Holy Backlash! Anger Management, Fandom, and Accepting The Batfleck

originalbatbomb

I actually was going to let the whole controversy over Ben Affleck being cast as the Dark Knight in the upcoming Superman vs. Batman film slide without much comment.

Okay …

… so I did have a bit of fun on Twitter at Ben’s expense the night the news broke.

jasontheboywonder

I think I’ve said enough about my dislike of Man of Steel’s dark tone.  I wasn’t even planning on seeing it, but I did end up catching the film as part of a drive-in double bill with World War Z.   I passed on formally reviewing Man of Steel, because talking about that travesty just makes me alternately white-hot-ball-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach angry and depressed.

I could go on and on about it, but I’ll just sum it up by saying there’s a reason why the word ‘Superman’ didn’t appear in the title: because he wasn’t in it.

That hasn’t stopped me from taking the occasional potshot at Man of Steel, but hey, I also mock things I love, too.  I’ll be the first person to point in the mirror and snicker at myself.

For the record, I think Ben’s a fine actor.  Yes, Daredevil was lame, and Affleck really wasn’t a great choice to play Matt Murdock, but that mess can’t really be hung solely on him.

Even if he did publicly state, post-DD, that he found playing a superhero and wearing a costume ‘demeaning’ as a way to distance himself from it.

ddsai

Ben gets practice at having daggers slung at him while wearing a costume.

It is interesting, though, to watch the drama play out across the Interwebs.  Not just the usual “how dare you cast Mr. / Ms. X in that role when clearly my favorite, Mr. / Ms. Y, is the best choice EVER!” outrage, but some truly serious hatred.

Like posting death threats online.

(Which, by the way, to those of you who engaged in such behavior, thanks for making the rest of fandom look bad by proxy.  Some of you clearly need a time out and maybe, after liberal application of a taser, a hug.

It’s only a Batman movie.  Even if it’s completely and mind-blowingly craptastic and involves Bat Credit Cards and molded rubber fetish nipples, the theatre will eventually air out, the stench will clear, and they’ll make more.

Although, if there was EVER a point to prove exactly what kind of audience gets attracted to a Superman who uses lethal force, that would, unfortunately, be it.)

I actively try to steer clear of things that I know are going to irritate me.  I made this vow during a rage-hangover when Before Watchmen was announced, and I spent an ungodly amount of time on message boards expressing my extreme displeasure that Alan Moore’s masterpiece was being trotted out and given the prequel treatment as a blatant cash cow.

What I did, rather than rant and rave further, was to just stop buying comics published by DC, with a few exceptions made for creator-owned works like Steve Niles and Glenn Fabry’s Lot 13, and now Kurt Busiek’s legendary Astro City, which appears under the Vertigo imprint.

I’d prefer that supporting Kurt didn’t involve me also tossing pennies into Warners’ coffers, but on the bright side, at least now DC is actually publishing at least one real honest-to-goodness comic with actual superheroes.

Life’s too short, and there’s too many creative works out there worth celebrating to allow anyone to intentionally push your buttons and draw your ire.

That reaction is understandable.  Fandom is, at its core, about passion.

Unfortunately, that same passion that can inspire acts of unbridled romanticism can also be easily be twisted into a fit of rage when one party feels jilted.

One minute it’s consumer and creators living in marital bliss.

The next, the honeymoon’s over and:

ecrules

I’m not entirely sure the anger over ‘Batfleck’ — or at least all of it — is really about Ben Affleck’s ability to portray the Dark Knight, but more an expression of exasperation over Warner Bros.’ overall mishandling of their stable of icons.

Outside of their animation division, which seems to be the only branch who truly realizes what treasures lie in their possession and consistently produces quality works that feature them, the rest of the entertainment giant seems clueless.

Then again, they’re also smart enough to know how to play fandom like fiddles and ride outrage and disdain to new heights of exposure.

lobo

If there’s any truth to the axiom that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, DC / Warners’ PR folk must be suffering from near orgasmic levels of triumph over the past week — not only did they get the general public to talk non-stop about their upcoming film on nearly every media platform imaginable, but they managed to poke a sharp stick at already sore comic fans in particular with unveiling the New 52 retool (emphasis on the tool) of fan-favorite intergalactic sociopath Lobo.

You know, the ONE character in DC’s stable that should’ve fit right in with the New 52verse without so much as a single wild hair being groomed for a new continuity.

It’s probably a good thing Miley Cyrus twerked out over the weekend and helped nerds keep their minds by losing hers and providing a well-needed distraction.

handitoverwil

Don’t bogart the neuralyzer, Will. I’d like to forget that, too.

Now, I’m not saying that bashing Ben and using him as the rallying poster child of everything that’s wrong about Warners’ lack of strategy with their superheroes is every anti-Afflecker’s true motivation.

Some people just enjoy complaining, and the Internet is like the combo of lightning and chemicals that made Barry Allen into the Flash: b*tching and moaning that breaks the sound barrier.

But, for those who are defending Ben and his unfair treatment at the hand of ill-manned fanboys and fangirls, just remember that he’s also the one who said this:

God help me if I ever do another movie with an explosion in it. If you see me in a movie where stuff is exploding you’ll know I’ve lost all my money.

In light of this revelation, let’s keep calm, accept the Batfleck, and be the bigger men and women by keeping Ben, his wife and kids off the streets.

poorben

— mal

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RELATED POSTS:

The Best There Is At Not Being Nice: Steel Vs. Adamantium

Does the ‘Man of Steel’ Have To Be So Glum and Gloomy?

Green Caesar’s Ghost, Kent!  No Kryptonite in ‘Man of Steel’?!?

Thanks for stopping by Public Domain!
You know who I really feel bad for in all this Batfleck mess?
Poor, ignored Robin.

robincharlie

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