Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

‘Batfleck’ – My Thoughts

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Director of the forthcoming colossal “Batman v Superman” Zach Snyder has recently tweeted out the first glimpse of what Ben Affleck’s Batman will look like. This is very exciting for most fans that are frustratingly anticipating every minuscule sample of what is to come in 2016.

So, what are my thoughts on the newly released image of the revitalised caped crusader?

Well, firstly, I must admit that Batman is not my favourite character in comic and cinematic history like he is for some, in fact, the whole superhero obsession of the past 15 years is a tad ridiculous to me. Nevertheless, I will give credit where credit is due and say that over the past decade, the superhero trend has produced some absolutely (pardon the pun) “Marvel-ous” films. (Yes, Batman isn’t a Marvel character but we’ll move past that.)

The picture of Batman immediately screams two things; they are ‘radical departure’ and ‘same old same old’.

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What is obvious about the radically departure is the ears. Batman’s ears give the impression that he’s a prepubescent youngling that is beginning to develop and grow into himself. These stubs of ears are at first a little strange and off putting, however I believe these have been deliberately chosen to both fit in with the new-style Dark Knight figure and the sort of character he is  and also to pay homage to Frank Miller’s Batman of the 1980’s. By the looks of it (I haven’t seen it myself) Miller’s Batman is a grittier, bulkier and possibly older hero that almost seems darker than Nolan’s interpretation.

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This would not be the first time that in a Snyder hero film he pays tribute to the past. For example, last year in “Man Of Steel” we see the modernised Clark Kent, played by Henry Cavill momentarily transform into the late Christopher Reeve. A subtle but brilliant reference and a respectful nuance that is pleasing for many reasons. Primarily it shows that the director cares about the subject matter and understands the significance of the character and story, furthermore, it shows that time and effort have been put before the thought of inevitable and unfathomable box office success.

Now, when this image screams ‘same old same old’, it doesn’t mean that the Snyder Batman is an exact replica of Nolan’s, in fact I think it looks completely different as I have previously mentioned. What I mean by ‘same old same old’ is that the gloominess, the eeriness, the gothic atmosphere and the darkness of it all makes me feel as if we’re going to get a similar style Batman as Christian Bale’s character.

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Given that “Man of Steel” was more or less a Nolan-inspired epic (as he was the producer), I would expect to see some heavy Nolan influence in this updated version too, even if they don’t look the same. Is that a bad thing? Well, no, not really. I think the world has accepted that through the incredible success of the “Dark Knight” trilogy, that this is the way that superhero films are going from now on.

The dark and sombre style of the contemporary superhero film is now common place and it appears that this is what the audiences want, just look at the figures these films have collectively produced (again, see “The Avengers is NOT the 27th best film ever made”).

Sure, this greatly anticipated insight into what Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne will look like is both hugely exciting and pleasing, but personally, I can’t wait until the world gets an insight to what Jesse Eisnenberg’s Lex Luthor will be like. This is a very risky casting choice in my opinion, but just like the rest of the film, we’ll just have to wait and see what Snyder and of course Eisenberg do with the character. It would be a shame if he turned it into Lex Zuckerberg (something that I can unfortunately foresee to an extent..)

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Also, the marvellous Jeremy Irons as Alfred will be a worthwhile and excellent casting choice. There is absolutely no doubt that Irons, given the screen presence, could potentially steal the show altogether.

This sizeable portion into the ‘Batfleck’ that will grace our screens in the not too distant future has opened up many theories and ideas regarding exactly what character he will be. Many predict that he will take the antagonist role (I believe that is more or less confirmed) which has lead to even more predictions regarding the potential ‘Bad Bat’. Will he have the husky chain-smoking voice?  Will this lead to a ‘Batfleck’ franchise of its own? What is the Bat-mobile like? How on earth can he even pose a threat to Superman?!

Let’s hope these questions are answered sooner rather than later. I hate to say it, I don’t usually succumb to the hysteria surrounding upcoming superhero epics, however all this hype and expectation has made me quite excited to see what comes next!

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