Sunday, August 25, 2013


What’s the problem with the fanboys? They’ve gone ballistic on the blogosphere since the announcement this week that Ben Affleck was cast as the Dark Knight in the upcoming BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN movie. Twitter has been positively inundated. My God, you’d think that he was Edward Snowden or Private Manning!

What is the problem? Ben Affleck is an extremely talented actor, writer, and director who has won two Oscars, including Best Picture for ARGO last year. (He’s also married to Jennifer Garner, so maybe there’s some jealousy involved here.) But there's no reason for such utter vitriol spewing all over the Web about him.

Now look, one could argue that Affleck maybe shouldn’t play Batman as he’s already rendered two superheroes on the big screen before. He played DAREDEVIL (2003) in the unfortunate adaptation of that beloved comic book series. And he kind of played Superman too, right, since he portrayed George Reeves in HOLLYWOODLAND (2006)? You'll remember that movie was based upon the life of the actor who so memorably played the Man of Steel on TV in the 1950’s. But those are minor talking points for the fanboys. They just don't think Affleck has the chops. And they're going absolutely berserk, venting like it's the apocalypse. 

First of all, the fanboys need to chill and realize that since Affleck's comeback in HOLLYWOODLAND, he's been terrific in one film after another. Granted, he may not be Daniel Day-Lewis, but then who is? Affleck definitely has the gravitas and charm to render the dual role of Batman/Bruce Wayne. If you’ve seen THE TOWN (2010) then you know he has it in him. And man, doesn't he look the part? Affleck is tall, strapping, handsome…my God, look at his chin. He’ll 'out-Clooney' Clooney under the cowl for sure.
Henry Cavill in this summer's MAN OF STEEL.
So why are the haters frothing at the mouth so?

Sadly, it’s endemic in the fanboy world. They live to complain. And they think they should get to pick who plays their beloved comic book icons on screen. You'll remember that the same kind of bitchy fans moaned and groaned when Tim Burton cast Michael Keaton as his Batman back in the 1980’s. The uproar was so loud that producers Peter Gruber and Jon Peters felt compelled to cut a teaser trailer to squelch the doubters. Ultimately, the trailer appeased the fan base and Keaton went on to great glory in the role. 
Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne (AKA Batman) back in the 80's.
Director Zack Snyder has pluses and minuses as a director, but I don’t believe casting is an issue in his films. And he obviously sees what I see. What many see in the potential Batman of Ben Affleck. And remember, at first blush Robert Downey Jr. seemed like an odd choice to play IRON MAN in 2008. I remember that grumbling online all too well. And didn't fanboys have a veritable conniption fit about Anne Hathaway being cast as Catwoman in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES last year? So we need to cut Affleck some slack here.
Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012)
If the fanboys really want something to complain about, how about highlighting the fact that Hollywood is still throwing good money after bad regarding superhero films? Yes, in this summer of woefully underperforming box office superhero franchises such as MAN OF STEEL or  KICK-ASS 2, Warner Bros. still greenlit the BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN movie in a nano-second. The fact that Hollywood will keep throwing gazillions at one tent pole feature after another, no matter what the reviews or box office, suggests to me that the lessons of this summer have been lost on the exec's. Maybe that's where fanboys should direct their froth.

Have the studios noticed that a little film called THE BUTLER took in 25 million in its first weekend of release? Or that BLUE JASMINE is on its way to being Woody Allen’s biggest box office hit ever? I don’t hear about a slate of smaller films getting the instant go-ahead before everyone’s back in school so the answer appears to be 'no'. Yet another superhero movie gets fast-tracked, no questions asked. And all the fanboys can argue about is that the  actor playing the Caped Crusader once appeared in a so-so picture called GIGLI.

I think the fanboys should complain about the fact that DC and Warner Bros. still have yet to get a WONDER WOMAN movie into production. When is that going to happen? You have your assignment, fanboys. Raise a stink about that and get us out from under!

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