Despite sharing the screen with Henry Cavill’s Superman, Ben Affleck’s Batman quickly became a fan-favorite in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Apart from the highly controversial move of making Batman a murderous vigilante relying on guns, Ben Affleck ticked most of the boxes required for a comic-book accurate version of the Dark Knight. An imposing physique, a suave Bruce Wayne, lethal hand-to-hand combat sequences, and a gritty and violent vigilante, Ben Affleck brought the Caped Crusader to the silver screen right from Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s imagination.
Though Affleck’s gritty, intense, and violent Batman was supposed to pave the path for a series of dynamic and high-octane Batman movies, the polarized reaction received by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the critically panned Justice League de-railed any hopes of future movies. Moreover, Ben Affleck’s tumultuous personal life and alcoholism became another major hindrance that forced the actor to hang up the cowl.
With Affleck retired, Warner Bros. quickly hired director Matt Reeves to direct a Batman trilogy starring Robert Pattinson in the lead role. As Reeves has already stated his vision for The Batman (2021) to be a detective-noir movie, an official confirmation is yet to arrive regarding the movie’s timeline in the larger DC Extended Universe.
But in a sudden turn of events, the DC Extended Universe might have three different Batman played by Robert Pattinson, Ben Affleck, and Michael Keaton. The Batman-conundrum is caused by a certain Scarlet Speedster known to mess up timelines with his super-speed. The Flash starring Ezra Miller is another upcoming movie which will be directed by Andy Muschietti. Though having three different Dark Knights is definitely exciting, why exactly did Ben Affleck decide to return from his retirement? Let’s find out!
Barry Allen’s Mentor In The DCEU
Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen made his debut in a short yet intriguing scene in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Having teased the widely debated Knightmare sequence, Ezra Miller reprised his role as Barry Allen in Justice League. To defeat Steppenwolf, Bruce Wayne had to recruit Barry Allen aka The Flash. As a result, both of them did show a few glimpses of their friendship, which has been a prominent aspect of keeping the Justice League glued together in the comics.
Both Bruce Wayne and Barry Allen are also connected by the shared grief of losing their parents, which makes Affleck’s Batman such a crucial character in The Flash. Having witnessed the murder of Martha and Thomas Wayne, Bruce turned his deepest trauma into his greatest victory. Similarly, Barry’s mother, Nora Allen, was murdered by the Reverse-Flash which resulted in his father, Henry Allen, being convicted for a crime he didn’t commit.
Prior to the DC FanDome event, director Andy Muschietti has confirmed that The Flash would be opening up a wide range of possibilities through the multiverse. This partly answers to the three different Batman-conundrum for now. But, before Barry explores different timelines in The Flash, he needs some guidance and mentoring. And, who better than Ben Affleck’s aging Batman, who has been in the crimefighting life for decades. From breaking his moral code to regaining his lost hope in mankind, Ben Affleck’s Batman can be a perfect mentor to a young Barry Allen.
Ben Affleck is DCEU’s Earth-One Batman
Not to discredit Robert Pattinson’s upcoming Batman, but, Ben Affleck is the original Batman of the DC Extended Universe. The reason is quite simple, as Barry Allen fought alongside Affleck’s Batman before exploring the vast multiverse.
According to Andy Muschietti, Ben Affleck plays a vital role in The Flash. Apart from being a mentor, Batfleck will always be the baseline for the Flash.
“He’s the baseline. He’s part of that unaltered state before we jump into Barry’s adventure,” Muschietti said. “There’s a familiarity there.”
Having interacted with Batfleck first, Ezra Miller’s Flash will always need an original timeline to return to, lest leaving the timeline without a Scarlet Speedster to protect Central City. As Ezra Miller also made a cameo in CW’s The Flash, the multiverse surely seems like a wild ride for the future of the DC Extended Universe.
Ben Affleck Is Here To Stay
An unceremonious send-off to one of the best Batman left many fans disappointed. After starting off with a shaky start in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and reprising his role in the widely panned Justice League, Ben Affleck had justifiable reasons to hang up his cowl. To make matters even worse, Affleck had to deal with the divorce with his then-wife Jennifer Garner, which left his emotionally battered. His history of mental depression and alcoholism came back to haunt him again, which was the final nail in the coffin for the beloved Batfleck.
But like the comic-book Batman who came out alive after getting buried in a coffin, the prodigal son has now returned once again as the Dark Knight. As Zack Snyder has confirmed that Ben Affleck’s Batman will be a continuation of his intense and gritty portrayal from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we can hardly wait for the Snyder Cut to release.
Though the DCEU started off with a shaky initiation, later additions like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam!, and Birds of Prey have been gradually shaping up the future of the DCEU in the right direction. To leave a developing franchise with unimaginable potential is not a wise move that Ben Affleck has realized.
Also, recent photos of Ben Affleck are a welcome change as the actor/director now seems much happier and livelier than before. His recent relationship with the talented Ana de Armas seems to be blooming which has brought the much-needed respite to Affleck’s mental health.
As Robert Pattinson is the new Batman who is exploring his initial days of crimefighting, Ben Affleck’s veteran status is a great addition to the DC Extended Universe to explore storylines that need a much experienced and older Dark Knight. As Affleck’s age can be a hindrance to his portrayal of Batman, he can most definitely pass the torch to Pattinson a few years down the line. But for now, Batfleck is here to kick some serious ass!