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El Paisano

Why Ben Affleck is the Greatest Live Action Batman

Sam Garcia, Staff Writer

Christian Bale. Michael Keaton.

These are the first names to come to mind when you think of Batman. Or more specifically, who the BEST Batman is. Even Adam West’s iteration of the Dark Knight, in all its campy glory, is given as much reverence.

But there’s one name that should – or actually, needs to be at the top of the list: Ben Affleck.

“Batfleck” has appeared in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and 2017’s Justice League. He also made a small appearance in 2016’s Suicide Squad.

Appearance-wise, Batfleck is the most comic-accurate of any live action version of the character.

His costume is almost identical to the one shown in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns comic books. Batfleck’s costume is cloth-based, unlike the armored/ rubber suit aesthetic of previous Batmen.  Zack Snyder, who directed Dawn of Justice, wanted his vision of the character to stand out.

“I really wanted to do a fabric-based Batman; not what’s become the more normal, armored Batman,” said Snyder in an interview with CBR.com in 2015. “That’s how we evolved him.”

Don’t judge this Batman just on appearance, though.

When you watch this Batman, you feel like you’re watching a comic book come to life.

Nothing exemplifies this more than the warehouse scene in Dawn of Justice. As soon as Batfleck charges feet-first through the building’s window panels, you know that the thugs inside are in for a world of hurt. He then proceeds to take down a room full of a dozen armed men in less than 5 minutes.

There’s this sense of wonder you get when you watch Batfleck on screen.

You really feel like he’s Batman, who’s a world-class detective, master of dozens and dozens of martial arts techniques, and has access to technology that boggles the mind.

Christian Bale’s Batman was hyper-realistic, which made the hero lose his comic book wonder; Adam West’s Batman was silly and campy; Michael Keaton’s Batman was dark and gothic; Val Kilmer and George Clooney – well, we won’t go there (Bat-nipples, that’s all I have to say).

For many DC fans, they’ll have to imagine what could’ve been, as Ben Affleck will be hanging up the cowl.

“Excited for #TheBatman in Summer 2021 and to see [director Matt Reeves’] vision come to life,” Affleck tweeted Jan. 30.

In the short time he donned the cape and cowl, Affleck made a lasting impact on the character. He laid the blueprint for how a Batman movie should be: dark and gritty, but still retain a sense of comic book wonder.

He was the hero we needed but didn’t deserve.

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Why Ben Affleck is the Greatest Live Action Batman