Yesterday, all forms of the internet went into a frenzy when Warner Brothers announced its choice for the Dark Knight in the sequel to Man of Steel. Just one summer after Christian Bale finished the Christopher Nolan trilogy in The Dark Knight Rises, we have a new Batman. An actor we are all familiar with, like, and respect: Ben Affleck. This man already had his chance with a superhero role named Daredevil, which we can forgive him for because he subsequently gave us films like The Town and Argo. There were many memes, hashtags such as #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck, and Facebook outrages all abounding over this choice. But if we are going to gripe about the selection, we should have some concrete alternatives lined up. Here are five choices, in no particular order, that would have not set folks crying bloody murder over our favorite Caped Crusader. Because remember, this Batman has to not only be convincing in the Man of Steel sequel, but also in the upcoming Justice League film.
1. Jon Hamm
Yes, Don Draper should be Batman. Although Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy had an awesome story arc, that persona of Batman/Bruce Wayne would not fit into the Justice League direction that the franchise is headed. In Nolan’s world, Batman was a damaged and tortured soul just looking for some peace. In the end, he eventually finds it. This version has no time for soul-searching, especially when he is the only one capable of understanding how to take down Superman if Supes ever goes rogue. Batman is the parent of the Justice League. He is always seen barking out orders, offering a healthy dose of cynicism, and knows how to get the job done without all of the superpowers that his teammates possess. Hamm would bring a no-nonsense attitude to the role and audiences already know him as the alpha male on Mad Men. Now that’s a lucky strike.
2. Matthew Goode
If you have seen Watchmen, you are already familiar with the calm and collected presence that Goode could bring to the role. His scenes in business mode as Adrien Veidt were marvelous and you could easily change his name to Bruce Wayne and the dialogue would have flowed seamlessly. He would certainly have to bulk up to look compelling in the costume, but all these Hollywood types do that before taking on such a role. Since he already excelled in a comic book movie role and killed it, why not give him another chance?
(Bonus shot: Snyder, director of the Man of Steel sequel, has already directed Goode in Watchmen)
3. Josh Brolin
Brolin’s versatility is the reason why he works well here. We have seen him play a crooked cop in American Gangster, a Wall Street tycoon in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, a believable George W. Bush in W, a lucky yet naïve Southerner in No Country For Old Men, and the leader of a strike unit in Gangster Squad. Something about this guy in a properly tailored suit just screams Bruce Wayne. And let us not forget his rather cheeky performance in True Grit. Brolin’s rugged charm and fiery eyes were made to protect DC’s Gotham and Earth.
4. Gerard Butler
You have seen this actor take control of his Spartan army in 300, bring a city’s criminal justice system to its knees in Law-Abiding Citizen, and swoon all types of females in P.S. I Love You. Butler has a brooding presence that would be perfect to clash with Cavill’s rendition of Superman. We are not sure what sort of Gotham and Metropolis (underrated factor in upcoming film) we are going to get with this film but I am certain that Butler could handle any version thrown at him.
5. Javier Bardem
This one is my wild card. After watching Bardem absolutely dazzle us with his roles in No Country For Old Men and Skyfall, I am practically salivating over the creation of a scene where Bardem as Batman tortures Supes with Kryptonite in his hands. He is certainly suave enough to handle the Bruce Wayne side of the duties, something that was largely missing from Nolan’s Dark Knight films. Batman is sort of a maniac when he deals with Superman and since we have already seen Bardem play this sort of role twice and do so well, it's time to give him a shot with the Batcave. If you have read Superman: Red Son, which you should, the Batman here has exactly the type of fire Bardem would bring to the role.
Considering these five options, Affleck just does not measure up. He is a great talent, but his success in Hollywood is much better behind the camera as opposed to in front of it. Seriously, this guy’s next films after Daredevil were Gigli and Paycheck. I would be perfectly OK with Affleck directing this film instead of starring in it, as he has already directed Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo.
Warner Brothers, consider this my application. I’m happy to take over casting immediately — for this film and Justice League.