By Neil Vazquez, courtesy of Do You Remember
Today Deadline.com announced that Matt Damon’s troglodytic best friend, Ben Affleck, was cast as Batman in the new Batman vs. Superman movie. Fresh off the heels of directing and starring in the worst movie to win an Academy Award for Best Picture since Crash in 2006, Affleck seems eager to squander what little credibility he’s managed to collect since dating Jennifer Lopez. How exactly do I know this? Well, has there ever been an actor to successfully play Batman without drumming up some fair share of criticism? The role, much like Gilbert Gottfried’s aorta, is cursed. Let’s take a look back at the worst Batman castings in recent history:
5. Christian Bale in Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight(2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012). All directed by Christopher Nolan.
All right, bros, calm down. I get it: You think The Dark Knight, was intense, emotional, a legitimately good movie, blah, blah, blah. While Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy was the most critically successful of the franchise, the films did not escape the editorial pages unscathed. Do you recall those viral videos lampooning Christian Bale’s overly gruff voice for the role? If not, let me refresh your memory:
Upstaged by: Heath Ledger as the Joker
4. George Clooney in Batman & Robin (1997). Directed by Joel Schumacher.
If George Clooney took this role trying to appear less gay, job not so well done! After scoring primetime TV fame on ER, Clooney took this role opposite Uma Thurman and Arnold Schwarzenegger. How Joel Schumacher’s casting director did not win an award for assembling this incredible hodgepodge of actors is beyond me. I mean, how could he have had the foresight to cast the future Governor of California in the daring role of Mr. Freeze? To me, every pun he makes is like a little hug from Baby Jesus:
Upstaged by: Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy
3. Michael Keaton in Batman Returns (1992). Directed by Tim Burton.
It took me about 10 years to realize that Michael Keaton bears no relation to Diane Keaton. What caused all this confusion? Well, I mean, look at them, unfocus your eyes, and they look like the same bland, WASPy actor. What I’m trying to say is that Michael Keaton is better suited for the role of Cole Porter than Bruce Wayne. In this ’92 sequel director Tim Burton infamously cast Danny DeVito as the Penguin, a role that seems both politically incorrect and slightly anti-Semitic:
Upstaged by: Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman
2. Val Kilmer in Batman Forever (1995). Directed by Joel Schumacher.
Remember when Val Kilmer was actually a big movie star? Luckily, I was five and barely sentient. But at one point in the mid ’90s, a guy who looks like a sleazier version of Christian Slater was a big man in Hollywood. 1995’s Batman Forever is the cherry on top of the shit pie that is Kilmer’s filmography. Perhaps he was just trying to top his particularly crapular turn as Elvis Presley in True Romance.
Upstaged by: Jim Carrey as the Riddler
1. Michael Keaton in Batman (1989). Directed by Tim Burton.
You know when film professors talk about casting against type, and how well that worked for Bette Davis inWhat Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Well, Michael Keaton, in Tim Burton’s original Batman, is a prime example of when casting against type goes bad. The reason this movie is a clunker is that Keaton is constantly being upstaged by Jack Nicholson as the Joker. And he was outdone not only on camera, but also behind the scenes: Nicholson was given one of the best deals an actor ever received for a role, gaining the rights to associated merchandise from the movie as well as a portion of the proceeds. This ended in a $100 million payday for wily Jack. Watch below to see Nicholson slay Keaton.
Upstaged by: Jack Nicholson as the Joker