So Ben Affleck has been cast as the new Batman and the internet is a flame about this. I even just saw a video of some people asking Michael Keaton what he thought of the casting. Really? I guess the real problem is that in the comics Batman is awesome but on the screen he has been very less than.
I looked up the people who have played Batman on television and screen and was surprised to find a couple before Adam West. These were Lewis Wilson and Robert Lowry. I have not seen their versions of Batman but since I never heard of them, I believe I am safe in saying that they weren’t stellar performances. That brings us to Adam West and the 1966 television version of Batman. And let’s be honest, I loved this when I first saw it because I was like 5 years old watching reruns and at that age this show was great. Looking back at it now, it was nothing but camp city where Adam West was the head … joker (pun intended). But then that is what they were going for.
That brings us to really the first big screen version of Batman with Michael Keaton. I wish I could say that this Batman was great but it was not. The suit was so huge and heavy that it made his movements not very fluid. This caused the fight scenes to be less than, well, Batman-ish. This movie did have some great lines mostly delivered by Jack Nicholson as the Joker. And if memory serves, there was a huge hoopla over his casting as well.
Following Keaton’s two movies, Val Kilmir stepped in to the role for what is the saddest movie of the bunch for me. The main reason was that I was so excited at Jim Carry’s casting as the Riddler, I could not wait to see this movie. Then after I watched it, I wished I could get the time back. Val, whom I have liked in other movies like Top Gun, was flat. But Jim Carry was absolutely horrible. The Riddler was not a court jester, which is the way Carry played him, but a sinister master of puzzles and that is the reason he is my favorite Batman villain. On the screen, he was just a running joke and a huge disappointment.
George Clooney was the next to step into the bat cowl and destroy the role. Which actually was a surprise to me because despite what people say I think Clooney has the ability to be an amazing actor. However, he has also delivered some horrible performances. Therefore, he must need a great cast and/or director for him to bounce off of. Of course, this movie suffered a bunch of other problems–can anyone say ARNOLD. And it had too many villains in one movie. It was nothing short of a train wreck.
Following this movie, there was a much needed break before Christian Bale stepped in to do three Batman movies with the middle one–The Dark Knight–being the best Batman movie so far. But that does not mean Christian Bale, whom I like as an actor, was good in the role. His portrayal of Batman with this husky horrible voice that constantly makes me want to clear my throat distracts from the movie drastically. When he could be Bruce Wayne he was great. And Heath Ledger was so amazing he is sorely missed as an actor and in The Dark Knight Rises.
This brings us to Ben Affleck being cast in the Superman and Batman movie and honestly, he really can’t be any worse than any of the others who have played Batman. So I say lets all calm down and give him a chance. Worst case scenario, it will only be a couple of movies at most before DC changes the actor again. And best case, he might actually pull it off.
I would like to add that DC needs to really study what Marvel did. I mean, we have had ONE, count them ONE, Iron Man and no more. I realize that may change in the future, but keeping the same actor–who is also phenomenal in the role–over four movie plus is a great way to keep the fans connected and not disjointed and all over the map. I think that DC needs to spend some real time finding the perfect actor for each icon comic character (both heroes and villains) and not just the first available coupled with hiring some good writers so that we could actually have a movie that is, well, super.
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