Monday, August 26, 2013

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)


Well, I knew something like this would happen. That’s all I’m going to say.

See, I know they can’t keep it going forever but I would be totally comfortable just watching another six Christopher Nolan directed and produced--or at least, Nolan-styled--Batman movies. That vision of the character has just been so perfect and you could make the argument that tragedy and dark storytelling have always been a big part of Batman. Let’s face it though: the old-school Batman was like gadgety and quirky. He was more like James Bond than Bruce Lee but he was this James Bond type that used spiffy, non-lethal super-tools.

The thing is, after a few successful movies they’re going to be looking for a revamp. And I think the only revamp available is going to be to make Batman more pulpy. Give him more personality and make it more about him being a super-detective than a crime fighter. It’s sort of Batman done Dick Tracy style. Add to that that the next step is to see Batman in the Superman universe rather than strictly Gotham alone and it seems inevitable that the next incarnation of Batman is going to take this form (at least, I wager).

My problem is not with Ben Affleck per se. I actually think Affleck is the man. Sure, not everything he’s ever made is phenomenal, but the thing is the guy is a great actor and actually he’s an even better writer and director (go watch Gone Baby Gone and come back and talk to me before you start ranting at me). The thing is, Affleck is the man but I don’t know if he’s BAT-man. I could be wrong. I said similar things about Anne Hathaway and she’s made me eat my words. My biggest concern is that this is a likely a step towards making Batman a little more heavy on the Bruce Wayne and light on the Batman. It makes me very cautious about this whole thing. I applaud DC for finally getting out there and doing Man of Steel. It was a bit over the top but an over the top Superman movie was about five-ten years overdue. So I can get behind that, you know?

These next steps just seem very formulaic to me. I don’t know why the concept hasn’t struck me as exciting yet but something about Batman and Superman meeting up right out of the gate here at the dawn of the new DC entertainment era strikes me as heavy handed. I do WANT that movie I just want that movie done right.

Maybe I’ll be wrong. I mean, people scoffed when Heath Ledger was going to be the Joker and MY GOD, the man’s performance has become iconic. But again, that was all under the steady hand of Nolan. Not that Nolan isn’t on the pulse of this project too. Hopefully he, but the question is, can we trust everybody else on the inside of the DC/WB partnership to not make a bad step here before this baby (the DC ‘cinematic universe’) is born? I’m going to at least hope for the best here.

And cue the Editor-in-Chief...

Tedd has hit a lot of the points directly on the head, the two biggest being the Bruce Wayne/Batman dichotomy and Affleck as Batman.

It's apparent that DC is relying on The Dark Knight Returns as inspiration for the sequel to Man of Steel, in a which a bruised and battered Batman relied more on his wits to take on Superman than anything else. The think is, a lot of that was on display in Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. The biggest difference is that Batman came out of retirement to fight Bane and not Superman. Fans might be upset if Affleck is in the sequel sparingly as Batman and primarily as Bruce Wayne, because then you've pretty much pulled a bait and switch in terms of characters.

The second point has to do with Affleck. Critically, he's made a few bombs (Gigli comes to mind). Recently though, he's garnered (no pun intended) success with his directorial chops in the aforementioned Gone Baby Gone and Argo, not to mention a convincing role in The Town. And he was Daredevil in a time when comic book movies weren't taken nearly as seriously. Having said all that, he doesn't strike me as Batman. For instance, Tom Hanks has won multiple Oscars, but I wouldn't see him being Bruce Wayne/Batman. Sure, he could probably do it (if Michael Keaton can do why can't Hanks), but that doesn't mean he's right for the role. And that's the big thing when it comes to casting actors in comic book character roles.

Fans have a preconceived notion of a comic book character; the same goes for any literary character really. Casting becomes so important then because the actor chosen for a specific role brings with them all the baggage from previous roles. Affleck is a polarizing actor for whatever reason, bringing with him all the critical scorn to such a high-profile character. Add that to the fact that Batman is probably DC's most recognizable property right now and you've got a perfect storm of criticism. It's also the opposite of Marvel, who seem to be (for the most part) casting lower-profile actors for their big parts initially.

Here's hoping Affleck can pull it off though.

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