×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The real reason Ben Affleck needs to get out of his Batman contract

Oh, Ben Affleck, how we love you for what you've given to the Batman role. Now, it's time for you to leave.

Seriously, as great and character-defining as Affleck's performance was in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, his investment in the caped crusader has clearly declined. This phenomenon can be evidenced by his unenthusiastic efforts in Suicide Squad and Justice League, his diminishing smile-count throughout DCEU press junkets, and the constant speculation that he and Warner Bros. are having relationship troubles. All of this not-so-good news begs the question: why should Affleck stay on as the Batman, when it's clearly not doing him a whole lot of good?

The answer is simple: he shouldn't. Affleck will no doubt be remembered as a worthy Batman and one of the better actors to have worn the cowl, but it's time for him to hang it up and pass it onto the next guy in line. Why, dear readers, do we posit such a strong claim? Because the evidence is right in front of us — or, in this case, below. Scroll down and read on to find out why Ben Affleck needs to get out of his Batman contract, ASAP.

His DCEU movies are critical failures

Let's face it: Batman v Superman's and Justice League's critical receptions probably aren't helping Ben Affleck's overall artistic morale, what with him waking up every morning to green spalts on Rotten Tomatoes. Seriously, even Suicide Squad, in which he only made a cameo appearance, tanked harshly with critics. That's three strikes, for those of you doing the math at home. Given that the only two other movies he's done during his time as Batman (The Accountant and Live by Night) both scored the rotten label as well, maybe it'd be best if Ben Affleck dropped out of the Batman role, took some time off, and waited to get in a better headspace, so that he might snag a project that turns his critical trajectory around. After all, no one wants to be known as the guy that's consistently bad at pleasing critics, and Affleck can only coast off his older victories (Gone Girl, Argo, The Town) for so long.

His performance is suffering

As we said before, artistic morale has likely been plumbing new depths in Affleck's soul, and this unfortunate byproduct of poor critical reception has manifested itself in bad performances. Sure, for Suicide Squad, Affleck only appeared briefly, so who cares if he was a little flat there. And Batman v Superman had all sorts of issues, so maybe we can give Affleck a pass for that one. Thus, to be fair, let's analyze his outing as the caped crusader in Justice League, where we're all out of excuses to give.

"Ben Affleck is unrelaxed and ill-at-ease in the role of Batman/Bruce, unconvincing in both the bat armour and the three-piece suit of the wealthy plutocrat ... Affleck spreads a pall of dullness over the film," shouts The Guardian's official review. Yeesh. "Affleck's performance is barely passable," claims Polygon. Oof. Heck, even we could see Ben Affleck's tired, deflated performance when watching; it's not like the man was doing much to hide it. He's clearly not overjoyed with the role. Maybe it's just subconscious unhappiness that's slipping through the cracks and onto his face throughout Justice League. After all, between Batman and his personal life, Affleck's at a pretty rough juncture. Maybe forfeiting the cowl would lighten the load currently weighing heavy on his shoulders.

His biggest Batman opportunity is already behind him

What's the point of sticking around at your day job if you actively refuse not one, but two promotions? As mind-boggling as it is, that's what Affleck's done with his — well, formerly his — Batman movie. At first, he was slated to direct, write and star in the film, essentially assuming total creative control over Batman's next big solo outing. Yet, as time went on, he started rejecting these positions. First, he dropped out of directing the film. Then, it became known he wouldn't be retooling his old script for new director Matt Reeves. After that, rumors began circulating that he wouldn't even star in the flick. Even if we dismiss that last item, given its rumor status, there is no getting around the picture that the former two announcements paint: Affleck is disenchanted with the role.

Think about it: after Batman v Superman, Affleck signed on for all of those creative positions in order to churn out a Batman film that critics would love. That was the goal, and a good sign that he still believed in the character, if not the talent behind it. By forfeiting the project's most important roles, however, he's saying that he doesn't care and just wants to do something else. What caused this change of tune? While we can speculate that it was the failure of Live by Night, no one knows for sure. What we do know is that Justice League's reception probably only further cemented his mysterious reasons for giving up on Batman and Warner Bros., reasons that should signal it's high time for him to quit.

They can't fire him if he quits

With rumors circulating that the next Batman movie's director is more interested in actors besides Ben Affleck for the role of the Dark Knight, the future looks grim for Affleck's days at Warner Bros. Speaking of WB, the company seems to have soured on him, if recent claims and insider rumors are to be believed. At first glance, this may sound like drama-mining, but put the puzzle pieces together, and it sheds light on a bigger truth: the director of Batman's next big solo outing does not, if the rumors are to believed, want Ben Affleck.

This director is Matt Reeves, a guy who's just finished one of the most successful trilogies in recent memory. We'd be silly to discount his wants, given that he's probably got some pretty big clout at the moment. On a similar thread, Warner Bros.' higher-ups call the shots at the end of the day, and if they decide one morning that Reeves is more important than Affleck, bam! Affleck's gone. All it takes is a snap of one executive's fingers and we'll all have a new Batman.

With these two things in mind, it's quite evident that Affleck's career at WB hangs in the balance by a very thin thread. Why tolerate that uncertainty, then, when he can leave on his own terms? That's why we're advocating for Affleck to quit, before he can be fired. If nothing else, it looks better, feels better, and projects strength.

Other people want the role more

With the rumors that Matt Reeves wants someone else to be Batman, coupled with Warner Bros.' reportedly ever-souring mood towards Affleck, we arrive at our next point in the case of why Affleck needs to get out of Dodge — er, Gotham: his competition.

Over the past few months, we've been hearing some crazy stuff. Jon Hamm is apparently gunning hard for the role, and he's no pushover, given that his Mad Men tenure proves he could absolutely handle the Bruce Wayne side of the equation. Then there's the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, who's rumored to be on Reeves' personal shortlist for the role. These are both powerhouse actors. With that lineup considered, who's going to win Warner Bros.' heart: a phoning-it-in Affleck or an all-in Hamm or Gyllenhaal? The answer is pretty obvious, which is why this is one more drop of fuel for the fire that says Affleck should bow out before he gets burned.

The money just isn't worth it

Affleck needs to get out of the Batman role if for no other reason than to regain some dignity and belief in his self-worth. This is a guy who's won two Oscars, for crying out loud: one for Best Picture in 2013 and one for Best Writing in 1998, both of which remain signifiers of his ability to masterfully deliver stories. Yet here we are, watching him dress up in bulky spandex in order to yell "Martha?!" at the top of his lungs. What's happened to the Ben Affleck we once knew and loved?

The cold, hard, truth of the matter is that no amount of cash can fix the fact that he's an Oscar winner who's embarrassing himself by being in bad comic book flicks. These things might be lucrative (for the time being, that is), but in no world does that mean they're worth the price of his self-respect. Seriously, Affleck. Just go back to having some pride in what you do as a storyteller. Please.

It's made him a meme

If not for his dignity, Ben Affleck needs to leave the role of Batman before he accidentally makes another meme of himself. Seriously, can you picture if Justice League 2 or The Batman turns out as rough as the past two Batman outings he's had? Think of all the meme-bait those promotional tours might produce. More wistful shots of Affleck staring off into the abyss while Henry Cavill remains upbeat in the face of critical failure, maybe? Perhaps another off-the-cuff #MeToo joke from Affleck? Who knows what he's liable to do, if given more time on the DCEU's awkward press junkets. For both Warner Bros.' sake as well as his own, he needs to dip out of the role before he's forced out of it, thanks to his penchant for creating odd-teetering-on-bad publicity.

In summary, folks, remember: if only one thing is true in this world, it's that the internet never forgets; and, by extension, memes are forever. That's a lesson Ben Affleck has learned, thanks in no small part to his time as the caped crusader.

Getting out of the contract would free him up to do other projects

Remember the good old days, back when Ben Affleck would give life to award-winning creative endeavors like Good Will Hunting, The Town, and Argo? Back in the day, he used to show range via his projects; he used to diversify himself. Things were always fresh with Affleck. Would he direct his next movie? Write it? Star in it? Or maybe even tackle some combo of all three positions? We, the audience, could never guess! Now, however, we can: we can guess that he'll be hiding behind the makeup-laced cowl of Batman, his obligations to the caped crusader robbing us of the many projects he could be tackling instead.

Since signing on as Batman in 2013, Affleck's spearheaded Live by Night, starred in The Accountant and Gone Girl, and is currently gearing up for Witness for the Prosecution. The former two weren't exactly home-runs for the guy, meaning that Witness for the Prosecution will be his first chance at an original success since he signed on as Batman all those years ago. That's a lot of time as the Dark Knight and not a whole lot of success to show for it. Maybe if he ditched Batman and went back to pumping out award-season smash hits, he'd be happier. Heck, maybe we would be, too.

It's nothing more than bad memories

If Affleck is to regain some joy and pride in his artistic career, he needs a fresh start, and that begins with ending his nightmarish run as Batman. Just look at the suffering WB has made Affleck endure, during his tenure as the caped crusader: he's been forced to lie through his teeth in interviews in order to assure audiences that "we've got it right this time," he's had to explain WB's bad behavior in regards to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's existence, he's had to do all kinds of things in order to keep the powers that be satisfied. And look at how he's shouted during Comic-Con about loving the role, only to have his own brother, but a few weeks later, publicly speculate that he still wants out.

Affleck's trying to cover up emotional and mental bruises with makeup, but, at the end of the day, the facade's not working. We can all see that this Batman gig has not reaped the rewards for him that most speculated it would, be it in the forms of critical or commercial success. Instead, it's been a dud of a career choice, and we've been forced to suffer through years of hearing Affleck silently cry for help. At this point, Affleck needs to leave everything related to the Batman behind so he can start a fresh chapter in life.