Ben Affleck is the best live-action Batman the world has seen. There I said it. Finally! As someone that lives and breathes everything Batman (my dog is literally called Bruce), the debate over which actor has put in the best performance of the Caped Crusader is a daily conundrum, yet I've come to a conclusion at long last.
While in no way shape or form are Batman V Superman and Zack Snyder's Justice League better than The Dark Knight trilogy, Affleck brings about the most comicbook-like adaption of the character since Lewis Wilson first put on the costume nearly 80 years ago. There's a sense of realism and regret that comes from his Batman being in Gotham for 20 years, while the cocky Bruce Wayne facade is mirrored just as effortlessly.
Michael Keaton and Christian Bale offer lots to the role but never truly nailed both dualities of Batman. Affleck plays a version of the character that has fully accepted himself and his position within Gotham, carrying the heavy burden of the people he's lost throughout the years masterfully.
Physically, the man is a monster too. For the role, Affleck gained 20 pounds (nine kilograms) of muscle to transform himself into the hulky Bruce Wayne that the animated series, comics and video games have come to perceive. No other performance looks the part or shows off the raw power of what the Bat can do. Naturally, the warehouse scene in BVS sticks out for numerous of these reasons.
The reason for these musings has stemmed from The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) interview with Affleck discussing his time as Batman and how difficult he found filming for Justice League, due to numerous issues behind the scenes, including alcoholism, divorce, set issues, and more. It's quite the read. The two-time Academy Award winner always speaks quite frankly (for better or worse), here humanising what just was going through his mind at the time.
That's why I'm so pleased Zack Snyder's Justice League received a release. It can't be understated how much better the final product is over the theatrical cut. It shows off the best of Affleck and takes out several awkward bits of dialogue that try to make Batman funny, of all things. Rewatching this and BVS has solidified that even with the issues prevalent throughout the DCEU, it's an unforgettable interpretation. One that will only age like the finest of Chateau Margaux.
It's a crying shame we will never get a dedicated solo movie to truly prove this to the masses, however, having Zack Snyder's cut of Justice League and Affleck suit up one final time in the upcoming Flash film is more than any "Batfleck" fan really expected. Robert Pattinson, similarly, looks set to put in an admirable performance in The Batman by leaning more on the "World's Greatest Detective" angle that has been absent. Still, it has to be said that Pattinson has some big Bat-shoes to fill if he has any hope of usurping Affleck's cowl.
The Flash is set to premiere in theatres on June 23rd, 2023 and will star Ezra Miller, Ron Livingston, Michael Keaton, Kiersey Clemons, Sasha Calle and of course, Ben Affleck.