Not many people realize (I think) what goes in to making a movie. With producers, directors, actors, auditions, money, location and all the other technical aspects I don’t want to list (the reason so few people sit through the credits) there is now a huge market and it has become more of a business and less of an art form. But that isn’t what I was asked to share with you in this entry.
I was asked for an attack, or defense, of the current castings of Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne/Batman. If you know me you know that I don’t really assume or preconceive or move outside of neutral arguments very easily. If you don’t know me you’ll have to take my word for it (I don’t care either way). But know that I am trying really hard to keep opinions of influence and such out of this – trust me it’s difficult to do with my background.
With that bit of context: I am the White Rabbit to your Alice for the next few minutes and you had better believe I’m late.
…Try to keep up.
The bottom line is that this is one person’s portrayal of these characters and their stories. What influences there are, what kind of background he has, what foundation his life is built on and on… all of which are irrelevant. Relevance and significance should only come from the final result that is presented to us. Obviously that is not all true because of cuts and deleted scenes and intent and a lot of other things but for today, for right now, importance is founded only in the final result.
Basically I will not reach any conclusions about the most recent superhero castings because I can not. The audience is sometimes wrong and the audience is sometimes right. Jesse Eisenberg could be the greatest Lex Luthor or the worst or somewhere in between. The same can be said about Ben Affleck playing Batman. Honestly I don’t really care which outcome is realized. I know I’ll like some things and dislike other things: I always do. But that is me and who I am and all kinds of research and what not that I have done. Stay true to your opinions. Share them with others. But, also, grant some trust to the actors, directors, and other credited persons.
I feel like the Eisenberg/Luthor mix isn’t as big of an issue because he (the actor) has not had as active (in terms of length and notoriety) as Ben Affleck. Therefore I will gloss over the former because I believe it will be greeted with a little less disgust. As far as I’ve heard there doesn’t seem to be any unanimous vote for or against Affleck (but it isn’t pretty). I hear people bring up his role as Daredevil; others talk about his recent success with films like Argo. People also bring up Christian Bale’s/Christopher Nolan’s Batman. There are all kinds of arguments for this portrayal and others.
…here’s my side.
Batman isn’t one person or just one image. The number of accounts and different portrayals in movies, TV, comics – just like most comic book characters – is ridiculous. But that’s how it is with time and progression and moreso with a popular character. The idea here is centered around story-telling: where the speaker/author/director is telling the story like he/she knows it. In a setting like this the story-teller inherits the characters which then allows for a (hopefully) unique story.
There’s a lot less pressure on Eisenberg’s performance because Lex Luthor doesn’t really hold the spotlight but the actor could bring the character to the center of the stage. Ben Affleck however has to deal with everyone that came before him (West, Bale…) because those are the guidelines people are using to compare and evaluate him with.
Look at Affleck (as best you can): his silly pompadour in Good Will Hunting, his unnecessary involvement in Gigli, his not-too-appealing facial hair in Glory Daze. Forget about everything he has done in the past and forgive him for it. Basically don’t involve him (the actor) in all your problems and all your judgement. Actors are paid to be someone different so that you, the audience, believe they aren’t the person listed in the credits. More and more there are type-casts and celebrities who draw audiences based solely on their name.
By the time this movie comes out and after every one has seen it some people will accept Affleck’s venture as Bruce Wayne/Batman and others will write it off as fluke and try to wipe it from their memories. It probably won’t be an even split down the middle and but who’s to say? As an audience we have to give Mr. Eisenberg and Mr. Affleck (along with director, Zack Snyder) at least the benefit of the doubt. Because they now have these roles to fulfill we can make all kinds of inferences but none of which will be proven either way until they become part of history. For now they are all in the future.
There are a lot of ways this current cast can and might work and there are a lot of ways they might not. Either way we’re just going to end up with the same result and not everyone will be happy. Nevertheless I say to the current team working on and around Batman (and the others):