Saturday, August 24, 2013

On Ben Affleck as Batman....

           The Brunswick Saga will continue but I just had to post about the recent developments on the new Batman Superman movie
            It was around winter of 1987 and I was a sophomore attending Young Harris College where I had grown up. The new issue of Rolling Stone magazine had arrived at the library and I thumbing through it when I came across a tidbit that shocked me.

            Michael Keaton has been cast in Tim Burton’s Batman. Michael Keaton, you mean Mr. Mom? I was outraged. This was not going to work. I began to loudly go off to my study partner, Rob Ray.

            Rob was a theatre major and we had met while working on the children’s theatre production of  The Emperor’s New Clothes. He took the article, scanned it and handed it back to me. “I like it,” he said.

            “Are you kidding me!” was all I could come up with. This prompted not a “Shhhhhh” from the head librarian at the front desk who also happened to be my father but rather a deep and foreboding  “Ahhhehm” which was the Big Guy’s trade mark way to shush the masses.  

            I lowered my voice. “Rob, this guy is a comedian. You’re a comic book guy surely you see my point.”

            Rob closed up his history book knowing further study would not be done until this matter resolved. “ Of course, I see your point and frankly, it’s very short sided. Robby, I sorta expected more from you.”

            “More from me!?” Another Ahhhem from the circulation desk.

            Rob went on to make his point, “You’re not seeing the whole picture, Robby. This is going to be huge. Keaton must have something or there is no way the studios would let this go on. He and Burton had worked together before so it’s obvious that Tim Burton sees something special in Michael Keaton’s take on Batman. “

            As this sunk in, Rob delivered the final punch. “Oh and one last thing, the guy is an actor which means he has the ability to portray different roles, dumbass!”

            As the point began to make sense, I looked up to see the Big Guy towering over our table, not pleased with our loud discussion. He was usually good natured about students chatting in his library but when it was me, he always came down hard. Rob interjected.

            “We’re sorry, Papa Rich. Your son and I were talking about the new Batman movie which was cast.”

            “Yeah?” The Big Guy was always a sucker for a good action movie. “Who’s Batman?”

            When the Big Guy learned it was Michael Keaton, the whole library heard, “Are you kidding me?” The circle continues….

            I woke up yesterday morning to check my Facebook and other morning computer sites to find out Ben Affleck had been cast as the Dark Knight in the new Batman/Superman movie. With the exception of my wife who is not a comic book geek, most people shared my reaction of “This is a joke, right?” I even paused for a moment on my drive to work to ponder the ways this might be an early April fool’s trick.
You know this is happening as we speak....
            I heard all the arguments and jokes yesterday. Affleck can’t be Batman because he was Daredevil. Is Matt Damon going to be Robin? How is that chin going stick out through the mask? I made several jokes about the name dropping which Kevin Smith is going to be doing for next several years. And as I went to bed last night, I realized how stupid all of this has become.

            First of Chris Evans played the Human Torch twice before donning the red, white, and blue tights as Captain America and he was outstanding in a difficult character to play. On the Robin front, I doubt we’ll see much because it’s a difficult character to translate on to the big screen and I am sure Damon will be too busy with Elysium 2:Electric Boogaloo.  Finally, prepare for the onslaught which is Kevin Smith. Seeing that he lives in Affleck’s old home, my money is the number of ways Smith can make jokes about residing in the Batcave. Frankly, I can’t blame him. I’d squeal louder than my 12 year old daughter watching Dr. Who if I could make such a claim.

            Affleck is a great actor and he has the chops to pull this off so long as the script is good. After checking IMDB before writing, I saw that David Goyer is penning the script. Relief. Many of the good comic book movies have come from his pen. He did all the Blades, the Nolan Batmans and also the new Man of Steel. Not to mention, Zack Snyder is directing and he’s pretty good about respecting the source material.

            We hated Michael Keaton for being cast as the Batman and he certainly surprised us all. I still hold his two performances as my measure for the other guys who have filled those boots. Affleck is going to surprise us because he shares something which Keaton and even Bale brought to the silver screen—intensity.

            Over the past several years, Affleck has seemed to shy away from those roles where his boyish charm comes though and het s to be a bit rougher. The Town, Argo, and Hollywoodland have been showcases to let Ben Affleck be a darker more mature actor. So long as we can get past Pearl Harbor and Armageddon, it’s not going to be too hard to see this guy as Batman. Besides this makes him the first actor to play both Superman and Batman. (He was George Reeves in Hollywoodland).

"How do you like them apples, Clark?"
            From here on out, I am quitting on the Affleck hating and I look forward in seeing him playing the older more grizzled Batman which Zack Snyder has been teasing us to expect. When my fellow geeklings ask me why I am not worried I’ll point out that in the past 24 years, I’ve had to endure worse from a Batman role. Need I bring up Val Kilmer? Clooney’s Bat suit nipples? Alicia Silverstone, the daughter of Alfred and Batgirl?


            We’re going to be just fine.

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