Could Justice League be Ben Affleck’s swan song as Batman, or is there more to come from Batfleck?
Sometimes, a movie role is just defined by one actor that plays them on screen.
We can’t think of James Bond without calling to mind Sean Connery’s masculine swag and delivery of the immortal line, ‘shaken, not stirred’.
Likewise, Sir Anthony Hopkins is Hannibal Lecter, and the original Ghostbusters crew will always have a place in our hearts over the new all-female cast in last year’s reboot.
And whether a product of nostalgia carried with us through the generations or just pure cinematic magic at its finest, there are just some portrayals that we can’t let go.
Christian Bale’s portrayal of Batman was definitely one of those. When he stepped into
the shoes of the caped crusader in director Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, he instantly became iconic.
Val Kilmer, George Clooney and even Adam West couldn’t come close, and Bale’s Batman was such a perfect fit that years later we were still unable to imagine anybody else.
So we were bound to be disappointed when the news broke that Bale had turned down a reported $50 million (about AED 183m) to don the cape once more in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).
Instead, that hero was Ben Affleck, and even Bale himself was surprised at his reaction when his successor was cast.
“When I heard there was someone else doing it, there was a moment where I just stopped and stared into nothing for half an hour,” he told Empire magazine. “But I’m 40. The fact that I’m jealous of someone else playing Batman… I think I should have gotten over it by now.”
We feel you, Christian – and so did the batfans. As director Zack Snyder’s first attempt at tackling the DC Comics dropped, all eyes were on Ben Affleck – dubbed Batfleck – to see how his performance would pan out.
Critically speaking, the movie was a bit of a flop, but it wasn’t Affleck’s performance that came under fire; rather, it was the direction that everyone seemed to hate.
But as Batfleck is set to return to our screens once more with upcoming release Justice League, fans are already waiting to see what the next performance brings.
Set after the events of Batman v Superman, where the latter selflessly gave his own life to save the planet, the world is in chaos thanks to evil alien Steppenwolf. With his belief in humanity restored, Batman rounds up a crew of the best superheroes around to deliver a swift round of justice and restore peace once more.
With rumours already swirling that this may be the final curtain call for Affleck after it was announced he won’t be directing the standalone movie as planned, we’ve barely even had time to get to know him, let alone see the promised five film streak.
Easy come, easy go? We’ll have to get back to you on that one – and Affleck wasn’t exactly forthcoming on that score.
“I don’t know about that,” he hedged. “We’ll see what the future holds.”
Also starring: Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams and JK Simmons
Running time: 120 mins
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WORDS Camille Hogg