So after much speculation, the battle for the cowl has been decided -
Ben Affleck is Zack Snyder's Batman
From the moment Man of Steel 2 was revealed to be a Batman vs Superman movie, the rumour mill went into overdrive as to who would be filling the not-insubstantial Bat-boots left by Christian Bale.
Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, and Richard Armitage were all rumoured to be in line for the cape , but Warner Bros. and Snyder have opted for an older, more contentious star.
Predictably, the internet backlash is already in full swing. Twitter and Facebook are awash with those decrying the decision, with all manner of Anti-Affleckery flung around with gleefully melodramatic snark.
Less predictably (because it's insane), a petition to remove Affleck from the role has also been set up on Change.org.
You know Change.org - the website set up to provide a voice for those seeking political and societal progression. An empowering platform to help the world address those really hard-hitting, life-affecting issues - like, erm, someone being cast as Batman.
While the ire was to be expected, the vitriol associated with it is perhaps a tad overwrought - the simple reality is that whoever would've been cast to replace Christian Bale and his iconic turn in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy would've drawn its critics, but Affleck's tumultuous Hollywood career has brought him in for unfair criticism.
Sure, Daredevil 's gimpy faux-grittiness was what you'd politely call a comic calamity (even Affleck has since distanced himself from the project), and the less said about Gigli and Pearl Harbour the better, but Affleck's since proved - time and again - that he's an accomplished actor/director.
From the awards-snaffling Argo to Hollywoodland, Gone Baby Gone and The Town, he's had an increasingly bulletproof CV of late, and it's hard to argue that he hasn't since gained the maturity and world-weary experience to take on a role that looks to be positioning itself as the mirror image to Superman's younger energy.
The press release notes that Man of Steel 2 's Bruce Wayne will be “a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter”. Get Affleck to fashion a grizzled BatBeard to match the mental and physical war-wounds, and it's not that far a cry from the Argo role that nabbed him so many plaudits.
Throw in the fact that he's an unashamed comics fan ( Daredevil aside, he played Superman in Hollywoodland , and was hotly tipped as a frontrunner to direct the Justice League Movie), and the lessons he would've learnt from the mistakes made in his first comic book movie outing, and you can guarantee he'll be focused on ensuring the character's as faithful and fanboy/girl-friendly as possible.
One thing's clear - this is not going to be Christopher Nolan's Batman on-screen, and it'll be all the better for it.
Comparisons are inevitable, but with a rebooted DC movie universe should come the opportunity for a fresh, tonally different take on the character.
And what better actor to embody the rise of a battered, bruised former icon battling in the face of overwhelming adversity than one Mr Ben Affleck?
It's not just Matt ( @spliggle ), either - it seems it's a reaction that's been echoed by the rest of the Total Film team...
JANE CROWTHER - EDITOR IN CHIEF ( @totalfilm_jane )
Affleck proved in Argo he can pull off the wounded and honourable man working under the weight of a lost family, Nolan as executive producer will ensure a high quality when it comes to the story and direction, and Affleck's maturity makes for an interesting new look at the Batman canon that could explore Wayne's sense of mortality.
Everyone bitched and moaned when Daniel Craig got Bond and look at the kick-ass 007 we ended up with. Affleck is an equally scrappy terrier and negative criticism will only make him more determined to prove everyone wrong. After all, if the guy can make people forgive and forget 'gobble gobble', he can do anything.
JAMIE GRAHAM - DEPUTY EDITOR ( @totalfilm_jamie )
Affleck is a talented, hardworking guy who's triumphed over great adversity. To take on the iconic Batman role is a risk, but one he will have weighed up carefully (and no doubt spoken to George Clooney about!) and is brave to take. He definitely deserves the benefit of the doubt. He has proven he can bring gravitas to characters and he certainly has Batman's jawline!
MATTHEW LEYLAND - REVIEWS EDITOR ( @totalfilm_mattL )
Affleck's surely got the clout now to have a sizeable say in what he wants the role to be, so I'm sure he wouldn't have signed on without being confident of giving us a fresh, different take on Batman. Plus The Town and Argo recently showed he can brood with the best of them. Who's going to be Alfred? I vote Bryan Cranston, Terence Stamp or the old dad from Modern Family.
SAM ASHURST - DEPUTY ONLINE EDITOR ( @samashurst )
In Argo , Ben Affleck played a man completely broken by the loss of his family - beautifully. The director of Gone Baby Gone understands the complexities of Batman's form of justice. Affleck's mate Kevin Smith will be on hand to help - and anyone who listens to his Fatman On Batman podcast knows that's a very good thing. And forget the actor, it's the right Batman. "A man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter." I'm very excited about this news - I can't wait to see the first trailer.
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