An Open Letter To Ben Affleck, From A Raging Fanboy
When I first heard you had been cast as Batman, well, let’s just say I wasn’t quite on board. You know what? I’ll be honest, and I won’t dance around it: I hated the idea. I was as against the idea of you playing one of my favourite characters as a person could be. I would have preferred that the movie not get made than you play the Dark Knight.
Harsh? Yeah, it really is. But I have a point, bear with me.
It took me a few days thinking about the news, and reading the opinions of those who swore to boycott Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice just because you were attached to the project; people claiming that you already had your chance to play a superhero in Daredevil, and because you royally screwed that up you shouldn’t be given another.
But here’s the thing: I enjoyed Daredevil precisely because of your performance.
That movie wasn’t great, but you gave the best you could with what you had. And that got me thinking – why wasn’t I thrilled about your casting choice? I couldn’t think of a movie I’ve seen that you starred in which you didn’t give an engaging performance (even if I really didn’t like some of the characters). In all of the films directed by Kevin Smith (aside from Jersey Girl, apparently, but I haven’t seen that), you were fantastic – even if the characters were sometimes dicks. I can’t honestly say that I really enjoyed almost every movie I have seen you in, but you were amazing in The Town. And when I realized that, I realized that I was optimistic about your role as the Dark Knight.
When the trailers dropped for Batman v Superman, my optimism turned to excitement. At that point I had faith that you’d be a good Batman, because from the snippets I saw you really seemed to get the character. But while I expected you to be good, I also thought that your performance would probably not be the best – and I was okay with that because there have been some great actors playing Batman. Needless to say at this point, I had come around to the idea of you as Batman.
Well I saw Batman v Superman on Thursday night, Mr. Affleck, and I was so bloody wrong. After waiting in line for an hour to get into the theater with my contraband popcorn and coke (there was no way I was paying more than I paid for a ticket to enjoy snacks), I came to a startling revelation: you weren’t a good Batman. Not even close.
You were a bloody great Batman. Hell, you are Batman.
Mr. Affleck, while the movie wasn’t as good as I hoped (I did genuinely enjoy it, though), your performance as Batman is without doubt my favourite onscreen depiction of the iconic character. While the movie itself may not have been brilliant, there were numerous brilliant parts within the two and a half hours that I saw, and chief among them were the moments when you were on screen. Your chemistry with Jeremy Irons gave Batmaniacs a fantastic glimpse at a pair of men who had been working together for decades, the undercurrent of barely suppressed that permeated almost every scene you were in was almost palpable, and your Batman felt dangerous in a way that I really haven’t felt before.
If Batman v Superman isn’t the best movie released this year, then so be it, but it’s still an enjoyable movie that, through no fault of your own, Mr. Affleck, has some less than enjoyable moments that I could have done without and some absolutely fantastic ones that I wanted more of. So I’ll watch the movie again, whether that’s at theater or (legally) at home I don’t know.
What I do know for certain is that I am looking forward to seeing you as Bruce Wayne again, and I cannot wait until I see the Batman movie that you’ll be directing. My resignation at the news of your casting was wrong, and I hope that – in the very remote chance you read this – you know that I’m not the only fanboy eating their hate right now. They may not admit it, not publicly, and certainly not as loudly as they complained about your casting, but they’re spreading ketchup on their hats right now.
Don’t lose heart at the mixed reviews the movie is getting, because some of us really enjoyed it; not everyone,obviously, but some of us. But nobody who saw the movie can lay any of the blame for the mixed reviews at your feet.
Your portrayal of Batman is going to be on the top of many people’s lists in the next five years, because it’s that damn good. You are the goddamn Batman.
A Formerly Enraged Fanboy.