One of the best parts of Zack Snyder’s DCEU was Ben Affleck ‘s Batman a.k.a BATFLECK. Affleck proved all detractors wrong when his Batman kicked ass. This was the brash, strong and merciless Batman we fans always wanted and thus, it was a treat watching him on screen. However, just like Zack Snyder’s movies, this portrayal has also polarized the fan base, with many disliking this character for not being comic accurate while others disagreeing. Now that Zack Snyder’s Justice League is just a couple of months away, let’s look at why Batfleck is truly the greatest on screen Batman in live action.
THE LOOK OF BEN AFFLECK
Michael Keaton’s Batman suit from the 1989 film was very comic accurate. However, the suit looked practically immovable with Batman not even being able to move his neck. On the other hand, Christian Bale’s suit from THE DARK KNIGHT films had fully functional body pieces and thus allowed maximum mobility. The problem though?? It sacrificed comic book accuracy for realism, something that Nolan had focused on more.
Then we have the BatFleck costume. A fully functioning and menacing suit that would scare any criminal in Gotham. Inspired by THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS comics, it had that smooth cape and cowl from the Keaton films that ran uniformly from the head till the shoulder, while maintaining the mobility of Bale’s suit. Affleck could move seamlessly in that suit.
Furthermore, the suit is made of Kevlar and other durable fabrics, which reflects the true body shape and size of the hero. This is unlike’s Keaton’s neoprene-rubber like material and Bale’s mostly armored costume. Ben Affleck beefed up a lot for this role and thus, this body hugging costume makes sure his hard work is visible. Batman is said to be in “peak human condition”, a condition in which he has attained peak fitness levels, muscle mass and mental ability. Batfleck’s look and physique perpetuates this more than his predecessors.
We can’t ignore the physique of Affleck when discussing about the look. Batman has vowed to rid Gotham City of crime; to be a symbol of fear for all criminals. Zack ensures Ben’s Batman justifies this characteristic and that he did. The beefed up and jaded personality makes Batfleck look like a no nonsense old gunslinger who owns the yard.
It will be incomplete to talk about the Batman as a whole without mentioning the warehouse scene from Batman v Superman. In the comics, Batman has mastered more than a 100 forms of martial arts and thus, is one of the most skilled fighters in the DC Multiverse. Keaton’s moves seems stiff while Bale’s don’t seem to do as much damage as blows from Batman should. In this scene itself, Batfleck blends a number of martial art forms like Jujitsu, Taek-won-dow, Judo, Krav Maga etc. He combines all these styles with good old-fashioned boxing and brawling and does not favor one over the other. An expert in martial arts always portrays his art seamlessly, which Ben Affleck’s Batman does best.
Fighting not just includes the very physical act but also a lot of related aspects as well BenAffleck’s Batman shows these qualities as well: –
- Batfleck knew the enemies expected him from the door or the roof . So, he decided to catch them off guard by blasting through the floor.
- When he was being overpowered by Superman, he distracted Superman using lead smoke (Superman can’t see through lead). This gave him enough time to unleash the kryptonite, weaken Superman and gain the upper hand.
- Batfleck spent time observing the footage from the Black Zero Event. In doing so, he studies the moves of Superman and created an apt fight plan.
- He knew Martha was in danger if he directly shoots the henchman with the flamethrower. Thus, he shoots his gas tank to ensure his death is certain with the gas and flames.
- During the underground fight, just 1 observation is enough for him to understand how the fight can be won. Thus, 1 suggestion by Affleck turns a losing fighter into a winner.
THE WORLD’S GREATEST DETECTIVE
Anyone who ever says these words, is referring to either Sherlock Holmes or Batman. Thus, it’s important that every iteration of Batman respects this characteristic. This also relates to the fact that Batman/Bruce Wayne is one of the most brilliant minds in the DC multiverse.
In BvS, he is able to put 2 and 2 together and link the Russian, the ship called White Portuguese and Lex Luthor. He’s even able to ascertain that Kryptonite degenerates Krptonian cells (an information only known by Lex and the government). For that, he had to know the entire routine of the Russian henchman, which led him to the underground fight. Affleck’s Bruce Wayne goes to Lex Luthor’s invitational in order to retrieve his drive. Said drive once again links to the White Portugese; the ship mentioned above containing the Kryptonite.
We also know that in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Batfleck’s detective skills will be visible more. According to leaks, he will investigate the mystery of the parademons. We also know that he is successfully able to locate the nest where Humans are transformed into Parademons.
THE EMOTION BROUGHT BY BEN AFFLECK
People often tend to forget this aspect of Batman. Behind all the toughness and vigilante business, Batman is human. Bruce is still that little kid who hasn’t gotten over his parents’ death. Seeing a cold blooded murder in front of his eyes and that too at a very young age, has negatively affected him.
None of the live action versions have shown this as effectively as Ben Affleck. The best representation would be the stone cold face Affleck maintains throughout. His eyes speak more than any of the other actors’ ever could. The multi-billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne is a mask that Batman puts on to be social. In Affleck’s case, we can see how a brooding and sad Bruce “fakes” it in social settings. Such is Bruce’s mental scar that he often as nightmares about the murder.
One of the most impactful scenes would be the much maligned Martha Scene. Just one word MARTHA by Superman triggers Batman’s mental trauma. Affleck kills it with his “Why did you say that name?” line, which reflects Bruce’s vulnerability. Even after that when Bruce realizes that he was going to kill a desperate kid and his mother indirectly, Affleck’s facial expressions of regret, disgust and sadness all manifest in the form of a great performance.
The troubled childhood of Bale’s Batman was not reflected as much, while Keaton never felt like a person who couldn’t get over a traumatic past. Batman rarely smiles in the comics; a quality shown more by Affleck than these both
As an actor, a hero, a vigilante and an overall character, Ben Affleck is leaps and bounds better than his live action predecessors. His Batman gets the basics of the character right. It gets the emotion, the personality and the overall tone of the character right.