Batfleck (Ben Affleck) is back!
When Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered in front of him as a young boy, it was a moment that shaped the rest of his life. Whatever plans, whatever goals, whatever dreams he had as a child were erased at the sound of those two gunshots. Bruce Wayne was, some may say, always destined to be Batman. But it was the tragedy of that night, of that moment, that led to him becoming The Dark Knight. Batman faced many tragedies during his war on crime and, with each tragedy, he grew stronger. That is the entire point of Batman: to find strength in tragedy.
For quite some time, one of the biggest tragedies regarding Batman was Ben Affleck’s departure from the role. After the (relative) disappointments of both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, Ben Affleck decided to walk away from the role of Batman.
It was a role he was, at first, ecstatic to play. Affleck had always been a fan of The Dark Knight, and actually getting to suit up was a dream come true. But through a series of creative differences, disappointing box offices and his own personal difficulties, Affleck stepped down from the role of Batman and any future plans for his on-screen presence or behind-the-scenes direction were put to rest. DC and Warner Bros. moved on to a new Batman film starring Robert Pattinson and it seemed, for quite some time, that Affleck’s Batman was done.
That all changed last week when an article in Vanity Fair confirmed that Affleck would, indeed, be returning to the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Andy Muschietti’s film, The Flash. Affleck was, of course, the Batman who initiated Ezra Miller’s Flash into the Justice League, but fans have sort of resigned themselves to the fact that they would not get to see the two on screen again. This was further cemented when it was announced that Michael Keaton was set to reprise his role of Batman from Tim Burton’s 1989 film and its 1992 follow up, Batman Returns.
Rumors suggested that Keaton was set to move into the older/wiser mentor role of Bruce Wayne, and that he would more or less be “the godfather” of the DCEU. While that may still be the case, Ben Affleck will indeed be coming back one more time (at least) to don the cape and the cowl and to give his Batman the sendoff that he actually deserves.
“He’s a very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie,” director Muschietti said of Affleck’s character. “The interaction and relationship between Barry and Affleck’s Wayne will bring an emotional level that we haven’t seen before,” the director added. “It’s Barry’s movie, it’s Barry’s story, but their characters are more related than we think. They both lost their mothers to murder, and that’s one of the emotional vessels of the movie. That’s where the Affleck Batman kicks in.”
It’s been well documented the personal toll Affleck took during his time under the cape and cowl. He went through a divorce with Jennifer Garner and had to fight a real-life battle against alcohol. “I showed somebody The Batman script,” Affleck told the New York Times. “They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.’”
Affleck, himself, had to battle his own demons, his own tragedies. Perhaps, in doing so, he was able to relate even more to the character of Bruce Wayne and/or Batman. “Why do we fall?” Batman once asked. “So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” That’s exactly what Affleck did in his own life and, now, he will get the chance to go out on his terms. And he’ll be doing so alongside the OG Batman, Michael Keaton.
Oh yeah, The Flash is in the movie too. Cause it’s called The Flash. And it is actually the titular character who will be ushering in the massive multi-verse for DC on film. Much like the comic series Flashpoint, this film will see Barry Allen traveling throughout the multi-verse trying to save both his mother and the entire universe(s) themselves. By breaking the dimensions, The Flash will come across various heroes and villains from different parallel universes. This is how Ben Affleck’s Batman and Michael Keaton’s Batman can both be featured.
And yes, this is a Flash movie. But, for us, and probably for Affleck himself, this is an opportunity to gracefully hang up the cape and cowl or, more accurately, to pass it on to somebody else. The fact that he will, probably, be passing the cape and cowl to Michael Keaton has to be an honor for him. Affleck has earned a graceful exit, but it’s nice to know that he will not be going quietly into that good “knight.”
Cover Photo: Warner Bros.
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