Ben Affleck's Batman Has the Potential to be Even Better Than Christian Bale’s Dark Knight

Tuesday, 04 August 2015 - 1:56PM
DC Comics
Batman
Batman v Superman
Tuesday, 04 August 2015 - 1:56PM
Ben Affleck's Batman Has the Potential to be Even Better Than Christian Bale’s Dark Knight

When it was announced that Ben Affleck would be playing Batman, many comic fans groaned in terror. Wasn't Affleck too much of a pretty boy to take on the role of Dark Knight? Didn't he star in that awful attempt at a Daredevil movie? Undoubtedly, many were quite skeptical at the thought of "Batfleck."

Then it all started to move in a more positive direction. Some stills were released of the actor wearing the cape and cowl; then the Batman v Superman trailer was leaked on line, with the official release following after. Finally, new scenes of Batman gliding from enemy to enemy and dodging Superman's heat vision were shown in the Comic-Con trailer, and virtually all skepticism for Affleck's ability to take on the character was put to rest. Now, with all of the information that's been released on this newest take on the Caped Crusader, there's reason to believe that this Batman could be the best one yet - even better than Christian Bale, who after his performance in the Dark Knight trilogy is held up as the gold standard.


He's Got a Better Suit


Some still choose to criticize certain aspects of Affleck's Batsuit, but it definitely seems to be the best one to hit the big screen as of yet. For one, it's closer to the source material. The fabric the suit is made of seems to be some sort of durable, flexible kevlar, similar to the stuff it's made of in recent comics. Christian Bale's Batsuit, while original, bore no real resemblance to most of the one's seen in the comics. It was more of a futuristic ninja armor, and the cowl didn't really look like much of a cowl - it was more of a Bat-helmet. While that was definitely a cool take on the Batsuit, especially in the ultra-realistic Nolanverse, it wasn't what the Batsuit should really be. Most fans of the comics will agree that Affleck's suit is a great way to adapt the source material in a grounded way to a live action film that takes place in the broader DC Universe. It's not spandex (and it shouldn't be), but it's not straight up armor either.

Some have qualms with the fact that Affleck's Bat symbol is a bit broader than previous iterations. However, the Bat symbol has changed from movie to movie, from comics to comics, from animated series to animated series, and even from video game to video game. Plus, having such a broad Bat-symbol painted across his chest may have more practical reasons as well.

In "Under the Red Hood," Jason Todd mentions that the reason Batman even has a Bat- symbol on his chest is to distract criminals into aiming for the area on his body that's most heavily protected, instead of shooting for his head. It wouldn't be surprising to hear this reasoning for the Bat-symbol given at some point in the DCEU; after all, a broader Bat-symbol means a broader target, right?


He's in a Better Universe


Don't misunderstand - seeing Batman stories take place in a realistic setting was without doubt mind blowing. Many still regard Nolan's The Dark Knight as the greatest superhero movie ever (and with good reason). Yet in the comics, Batman doesn't exist in an ultra-realistic setting and often battles enemies that have little resemblance to anything in the real world. That's the sort of universe that Batman really belongs in.

Think about it - because of the universe he existed in, you could never expect to see Bale's Batman dodging Kryptonian heat vision or dancing with a real-life Amazonian princess at some gala. Affleck's Batman does exist in such a universe, and because of that, it gives him quite a bit of an edge.


He Has Deeper History


Tragedy is what created the Batman, and tragedy is what fuels him. Losing his parents to a criminal was traumatic enough, but losing one of his adopted sons to a psychotic killer like the Joker? It crushed him, but it also turned him into a greater force for good and served as a constant reminder to do better. On top of that, the same maniac that killed his son soon put one of his closest allies in a wheelchair for what seemed would be the rest of her life.

Batman is definitely a tortured soul, and Bale depicted that in his portrayal of the character with near-perfection. However, Affleck's Batman has already proven to have a deeper, more traumatic history from the trailer alone. Affleck's Batman has lost one Robin for certain, and with the rumors of Barbara Gordon appearing in the film, it's possible that he's had to deal with another famous Batman tragedy as well. And to top it off, he just watched thousands of people die in Metropolis as two Kyrptonians used it as their personal boxing ring. Bale's Batman experienced tragedy, but it was nothing like the horror Ben Affleck's Batman has had to face. Knowing what Affleck's Batman has been through most definitely makes him a more intriguing character.


He Has Better Fight Scenes


The choreography of the fight scenes in Nolan's trilogy is one of the most common criticisms given against Bale's Dark Knight, but once again, there are definitely restrictions to how far you can go when you're trying to make an ultra-realistic movie like the ones Nolan concocted. Thankfully, Guillermo Grispo, the fight choreographer on Batman v Superman, has promised us better. In an interview with Los Andes Diario, he said the following:

Opening quote
Even in the last Nolan movies the action scenes aren't very good from a technical, martial arts point of view to things like choreography, filming, bad camera movements...

But hey, don't get me wrong, Nolan is great, my hats off to him. He makes fascinating stories, but I think that he did not pay too much attention to the fights. Those are the kind of details that Zack, being so physical himself, loves preparing. I think there's going to be a big difference when you see these Batman fights in comparison to the previous ones.
Closing quote


From the Comic-Con trailer alone, it's hard not to agree. The scenes of Batman gliding from enemy to enemy, jumping away from Superman's heat vision at the last moment, and pouncing on the Man of Steel in his armored Batsuit are incomparable to anything ever seen before in a Batman film. Fans who came out to see the special IMAX showing of the first Batman v Superman trailer were also treated to a few extra seconds of exclusive footage in which Batman and Superman charged full force at each other, with the clip ending just before they collided. While there were a few memorable fight scenes in the Nolan trilogy, there seems to be little chance that they can ever compare with the ones fans are going to see in Batman v Superman.

Does all this mean that Christian Bale's Batman was done in bad taste? Not at all. Christian Bale will be remembered for years to come for his take on Batman in the Dark Knight trilogy. The three films he worked so hard on are often regarded as the greatest comic book movie trilogy of all time, and it could stay that way for a long while. However, Ben Affleck's portrayal of the Caped Crusader in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice seems to be what comic fans have been dying to see out of a Batman film for years. It looks like he has the moves, the persona, the suit, and exists in the right universe to be exactly the Batman every fan wants to see take the big screen. 

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