Ben Affleck is the new Batman, which brings up this question: Why don’t I want Ben Affleck to be the new Batman?

August 23, 2013

He’s not a terrible actor.  And before you start to argue that, yes, he is in fact a terrible actor, go to IMDB and make a list of all the movies he’s in that you legitimately enjoy.  Not movies you would write about in a film theory class, just movies you would watch a second time if they happened to be on TV while you were cleaning the house.  Go ahead.  We’ll wait…

For me there are eleven.  I know; I was as surprised as you.

And the films I like are fairly diverse: Good Will Hunting, Chasing Amy, Argo, Shakespeare in Love, Armageddon.  That’s not to say Affleck stretches himself much as an actor in any of these movies, but he does move fairly easily from comedy to drama to action.  Obviously, he’s no Ed Norton or Johnny Depp, but he’s not Keanu Reeves either.

But part of the reason I like Norton and Depp is that they’re both sort of skinny (except when Norton was in American History X…holy crap) weirdos who seem like the type of people Affleck would beat up during recess in middle school.  And that’s sort of the crux of the matter for me.

The movie role that will always define Ben Affleck for me is the spanking-obsessed jock Fred O’Bannion in Dazed and Confused.  This also happens to be my favorite movie that Affleck has ever been in.  No matter how many asteroids he destroys or awards he wins, this is how I will always see Ben Affleck.

It’s not that he’s too good looking (although that’s part of it).  And it’s not that his giant chin always makes him appear smug (although that’s part of it too).  It’s that he reminds me of that good looking, smug guy in high school that I always hated because his life seemed so easy.  All the girls wanted to be with him and all the guys wanted to be him.

You’d think directing and starring in Argo (a movie nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Director) would alter my opinion of Affleck somewhat.  It’s like when that good looking smug guy in high school sits next to you one day in the cafeteria, and you find out he’s actually a really nice guy who wants to be a physics major in college.  Theoretically that should make you like him (and maybe it does on the surface) but deep down there’s still a part of you (or maybe it’s just me) that hates the guy even more because now you know that not only is he good looking and popular but he’s also smart and nice.  What an asshole!

By almost all accounts, Ben Affleck seems like a really good guy.  He gives to charities, he pokes fun at his own stardom, he keeps in touch with people from his old neighborhood.  Directors tend to have good things to say about him, as do his family, friends, and coworkers.  Kevin Smith practically worships the man, and I really like Kevin Smith.

But none of that makes any difference to me.  I want to hate Ben Affleck.  I need to hate him.  It’s an irrational compulsion that I can’t explain or control.  Ben Affleck could win ten Oscars and I’d still think he was an overrated bastard coasting by on his looks.  Of course, in the end, this says more about my own shallowness and narcissism than it does about Ben Affleck, but you probably knew that before you started reading this post.

p.s. I do realize that I wrote this entire rant without actually addressing the question in the title, Why don’t I want Ben Affleck to be Batman?  The reason for this is that halfway through I realized I have no logical justification for not wanting Affleck to be the caped crusader.  I don’t think he’ll be as good as Keaton or Bale, but he’ll probably do just as well as Clooney and better than Kilmer (although I probably won’t admit it if he does).

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6 Responses to “Ben Affleck is the new Batman, which brings up this question: Why don’t I want Ben Affleck to be the new Batman?”

  1. Dale Bridges Says:

    Or maybe (and I realize I’m just arguing with myself here) I don’t think Affleck is COMPLICATED enough to play Batman. There doesn’t seem to be enough darkness inside him. He could do Superman…sort of a boyscout do-gooder who is basically indestructible. But not the moody, degenerate Bat. His chin won’t allow it.

    • Dale Bridges Says:

      Sure, but isn’t that just you once again reacting to a perception that you have of Affleck. You choose to see him as one dimensional; therefore, you won’t allow him to play more complicated roles, and if he does you find some reason to dismiss his success as overrated or give credit to his costars for making him look good.

    • Anonymous Says:

      EXACTLY. YES YES YES

  2. DED Says:

    I don’t hate Ben Affleck. I’ve enjoyed some of his films, most recently, “Argo”. As far as him playing Batman, I think it all depends on which Ben Affleck shows up to take on the role. There are some roles, like the one he had in “Argo”, in which he brings sufficient seriousness to his character that you connect with him. And there are others where he has less depth than a pothole in Gotham.

    Oh, and he’s from Boston. How does someone from Boston land the role of Gotham’s Dark Knight? I cringe at the thought of that accent creeping into Batman’s voice.


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