Throughout this ever growing and ever changing super hero centered cinematic world we live in; one character has fallen by the way side. Since 2012, we haven't had the opportunity to see a proper treatment of everyone's favorite caped crusader; Batman. Yes, I know we got plenty of him in Zack Snyder's train wreck "Batman V. Superman: What the fuck were we thinking?", but there were aspects of Batman that we were missing in that film. For instance, a moral compass, that special thing that separates Batman from the criminals, or his impressive detective skills and strong rhetoric.... alright never mind. However you may feel about BVS, there is no denying that Batman's character (not Batman) took a huge backseat when it came to just having him be a bitter, old and tired Dark Knight.
Alas, there is hope on the horizon! The man behind the cowl, was very good. Personally, I believe Ben Affleck was the best part of the film and even though he wasn't given much to work with, he did the best with what he had. In this instance, the cream rose to the top and the world cried for a stand alone Ben Affleck Batman film. And what exactly did we get? Well... what seems to be like development hell right now. Warner Bros. has this amazing ability to really fuck up their own movies for the sake of making a quick buck. I know some will disagree with me, but compared to Marvel, I don't think Warner Bros. and DC have much going for them when it comes to telling a good superhero tale. Anyway, back to the point.
Mr. Affleck, has an outstanding resume. That's not to say that he hasn't had his fair share of flops, I mean for Christ sake, his last three movies on Rotten Tomatoes aren't even certified fresh. However, when it comes to writing, directing and starring in his own works, the man seems to have found his stride. Yes, I know "Live by Night" is currently sitting at a 37% on RT. Now, at this point in time, I haven't seen the film yet so I can't comment on it. I have seen The Town, Argo and Gone Baby Gone, and I got to hand it to the guy, he knows his stuff. To begin, let's take a look at Gone Baby Gone.
Gone Baby Gone was the film that put Affleck back on the map, at least as a director anyway. The film really paints a great picture of shitty, crime - ridden, inner cities. Yes, I'm aware to some people, that is their home, which only pushes my point further. What exactly is Gotham City supposed to be other then a shitty, crime - ridden, inner city? Batman is fighting for the safety and sanctity of people's home. Who better to depict Gotham city then the man that gave us inner city Boston? Gone Baby Gone has these elements down, combined with a compelling mystery. Where did the little girl go? Who took her? etc. The ground work is all there for Affleck to use this as a template for his Batman film. For once, I'd like to see the world's greatest detective actually fucking detect something in a film. No, detection doesn't mean cutting a piece of the wall out and shooting other bits of wall or whatever the fuck else they did in The Dark Knight. That movie is amazing, but that part is just plain dumb.
Gone Baby Gone also presents us with a moral choices. The definition of right and wrong and which side you choose to fall on. This would be a very powerful theme to have in a Batman film. Does our hero save the bus full of burning children or stop Death Stroke from collecting on his next assignment? Does he follow his path of darkness like in BVS and continue to kill, or does he make great strides to find his footing on the path that he clearly had fallen off of before the events of BVS? Either way, the inner turmoil these kinds of decisions take on our hero should shine through and be a personal arc for our character.
Next is The Town. The Town is probably Affleck's most action oriented entry on my list, that isn't to say it's an action movie, it's just got more action then Gone Baby Gone and Argo. The town has action sequences that are super grounded in realism. I know Mr. Affleck wasn't going for anything over the top and extraordinary with these sequences, however that doesn't mean he has to do that for Batman. Keep us close and in the fight, but far away enough for us to see what the fuck is going on. Plenty of directors don't know how to film action well. They get in close, shake the camera around a bit and all we're left with is a big fucking mess. The Town demonstrates that Affleck has an eye for visceral action, but not making it chaotic. For all the things BVS got wrong, the warehouse sequence is probably the best Batman action that's ever been put to film... except for that whole part where he puts some guy's brains all over the wall. But I think that as long as Mr. Affleck keeps it in the pocket, but pulls it back enough for us to get a sense of scale, while not compromising any signature Batman moves, we should be more then fine when 2018 roles around.
Finally, Argo, the real diamond in the rough. First of all let me say, when I saw Argo in the theater, I didn't think too much of it. Sure, it was great, but I just wasn't absorbed into it as much as I thought I would be. However, upon a second viewing I found out I couldn't be anymore wrong. Argo has this amazing ability to build tension. Tension builds because you're emotionally invested in something and an opposing force has the ability to make it all come crumbling down. But where was all this tension coming from? Was in the story? No, it was good but I don't think it was anything particularly amazing, even if it is based on true events. Maybe it was the stellar directing? It was outstanding, but that wasn't what made me care about the film. I'll let you in on a little secret, it was the characters. Argo had three dimensional, well written and realistic characters that made me care about what happened to them. That's why tension was built when they got stuck in the car in the market place, that's why I felt anxious as they were exiting the country and why I felt a huge wave of euphoria when they had made it out safely. The tension that I felt was thanks to the fact that the characters I cared about could be locked up or killed. That being said, if Mr. Affleck brings these elements into his Batman film, then we'd have a winning combination. How could I possibly care what happens in Gotham City if I don't care about the characters running around it? If Jim Gordon dies, but he has a shitty character and didn't offer anything compelling to relate to, why should I care?
These are the kinds of elements that we need in a Batman film in 2018. We need thought provoking ideas that resonate with us as audience members, a good mystery based story, visceral yet focused action and most importantly; BELIEVABLE, COMPELLING CHARACTERS. These aspects are what I; a devout Batman fan; are going to be looking for come June of 2018. If Ben Affleck can make this movie just as well as he has made his others, I don't see why there should be any problems in the first place... besides Warner Bros. and DC pushing him for a release date, script issues, editing problems, etc. All the things that Warner Bros. is known for doing to their super hero flicks. Just let Chuckie handle this and I promise we'll have ourselves a Batman movie that we will never forget.