Batman is one of the most popular fictional characters in history. Since the year 2000, the most notable actors to portray the Caped Crusader have been Christian Bale and Ben Affleck. Many fans often debate who played the best version of the character, and while both of them are generally loved in their respective roles, it is no secret that Affleck's experience as the Dark Knight didn't go as smoothly as he would have liked it.
2016 marked the year of one of the most highly anticipated comic book movies of all time - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
While the film didn't fully resonate with viewers, it did introduce Affleck's Batman. The end of the movie served as a setup for the DCEU's first Justice League movie that would be released in 2017 and be directed by Zack Snyder. Snyder tragically had to step away from the project, and instead, Warner Bros. brought on Joss Whedon to come up with the final product.
In the eyes of both the fans and the actors, Justice League was a disaster, and with Snyder no longer in the picture, many thought that the film would mark the end of Affleck's Bruce Wayne. However, in 2021, he got to return to the franchise with Zack Snyder's Justice League and was even confirmed to have one final role in 2022's Flash movie.
Now, being able to reflect on his time as Batman, Affleck has recently talked about his struggles with the character on a deeper level, and how he even decided to quit at one point.
Ben Affleck Wanted to Quit Batman
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Batman actor Ben Affleck sat down to talk to fellow actor and friend Matt Damon, who played alongside each other in Ridley Scott's latest film, The Last Duel.
In the sit-down, Affleck briefly touched on his experience as Batman, specifically in 2016's Justice League, and how it was a "nadir experience" for him. The actor stated that "a lot of things happened" to the point where he "didn't like being there," and also admitted that at one point he was done with the character altogether:
"I had a really nadir experience around Justice League for a lot of different reasons. Not blaming anybody, there's a lot of things that happened. But really what it was is that I wasn't happy. I didn't like being there. I didn't think it was interesting. And then some really s---ty things, awful things happened. But, that's when I was like, I'm not going to do that anymore."
Affleck went on to reveal that Damon was a "principal influence" on his decision to hang up the cape, and also mentioned how he just wanted to work on projects that made him happy:
"In fact, I talked to you about it and you were a principal influence on that decision. I want to do the things that would bring me joy. Then we went and did Last Duel and I had fun every day on this movie. I wasn't the star, I wasn't likable. I was a villain. I wasn't all the things I thought I was supposed to be when I started out and yet it was a wonderful experience. And it was all just stuff that came along that I wasn't chasing."
The Batman actor did have some worries after leaving the character due to some of the negativity that came with it. He claimed that he sometimes will "live in fear" when preparing for another film, but he feels that he is in a good place now:
"My only thing is that now I live in fear every time I do another movie, I'm like, 'Do I still feel that, am I still good?' I'm afraid it's going to go away, you know? 'Cause it's elusive. But I'm happy now. I'm feeling it now. And I do think I've gotten better. I think people generally get better with the age and experience—"
Damon then chimed in by saying "Some (people) might not (get better with age and experience). They might get in really bad, corrosive habits." Affleck added that his "friendship" with Damon helped him through the hardships and is ultimately thankful for their relationship:
"If you're smart, you learn from people who are really good. And I think our friendship helped kind of inculcate that knowledge in me. We were very generous and open with stuff. Being around other people that you liked and respected and were smart just made you better."
The Bat is Hanging it Up
It is sad to hear that Ben Affleck had such a negative experience while filming Justice League. It is not surprising, however, due to other actors talking about the same type of troubles with the film such as Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot and Cyborg actor Ray Fisher.
From a fan perspective, Affleck was the embodiment of the character. Many actors that have donned the mask over the years have been praised as a good Batman or a good Bruce Wayne, but Affleck was one of the few that seemed to have nailed both sides. He always put maximum effort into the role and it is a shame that he not only had the desire to leave the character but also that he didn't get to do more with him.
Seeing Affleck come back to film scenes for Zack Snyder's Justice League was heartwarming for many fans, and thankfully, viewers will get one more appearance from him in 2022's Flash movie. Hopefully, Affleck and his version of Batman will get a proper send-off.