Opinions: Batman versus the evil netizens

Graphic by Jennifer Kwan

The fickle nature of Hollywood makes it a dangerous playground. Those lucky enough to make it past the bullies and claim their spot on the swings of fame must deal with harsh criticism.

More often than not, these self-proclaimed critics overreact and are much too quick to judge. It seems that these days all it takes to be an expert is a Twitter account, a computer and a contract with a local Internet service provider.

When big casting decisions and announcements go down in Hollywood, everyone suddenly knows what works – and what doesn’t – in the business. They haven’t seen the script, they haven’t even seen a promotional trailer but they already dismiss the choice of actor.

It’s one thing to disagree with a casting choice and call it a day, it’s another thing to start a petition to get an actor fired. This is exactly what happened with Ben Affleck after it was announced last week that he would be taking on the role of Batman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, Batman vs. Superman.

The Internet exploded, and #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck was trending in North America, with people saying that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s newborn, North West, would have been a better choice to play the masked vigilante.

A petition was started in order to unmask Affleck and it currently has almost 70,000 signatures. Someone even started a petition and wrote to the White House and the Obama Administration, asking them to make it illegal for the Oscar-winner to play the superhero. The petition was removed, probably because it was asinine.

The casting was a bit of a shock, however it is important to actually give the actor a chance. Affleck played Daredevil back in 2003. The movie as a whole was fairly horrendous, not just his acting. It takes a solid script as well. As Joss Whedon tweeted: “Affleck’ll crush it. He’s got the chops, he’s got the chin – just needs the material. Affleck & Cavill toe to toe — I’m in.”

Affleck has matured and garnered a lot of experience off camera (directing The Town and Argo). Also, those claiming the movie will bomb at the box office because of him are completely unreasonable. First off, it’s a blockbuster superhero movie; it’ll do well money-wise regardless. Also, Ben Affleck’s movies have always done well. In 16 years, the movies in which he has been the lead have made a combined $2.7 billion, according to an article published by Forbes, Aug. 24.

The same backlash occurred when Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. People took to the Internet to vent, saying that he was no Jack Nicholson. Ledger went on to give an outstanding performance, for which he garnered a posthumous Academy Award.

Movie executives are damned if they do and dammed if they don’t. Audiences often call for fresh and new ideas in film because they feel like movies are being regurgitated.

However, when these new ideas arrive, fanboys and fangirls come out in angry droves. It’s another way of proving that people are afraid of what they aren’t familiar with.

Social media is just a game of who screams the loudest, it’s a distorted reality of popular opinion. Their slogan should be “Make sure to keep your seething, irrational hate for something you haven’t seen yet under 140 characters.”

With the news of Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston being cast as Lex Luthor, fans have a lot to look forward to. People shouldn’t be too quick to judge. With an interesting cast, and a smart man like Affleck taking on one of the main roles, this project has a lot of potential. Don’t worry, Boston’s got this one.

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