Ben Affleck’s first outing as Batman was tainted by the unfortunate mess that was Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Affleck, considering the circumstances, was actually pretty good! But with stilted dialogue and some seriously ill-conceived action set pieces, you’d be forgiven for fogetting. Some fans were also disturbed by Batman’s use of lethal force in the film, a creative decision that broke from Batman’s thou-shalt-not-kill ethos.
But according to Batfleck himself, we should expect a whole new take on the Caped Crusader in the upcoming superhero mash-up, Justice League. Despite the fact that the film takes place in the same cinematic universe as its predecessor, Affleck insists that this version of Batman is “very different from the tenor of the last movie.”
Well, duh. If Bruce Wayne has any hopes of convincing Wonder Woman, Cyborg, The Flash and Aquaman to come together in the name of the greater good, he’s going to have to let go of some the rage that fueled his actions in BvS.
That shift in tone is pretty evident in all the Justice League trailers so far. DC was intent on dropping the doom-and-gloom that hung over BvS like storm cloud, in favor of a more irreverent approach, similar to that of the Avengers. That shift starts with Batman, who as the trailers suggest, is now as adept at cracking wise as he is at breaking skulls.
“BvS departed a little bit from the traditional Batman,” Affleck told Entertainment Weekly. “He started out with all this rage directed at Superman, because of his coworkers who had died in the fight Superman had with Zod.” Affleck explained that instead of angry and irrational Batman, the Justice League version will be a more “traditional” version.
“He’s heroic. He does things in his own way, but he wants to save people, help people,” Affleck said. “This is more in keeping with the canon of how Batman’s usually been portrayed, and how he’s portrayed vis a vis the Justice League in the comic. This is more the Batman you would find if you opened up your average Batman comic book.”
Part of that shift can likely be attributed to the hiring of Joss Whedon, who came on board to fill in for director Zack Snyder, after his daughter’s untimely death forced him to leave the production.
Whedon—who has two Avengers movies under his belt—has been charged with retooling Justice League in a way that abandons the relentlessly grim tone of Batman v Superman in favor of something more along the lines of Wonder Woman.
While Batman has never been one for banter, this new look might serve both he and Affleck well. There has been a lot of speculation ast to whether or not Affleck will anchor Matt Reeves’ upcoming standalone trilogy (Casey Affleck recently said he won’t be). Part of that may be because DC wants a fresh start from what has been a less than ideal rollout of the latest iteration of its marquee superhero. But if Justice League performs well and Affleck shine as this new-look Batman, the cape and cowl might be his to wear for years to come.