Ben Affleck Explains What Separates His Batman From His Predecessors
After years of watching a certain segment of fans argue over which Enterprise captain was the best, I think it might be time for Star Trek fans to admit that they’ve no longer got the market cornered in fan arguments. Now all the cool kids want to debate which Batman actor played the role best. While the obvious answer for most millennials would be Christian Bale, I tend to gravitate towards the early performances of Michael Keaton, a Batman who was a bit more believable as an intellectual than subsequent versions of the character. To each their own, I suppose.
And bringing up the rear (but coming on strong) is Ben Affleck, arguably the best part of Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film and a talent capable of launching a brand new franchise of Bat-movies (if they could ever figure out that darn script). Earlier this week, Affleck spoke with Cineplex about what separates him from the other actors to play the role. Here’s the full quote from Affleck, courtesy of Heroic Hollywood:
It’s different in terms of tone and, obviously, just a different actor. I think the most profound difference is that I’m playing the part at an older age than those guys were when they played it, and it’s about a guy who’s had a long life of this experience, rather than someone who’s just setting out on the journey to become this guy. He’s older and wiser, I guess. And he was pretty pissed off in Batman v Superman, but now it’s not about finding revenge in Justice League, it’s about protecting the Earth. So the feel is different.
This narrative surrounding Ben Affleck’s ‘older and wiser’ Batman has always bugged me a little. True, when Batman v Superman was released earlier this year, Affleck was 43-years-old, making him the oldest modern actor to play the role of the Caped Crusader. The oldest of the previous Batman actors was Michael Keaton, who was 38-years-old when for Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989. But while this age gap has come up a few times in interviews with Affleck, it’s not actually something the movie seems particularly interested in exploring.
The Batman of Batman v Superman wants to evoke comparisons to the Batman of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, but that character was 55-years-old and retired for the better part of a decade. While they may have big plans for the character going forward, unless Justice League really drives home his maturity as a character, I’ll continue to replace the phrase ‘older and wiser Batman’ in my head with ‘they let Affleck keep his grey streaks.’ The first thing you learn in elementary school is the difference between showing and telling as a writer. Let’s have a little less telling and little more showing when it comes to Batman’s maturity, OK?
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