I was surprised to hear this when the news broke last night, but it didn’t upset me. After his career melted down in a tabloid bonfire post-”Gigli” in 2003 and appeared to receive its final nail in 2004 with “Surviving Christmas,” Affleck knew he had to reinvent himself. Switching to directing with “Gone Baby Gone” earned him some good notices and he also scaled back his acting gigs to smaller roles in ensemble films. Then came “The Town” in 2010 which was a phoenomenal heist/crime film that subverted a lot of cliches for the genre and really benefitted from the attention to detail he showed throughout it. “Argo” wouldn’t have been my pick for best picture last year, but it was still a thoroughly entertaining historical thriller regardless of the liberties taken with the story. After crawling back from what appeared to be total professional and personal ruin to Oscar-winning glory, I can’t imagine that he’d throw it all away just to be a superhero again if he didn’t think that he could pull it off.
So while I can understand the internet furor over his casting, I can’t say that I share it. Yes, he may seem like a better Bruce Wayne on paper, but if you’ve seen “The Town” you know that he can be intense and threatening as well. That said, it’s also heartening to read that some people haven’t forgotten that we’ve already been down this road before with casting relating to a “Batman” movie. If I’m disappointed about anything in this news, it’s that he won’t be directing it as well. While “Man of Steel” wasn’t a bad movie, there’s no indication that Snyder, Goyer and co. have acknowledged that there was anything that needed fixing with regards to it. Yes, your movie did post the biggest June opening ever, but when a film opens at over $110 million and can’t even make it to $300 million it’s a sign that you just got a whole lot of fanboys to see it once as opposed to multiple times along with the general filmgoing public.
What’s the takeaway from this? Keep an open mind and pay attention to what the filmmakers are going to say about the movie -- that’ll be the real indication of its quality. Also, check out “The Town” if you haven’t already. Even if you hate Affleck, you may wind up disliking him a little less -- at least -- after watching it. I swear.