Ben Affleck’s outspoken politics hurt his Batman more than his box office bombs

Warner Bros. needed someone who could take on Superman. Correction: Warner Bros. needed someone who could theoretically beat Superman. They decided that man was … Ben Affleck.

Ben Affleck has been cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Zack Snyder’s still untitled Superman/Batman sequel to this past summer’s Man of Steel. The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. The studio has slated the film to open worldwide on July 17, 2015. …

In the announcement, Silverman stated, “We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some. His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character.”

Snyder also expressed his excitement about the casting of Affleck, noting, “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”

There is no getting around how utterly weird this decision is. However, there is also no getting around how awesome ‘Man of Steel’ was.

Fact: Zack Snyder knows what he is doing. ‘300’ was awesome. ‘Watchmen’ is severely underrated. ‘Man of Steel’ reinvigorated Superman. If he thinks he can make it work with Ben Affleck as Batman, then he’s earned the benefit of the doubt. Fans owe it to him to try their best to withhold judgement and give Affleck a shot.

Here are a few things to help you view the glass as half full:

  • Zack Synder gives his actors the Gym Jones treatment: Ben Affleck will be in shape when it’s time to film. Batman shape. “Holy-crap-is-that-Ben-Affleck?” shape.
  • ‘Chasing Amy’: Ben Affleck showed us he could do a relatively decent job at “tortured soul” when he played Holden in 1997’s Chasing Amy. Sure, his range is limited, but if Snyder can tap into his strengths and minimize his weaknesses then we might just have a decent Batman on our hands.
  • Fan backlash: In a weird way, Affleck will probably use all the anger directed his way as motivation to knock it out of the park.

People keep mentioning Daredevil as proof that Affleck can’t hack it as Batman, but a.) it’s not nearly as bad as people make it out to be and b.) Zack Synder is not Mark Steven Johnson.

In truth, I think the thing that hurts Ben Affleck the most is his political activism. How many people will look at him and think, “This Batman told me John Kerry should have been president in a post 9/11 world and that John Edwards was a trustworthy guy,” — or some other reaction based on his political talk show appearances?

Ben Affleck John Kerry

How can moviegoers see Affleck as a blank slate going into the theater when they’ve had to put up with his activism for years?

John Kerry Space

In this past presidential election Mr. Affleck was more muted, saying his feelings for the president were “complicated.” (i.e., I got duped in 2008 and don’t want to admit it.) However, from now until July 17, 2015, how many times will he lecture the American people on climate change, taxes, immigration or a whole host of public policy issues? Even his wife believes he’ll be running for office in the not-too-distant future. If I were a betting man, I’d say that Mr. Affleck will continue saying and doing things in public that will make it harder for roughly half the nation to lose themselves in his version of “Batman” on opening night. In that sense, Warner Bros. made an unwise decision.

In short, if Ben Affleck can keep a low profile from now until July 17, 2015, it will actually work to his advantage. People want to see whether he sinks or swims and the right teasers will heighten that interest even more. If Ben Affleck can keep from alienating people with political rhetoric, there’s a good chance that Synder will come through in the clutch. The key is for fans to do the right thing and try to walk into the theater with an open mind.


Captain America: Grenade Sacrifice Scene a Good Sign

It's incredibly honorable to sacrifce oneself for the protection of others. We all have to go, and it's a good way to choose if you have the option. The fact that Marvel's Captain America depicts such a scene is a positive sign for moviegoers.

The new Captain America trailer is out. Regardless of what the film ultimately entails, someone should be given kudos for the selfless service scene involving a “scrawny” Steve Rogers attempting to sacrifice himself for what turns out to be a dummy grenade. It’s refreshing to see The Seven Army  Values (acronym LDRSHIP) on display: Loyalty. Duty. Respect. Selfless Service. Honor. Integrity. Personal Courage. Those values are sorely missing amongst our civilian population, and apparently more so with liberals who play heroes on the silver screen (like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) before engaging in very real high stakes illegal poker games with hookers and cocaine the next room over. Wait. You’re saying it wasn’t their hookers and cocaine? I’m sorry, I forgot that modern “high functioning men” are allowed to hang in circles of power players flaunting the rule of law while sniffing powdery white substances to take the edge off…It’s tough being Matt Damon and Ben Affleck! But I digress.

The point is, past indicators made me think Captain America was made to appeal to Euro-weenies and guilt-ridden liberals here at home, but there may be hope yet. Yes, I’m still upset that Marvel is so shameless they’d only promote the movie as “The First Avenger” in Russia and South Korea…but if the content of the film draws upon the principles that make this country exceptional it can still be salvaged.

The good thing about World War II (if you can find a silver lining) is that it’s one of the few times in human history that the contrast between good and evil was on such stark display that our moral relativist friends (Oliver Stone aside) tend to shut up. The problems will come with the Captain America franchise that follows. Bring Steve Rogers into a world where Time magazine has the gall to ask whether or not the Constitution still matters…and things will fall apart. Sure, there are great men out there like David Azerrad (a Canadian, no less!) who know a thing or two about the Constitution, but don’t count on liberal scribes to pen memorable adventures of Cap in Iraq or Afghanistan.

I suppose we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. As for now, count me in for Captain America on opening night.

Green Zone’s Matt Damon: Liberal Legend (of Bagger Vance?) in his own Mind.

I used to like Matt Damon. That was before Bush bashing anti-war movies became the logical progression from his pseudo-intellectual Sarah Palin psychobabble.

Instead of taking a step back and reflecting on why, exactly, Trey Parker and Matt Stone portrayed him as a simpleton Kim Jong Il apologist in Team America: World Police, Matt dove headfirst into the liberal Hollywood apparatchik. But what Scotty doesn’t know is that half of America doesn’t take kindly to knee jerk national self-flagellation from self-righteous know-it-alls who play a movie with “Legend” in the title before becoming one…in their own mind.

If Matt Damon was smart he’d play Marcus Luttrell in the movie version of Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10. But he’s not. That’s because he hangs around with his liberal buddy who’s so uber beta-male he convincingly fell in love with a lesbian and made a lucrative career out of being one hell of a wincer.

Instead of watching Green Zone, just watch the trailer for Young Americans about ten times. And then, watch another Paul Greengrass film you might remember: United 93. Or, just relive that day in your mind. You know, the one talking heads on cable television said they’d “never forget” right before they did.

And no, I can’t resist: How do you like them apples, Matt?

Kevin Smith: Threat to National Security

I really didn’t want to do it. I really didn’t want to do a “fat director kicked off plane” blog post, but the more I thought about it the more necessary it became.

Kevin Smith, while not as outspoken in his liberalism as his friends Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, is still liberal. In fact, he’s wanted to do a horror move called Red State for some time now. Nothing says box office success like blatantly using half the country as an inspiration for a horror flick. I’m meandering, but has anyone watched the trailer for Cop Out? Have you seen Smith’s name anywhere near it? Didn’t think so…

Anyway, back to the subject at hand: Smith’s weight. One would think that the liberal Smith would have listened to Michelle Obama, who linked the country’s obesity problem with national security.

Or what about New York, the “Blue State” that is now working on creating a new elite Salt Police unit. Oh, I forgot, Smith is from New Jersey. Their liberalism is of the kind that creates rules against pumping your own gas.

I suppose I answered my question yesterday when I linked to Bill Maher and his rant based on the premise that military men and women are idiots (Those “Red State” recruits that sign up in droves). Smith isn’t a threat to national security because he wouldn’t be signing up for a stint in the Army even if he was at fighting weight. He’s too busy writing comics that sometimes, maybe, sorta…make it to your local comic shop.

But seriously, Kevin, I wish you the best of luck. Eat to your heart’s content. And get back to another incarnation of Clerks because…that’s what you’re good at. And the Soul Asylum song on the soundtrack? Classic.