Ben Affleck was a great Batman and the perfect fit for a screen incarnation of Bob Kane’s iconic superhero. Movies In Focus thought that Affleck would make a great Batman going back to Good Will Hunting and Armageddon. He had the build and the look to portray the ultimate Bruce Wayne/Batman. Sure, his only onscreen superhero performance until he got the role was in 2003’s lacklustre Daredevil, a film that fails on many levels – but not because of Affleck.
There was a lot of outcry at Affleck’s casting as The Dark Knight in Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel follow-up, but that was mainly from people were trapped in 2004 when Ben Affleck was a cultural whipping boy because of his relationship with Jennifer Lopez. Yes, he was caught in the Hollywood machine in the early noughties, but he was always a viable leading man.
Ben Affleck’s ageing Batman/Bruce Wayne finally gave us the character that graced the pages of comic books since 1939. Michael Keaton may have been able to deliver the twisted psyche in the Tim Burton movies; Val Kilmer and George Clooney brought a playboy swagger to the Joel Schumacher years and Christian Bale gave a brutal physicality to the role.
None of the above managed to fully deliver on the fact that Bruce Wayne (and Batman) has a psychotic streak which runs through his core and that he uses this for good rather than evil. Even if his sense of right and wrong is morally blurred. He might be fighting for good, but his outlook methods are as dark as the world he inhabits. Affleck presented this to audiences and anyone expecting an Adam West-style version of the character need to look elsewhere.