Ben Affleck in 'Batman' movie: An echo of past Caped Crusader films?

Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara recently stated that a movie about Batman starring Ben Affleck was moving forward. Previous reports have stated that Affleck will direct the film as well.

Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Entertainment/AP
Ben Affleck (l.) appears as Batman (with Henry Cavill, r.) in the movie 'Batman v Superman.'

A new “Batman” film that will star Ben Affleck is officially moving forward. 

At the ongoing 2016 CinemaCon event, in which movie studios present upcoming films to theater owners, one of the studios that has been presenting projects is Warner Bros. of “Batman v Superman.” And now Kevin Tsujihara, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros., has said during the event that a film starring Mr. Affleck as Batman will move forward. 

"I'm also excited to know that we will be working with Ben Affleck on a stand-alone Batman movie," Mr. Tsujihara said.

It had been previously reported that a “Batman” movie that would be directed by Affleck was in the works. 

Affleck has directed, among other films, the Oscar-winning 2012 movie “Argo.”

While last month’s “Batman v Superman” was critically panned, some reviewers singled out Affleck’s performance as one of the better aspects of the movie. “’Batman v Superman’ … actually features some terrific performances,” Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post wrote. “Affleck has the square jaw and resolute demeanor to convincingly channel Bruce." Meanwhile, Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the character of Batman is “convincingly played by a committed Affleck.” 

If it is in fact made, a solo “Batman” film directed by and starring Affleck would be the first to feature only Batman since “The Dark Knight Rises,” the 2012 conclusion to director Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed trilogy starring Christian Bale.

How would Affleck’s “Batman” film fit in among the modern “Batman” movies, which most view as having kicked off with the 1989 “Batman” film directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson? 

The Nolan films are often remembered for their disturbing themes and gritty realism. Monitor film critic Peter Rainer wrote of the middle – and most acclaimed – entry, 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” “Even by the pitch-black standards of its genre, Chris Nolan's ‘The Dark Knight’ is dark indeed … this comic-book movie is more disturbing, and has more freakish power, than anything else I've seen all year.” 

The recent film “Batman v Superman” continued this theme – to a fault, according to some reviewers, who complained of its unremitting darkness. “At a punishing two and a half hours, it’s all very turgid and unsmilingly sober,” Ms. Hornaday wrote of the film. 

But Affleck’s directorial work has often been critically acclaimed, with his movie “The Town” nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in addition to the success of “Argo.” Perhaps his take on Batman will present dark themes in a way that is more pleasing to critics.

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