batman? Because he made some bad movie choices 10 or 15 years ago? Because he dated that American Idol judge? Could Affleck really be a worse Batman than Val Kilmer or George Clooney? And as I said before, bringing back Christian Bale would make no sense given how the Dark Knight trilogy ended. This diatribe here isn’t my declaration of love for all things Ben Affleck. I just think it’s unfair and kind of ridiculous to chastise a man based on what he might possibly do rather than what he's done.

The biggest outcry is that “Ben Affleck was terrible in Daredevil!” I actually liked Daredevil. (And yes, that statement got me laughed at by a sexually ambiguous video rental clerk many years ago.) The movie wasn’t great and certainly wouldn’t appear anywhere near my Top 10 comic book movies list, but I was entertained. I certainly didn’t walk out of the theater proclaiming that Affleck should never be allowed to play a super hero again! I even own the Director’s cut on DVD (I probably got the movie for $3 on sale or something). Truthfully, I thought the crappier acting came from Jennifer Garner as Elektra. I never had a problem with Affleck’s acting in the movie; personally I think he did the best with what he had to work with. I will concede, however, that had Colin Farrell not stolen the show as Bullseye, the movie would not have been as good to me.  

But hey, I’m not necessarily an astute critic of acting unless it really sticks out to me. But even if Affleck did suck as Daredevil, what makes you think his acting hasn’t improved in the decade since that movie premiered? I loved him in The Town and he was good in Argo too. (How can the actor who starred in last year’s Academy Award winning Best Picture possibly be so terrible as to not be able to dress like a bat and beat up criminals?)  Granted, Affleck did direct those movies, so maybe he knows how to get the best possible performance from himself… but I also have enjoyed him in Gus Van Sant’s Good Will Hunting as well as Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy and Jersey Girl (yes, I was one of the dozen people who saw that one in theaters!). And Jay is certainly a fan… 

One online petition for his ouster from the film cries “Ben Affleck Doesn’t Look the Part!” I actually think he does. He’s handsome. He’s got the chin. He can pull off the brooding serious stuff (just look at him in Argo). He can pull off the Billionaire Playboy thing (he sort of lived it for a while in the 90’s). And personal trainers can do wonders to get you in defined muscular shape… not that Affleck is necessarily out of shape from what I’ve seen in the last few years.

I actually wonder how many of the people crying foul on this casting were the ones proclaiming Man of Steel to be horrible. Come on, can Batfleck really make something horrible even worse? Zero times any number is still zero. If you thought Man of Steel was so bad, would you really entertain going to a sequel by the same writer/director team?

Plus, whatever ever happened to “wait and see?” What happened to having an open mind? Since when does a casting decision automatically equal a bad movie? Sure, I have had reservations about certain film-making decisions but I am always willing to give it a chance… at least by watching a trailer or two. I was pretty leery of J.J. Abrams’ take on Star Trek with recasting the original crew, but I ended up loving that movie! I wasn’t sure about casting the gay cowboy that was in A Knight’s Tale, but Heath Ledger was brilliant as the Joker! I wasn’t sold on Chris Evans as Captain America, but he was really good too! Just give it a chance, people. If it sucks, then by all means bitch, moan and shit allover it like a geriatric almost making the toilet. But going nuts about it before the damn script is even written is just stupid. Plus, you’re playing into Warner Brothers’ strategy. As the saying goes, there is no such thing as bad advertising.

All I’m saying is just, give Ben a chance. Let’s allow him to try on the cape and cowl and give us a barely coherent growling of 'Why do you want to kill me?' before we send the villagers after him with torches.

 Yes, he may suck and then all the haters can dance the dance of vindication in the streets. But maybe he won’t be so bad. Maybe he might even be a decent Batman.

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