Batman is my favorite comic book character, bar none. Before my life ate me, I collected his titles more regularly and avidly than any others (and still have boxes of bagged & backed Dark Knight stuff in my office closet). I’m a fan.
I tell you this so that when I say I don’t give a damn one way or another about Affleck being cast in the upcoming Batman/Superman attempt, you know I’m speaking as someone invested in the character. It’s a movie based on a comic book: by that standard alone, my expectations are dramatically lowered. Even with the recent run of Marvel pulling off decent adaptations, given the history of the medium, I consider that more a fluke than a standard. I’m still waiting for Marvel to step on it at some point and put out an amazingly epic turd of a movie post-Iron Man. Plus, this isn’t Marvel putting out the movie, it’s DC, and let’s face it–they haven’t got the strongest track record, even with this title. (George Clooney in “Batman & Robin”, anyone?)
But that’s all an aside. The main point is: it’s a movie. No matter how much you (or I) want it to be, it won’t be canon. (Which also begs the question, canon according to whom? Frank Miller? Allan Moore? Grant Morrison? Or even Bob Kane? There is no one canon when you have a 75 year old title with multiple writers). Movies based on comic books aren’t written for the die-hard comics fans, but for the movie-going public as a whole. The idea is to cater to the widest audience possible. The things that will cause a comic geek to writhe in their seats may very well have the other 90% of the audience cheering. Is that good? No, but neither is it bad. It’s about producing a blockbuster, which is at best an adaptation rather than a faithful recreation. Just as the title will change with the arrival of a new artist and writer, so will the movie franchise change with new writers/directors/actors.
We may want it otherwise, but the reality is the movie isn’t being made for the Batman fans–it’s being made for everyone else. The studios know that the fans will see it anyhow, if nothing else to gather ammunition to damn or praise it. We’re a lock, albeit a small one. The goal is to get the rest of the public to plop their plastic down on opening weekend. Mind, that doesn’t excuse a crap movie, but it doesn’t mean it will automatically be crap just because the lead actor doesn’t meet some people’s idea of what the Bat should be like. A ton of other factors enter into it as well. Affleck can act: the question is whether or not he will act well this time around, and if the movie that surrounds him will help or hurt that effort.
But it’s not about us geeks, that’s for damn sure.