Six Reasons MARVEL Fears Ben Affleck
Laugh if you want, but what if this actually works?
You've all heard it by now. And you've all shared your opinions. Ben Affleck is the new Batman. It has been entertaining hearing and reading what everyone has to say. Many negative responses revolve around Daredevil, but I think that's unwarranted since I've written that there's a lot FOX got right with Daredevil, which by the way, back in 2004, was one of the first CBMs that directly lifted from the source material. Anyway, I'm not here to condone or condemn. Even though my initial shock has settled, I STILL don't know what to make of this. But I do want to bring up some points I'm not hearing enough people talk about. I thought it would be interesting to take the positive defense, and go the other way with the feedback, looking at why DC's rival Marvel should be worried about what Ben Affleck's casting means.
People Care More
Let's face it. Superman and Batman are making headlines. Even if I could argue that they are publicity stunts (And I can. I still think this crossover is ill-advised and too soon, but that's an article for another day). These are the two most famous superheroes in history, and for anyone who even passively has enjoyed their exploits, What happens with them in tinseltown is news. Every single time, every single movie. They are more beloved, so it matters. Only a couple of Marvel characters can actually say that. And even then, casting news on that side is still kind of a collective 'whatever' from anyone who isn't a die-hard fanboy. If the Ben Affleck media circus that was this past weekend is an indicator of anything, it's that even against Marvels' 20 different movies, DC will still always have cache with their two flagship heroes. And steal their thunder every time.
Affleck Has Friends in High Places
And with Argo's Best Picture win, Big Ben cemented himself as Warner Bros' latest golden boy. No doubt the studio loves their Nolan. And to a lesser degree, Snyder, who have both made the company butt-loads of money with their films under the WB banner. It almost seems suspiciously convenient that Warners would go with Affleck. As if they didn't even bother looking. But if one actually watched the Oscars or the Golden Globes last spring (or followed the award season at all), it was undeniable the praise showered upon Ben from many of his peers, before during, and after these ceremonies. Celebrities all across Hollywood are eager to work with the young directing prodigy (young by directing standards- only 3 films? Damn!)
That means bigger names could be attracted to the DCU.
DC Finally Has Fans Behind the Films
Tim Burton, Martin Campbell, Bryan Singer. Look at the history of DC movies, and you're looking at a lot of flicks made with people that aren't necessarily knowledgeable about comics. (Not a bad thing, just an observation.) Even Chris Nolan doesn't really read them- he deferred to brother Johnathan and David Goyer's expertise, who were the geeks among the group. Zack Snyder is the director who really wears his fanboyism on his sleeve. And now we have Ben Affleck, a self-professed nerd who along with buds like Kevin Smith and more, could bring a wealth of love and faithfulness to these future projects that DC movies may have lacked in the past. Kevin Feige and Joss Whedon have been unabashed in the heart they put in Marvel movies. DC may finally have the means to do the same.
The Heath Ledger Comparison/ a.k.a. Eating Crow
This is the excuse defenders are using the most. Truth be told, I hate it. The Ledger/Affleck situations are so different it's not even funny. But I can't deny the underlying truth in the point they are trying to make: Give 'em a chance- they could impress. A petition was started against Daniel Craig, who is arguably the best James Bond now. But sticking with comics (Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man), hell, or even Batman alone, Mr. Mom Michael Keaton blew past expectations, and even the disliked Anne Hathaway stole the show as Selena Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises.
This is what Marvel has to worry about; the possibility that maybe Ben Affleck might own Batman, and yet again, WB/DC will have another 'all-time unforgettable' performance under their belt, while Marvel flicks will remain *serviceable* will their actors, with the only exception being RDJ.
The Possibilities Are Endless
Already the speculation is running rampant about what Ben Affleck means for the DC Universe. What kind of Batman will he be? What kind of tone does the movie take now that he's on? He's signed for multiple pictures, so that opens the Batman continuity up (never before seen villains?) as well as helps solidify Justice League as something that's not just a pipe dream anymore. And of course the biggest question of all- Will he direct one of these mf'ers, because that would be amazing! The best thing DC can do to separate themselves from Marvel is make intense action hero movies with dramatic weight. Man of Steel kicked things off in this sense, and they can only grow from there. Heck, Affleck's The Town is essentially a feature-length expansion on The Dark Knight's opening heist scene. A lot fits together here that people may not have expected.
He Could Ruin It For Everyone
To play devil's advocate to myself, of course there's a chance this whole thing could fall apart. I'm not completely blind. And I don't want to be one of those people who takes the high road and sticks my nose up at all the negative remarks because "nerds will be nerds". Passion is not pathetic. And it IS okay to disagree with Hollywood. From remakes down to casting, there is no law saying you have to like everything movies do because they are right, and you are wrong. Sometimes these things fail.
And yes, sometimes nobody listens to us. Nicholas Cage as Ghost Rider? How did THAT turn out? Maybe Johnny Depp playing a Native American wasn't the best route to take. Never underestimate the power of public opinion. Battleship was a bad idea, and guess what? We buried it.
So suppose Ben Affleck's Batman epically fails. Wouldn't Marvel be happy? No, I say fear this because a bad comic book movie is always bad for the genre as a whole, and which side you're on doesn't matter anymore. With CBMs bombarding us every year from now at least until 2021, general interest could wane in the wake of any misfire, especially a marquee name like Batman. We can't afford it. So for all our sakes, PLEASE be good!
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