Okay, so first off, let’s hope Ben Affleck looks better as Batman than he did as Superman (pictured from the film “Hollywoodland,” where he played an aging George Reeves as TV’s Superman in the 1950’s).
Lots of geeks (and I include myself) up in arms about the recent news that Ben Affleck will be playing Batman in the new Man of Steel sequel. While we have plenty of time to debate (the movie won’t come out until July 2015), as a long-time comic book reader here are three things Ben will have to do in order to successfully play the role of Batman (IMHO):
1. Nail the role of Bruce Wayne: Batman’s secret identity is the real mask of the character. Being able to portray a care-free, millionaire playboy is just as hard as doing a realistic portrayal of the Dark Knight. And, unlike Robert Downey, Jr.s’ Iron Man/Tony Stark, Batman and Bruce Wayne are two very distinct characters. Michael Keaton got this. George Clooney did not.
2. The voice. I’ll admit, this is the hardest thing to get right. Somewhat gruff, but not forced. Again, Keaton did it well (http://bit.ly/19OP3Jf). Bale went a little overboard. Kilmer barely tried.
3. Fill out the costume. This is really where Bale’s Batman was so much better than the others. Rather relying on molded plastic (with or without nipples – http://bit.ly/1az1N6n) or just an “au natural” physique (Thank You Adam West – http://bit.ly/19C3kW8), Bale’s Batman was a somewhat realistic portrayal of what Batman’s suit should try to be. If Affleck is going to be believable as Batman, his suit needs to be too.
I’ll say I am cautiously optimistic about the whole thing. The Goyer-Snyder-Nolan team is doing consistently good work, so they definitely know what they are doing. And, as the initial teasers seem to indicate, this may be an older, wiser and semi-retired Batman we meet in the movie – which Affleck may be able to pull off well. Still, I admit I’d feel better if it was Ben behind the camera than in front of it.