Monday, August 26, 2013

It's Not Even About Affleck Anymore

In case you don't have twitter (I do! Follow me here!) or an internet connection, Warner Bros. has just announced that Ben Affleck will play Batman in the new Superman/Batman movie. And then the internet exploded.

I think this is a bad idea.

But not because of Affleck.

I don't think we're ready for another Batman movie. Come on, studios! We were just forcibly dumped by our favorite Batman series ever when Chris Nolan told us in no uncertain terms that he was done with Batman. And Christian Bale backed him up and told us no more Batman suits for him, either.

Look at the roller coaster of emotions we had in that series-here was the first Batman we could all get behind, not just the geeks and fans. We rooted for the villains just as much as the heroes, not because we all have a little evil streak but because the movies were complicated and real and challenged us with morals and ethics. We didn't go into Batman expecting just car chases and cool gadgets- we got philosophy and poignancy wrapped in layers of a bulletproof Batsuit.

We came together over midnight showings and bonded with Halloween costumes. We became the fandom we needed and maybe not the one we deserved. We had strong opinions on Rachel, and then on the Joker, even on the role that Joseph Gordon-Levitt may or may not have played.

So why jump on the bandwagon so soon? Why churn out a movie we didn't ask for and may not even want? Yes, this movie is technically in the Superman canon, but Batman is arguably one of the most well-known (pre-Hollywood make-all-of-the-superhero-movies era) superheroes in pop culture. This isn't the 1960s anymore where the Hollywood tells the public the movies they want to see. We're in the age of Kickstarter and Indiegogo fundraising millions, where the Internet has become a playground for those looking to lose their accountability and opinions give way to anger and hatred.

For all of the production studios' work trying to study the public through screenings and focus groups they're still missing the big picture. You want to know why movies are flopping left and right? Because you're trying to wrap a flop in a trend and that's not going over so well for you. Johnny Depp can't pull the fourth Pirates by himself and we aren't interested in The Lone Ranger regardless of the fact he stars in it. Studies show guys won't go see a sci-fi movie called The Princess of Mars so you re-brand it John Carter? Re-brand and promote a movie all you want but if your story sucks then even the cult followers can't overtake word of mouth.

Batman isn't about Affleck. It's about audiences telling the studios we're not ready for this particular story to be remade. Again. No amount of big budget or big names are going to change our minds. Stop trying to bank on the superhero trend and let us wait, let us at least get to a ten year reunion for crying out loud before you release another hero for us to root for. Audiences want a story, not a disjointed fandom.

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