(CNN) — The last time Ben Affleck played a superhero, the world cried.
The year was 2003, and the movie was “Daredevil” — a Hollywood fail that even Affleck has insinuated he’d rather forget.
So is it any wonder that within hours of Warner Bros. announcing the actor was going to play Batman in the upcoming “Man of Steel” sequel, Twitter immediately tried to recast the part using the hashtag #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck. (Suggestions have included “the drunken hobo who lives under the overpass,” the dog from “Air Bud” and “Manti Te’o’s girlfriend.”)
But in the eyes of some critics, the 41-year-old Oscar winner may not be such a bad choice.
Let’s not forget that Affleck has turned a career corner since his “annus horribilis” — the year that sparked “Daredevil” and that other movie that had film fans writing him off, “Gigli.”
He recovered from that valley slowly but surely, and went on to direct and star in standouts like 2010’s “The Town” and 2012’s “Argo,” the latter of which won an Oscar for best picture.
Knowing that, Yahoo! Movies thinks “we owe Ben the benefit of the doubt” given that “the guy has made quite the comeback lately.”
And there’s also the possibility that he’s learned from his mistakes with “Daredevil” — the faults of which, notes CraveOnline, don’t rest completely on Affleck’s shoulders.
Now that he’s an older, more seasoned actor who’s shown himself to be a wizard in the director’s chair, maybe “Man of Steel 2” director Zack Snyder’s assessment isn’t so far off:
“Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry (Cavill)’s Superman,” Snyder said in a statement. “He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne.”
If anything, says The Wall Street Journal, Affleck is “too perfect for the role.”
“He has it all,” says WSJ’s Michael Calia.”The shoulder-heavy jock’s physique, the chiseled facial features set to brood, the experience playing a tough but haunted leading character. It’s yet another example of competent and professional, if uninspired, Batman casting. … (It’s) better than Hollywood forcing another nondescript young hunk on us.”
Film School Rejects disagrees with those who call the decision ho-hum, arguing that “Affleck as Batman in ‘Man of Steel 2’ is actually some pretty exciting casting news. … (A)fter more than a year of rumors and speculation that he would be directing their Justice League ensemble (movie) and/or possibly playing the Caped Crusader in it, this seems to be an equally interesting announcement.”
From the perspective of the studio, Warner Bros. (which shares a parent company with CNN), Affleck’s casting is “a major win,” The Wrap says. The move not only shows that the now-back-on-top star “still has faith in the studio,” but it also paves the way “for several potential superhero collaborations.”
That idea is probably making several Bruce Wayne fans cringe as they hurry to sign a petition begging Warner Bros. to drop Affleck from the role.
But maybe, just maybe, Affleck won’t be as horrible as everyone is anticipating. After all, he’s proven us wrong before.