Not everybody cares for Kevin Smith anymore, and that's cool, I have my issues with his movies nowadays, too. But I respect his opinion both as a filmmaker and as a comic book fanboy of the highest order. When he's got positive stuff to say about a movie he's seen parts of early, we tend to listen, and so we should listen when he offers his views on why Ben Affleck dropped out of directing The Batman. For one thing, he and Affleck are buds, or former buds I guess, and Smith knows what it's like having that kind of pressure to appease everyone on your shoulders.
On his latest podcast, Smith revealed why he thinks Affleck decided to simply act in the superhero film, and basically it breaks down to impossible-to-reach expectations...
Let’s talk about why? Why would this happen? I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to him in years, but here’s my take on it. Here’s my hot take. What’s the upshot? Seriously. Everybody wants that to be the greatest Batman movie ever made, and you know, in many cases, maybe the greatest Batman movie ever made has been made, called The Dark Knight, it’s a pretty wonderful film. If that’s your bar for a Batman standalone, Chris Nolan couldn’t even measure up to himself with The Dark Knight Rises. I liked it but it wasn’t received nearly as well. Let’s be honest like that Joker portrayal is for the ages. Fucking beyond brilliant and shit.
It’s a tall order man, so maybe he’s the kind of guy who’s just like ‘why bother?’ Why am I going to step up to the plate, no matter what I do people are going to bitch? If it ain’t fucking The Dark Knight, I’m fucked, but if I’m just acting in it, my name’s Paul and this is between ya’ll, I’m just the Bat, that’s it. The guy or girl tells me what to do and go and so you got a beef with the movie? Talk to these motherfuckers. That’s easier. That’s an easier life. You don’t have to sit there and take the slings and arrows.
Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good theory to me. But I think Affleck wouldn't have dropped out if the reaction to Live by Night had been better. That had a very obvious effect on him, because normally I think he's used to the slings and arrows that come with being a director.
Smith also says he thinks the DCEU should do something different with Batman, like go the Star Wars route of dropping a movie every single year. That would leave room for others to interpret the character as they see fit...
“Get on that schedule,” Smith said, “and throw him around to everybody! … Just make a bunch! Make that [kung fu] one, make a ridiculously expensive one, make one in space… make Justice League Dark. Every year, there needs to be a Batman movie.”
Not sure I agree with that take, but it's an interesting idea. Check out the podcast below.