I’ve got two words for you: Michael Keaton. Remember? Almost 25 years ago, when Tim Burton’s Batman came out, fans screamed for blood at Keaton’s casting. So how do you like them apples?
No? OK, two more words for you: George Clooney. When Clooney was cast, people praised Jesus. The franchise would live on and live well. Except that Clooney was horrible. OK, so how about this: Hugh Jackman. When Jackman was cast, he was basically a no name. He was too tall, too unknown, not built enough, not mean-looking enough, not… Oh, right. Jackman has actually been pretty great as Wolverine (even in the really bad movies).
In that case, let’s talk about two more words: Ray Stevenson. Who? What? Stevenson should have been, for all intents and purposes, perfect as The Punisher. Except not. Eric Bana? Great actor, terrible as the Hulk. Wesley Snipes? Mediocre, one-note actor, amazing as Blade. Chris Evans? Horribly miscast as Captain America, except for when he was actually pretty great as Captain America. Scarlett Johansen? Terrible for Black Widow, until we saw she was a great Black Widow. Sean Connery? Perfect for the part of Allan Quatermain. And by “perfect,” I mean “career-endingly horrific.” Jessica Alba as Sue Storm?
Uh, maybe we should just all agree to never talk about that.
What am I telling you? I’m telling you all to kindly shut the f*ck up about Ben Affleck. I know, I know. I do it too. I rant and rave and bitch about casting like it’s my job, partly because, well, it’s my job. But this has been different. This… this past few days have been madness. As of the time I’m writing this, there are 106 comments on the trade news post we did on the Affleck-as-Batman announcement, and roughly 104 of them are people wringing their hands as if Ian Ziering had been cast. Within 24 hours, there were petitions. Petitions! Oh, and enough with accent jokes. You guys know that Affleck doesn’t actually have a Boston accent, right? He was born in California and grew up in Cambridge, around the corner from Harvard University. He went to private school. He’s about as South Boston as Thurston goddamn Howell.
Anway. What makes this sillier is that Affleck is a capable actor, in good physical shape, sufficiently mature, tall, handsome, you name it. Yes, the pick is a bit… pedestrian. Not particularly risky. Maybe even boring. But if you’re expecting risky casting out of a Warner Brothers comic book film, you might be a little crazy. It’s not their strong suit. He’s a safe pick. He could be great. He could be… less than great. There is literally no way of knowing.
Daredevil, you say? LOOK WHAT HE DID TO DAREDEVIL! My response? Shut the f*ck up with your Daredevil. That was 10 years ago, and Affleck has matured significantly since then. Not to mention that if you think that Daredevil failed because of Affleck, then I think that your parents failed because clearly they dropped you on your damn head too many times. Daredevil was a wholesale failure on every conceivable level. Bad writing, direction, casting (with the exception of Michael Clarke Duncan, R.I.P., and the loony-tunes casting of Colin Farrell), set design, special effects, everything. Daredevil is up there with Ghost Rider — no, the lead was not great, but it’s actually a tiny part of why the films are a mess. Daredevil isn’t bad, it’s a catastrophe. So to use that as some sort of shining example of why Affleck is unfit is asinine. Oh, and the first person to squeal about the Director’s Cut gets a shovel to the balls. The Director’s Cut isn’t good. It’s less bad. That’s faint goddamn praise at best.
And don’t think you Affleck supporters are getting away clean, either. Because I can still throw Forces Of Nature, Surviving Christmas, Armageddon, and f*cking Gigli at you. Pearl Harbor would like a word. As would Reindeer Games, for God’s sake. Affleck has come a long way, but He’s Just Not That Into You was only four years ago, OK? So you guys? You can shut the f*ck up, too.
So all of you. F*cking can it with the unbridled hostility. We’re years away from having anything even remotely resembling a hint of what we’ll be seeing. You want to worry about something? Worry about the fact that Zack Snyder is now holding the rights to the two greatest heroes in comic book history. THAT should be what keeps you awake at night.