Recovering from a vicious fight with the Joker in the Dark Knight Returns Part 2, Alfred says to Robin of an unconscious Batman, “He’ll live; he’s far too stubborn to die.” Much like the older and weathered iteration of the Dark Knight he played, the Ben Affleck Batman resurgence rumors refuse to quit. The latest is a story from Giant Freakin ‘Robot. The report has Warner Bros. offering the actor a chunk of change fit for Bruce Wayne himself; a cool $ 30 million. According to the report, the massive payday would come to Affleck to appear in a movie based on the Crisis on Infinite Earths DC Comics storyline.
With Robert Pattinson’s The Batman portrayal bashing his way through Gotham streets and alleys, this would mean two actors playing Batman in alternate timelines. Multiverses are obviously big right now. If the story is true, this could be WB trying to cash in on what Spider-Man No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness pulled off like a charm. If Crisis happens, should Ben Affleck pull on the bulky Batsuit for another round or leave the upcoming Flash movie as his Batman swansong?
Bring Back Batfleck
Batman v Superman and the Joss Whedon-butchered Justice League were both mercilessly shredded by critics in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Ben Affleck’s Batman was a centerpiece of both films, and his performances walked away relatively unscathed, if not generally well-received.
Ben Affleck played a great Batman. In BvS, he’s older and grizzled, fed up and jaded, and would rather kill away than adhere to his sacred rule anymore. With Justice Leaguehe turns a corner after the death of Superman, realizing that the world is worth saving, not just brutally beating. The Dark Knight Returns-based, (mostly) comic-accurate take on the character was a highlight of both movies.
We got the vaunted Justice League Snyder Cut in 2021, but the praise heaped on that movie did not undo the mainstream damage caused by Whedon. Bottom line, Ben Affleck’s Batman deserves a good movie. Ideally, it would be a solo film, but Affleck himself is not likely to go for it as he described playing Batman as a miserable experience. Affleck is likely done with Batman, but fans aren’t done with him. As much as we’d love to see a Batfleck return, if the man himself does not go for it, then there’s no point clamoring.
Mucking Up the Multiverse
Put politely, the DC Extended Universe has a mixed track record. Batman v Superman succeeded commercially and failed critically, and Whedon’s Justice League just failed. Aquaman and Shazam! are fun fluff movies, and Wonder Woman got a great intro and an uneven sequel. Plus, the massive crossover sequels of Justice League 2 and 3 just aren’t going to happen, leaving mile-long loose ends in this universe.
But the DCEU continues to plod along to solid commercial and mixed critical success and a future slate of movies. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and the Flash are forthcoming, and a third Wonder Woman film is gaining traction. Despite this forward momentum, the DCEU is still kind of a mess. So would a massive crossover multiverse film like Crisis on Infinite Earths salvage or further sink the flailing franchise?
Crisis is a huge storyline. In the face of a plot to destroy or conquer the infinite earths, a unified line-up of DC heroes succeed in creating one Earth and, in effect, scrap the multiverse that DC felt weighed down its comics to that point. This project would be like a mulligan on Justice League. A big story, a big cast, and big stakes. A stalwart Batman performance would be a good start, and Ben Affleck has already proven he can do it. Recasting the Dark Knight would be an eye-roller as it would be the third Batman actor in six years. Dropping Robert Pattinson’s gritty and grounded Batman into the fray would not make sense. However, green lighting Crisis could be an intriguing strategy to continue the DCEU despite Marvel already laying the first stake on the multiverse terrain.
Has Robert Pattinson Earned the Exclusive Batman Mantle?
Traditionally, we’ve had one Batman at a time. The mantle has been passed for 30-plus years from Keaton to Kilmer to Bale to Affleck. And now Robert Pattinson is donning the Batsuit to excellent results. Should he be left alone to take on the role himself? Or is Gotham big enough for two roving masked vigilantes?
What is canon these days anyway? It can be shed and acknowledged at will. If the story is good, who really cares? Ultimately, we can do two Batman stories and universes at once. DC has already done it. Joker has nothing to do with The Batman, for example. Both films exist on their own and co-exist peacefully under the same rights holders. Plus, Michael Keaton and Affleck will both play Batman in The Flash.
Warner Bros. and DC wanted to go big from the start. Justice League was a fairly simple concept; just copy the MCU Avengers formula on an accelerated timetable. The movie failed due to creator and director Zack Snyder stepping away to deal with a family tragedy. A second swing at the epic crossover could revive WB’s grand plans for the DC properties. Adding Ben Affleck’s Batman to the Crisis roster would be a neat trick and an epic return for a great Batman.