WARNING: RANT. SALTY LANGUAGE AHEAD. READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL.
It was announced that Ben Affleck will play Batman in the upcoming “Man of Steel” Superman sequel, set to hit theaters in the summer of 2015. The Internet hasn’t taken too kindly to this news. Judging from some of the tweets and Facebook posts that have been plastered on the Internet, you’d think Ben Affleck wasn’t playing Batman as much as he was about to cut a giant hole in Batman’s chest and take a giant shit in it.
In fact, some goofball has petitioned the White House to ban Affleck from playing Batman.
Yeah, I get it: Ben Affleck used to be a punchline. Gigli? Worst movie ever? Not quite. He’s played a superhero before. Daredevil. Yeah, I know, I know. The less said about that mess, the better. He’s still got some atoning to do for that one.
But unless you haven’t noticed, Ben Affleck’s done a rather spectacular job of reinventing himself. Need I remind you that Affleck’s become one of the better filmmakers in Hollywood recently. Shit, he just won a goddamned Oscar for Argo.
Oh, but who are we kidding? The fanboys want blood. BEN AFFLECK WILL NOT PLAY BATMAN! THE BLOOD OF THE UNBELIEVERS SHALL FLOW IN THE STREETS!
Where have I heard and seen this kind of geek-related fandom hysteria before? Oh, yeah…now I recall:
The fanboys screamed bloody murder when Tobey Maguire was cast as Spider-Man/Peter Parker.
The fanboys screamed bloody murder when Christian Bale was cast as Batman/Bruce Wayne.
The fanboys just about lost their fucking shit when Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker. Don’t believe me? Here’s a little reminder.
Remember when the fanboys absolutely went nuclear over Daniel Craig (a blond! HOW FUCKING DARE THEY?) was cast as the new James Bond?
And, yeah, a lot of fanboys weren’t too pleased with Robert Downey, Jr. being cast as Iron Man/Tony Stark.
Shit, there was a fuck-ton of bitching about Jennifer Lawrence being cast as Katniss Everdeen.
AAAAAAAANNNNNDDDDD…they all turned out pretty well, didn’t they? I’d say iconic, even. Bale perfectly captured the dual conflict between a man who craved order in the world and knew he was precisely the last person that should be imposing that will upon a dysfunctional world. Maguire was terrific as both Peter Parker and his alter ego.
RDJ absolutely nailed it, and keeps nailing it.
Heath Ledger created perhaps the most iconic screen villain since Hannibal Lecter, and posthumously won an Oscar for his blistering performance.
Daniel Craig IS James Bond, the best portrayal of 007 since Sean Connery.
J-Law as Katniss Everdeen? Bullseye, baby doll. Bullseye.
The point is, the fanboys lose their shit, because they act as if somehow Batman belongs to them. Newsflash: it doesn’t. This is what gets my goat, the whole Internet – and by that, I mean people simply losing their minds in this idiotic emotional attachment to something – losing their collective minds over this. As if somehow, Zack Snyder casting Ben Affleck as Batman is violating everything they hold sacred about Batman, and that the Dark Knight will forever be ruined because, heaven forbid, a rather accomplished actor and filmmaker who possesses the gravitas to play both Bruce Wayne and the Dark Knight, as opposed to some bland but pretty-looking hot young actor who can’t read a line to save his life but looks good in latex.
Here’s the problem: we’re talking about pop culture darlings that have built-in audiences attached to them. Of course, the audiences are going to possess an off-the-charts level of emotional attachment to the material, and, with that, an overwhelming and oppressive sense of entitlement to the material.
Built-in audiences are going to be fiercely protective of what they love, but their love blinds them from far more interesting choices that can and should be made with the material. Sometimes you have to simply mess with convention. But, yeah, some built-in audiences can really be a pain in the ass about their fandom.
And I’m not even going to bother talking about Star Wars; look, I love Star Wars with every fiber of my body, but some of the WORST fans on the planet are Star Wars fans, and the idiotic, juvenile, childish fashion by which they’ve reacted to how the franchise has been treated is really insulting.
Okay, I am going to talk about Star Wars then; I used to be one of those who thought George Lucas was the very embodiment of “turning to the Dark Side” but I’ve come to understand that IT’S JUST A FUCKING MOVIE AFTER ALL. And it’s his movie. And he can do whatever the hell he wants with the movie, and all the merchandising behind it, because he was enough of a visionary to see that he had something big in his hands back in 1977, and there was no way he was going to let those studio pinheads at 20th Century Fox barf all over it. Sure, the prequels were shit. So what? George Lucas got worn down by all us Jedi robe-wearing geeks giving him galaxies full of shit and acting as if he had no right to ruin our childhoods the way he did with Jar Jar Fucking Binks, so he sold the rights to the whole shebang to Disney, and a new Star Wars film, directed by J.J. Abrams, comes out in 2015.
And the Jedi robe-wearing geeks are still up at arms about this, as if somehow they were left out of the decision making. I could go on, but this blistering riposte on Flavorwire pretty much sums up how I feel about Star Wars fandom.
The point is, a lot of time, fanboys, your hysteria is wrong. Dead wrong. Okay, you were right about George Clooney as Batman. Holy fucking abortion, Caped Crusader! Quit gnashing your teeth, stop posting DIE BEN AFFLECK comments on comment boards everywhere, take a Xanax, and reserve your judgment for when the film comes out.
Until then, just calm the fuck down already. The decision’s been made. So unless he gets a change of heart, Ben Affleck’s your new Batman. Deal with it.