Yes, you heard that right. Ben Affleck’s Batman is set to appear on the Flashy big-screen once again. Cue word? The Flash.
Affleck’s Batman, or popularly known as ‘Batfleck’, has been dividing the world since his first appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). In the Zack Snyder-directed film, plenty of admiration towards Batfleck came from his looks; a grizzled Batman that is a lot more wiser and world-weary than other Bruce Wayne’s you saw on the big screen. Praises poured in for his performance in Batman v Superman, as hardcore comic book fans were still scratching their heads whether if they shouldn’t have protested him donning the cowl at the very first place.
Then came, Justice League (2017). Or “Joss Whedon’s Justice League“, to be exact. Affleck came under scrutiny again because of his acting chops; this time, despite still pulling off that tired, scarred Batman on-screen once again, he looked like he actually did not want to be on set. Eventually, the worst of scenarios came true and Affleck himself abandoned a standalone Batman film, which he would have personally directed and starred. Of course, that very film is currently known as “Matt Reeves’ The Batman“, and the cowl fell into the hands of Robert Pattinson.
Now, fans of DC were taken for a wild ride again when Vanity Fair reported that Affleck’s version of Batman will reincarnate once more on the silver screen, in DC Extended Universe’s upcoming offering: The Flash. Fret not, Robert Pattinson fans, Matt Reeves’ The Batman will still go on with Pattinson in the lead, albeit with slight production hiccups caused by the pandemic.
All the hoo-has regarding Affleck’s return will eventually subside once enthusiastic moviegoers and Batfleck’s fans get the takeaway of this event. The upcoming Flash standalone movie, directed by Andy Muschietti (It, It Chapter Two), will feature some sort of incident based on DC Comics’ Flashpoint, where The Flash himself, Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) lands into an alternate reality (or realities) where Batmen exists. Yes, Batmen.
Though not officially recognized as a group like Justice League, the term Batmen comes into play because Affleck’s Batman will be accompanied by another Batcave-owner: Michael Keaton’s Batman from Tim Burton-directed films in 1989 and 1992. Reports of Keaton reprising his role as Batman have been circulating for a while now, and of course, movie fans worldwide are going crazy over the news, and Affleck’s confirmed involvement in The Flash will only intoxicate them even more.
Whether both Keaton and Affleck’s character will exist in the same reality is still shrouded in mystery, but as quoted by Vanity Fair, Muschietti mentioned that Keaton will have a “substantial” part.
Between the two, I would say that Affleck’s Batman will have a more prominent role to play in the film. “He’s a very substantial part of the emotional impact of the movie. The interaction and relationship between Barry and Affleck’s Wayne will bring an emotional level that we haven’t seen before,” Muschietti added.
If you rewind to the events of Justice League, you would probably remember how Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) fondly asked Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) what his superpowers were, to which the latter quipped, “I’m rich.” There is already an established relationship between Miller’s Barry Allen and Affleck’s Batman, and, —irregardless of what happens in Justice League: Snyder Cut— he will always hold Batfleck closer to his heart, having fought battles alongside the latter.
‘Emotional impact’ are very vague words, but if you take a peep into DCEU’s closest looking universe (read: *cough, MCU), it is not hard to establish the chemistry that The Flash is trying to replicate. In the MCU, Mr Stark and young Peter Parker’s relationship was thoroughly grabbing, cute and emotion-filled. I am not implying that DCEU’s version will be an exact copy, but merely stating that the Stark-Parker relationship is exemplary at the very least, and will inevitably influence many relationships in superhero films to come.
Of course, any emotional impact in films will peak during the sacrifice of a prominent character for the greater good. So, Batfleck fans, at the very least, prepare a box of tissues when checking in for The Flash, slated for release on 3rd of June 2022.
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