It’s not a dream! It’s not a hoax! Ben Affleck will play Batman in 2015’s “Man of Steel” sequel, meaning that the Academy Award winner will come face-to-cowl with Henry Cavill’s Superman in what’s sure to be the team-up — or throwdown — of the decade. But not all is right in Gotham. Comic book fans are a notoriously fickle bunch, and Ben Affleck’s brief tenure as Batman-to-be has been divisive at best .
Thanks to nearly 75 years of constant appearances in comics, films and television shows, Batman has become a character that fans feel incredibly passionate about. This constant exposure has also given fans a checklist of essential ingredients every actor must possess before getting the keys to the Batmobile. Here are five Bat-traits that the “Argo” director will have to nail in order to bring this new Batman to life.
Affleck isn’t known for taking on particularly physically demanding roles, with his characters in recent films like “Argo” and “The Town” not nearing the level of superhuman physique that previous Batman Christian Bale sported in his three outings as Bruce Wayne. Affleck will need to tone up his everyman bod past even the heroic proportions he sported when he played a superhero in 2003’s “Daredevil.” But audience members need not worry, because Affleck will get in fighting shape for the role — that’s what personal trainers are for.
Affleck doesn’t even have that far to go, especially when compared to Marvel Studios leading man Chris Pratt, who went from an extreme schlub on “Parks and Recreation” to an extreme hero in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
This is the trait that Affleck has on lock. Whether he’s giving a speech from the Oscar podium or romancing Jennifer Aniston in “He’s Just Not That Into You,” Ben Affleck knows how to use his trademark smirky smile to charm audiences. Those pearly whites will be put to good use in every single scene featuring Bruce Wayne, the original genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist — no offense, Tony Stark.
If there’s one thing countless interpretations have taught us, it’s that being Batman is a bummer. Even the most joyful takes on the character still come saddled with a murdered-parents-origin that guarantees a modicum of sadness. While Affleck’s Batman doesn’t have to be defined by his internal pain in the same way that Bale’s was, the character just won’t be the same if he doesn’t lurk in some shadows or spend a night or two casting his steely gaze across a rain-soaked Gotham. Batman’s gotta brood!
Affleck has spent the latter half of his career diving headfirst into dramas like “The Company Men” and “To the Wonder,” balancing out the offbeat comedies he made a name with in the ’90s and early ’00s. Whether or not Ben can pull off a Batman-level brooding session remains to be seen, but remember that this is the guy who directed “Argo” and “The Town.” He knows how to get gripping drama out of his performers, so it stands to reason that he can get it out of himself.
If you think Superman’s got the upper hand on Bats just because of his brawn, think again. Batman’s long been described as the man with a plan for everybody. The man’s a master detective and scientist, as well as being a master of disguise. He can withstand pain that would cripple even the strongest of people, and he can see through all sorts of trickery. This isn’t just Ben Affleck playing a superhero, this is Ben Affleck playing the superhero. If director Zack Snyder and crew create a good script, Batman has the type of rich background and layered personality that could solidify Affleck as a bankable blockbuster-level leading man.
Love it or hate it, Christian Bale’s deep-throat growl has become synonymous Batman. Having Bruce Wayne disguise his voice made logical sense, sure, but it became low-hanging fruit for every jokester aiming to take a shot at Christopher Nolan’s films. But with “Man of Steel” set in a reality equally grounded as “The Dark Knight,” director Zack Snyder most likely won’t let Affleck affect the same voice as Wayne and Batman. Affleck’s shown off a talent for accents before, fitting for an actor who has hosted “Saturday Night Live” an impressive five times, so devising his own signature Bat-speech should be easy.