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What Ben Affleck's Batman Movie Needs To Avoid

We're more than excited by the news that Ben Affleck has written a script for his own standalone Batman movie (via Entertainment Weekly). What's not to love about having another Batman film? Of course, given how much we love the Dark Knight, we're a little worried about what could happen if Affleck's script fails to match our expectations, especially considering Batman v Superman's underwhelming reception. Here's what the former Daredevil's Batman movie needs to avoid in order to be a compelling story set in Gotham. Just a heads up: there are spoilers ahead.

It can't be too serious

Like every other critic on the Internet, we have written extensively about how Batman v Superman was all-too-dreary in its tone. Case in point: even Suicide Squad had to go back for reshoots to make it more enjoyable, out of fear that audiences would reject it the same way they did BvS. If Affleck's Batman script is going to work, the last thing it can be is too serious. Let's be clear: that doesn't mean we need it to be a slapstick comedy.

Some of the things that made Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy so compelling were its tones. But even in the trilogy's darkest moments, Nolan always balanced the mood with appropriate levels of emotion. For every terrifying scene featuring Scarecrow, Joker, or Bane, there was Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon trying to uphold order, Morgan Freeman's Lucius Fox providing technological goodies, or Michael Caine's Alfred Pennyworth offering sound advice. Affleck's best bet at this point would be to rewatch the trilogy and take copious notes. Speaking of Nolan...

It needs to find the right director

Criticisms of Batman v Superman were mostly targeted at its director, Zack Snyder. By this point, Affleck's Batman project should be wary of hiring a director like Snyder, who's gotten far too comfortable doing these types of film. This movie would probably benefit from someone who has stepped away from the genre for a little while and can approach the project with an objective eye. We know what you're thinking: Affleck is a critically acclaimed director. Can't he just direct it? Certainly, he knows how to blend drama and action together, as seen in two of his recent movies, The Town and Argo.

On the other hand, having Affleck take on a project this big might be too much of a risk for his career right now. One false move and it'll be straight back to Gigli. Kenneth Branagh, Jon Favreau, J.J. Abrams, Brad Bird, Christopher McQuarrie, and George Miller could make some solid Batman films, provided they're not too busy.

It needs to forget about Superman

Since Warner Bros. is trying to have the Justice League compete with the Avengers, it's safe to assume that at least one member of the Super Friends will show up in Affleck's Batman movie. If another superhero is joining Batman, can it please not be the Man of Steel? They already caused enough damage, both literally and figuratively, in Batman v Superman. Plus, we'll see them back together in Justice League: Part One. If any Justice League members appear, we hope it's just in a minor capacity. There are still countless Batman comic stories that would make for excellent movies before we start experimenting with other superheroes.

Avoid shoehorning a love interest into the plot

Assuming there actually is one, Affleck needs to be careful about who gets cast as Bruce Wayne's potential love interest. Gal Gadot remains a solid choice as Wonder Woman, but most of our favorite Batman comics don't have any love stories, excluding Harley Quinn and Mr. J. Considering this Batman is in his 40s and spoke with Wonder Woman as if he's previously dealt with Selina Kyle/Catwoman before, then perhaps it's best if Bruce Wayne remains a bachelor who isn't looking. We've seen Catwoman (twice), Talia al Ghul, Vicki Vale, Poison Ivy, and Dr. Chase Meridian (ugh) flirt with the Caped Crusader on the silver screen. It'd be interesting to see Andrea Beaumont on screen, and only if they include the Phantasm. As simple as it sounds, the only thing Bruce Wayne should love is fighting crime.

Don't revisit the origin story

We all know the routine: Bruce Wayne's parents get gunned down in front of him as a child and he grows up to be Batman. Thomas and Martha Wayne have died in Crime Alley so many times that it's tough to even feel bad anymore. It didn't help that Batman v Superman literally opened with Bruce Wayne's parents dying and we had to see it again during the film's climax—that's the last time we ever want to see it. Even when Warner Bros. inevitably recasts someone else as Batman in the future, we hope the origin story gets skipped. Batman doesn't get his origins retold each time a new artist or writer works on the comic, and the same should apply for the actors who don the cowl.

It has to avoid The Joker

Given the overwhelming amount of praise Heath Ledger received for playing The Joker in The Dark Knight, not to mention the legacy he left behind by his untimely death, it's hard to imagine Affleck's script touching that character. Still, it should be especially wary of Mr. J for a different reason: The Joker is already in Suicide Squad. Even if Suicide Squad turns out to be a disaster, Jared Leto's performance is going to receive a lot of attention. The Joker might not even survive, based on how many criminals Batman killed in Dawn of Justice. Let audiences get their Joker fix in Suicide Squad, and let's move on to a different villain in this movie. We'd like to see Hugo Strange, Hush, the Court of Owls, the Red Hood or, as mentioned previously, the Phantasm.