The New Ben Affleck Batman Movie Can Do Better
The folks over at Batman on Film have reported on the possible plot for the upcoming Ben Affleck Batman movie. Now, they say that this information is the “take with a grain of salt” variety, though they also say that it’s coming from a couple of good sources. So, what bat plot is being cooked up by Ban Affleck and Geoff Johns? Well, apparently it’s an adaptation of the Arkham Asylum video game and / or Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. Ben Affleck did say previously that it would be an original story, but that he and Johns would be borrowing from various great Batman comic book stories.
OK, if the rumor is true, that’s kind of weak. Granted, with the right team, most premises can be made to work, but here are 5 reasons why we’re hoping this isn’t the direction the new Ben Affleck Batman movie is headed.
1 – Moving Farther Away From Batman as a Detective
One of the most interesting, and increasingly ignored aspects of Batman (at least in film form), is his intellect and capabilities as an investigator. These days, Batman’s not a detective, so much as an invulnerable fighter with gadgets for just about every situation that do all the work for him. Even in the Arkham Asylum game, you have “detective mode,” where you can just flip on a super-vision mode, scan the area, and get fed clues. Where’s the fun in that? This is a prime opportunity to explore a more interesting side of Batman, and it feels like they’d be ignoring that to instead stack on “dark, gritty realism” and keep focusing on Batman flipping around like a rubber-suited ninja beating up everyone in sight.
2 – Wasting Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns
Ben Affleck has shown himself to have some strong talent in filmmaking, both in his recent writing and directing. And Geoff Johns is steeped in Batman and comic lore, so why waste the pair of them on this? Use them to explore a new story. Use elements from other stories, fine, but come up with something original and different. These are talented guys, and this is a great opportunity to really stretch creatively.
3 – What Works in One Format Doesn’t Always Work In Another
The Arkham Asylum video game is a ton of fun, and the graphic novel is one of the cornerstone Batman stories, occasionally even referred to as the best Batman graphic novel ever. However, there’s a decent chance that won’t translate to film, especially if they try to stick too closely to those other stories. Film is a different format, so why limit yourself by pursuing a story loaded with constraints from another format? Use the chance to come up with something uniquely film, that does something that the other formats can’t.
4 – Mining the Same Vein
This seems like an opportunity for them to continue down the dark, grim, gritty vein they’ve been mining with Batman for a long time now. Even the literal color has started to drain from the character. Now, Batman’s not meant to be a comedy (though the 60’s gave it their best shot at changing that, and we got some uncomfortable echoes in Batman Forever and Batman and Robin), and it comes loaded with a fair share of tragedy, but how about a movie that explores something, anything other that more relentless grimness? I feel like the Batman Animated Series struck a fairly consistent balance between interesting, surprisingly dark, and varied.
5 – Villain Exhaustion
This also could potentially introduce, or re-introduce too many Batman baddies at once, which has brought down other movies. Spider-Man 3 is a prime example of too many villains in the mix.
A Couple Reasons This Could Be A Decent Idea
Now, I could just be griping for no reason. (I’ve been told I must have worked in a vineyard in a past life.) Maybe Affleck and Johns have the right idea and a way to suitably adapt the story for film. And, there are a couple of upsides. This would hopefully limit the use of Bat Vehicles and gadgetry, something which I’ve been getting a little tired of. Also, a smaller scale, Arkham based story might mean we can avoid another city-shattering fight in which half the city is decimated, and we spend half the show watching whiz-bang CG that ultimately leads nowhere.
So, how does everyone else feel about the news? Good idea for the upcoming Ben Affleck Batman movie? Would you be interested is something different? Let us know!