In 2022, a new chapter in the Batman world begins as Robert Pattinson officially takes over the caped crusader. Ben Affleck’s Batman/Bruce Wayne will bow out of the DC universe in the upcoming Flash movie set for November 4, 2022. Ben Affleck’s version of the iconic superhero was introduced in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Of course, we’ve got the tired Thomas and Martha’s death scene; however, a new element was introduced to the live-action lore of Batman as the caped crusader actually kills his victims in Zack Synder’s world. Unfortunately, Batman vs. Superman wasn’t met with high critical praise, neither was his next outing, Justice League. Originally, Ben Affleck was confirmed to write, direct, and star in a solo Batman film; however, personal issues prevented the Academy Award winner from continuing on with the project. Thankfully, Affleck managed to sort out his personal demons and will come back to dawn the Batman suit one more time. However, sadly, we never got to truly see his version of Batman in action.
This is neither the fault of Warner Brothers or Ben Affleck himself. We all go through tough times at some point in our lives so no one is at fault for the failure of Ben Affleck’s Batman never reaching its true potential. As previously stated, one of the most notable changes to Batman was that he turned into a murderous brute in Synder’s version. Prior to Affleck’s introduction, the caped crusader has never purposely killed in other live-action adaptations. There have been several reasons why Batman took the noble approach by not murdering his victims, with one of the core beliefs being that his actions are actually in honor of his parents. Thomas and Martha Wayne despised criminals, and Bruce Wayne believed it would be a disservice if he became what his parents absolutely hated. Zack Synder’s notable change in Batman’s defining traits was met with a ton of criticism, and the filmmaker himself didn’t exactly do the best job of explaining why Batman suddenly started doing the thing that’s he’s been against for so long:
“Someone says to me: ‘[Ben Affleck’s] Batman killed a guy,” Snyder said during a Q&A after a Watchmen screening event. “I’m like, ‘Fuck, really? Wake the fuck up. Once you’ve lost your virginity to this fucking movie and then you come and say to me something about, like ‘My superhero wouldn’t do that,’ I’m like, ‘Are you serious?’ I’m, like, down the fucking road on that. It’s a cool point of view to be like, “My heroes are still innocent. My heroes didn’t f***ng lie to America. My heroes didn’t embezzle money from their corporations. My heroes didn’t commit any atrocities.’ That’s cool. But you’re living in a fucking dream world.”
Personally speaking, I don’t care for Synder’s explanation for why he decided to flip the switch on one of Batman’s defining characteristics. I’m one of the few people who actually likes the idea that goes against Batman’s ideology. The narrative possibilities are endless when it comes to the DC hero’s decision to use violence to solve his problems. Synder’s a talented filmmaker, but his dismissive attitude over this huge change comes across as short-sighted, and that he doesn’t truly understand the Batman character overall. Does Synder need to adapt every since trait of Batman from the comics? No; however, it would’ve been great to explore why Batman suddenly abandoned his morals. This is an angle that’s never been showcased in the live-action or animation form of the caped crusader, so this personal story about how Batman lost his smile per see, could’ve really been a compelling narrative that makes him stand out from the other incarnations. It makes me wonder what Ben Affleck’s version of the character could’ve been. A villainous Batman has been explored plenty of times in the comics, with the most notable being in the Dark Nights: Metal series. Hell, you could argue that Batman was a villain in Batman vs. Superman, though that clearly wasn’t the intention that Synder was going for. The upcoming Batman film with Robert Pattinson looks fantastic and I do look forward to seeing Ben Affleck’s Batman one more time in The Flash. Maybe someday a filmmaker will dip into the dark side of the infamous caped crusader. However, there’s no denying that there’s a missed opportunity to truly get into the psyche of Ben Affleck’s Batman and it’s a shame that Synder missed the point on why Bruce Wayne wasn’t the type of man that kills.
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