It seems as though Wayne Manor will have a new occupant in the summer of 2015, Oscar darling Ben Affleck. It was announced this week the "Argo" director would don the cowl to replace Christian Bale in the upcoming sequel to Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel", tentatively titled "Batman vs. Superman". It is unclear whether this film will deliver yet another origin story for the World's Greatest Detective, or instead focus on his budding relationship with Kal-El. The announcement of Affleck as the Caped Crusader comes with considerable controversy from fans as the wildly popular Christopher Nolan trilogy starring Christian Bale has widely been regarded as the best film adaptation to date.
Though it's not the first time that Batman casting news has been controversial. In the summer of 2006 it was announced that Nolan had cast Heath Ledger as The Joker in the upcoming sequel to Batman Begins. This move confused fans and critics who were led to loudly question whether an actor who had made his career starring in teen oriented comedies had the chops to step into the shoes of acting great Jack Nicholson, whose turn as The Joker in Tim Burton's 1989 "Batman" has now become a classic performance.
Thankfully, Ledger was able carry off the Clown Prince of Crime so well that even die hard fans had to begin questioning whose version of the iconic villain was better. Critics were also silenced, and when Ledger was granted an Oscar after his tragic death it came with little surprise as the popularity and acclaim for "The Dark Knight" had by that point reached a fever pitch, with Ledger's performance overshadowing even acting greats such as Michael Caine and Gary Oldman.
This latest Batman casting news has relaunched the same debate we heard during the run up to "The Dark Knight", namely whether or not we can trust an actor with such a prestigious and important role. The question is not unwarranted. Much has been made about his role in the "Daredevil" flop and whether he can be counted on to deliver a performance worthy of his predecessor as the new Caped Crusader. He certainly has big shoes to fill. Affleck's latest offering, "Argo", garnered both critical and box office praise that eventually earned him an Oscar for Best Director, but will he have what it takes to bring the Dark Knight to life on the other side of the camera? We've seen four actors don the cape and cowl to varying degrees of success with the latest offering being hands down the favored adaptation.
The knockout combination of Nolan and Bale is a tough act to follow and their popular trilogy will still be fresh in the minds of move goers. Affleck has an uphill battle ahead of him to gain the loyalty and respect of the fans, but given his two latest offerings, "The Town" and "Argo" it's only fair to give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, did anyone think the kid from "A Knight's Tale" would upstage acting legend Michael Caine?