Ben Affleck is seen as a beacon of hope by many fans of the DC Extended Universe. As an actor, writer, and filmmaker he’s proven himself many times- even bouncing back from some fairly epic career low-points, demonstrating great poise, focus, and humility. His work in BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE received near universal praise, even if the writing of his character left a somewhat bitter taste in the mouths of some. When it was announced that he’d been added as an executive producer on JUSTICE LEAGUE and was taking a more hands-on approach with the making of the film, fans rejoiced.
During the recent Damage Control Tour 2016…I mean…ahem…”set visit” where journalists were allowed to check out the JUSTICE LEAGUE production in a very thorough way, Affleck shed some light on a great many things.
Let’s start with the briefest, most cryptic message he gave to fans:
How Can JUSTICE LEAGUE Improve On BATMAN V SUPERMAN?
While Affleck has gone on record, towing the company line that JUSTICE LEAGUE is still a wholly Zack Snyder production, there have been rumors aplenty that Warner Bros. has given Affleck and Geoff Johns a bigger say in how things get done. In a conversation with journalists on set, Affleck described how he hopes JUSTICE LEAGUE will push the DCEU in new directions:
“Thereâ€™s definitely room for more humor. These DC movies, by their nature, are still a little bit more gothic â€” or a little bit more mythic, rather, than some comic-book movies are. Batman v Superman was a heavy, dark movie that was really rooted in The Dark Knight Returns, a heavy, dark book. This is not that. This is a step forward and an evolution from that.”
So Affleck hits the same point that Zack and Deborah Snyder have, which is that JUSTICE LEAGUE is going to be markedly different than BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, while pointing out that there’s definitely room to lighten the mood after the dark and brooding film that came out last March.
He’s still careful to say that the main reason he joined the production team for JUSTICE LEAGUE is that he needs to make sure that the production directly cross-pollinates with the solo BATMAN movie he’s directing.
“Why Iâ€™m an executive producer, is because Iâ€™m directing another one of the movies. Thereâ€™s some cross-pollination of story and characters, and I donâ€™t want to give any of that stuff away, but it just basically means that there might be things that happen in my Batman that are affected by [Justice League].”
And he also offers a brief update on the film, stating that he may not make the targeted release date because his top priority is the script- not the deadline:
â€œMy timetable is that Iâ€™m not gonna make the movie until thereâ€™s a script that I think is good, because Iâ€™ve been on the end of things when you make movies with scripts that arenâ€™t good. It doesnâ€™t pan out.”
Now let’s move on to the fun stuff:
How, Exactly, Has Batman Changed Since We Last Saw Him?
With the synopsis that started floating around a few days ago came chatter that we’d be seeing a kinder, gentler Batman who’s had his faith in humanity restored. Affleck addressed idea, and offered some insight into where The Dark Knight is when we find him in JUSTICE LEAGUE.
“[…]In the last movie, Batman went to a very dark place. Heâ€™s no longer extreme in that way.
â€œSupermanâ€™s death helps Batman regain his faith in humanity,. Hereâ€™s this alien who just gave his life for us. It really changes who Batman is, and he also feels a responsibility to honor him, because he didnâ€™t feel like he did it while they were living. Heâ€™s feeling like he wants to redeem himself and heâ€™s wanting mankind to be redeemed. Heâ€™s wanting to make the world better.”
This change of heart doesn’t suddenly mean that everything is unicorns and rainbows, however.
“Thatâ€™s the interesting thing about this Batman. On the one hand, heâ€™s the ultimate loner, and on the other hand, heâ€™s tasked with putting together a group. Is the guy who basically broods in a cave all day really the best person to put together a team of superheroes? He doesnâ€™t have huge success initially. Heâ€™s got to figure out how to play well with others, and he barely knows how to play well with Alfred.”
That dynamic sounds like it could be very, very entertaining. And one area where Batman’s dark Yin meets its upbeat Yang is in his relationship with THE FLASH.
Meet “Batman And Rob…err…THE FLASH”!
Included in some analysis of the storyline bits we’ve been given thanks to the myriad of set reports is the idea that The Flash will be a friendly foil to Batman. By all accounts, actor Ezra Miller- who plays the speedster- was given some free reign to improvise, which brings with it a real sense of mischief, humor, and fun to the scenes he’s in. When you put that alongside a character like Batman, you can get some real gold. Someone brought up the idea that Flash is almost like a stand-in for Robin in this movie.
“That’s interesting. There’s an element of that to it. There’s a quality to really what Ezra [Miller] does that is young and fun and full of life, and excited about what they’re doing that’s so in contrast to who Batman is. There’s a little bit of that natural yin and yang to playing scenes with him. There’s not the ward aspect to it, but there’s a little bit of the mentor — which you’d probably ask Ezra and he’d be like, ‘Fuck that! He’s not my mentor!’ But I think there is a little bit. And it’s fun to play, definitely.”
From the sound of that, now I kind of want to see a Batman/Flash team-up movie!
As always, keep it right here for all the latest happenings on JUSTICE LEAGUE. And use the Comments section below to let your voice be heard!