Batman is an iconic character, a superhero whose global recognition is only paralleled by Superman’s. Recent DC movies have struggled to do justice to the Man of Steel, with overwrought storylines and unconvincing scripts making the character difficult to love. With the upcoming Justice League movie, fans of Batman will be hoping that DC has learned from its mistakes in establishing a new Superman character by making Batman the hero that both Gotham and movie fans need and deserve.
Ben Affleck certainly laid the foundations for a strong Batman presence in DC’s Extended Universe with his display in Batman v Superman. Admittedly, Affleck was assisted by an unsympathetic and almost villainous portrayal of Superman by Henry Cavill, but nonetheless Bruce Wayne’s scruples and style resonated with many viewers. The depiction of Batman in Justice League is going to a defining moment for the future of DC movies and their Extended Universe. If the character is misjudged then the standalone Batman movie will have to focus on correct the mistakes from Batman’s ensemble films rather than purely focusing on getting into a new story with Gotham’s protector. The spectre of Christian Bale looms heavily over Affleck, or rather the spectre that is the cinematic juggernaut of The Dark Knight.
Bale’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman was gravelly and restrained, but sufficiently nuanced to ensure that the audience always cared about his feelings and his fate. One could argue that in such a well-crafted movie that predominantly involves Batman fighting in the dark and shouting at people, Bale didn’t have much to go wrong with. Nevertheless, his performance hit all the right notes and is a tough act to follow. Affleck is someone who was derided earlier in his career, but he has shown his acting credentials in recent years. Movies such as Argo and Gone Girl showed his ability to take on serious roles in powerful movies, although fans will remember the furore that arose when DC announced his casting as Batman. Affleck’s previous superhero role in the universally panned Daredevil movie was troubling, but his work in Batman v Superman suggests that he has the ability to become a very successful Batman.
Justice League arrives at a pivotal time for a DC Extended Universe desperately seeking to match the Marvel Cinematic Universe in terms of quality and popularity. The character of Batman is enjoying another swell in popularity. Animated movie Batman and Harley Quinn is set to release physically later this month, while few could have anticipated that we’d ever get a whole movie featuring a LEGO Batman as its protagonist. Outside of cinema, Batman has a starring role in Injustice 2. The fighting video game looks set to become one of the world’s leading eSports and therefore a staple of eSports betting markets, for which punters should have a look at Master Mazuma, a dedicated eSports bookie that also features in-depth guides to tournaments, teams and games. There will always be a massive demand for high-quality Batman depictions in varying forms of media, but fans would love for nothing more than a strong Batman character that dominates the DC Extended Universe in the same way that Iron Man does to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
If Affleck’s portrayal in Justice League is poorly received, then a recasting that sets the character back is not out of the question. Yet after the recent success of Wonder Woman, it looks hopeful that DC has worked out a more suitable tone for their movies. It seems unlikely that Batman will go back to the colors and japery of Adam West’s 1960’s incarnation, but trailers suggest that Affleck is going to be more affable than Bale. Affleck has the capability to alternate between intensity and humanity, so perhaps Justice League will mark the start of a new legacy.