Just a little over a month ago it was announced that the sequel to Man Of Steel would be a team-up/vs film co-starring Batman. Speculation immediately began as to who would be playing the Dark Knight, with names like Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling thrown around. Of course things like this can never be civil on the internet which prompted me to write an open letter to fanboys asking them to please be civilized.
Unless you’ve been on a drinking binge for the last two weeks, you should know that Ben Affleck will be donning the cape and cowl in the new Batman vs. Superman flick. When the news broke the internet exploded, literally, well not literally but you get the point. The backlash was immediate, people just couldn’t keep their negative opinions to themselves.
How could the same guy who ruined Daredevil possibly be given the chance to do the same to the Dark Knight? All the goodwill Affleck has garnered over the last half decade was gone. All his work from Argo, The Town and Hollywoodland was forgotten instantly. People could only focus on the negative.
Let’s look at a similar situation that happened over 20 years ago. A director by the name of Tim Burton was hired to bring the Dark Knight to the big screen. When he made the decision to cast Michael Keaton as Batman the backlash was fierce. People wrote actual letters (like with stamps) protesting the casting news to the movie studio. If the internet was in it’s current iteration back then it would have been going bonkers.
Obviously everybody was wrong and Keaton turned out to be one of if not the best Batman ever. Today let’s look a 4 reasons people had their doubts:
Isn’t He A Comedian?
Up until Batman, Keaton was mostly known as the guy who starred in Mr. Mom; a comedy written by John Hughes about a stay at home dad. He wasn’t really known for “dark” roles like Batman. In the same sense that Ben Affleck haters keep bringing up Gigli and Daredevil Keaton haters would constantly bring up Mr. Mom as a prime example as to why he should not be playing the Dark Knight.
Of course, Keaton proved us wrong and his sense of humor was actually a plus. In a very subtle way Bruce Wayne was hilarious, but not as much to detract away from the seriousness of the film. Speaking of which…..
He Just Isn’t Very Intimidating
The character of Batman (as far as the comic-books) was known as being a badass; he came out at night, thwarted criminals and scared the living s*** out of anybody who even attempted to commit a misdemeanor. People just couldn’t see such a thing in Keaton; Beetlejuice was released just prior to Batman.
The movie was also directed by Tim Burton and it was the film that convinced the director that he could play the Dark Knight. Well, the film didn’t convince everybody else, Beetlejuice was only creepy in a comical way. You laughed at Beetlejuice, you put that movie on for your kids when you were trying to get laundry done.
Once again, Keaton proved them wrong and proved not only a first-rate Bruce Wayne but a very intimidating Batman as well. In a 1989 interview Keaton said that growing up he always like to “scare rather than be scared”, and he did just that.
There Were Plenty Of Other Talented Actors
During the late ‘80s the role of Batman was just a coveted as it is today. Many actors were considered for the role including Bill Murray, Charlie Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Mel Gibson, William Dafoe and many others.
Last year Ray Liotta admitted that he was actually courted to play Batman, he was quoted as saying:
“I remember right after a movie I did, ‘Something Wild,’ Tim Burton wanted to meet me for Batman. And at that time, I said, ‘What are you kidding me? I’m an actor.’ But now it’s changed; now it’s good because if you do that you get other movies.”
Now, it’s easy to look at the talented actors of the time and see why Keaton was such an oddball choice. Let’s forget that Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson are insane now, back then they were both genuine talents. Of course, Keaton proved to be just as talented and versatile as the rest of them.
He’s No Adam West
Indeed, in the same way that Christian Bale has such a huge following for his portrayal of Batman, Adam West had just as much a following. Many people grew up with Adam West’s version of Batman. The show was goofy and there were legions of people who felt that was the nature of Batman. If you didn’t read comic books then Adam West was all you knew as far as the caped-crusader goes.
When the much darker Batman was released in ‘89 it must have been a shock to the system for anybody who was used to the campiness of the show. I’m sure they got over it quickly.
How do you feel about Affleck being cast as Batman? Do you think he’s going to pull a Keaton and surprise us all?
Jesse Gumbarge is editor-in-chief at JarvisCity. He’s a fan of old-school horror flicks and starting pointless debates.