Wednesday, August 28, 2013

...Or Not For Affleck. Part 2

Brian: And now for something completely different… Let me say right off the Bat (hehe) that I don’t despise the casting of Ben Affleck as everybody’s favorite detective. I think there are certainly worse choices that were being kicked around (Gosling would have been awful, Cooper isn’t even close and Hamm is a non-event) but there are countless better ones (I made my argument for Karl Urban in my last post). But part of my argument against the other big contenders for the role was that these actors were just too well known. This is CERTAINLY true for Ben Affleck. Every single person has an association with this man, and a lot of them are a bit too difficult to shake (I’m looking at you Gigli). Affleck is simply too familiar, too well known and too easy for the studios to say yes to. Casting Henry Cavill as Superman was at least a semi-risky choice (before being cast in Man of Steel and he was mostly know for the porno erotic, historic drama The Tudors). Despite what you might think about Man of Steel, I think everyone liked Cavill as Superman, so the risk paid off. For Affleck, however, it’s the complete lack of risk that could end up being risky (just look at the backlash already).

          That being said, I’m going to react to some of the people who are defending this casting. A lot of people defending the casting for the Batman vs. Superman film aren’t necessarily defending Ben Affleck per se. They’re saying things like “give him a chance”, “he’s really turned his career around lately” and most importantly “everyone hated the Heath Ledger casting for The Dark Knight”. And I absolutely agree with all of that. But let’s talk about that Heath Ledger thing. A lot of people had problems with this casting because he had recently played a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain. Well, a lot of people are morons. Needless to say, Heath Ledger did an incomparably spectacular job as The Joker. And people use this to say Ben Affleck will do a good job as, why’s that again? Because another actor in another movie did a great job, Ben will do a great job in this? Heath Ledger was much younger than Ben is and hadn’t yet broken out. But if you didn’t think he was good in movies like Brokeback Mountain, Monster’s Ball or I’m Not There, then you just didn’t care to watch those movies. But most importantly, Ledger had the benefit of one of the best storytellers of the 21st century directing him: Christopher Nolan. Ben Affleck has Zach Snyder, a director known for his stunning visuals, but not for his magnificent storytelling or his ability to get amazing performances out of actors. So, I think the “no one liked the Heath Ledger casting at first” argument is completely moot.

I'm gawnna put this whole Gawtham in my reah view.
          Also, people point to Mr. Affleck’s recent work in The Town and Argo to attest for qualifications to play the Caped Crusader. These were undeniably good movies (bordering on excellent) but was it Ben’s eclectic range and performances that made them so? Not even sort of. Both of these movies had spectacular direction (by Ben) and truly solid performances. Renner in The Town absolutely nailed it and made me think he could be a truly great actor (but apart from The Hurt Locker, I think he’s middling around mediocrity). However, it was not Affleck’s performance that elevated these movies at all. In The Town he played a douchebag from South Boston (see: Good Will Hunting and Ben Affleck’s actual life). In Argo he did absolutely nothing that wowed me (the script didn’t really call for it). Don’t get me wrong, he certainly didn’t do anything to hurt the film, he was more than serviceable. But “more than serviceable” is not the hero Gotham deserves or needs. I just don’t believe he’s had a lot of chances to prove himself as a really good actor until recently. What movie do you recall seeing him that required any sort of range (The Town and Argo included)? Perhaps this is because he doesn’t really have any, or hopefully, it’s just because he hasn’t had the right role to do so. Batman/Bruce Wayne represents the duality of man (as any masked hero can) and is an extremely complex role, especially after seeing what Nolan/Bale did with it. I just want to see it done Justice.

Fan made
          Did I mention there are rumors that they’ve signed him to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in 13 DC films? You think you hate this casting now, wait until you’ve seen him in 13 movies. But, like I said this is not the worst casting choice they could have made. While I think Ben is absolutely wrong for the role, I like him more than enough to give him a chance. The only truly terrible part of this is the fact we probably won’t see him directing anything for a while (he was supposed to direct my favorite novel of all time, Stephen King’s The Stand and Dennis Lehane’s Live By Night). Perhaps this opens the door for him directing a Justice League movie or one of the other DC films in the future, which I’ll call a silver lining.

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