By Michael Welch `17
Ben Affleck is no longer directing the Batman solo film that fans hope will save DC Comics from itself. This leaves Affleck with credits as the lead actor, producer, and co-writer of the film, meaning he is still heavily invested in the project. The concern that he was spreading his talents too broadly was always present, but the news was a surprise nonetheless.
Affleck’s violent but thoughtful portrayal of the iconic Batman was the highlight of DC’s profitable flop, Batman vs. Superman. His decision not to direct the upcoming film has worried fans who place their faith in Affleck to get the DC cinematic universe back on track. Solo Batman films have proven both profitable and popular in the past, although following Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is no simple task.
If Wonder Woman and Justice League, which will both hit theaters before The Batman, cannot win over both critics and audiences then the whole DC cinematic universe may hinge on The Batman.
Affleck has shown that he respects what Batman means to fans across the globe and is concerned that spreading himself too thin on set would hurt the quality of the film.
When asked to comment on choosing not to direct, Affleck responded, “Performing this role demands focus, passion, and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world.”
His statement helps ease the nervousness of unsure DC fans who have dealt with over-hyped underwhelming DC films before. A positive spin on this unsettling news is that Affleck is making the best decision in regards to giving fans the best Batman film possible.
The Batman was written by Affleck and Geoff Johns, the DC Comics poster-boy who has written countless stories that fans cherish. Johns’ involvement alone is enough to assuage even the most sensitive DC fans.
This news also followed the underwhelming reviews of Affleck’s film, Live by Night, which he both directed and starred in. Sources say Affleck refusing to direct The Batman had nothing to do with this unfortunate coincidence. However, it does speak to what Affleck was talking about when he expressed concern about spreading himself to thin. A new director has not yet been announced, but Affleck is helping compile the shortlist. The only director known to be on the shortlist for now is Matt Reeves, who directed the hit War for the Planet of the Apes. DC fans can be confident that Batman will be in good hands as Affleck has proven he will not let anyone, including himself, harm the quality of his solo Batman film.