Uproars are so regular in the comic book community that you could probably set your watch by them. A fan’s morning routine has become wake up, shower, put in contacts, dress, grab a torch and pitchfork, kiss the spouse bye, then open a web forum at work.
A multi-film deal casting Ben Affleck as Batman is the latest “travesty” that has sent superhero fans into a tizzy.
I’m not above fan rage myself. If you care to hear precisely why Man of Steel was a terrible movie, lend me your ear. Six hours later, I’ll consider giving you a bathroom break.
Our reactions are often extreme because there is an indelible, emotional tie we have to these characters which makes us, basically, care about them too much.
If anything breaks from the vision we have of our beloved characters, then we have a tendency to close our eyes, plug our ears and scream.
This exact situation has happened before. An actor was cast into a strongly-hyped role that was so far removed from his norm that the Internet burned with outrage.
Then Heath Ledger removed the bank mask, said “I believe whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you stranger.” In a brilliant move, the world was treated not only to a career-defining performance, but, I dare posit, the most iconic performance in the history of the superhero genre.
And still, there are those who say Jack Nicholson’s Joker was better because it harkened to the classic Silver Age character when Joker was more of a clown and less of a psychopathic murderer.
It all comes down to interpretation, that most fickle of ideas.
Every single person has his or her own vision of what a character should be, and it will never be the same as anybody else’s.
I’ll throw a spoiler warning here for Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel. These two movies had the opposite change in hype.
Prior to release, fans were excited about Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin and the Man of Steel trailers promised a philosophical take on Superman.
Now that they are post-release, most fans are furious about the Mandarin’s portrayal in Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel ended up being an incredibly divisive movie that focused on action.
What matters is the end product. Heath Ledger as Joker worked because the script was great, the director was consistent and Ledger delivered his best performance.
Iron Man 3’s Mandarin didn’t work because he ended up being a generic villain. I’m not referring to Ben Kingsley’s character, but Guy Pearce’s. Ben Kingsley was hilarious and that character actually made sense in the film’s story both plot-wise and thematically.
Superman failed in Man of Steel because, well, the entire movie failed.
None of these films were what fans expected prior to their release. Man of Steel was not philosophical, Iron Man 3 pulled a sleight of hand and The Dark Knight earned an Oscar for the best performance in villainy ever.
This isn’t a call to reason so much as a call to patience. Wait for the end product, then cast judgment.
Complaining will literally change nothing about the filming process. The die is cast, we have to wait and see what it lands on.
The arguments that inevitably spawn from these cast and crew announcements are cyclical shouting matches which ultimately lead nowhere.
It is rare, practically miraculous, when a comment or acumen flashes amongst the debate that points out something genuinely rational. Usually the drudgery produces inflammatory remarks that rapidly devolve into outright insults.
Instead of fans making their voices heard, the podium is lost amidst the countless soap boxes emitting unreasonably presumptuous opinions.
This benefits neither the fans nor the filmmakers. Reasons as superficial as “I don’t think he’ll do a good job” reveal only the personal prejudices of the speaker.
Our voices should not be stifled, but we should choose to raise those voices, rationally, on the important issues.
Anyone skimming his track record will observe that Ben Affleck has grown over the last few years. Yes, he could be terrible. Or he could be the best Batman ever. We won’t know until we hit the theater seats.
And, if nothing else, Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad has been cast as Lex Luthor. So there is a Supervillain Casting God, and we should be praising His name.