Another comic-book film, another director dropping out. We hear this news all the time but this one is of particular importance as Ben Affleck’s rendition of The Caped Crusader was one of the few things a lot of people have to look forward to in the DC Extended Universe after it’s got off to a very shaky start so far with ‘Man of Steel’, ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice‘ and ‘Suicide Squad‘. Luckily, Affleck’s departure as director hasn’t been due to creative differences and he will still stay on as a producer, writer and of course, play Batman. Well, I’d like to hope that!
Affleck’s reasoning behind this move is because he just feels it would be too much for him and he wouldn’t want it to hinder his performance. I’ve read a lot of unfair comments over the past few days with many calling him a ‘wimp’ but I think this is totally unjustified. I actually think it takes a great amount of guts to realise that you’re biting off more than you can chew and as much as I would have loved to see Affleck directing this, the impression that I get is that he’s doing it for the sole reason of protecting the film’s quality, something he wouldn’t be able to ensure if he were to direct it. Also, the guy’s been up to a lot lately. He had to bulk up for Batman last year, then played in ‘The Accountant’ and then directed and starred in ‘Live By Night’. And at the same time begin developments on this! It’s a lot of work and I’m sure the stress has taken its toll.
As for the film itself, I don’t think it’s necessarily in trouble. There are a lot of talented directors out there who could really make their mark on a film like this and Affleck will still have a lot of creative input as it is. As for who could replace him, an early rumour is Matt Reeves who directed ‘Cloverfield’ and ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ and its upcoming sequel but to me, that sounds a little off seeing as he’s friendly with 20th Century Fox and would have to move over to Warner Bros who are heading up this universe. It doesn’t really make sense to me. Although ambitious, I think Gavin O’Connor would do a good job of it – he’s proved he can make good action sequences with ‘The Accountant’ and both him and Affleck seem to be able to work well together. David Fincher or Darren Aronofsky would be another top choice but I think this is quite unrealistic. Say what you will about Zack Snyder, who many people have lambasted for his efforts in this franchise so far but you can’t deny (if you didn’t like the film) that the Batman sequences were well-realised and he clearly has a love for the character. I think he’d do a good job. My final suggestion would be Justin Kurzel who looks unlikely to get much work after ‘Assassin’s Creed‘ which critically has done poorly but I think with his combination of superbly realised action sequences and also a strong script by Affleck, it could be just what he needs. And undoubtedly it would be scored by Jed Kurzel and shot by Adam Arkapaw, two infinitely talented individuals. If Warner Bros decide to go with a lesser director, I’d likely also be all for it depending on who they get but with a property as important as Batman, it’s not something they can just hire any old director to tackle.
I am fully confident that a suitable replacement will be found and with a lot of big names tossed into the pot, it will be interesting to see the direction that this film goes in. But with Affleck’s creative input, I think we’re still in good hands.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Who do you think should replace Ben Affleck as director? Let me know in the comments below or tweet @TheFilmMeister