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10 Harsh Realities Of Ben Affleck’s Batman Movies


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Summary

  • Ben Affleck’s Batman never got a solo movie, missing out on the opportunity for an iconic portrayal.
  • Batman’s appearances in the DCEU struggled to do justice to the character, with missed opportunities for interactions with villains.
  • The quality of Batman’s suits declined throughout his appearances, and other important characters like Jim Gordon were sidelined.

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The harshest reality of watching Ben Affleck’s Batman movies was that he never got a Batman movie. After the DCEU kicked off with Man of Steel, which helped set a darker tone for the DC franchise in which Batman, in particular, proceeded to thrive, the promise of an Affleck-led solo outing for Batman never came to fruition. For this reason, looking back on Affleck’s tenure is particularly poignant, as the jaded, older portrayal of Bruce Wayne in live-action could have been iconic had he been able to take center stage.

Unfortunately, the handful of movies in which he did appear struggled to do the Caped Crusader justice. While the DCEU featured Bruce Wayne prominently in many of its movies, including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, several missteps regarding Batman’s character only helped stoke the fire that would proceed to cook the DCEU in 2023. What’s left is a string of missed opportunities that Affleck could have capably succeeded with if given the chance.

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10 Bruce Wayne Was A Little Too Conspicuous

He Revealed Himself Too Quickly To The Other Members In Justice League (2017)

Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne Looks At Supermans Hologram in Justice League

The entire concept of a secret identity is synonymous with Batman/Bruce Wayne, and one of the hero’s most defining features. Affleck’s Bruce Wayne, as the jaded mirror image of The Dark Knight Returns comic run, was distinctly more blasé about keeping his identity a secret, however. This manifested most prominently in him wasting no time in revealing himself to the Justice League – something which was certainly conducive to engendering the trust he required, but a jarring departure from the typically clandestine Bruce from the comics.

9 Ben Affleck’s Batman Never Met His Own Villains

Deathstroke Was Teased In Justice League (2017)

Joe Manganiello as Deathstroke in Justice League

The biggest tragedy of Affleck’s tenure was the fact that he never got to shine in his solo movie – something that was teased by Deathstroke’s fleeting appearance in the post-credits scene of Justice League. A movie pitting Deathstroke and Affleck’s Batman against one another would have made for a more compelling sequence than his tussle with Superman, and that’s not to mention the unexplored relationship between him and the Joker that caused him to renege on his nonlethal morals. Instead, the many possible interactions that Bruce could have had with some iconic villains will never be seen.

8 Batman Really Dropped The Ball On The Suicide Squad

Batman Warned Waller In Suicide Squad (2016)

Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne in Suicide Squad's post-credits scene

A post-credits scene in Suicide Squad saw Bruce Wayne taking Waller to task on Task Force X, promising that if she didn’t shut the project down, he and his “friends” would have to intervene. A threat from Bruce Wayne is one thing, but a threat from Batman is a promise. Except, this time, it apparently wasn’t. Instead, Task Force X operated as brazenly as before in The Suicide Squad, with no intervention from Batman or his friends whatsoever.

This rendered Batman toothless as the Suicide Squad proceeded to engage in an exceptionally destructive mission that dealt with a distinctly otherworldly threat. That, in itself, is something that probably should have come up on the world’s greatest detective’s radar. Instead, it made it seem as though Bruce had lost his touch.

7 Batman Was Already At The End Of His Story

Batman Was Ready To Retire By His Debut In Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2015)

Much of the praise leveled at Affleck regarded his grizzled portrayal of a Bruce Wayne at the end of his tether, which follows the fact that he was already at the end of his DCEU tenure. Short of a prequel movie that depicted the death of his sidekick, the DCEU’s Bruce Wayne had seemingly already undergone some of his most consequential arcs, leaving little room for his character to develop beyond a single solo movie and future team-ups. This became rather fitting in the end, as he would bid farewell to the DCEU in The Flash after too few appearances.

Ben Affleck’s DCEU Appearances

Movie

Year Of Release

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

2015

Suicide Squad (cameo)

2016

Justice League

2017

Zack Snyder’s Justice League

2021

The Flash

2023

6 Batman’s Suit Got Progressively Worse

Batman’s Suit Quality Declined Between Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2015) And The Flash (2023)

One of the standout features of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was not only the newly-cast Batman himself but the incredible Batsuits he donned. While the anti-Superman tank-like armor he wore in preparation for his tussle with Superman was a spectacle in itself, the classic yet otherworldly design for Batman’s typical suit was one of the movie’s merits that most could agree upon. From there, however, it was downhill.

The mystique imbued in his debut Batsuit was lost when Batfleck donned the Tactical Batsuit of Justice League – which was designed for practicality above all else. The Flash then showcased a suit that adopted a fresh color scheme complete with a yellow utility belt and blue cowl, but was butchered by CGI. Reportedly, the person who built the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice suit, Iron Head Studios’ Jose Fernandez, was never credited for their incredible work on the debut Batsuit. As a result, the studio refused to work on subsequent suits, leading to a downturn in quality.

5 Ben Affleck’s Jim Gordon Was Horribly Sidelined

Commissioner Gordon Appeared Briefly In Justice League (2017)

Justice League - Bat-signal and Gordon (J.K. Simmons)

Not only is Jim Gordon a beloved feature of the Batman mythos, but a Jim Gordon portrayed by the legendary J.K. Simmons was a decidedly underutilized part of Batman’s DCEU tenure. Instead, all that was seen of Gordon was his brief interaction with Batman and the Justice League as they attempted to assess the incoming situation involving Steppenwolf and the Parademons. This turned Gordon into little more than an Easter egg, criminally sidelined in the absence of a solo Batman movie in which he would no doubt have been a highlight.

4 Batman’s Brutality Was Never Justified

Batman Had No Qualms Killing In Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2015)

Though the shot of Robin’s defaced suit indicated the reasons behind Batman’s use of lethal force, it wasn’t enough to curb the criticism leveled against Batman’s departure from his typically nonlethal methods. The about-turn on one of his most defining characteristics begged further elaboration, leaving a sour taste every time Batman carelessly guns down or brutalizes an enemy – including Superman. Unfortunately, this was never fleshed out, with the gaps left for the audience to fill in being too vast as he became a distinctly more murderous version of a character known for his meticulous preservation of life.

3 The Most Compelling DCEU Batman Story Happened Before Ben Affleck Debuted

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2015) Established Robin’s Death

Robin's costume in Batman v Superman

Batman’s lack of solo movies in the DCEU was all the more lamentable by the hint of a compelling and as-yet untold story of his relationship with Dick Grayson’s Robin. Of the many plot threads that were left unexplored, this one stung the most. The pre-DCEU story may have never been depicted if the DCEU had continued, but it still felt like a missed opportunity in line with the unexplored relationship between Ben Affleck’s Batman and Jared Leto’s Joker.

2 Batman Set Up Aquaman To Fail

Bruce Wayne Insulted Aquaman In Justice League (2017)

Batman (Ben Affleck) talking to Aquaman (Jason Momoa) in Justice League.

For some, Aquaman was one of the many things that the DCEU got right, flying in the face of the typical bevy of jokes leveled against him by casting Jason Momoa in the role and making him the most charismatic of the Justice League. For others, it went too far, turning the gleefully frivolous Aquaman into a clown. The latter view was not helped by Bruce Wayne’s initially derisive interaction with Arthur Curry, in which he incurred the age-old observation that Aquaman merely “talks to fish.”

Aquaman ultimately clapped back perfectly as he admitted the statement’s veracity before going on to be a tour de force in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Yet, as the final movie in the MCU, Momoa’s redemption of Aquaman could have been doomed to fail simply by Bruce jumping straight at the obvious insult, threatening to counteract the whole effort to reform Aquaman’s image. Thankfully, Aquaman remains one of the DCEU’s biggest highlights.

1 Batman’s Best Line Was In A Flop

Bruce Wayne Bid Farewell In The Flash (2023)

Ben Affleck's final appearance as Bruce Wayne in the DCEU in The Flash

The bittersweet goodbye of Batfleck was a huge highlight of his career, as he cautions Barry Allen against his intentions to change the past and save his mother. As he does so, he states: “These scars we have make us who we are, we’re not meant to go back and fix them. Don’t let your tragedy define you.” The line is exceptionally relevant, drawing a line beneath Affleck’s tenure before he waved goodbye to the DCEU for good.

Unfortunately, as it took place in The Flash, not enough people saw it. While the box office successes of Batman’s critically middling earliest outings led to too much ire being directed towards a solid rendition of Batman, this character-defining line took place in one of the DCEU’s final flops. All that remains is the possibility of redemption in a future cameo appearance – though James Gunn’s “cameo porn” comments don’t inspire much hope.

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