Patton Oswalt

No matter how many times you post your stupid “Fire Ben Affleck from Playing Batman” petition, I’m going to delete it and block you. Take a deep breath, and think for a second:

Yeah, the dude’s made some bad films. Every actor has. Every actor does. Every actor will. It’s a huge, arcing career and NO ONE has control over where it goes. Movie to movie, year to year, you’re collaborating and trying and risking and, sometimes, yes — failing.

Plus, everyone seems to forget that he had the world dropped in his lap when he was YOUNG. And, judging by how other suddenly-famous youngsters do in the same situation, he fared pretty well. Even when it went wrong, he seemed to keep a self-deprecating, long-view philosophy about the burning freak carousel he’d found himself on.

And then what happened? I mean, he’d fallen from a HEIGHT. You know what happens to 95% of people who weather a descent that steep? They come apart, fray at all of their sanity nodes, and give up.

But then there’s the 5% who embrace crushing defeat and see it for the gift it is. And here’s the gift: when you fail, and fail UTTERLY, you wake up the next morning and see that the world didn’t end. And then the fear of failure is gone. And you’re free. You’re free to proceed on your own terms and pace — if you have the ego that permits you to. 

Ben brushed himself off, realized he’d kept his eyes open on the movies he’d done, and started directing. And he’s become a damn good one.

A Batman portrayed by someone who’s tasted humiliation and a reversal of all personal valences — kind of like Grant Morrison’s “Zen warrior” version of Batman, post-ARKHAM ASYLUM, who was, in the words of Superman, “…the most dangerous man on the planet”? Think for a second and admit that Ben Affleck is closer to THAT top-shelf iteration of The Dark Knight than pretty much anyone in Hollywood right now.

I’d write more, but I have to go work on my post about how an overweight 44 year-old comedian with bad feet and insomnia would be a bold choice for The Joker.

Patton Oswalt

You Talkin' to Me?

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Shaun Landry

Dear Patton: Thank you. The comments left on that petition are the reasons locks on doors are created. He’s not built for the role. His Boston Accent. Just not liking him.

It’s the reason real petitions for banning someone for no reason for work is created.

I was blocked by some guy when I expressed the same thing about an actors body of work never being pristine (Humphrey Bogart would have never worked again if people just went by Dr. X) and I as an actor was told to listen to real Batman Fans.

Then he blocked me. Keep on mind, he engaged first.

It’s a shame he blocked me before I could mention that whole pesky “I owned a comic book store thing” and held and read Detective 27.

I have seen Keaton and Clooney as Batman, Nicholson as the Joker, enough glow in the dark paint to give a person epilepsy and dialogue written like The Ambiguously Gay Duo with a costume with built in nipples.

I don’t think Ben Affleck can destroy Batman that already hasn’t been tried. He’s a solid actor.

Why not Ben Affleck as Han Solo? Considering what I have seen with that franchise… smile

You win the Internet again, Patton.

Jeff Bayer

I am a film critic who sees about 3-4 films a week. I love the movie theater and film. I don’t understand the passion directed at this issue. A casting decision is not the most important thing in your life, yet you dedicate more time, thought, passion and love to it than anything, or more importantly anyone in your life.


Jeff, the reason there is so much passion around this issue is two fold. One, casting is probably THE most important job of a director. Two, Batman is one of those very special and loved characters for it’s fans. They fell in love with the character at a young age, and have a deeper knowledge of who he is. Nobody knew who Han Solo was until they went and watched Star Wars, so you could have casted anybody, and that would be Han Solo; not the same for Batman, or any other character with history.

Shaun Landry

I will agree with Jeff on this one: Casting a role is important. Especially if the role is as iconic as Batman.

But here is the caveat to that and Batman being part of the movies: A certain section of Batman Fans will never be happy with the choice of who is in that suit.

Since 1988 there have been Batman fans who freaked out over the choices and all disagreeing in every way, shape and form. There was a huge stink when Keaton was cast. and no one could come to a consensus even then on who should play that character. It was all over the boards: From Pierce Brosnan who played Remington Steele, straight down to an aging Adam West. (some being angry he did not make an appearance as Alfred or Batman’s slain father).

People have balked over villains too. People thought Nicholson was perfect casting as the Joker. That was until the final product came out. When Ledger was cast I thought the internet was going to crash. That was, until the final product came out and the man (posthumously) won an Oscar for it.

I guess what makes this over heated passion on a comic book character a little more severe is pretty simple: Internet + Immediacy x Anonymity = What?

Batman and Dr. Who. I remember when people would go crazy over choices and I just heard the fandom flair up while ringing up two copies of The Watchman or Maus (one to read…one to put away in a Mylar bag with a backer board).

Never in my lifetime would I think anyone would actually start a petition to ban an actor to play anything.

But hey. If the internet was prominent in 1988…I’m sure someone would have started a petition on getting Adam West to play Batman for a second time in a movie* and try to ban Keaton. And even then I would have said the same thing:

“I’m a huge Batman Fan. Shouldn’t you start a petition on someone doing something about Oliver North? That will be .75 cents. Would you like a Mylar Bag with your TMNT?”

*The first 1966 Batman movie was the “The UN Delegates need to be re-hydrated” Story. Honestly. There is nothing any actor can do to Batman at this point for me that would kill the Batman’s Legacy…


Great post.
Great words.
I don’t like ANYONE getting ganged up on.
Ben is getting ganged up on.
I don’t like him for Batman. But what the hell do I know.
This is what I know about him.

• When I have seen him fierce. He is fierce. The Town, Boiler Room, Gilgi (kidding)
• he LOVES comics, and knows his shit
– this isn’t someone who doesn’t know anything about Batman, his history, the character development and dynamics.
This is someone who loves Batman from a comic book geek sense.
He is going in fully aware of what challenges he has in front of him.

That is the most important aspect to Ben being chosen.
He understands this character better than most of the film fans like myself who , besides a few Frank Miller Graphic Novels, knows Batman through Cinema, TV & Cartoons primarily.

He is well seasoned, well versed in his comic book folklore.

Now. That being written. He needs to dig deep (I’m sure he’s aware of that, he knows how to direct the fuck out if actors to get powerful performances out of them (Jeremy Renner THE TOWN) The actors in the customs scene of ARGO. Dear god. I was shaking watching that. Brilliant.

Bottom line. He is armed with the knowledge, so as long as he brings it. SERIOUSLY BRINGS IT!!!! He might, just might, pull off something absolutely hard core, layered, complex, inspired.

Quite a lot falls on his shoulders here.

I for one, believe he can do it.

The backlash is rough. But if he uses it to drive himself, as a reminder how crucial this character is to the world, we may all get blown way.

Wes (Profile photo of VoicesFILMVoicesFILM )

James Barber

Wow, you know this is all make believe right? Like Santa Claus? Untwist your panties.

Anil Rao on Facebook

Don’t give me that mumbo jumbo about starting out and all that, this has got nothing to do with it. This is all about suitability, not the baggage of being Ben Affleck, not about what was said about Heath Ledger being the Joker, not about any of that sanctimonious dwiddle dwaddle people are using to defend poor little Ben. He’s not the Batman in any way shape or form, that’s what people are reacting too, that he cannot be believed as Batman and you cannot fake how you feel, and it would appear but the stats recently done that over 70% of people feel the same way. I wish him all the best, but to be frank and fair to both character and logical reasoning, it’s like casting Vin Diesel to be the new Shaft, would you agree with that? No, neither would I. This is what is right for the character first, thanks to Nolan we got out of the absurdity of what was done before and now it would appear we have to go back, what is worrying more, is that a better actor might not work, as he has to be smarter than Henry Cavill, that doesn’t take much which is why they have gone for Affleck. Two wooden actors with no presence, battling against each other, a director who favors morbid destruction over any nuance, diligence, wonder or wit and a summer of 2015 for every half-wit to be entertained by… that’s what’s coming, so go enjoy it!



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