Ben Affleck enters the Batsuit in the Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice film due in 2016. This delighted a select few moviegoers. Others said, Wait and see. But hardcore comic fanatics, especially Christian Bale enthusiasts, mostly gonged this casting choice.
“[When] I saw the announcement, I looked at the first comment,” said the actor, according to the Toronto Sun, “and it’s like, ‘Ben Affleck is going to be Batman’ and the first one goes, ‘Noooooooo!’”
After a calculated silence, Affleck responded to the critics by necessity (because there were so many of them). “I’m a big boy—I can handle it.”
Fanboys needn’t worry. Even if Hollywood makes a bad movie, the Batman and Superman franchises are too big to sink at the hands of one project.
That certainty goes beyond the multiple millions spent on merchandise and box office tickets. There is almost too much canon to choose from. Most of that character continuity could make good films—just rip from the pages and adapt.
Here is a briefing of one Bats-Supes encounter that might fit into a movie’s second act:
World’s Finest, Book Eight. By Kesel, Doherty and Campenella. November 1999: Lex Luthor has arranged a meeting between himself and fellow billionaire Bruce Wayne. Lois Lane is there to record the proceedings.
“We’re close to a test flight for the X-27 Lex-Wing airplane,” says Luthor, “and there’re a dozen competitors who would stop at nothing to steal its plans.” As he speaks, a smirking Catwoman is already in Lex’s headquarters, copying the plane files. She intentionally sets the alarms off before vanishing. (“Getting in must have been too easy for her,” Batman muses later.)
This alert brings Superman to the scene, as well as the Caped Crusader. Luthor angrily orders them to capture Catwoman. The chase includes Lois’s capture by Catwoman, for insurance purposes. Batman, Superman and Lex’s exoskeleton-suited security are a step behind in their pursuit. It wouldn’t be a Superman comic without a time to rescue Lois scene.
But moments after blasting an escape hole through the side of Lex’s building, Catwoman is finally nabbed by the Man of Steel.
Luthor is not glad, but angry, at her capture and the recovery of his X-27 files. That’s because he paid Catwoman for the job. He needed her to fulfill a piece of his apparent plan to fake his own death. She failed.
As the caper ends, Alfred Pennyworth finishes his usual job of covering for Wayne by scolding Superman for not telling Lois his secret identity. After all, Clark and Lois are an item… but Clark is interrupted the next day as he is about to spill!
The X-27 is part of Lex’s legend. In another storyline, Luthor apparently died in Peru while experimenting with the aircraft. Point: Comic book, movie fans and everyone between would lap up scenes containing these characters.
Superman and Batman are two of the most recognizable comic book franchises. They will survive almost any motion picture. The only worriers might be Affleck and those who surround him. But although it has been determined by popular opinion that this movie shall affect his legacy, the same was said of other comic book casting choices.
Michael Keaton was widely doubted before he ever donned the cape and cowl for Tim Burton’s version. Not only did Keaton do a passable job, that movie is little more than a footnote in his filmography.
“It matters what you think when you see the movie,” said Affleck.