How Ben Affleck's Batman Is Worse Than Christian Bale's

The dust has settled, and not one but two fictional cities lay in ruins along, possibly, with the dreams of a workable franchise and expanded universe. In the aftermath of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, people are taking stock of what, if any, progress was made between evil genius Zach Snyder's Man of Steel and his follow-up effort. Much of the former film is still present in the latter. Dark, washed-out color palette? Check. Self-seriousness on steroids? Check. No signs of heroism in a superhero movie? (Sadly) Check.

Some moviegoers have been looking for a ray of sunshine from this movie, so they've decided that Ben Affleck's portrayal of the new Batman fits the bill. Of course, anyone who put on the cowl has to go through gauntlet of comparisons of all those who came before: Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and lest we forget the animated versions voiced by Kevin Conroy and Diederich Bader. But since Bale's Batman is the most recent film portrayal prior to Batfleck and his world is the most "gritty/realistic" there are those who argue that Affleck's Batman is superior to Bale's. To that we say, pump your Bat-breaks.

Batman doesn't kill people, his guns do

Okay, first thing's first. Batman doesn't use guns. His origin story, re-shot ad nauseam by every director who attempts to depict the Dark Knight, very clearly lays out the reason why. As a trauma survivor of gun violence, Batman hones his body and mind over a lifetime to become the ultimate weapon to defeat crime. Batman doesn't need weapons because he is the weapon. Bale's Batman is the epitome of this characteristic. After failing to kill his parents' murderer with a handgun, he escapes Gotham to find himself. We see him train with freaking ninjas in a secret mountain temple, and forswear not just guns, but killing in general. Affleck's Batman uses guns pretty freely throughout Dawn of Justice, completely undermining the entire basis of his origin and a large part of the Batman mythology. In Affleck's version, Batman is less avenging spirit of vengeance and more armchair vigilante.

The Dumb Knight

Though Batman v Superman's villain, Lex Luthor, is supposed to be one of the smartest man on Earth, the guy whose name is in the movie's title is supposed to be the World's Greatest Detective. However, Affleck's Batman is not too bright when it comes to dealing with everything that happens in the movie. From the start, Affleck is obsessed with the idea of destroying Superman, even though the world seems to have come around on the idea of a super-powered alien who flies and shoots lasers from his eyes and breaks bad guys' necks. Instead of straight up trying to murder Superman, wouldn't it make more sense to find out more about him, like Lex does? Maybe if he had a giant, cave-based supercomputer he could piece together who this man of tomorrow really is and try to understand what he wants to accomplish. Or maybe just send him an email or something. Instead, Affleck's Batman is all about punching first, shooting second, and not even bothering to ask a question...because why bother, right? Bale's Batman at least used superhero science on a few occasions to figure out who a bad guy was or where he might be hiding or where he might turn up next. Affleck's Batman can't be bothered with thinking at all.

Bruce Wayne - American Psycho

Now some of you may say, "But wait, Affleck really shined in his portrayal of Bruce Wayne." Again, in a movie as dark and dull as Batman v Superman, any ray of sunshine or modicum of charisma is a breath of fresh air. Affleck's Bruce was decent, but it doesn't trump Bale's. Bale's version of Bruce as an entitled, spoiled rich kid who is completely absorbed with the idea of driving fast cars and dating beautiful women is the perfect cover for his career as a man obsessed with the idea of destroying criminality by punching it in the face repeatedly. Bale's Batman plays the character of "Bruce Wayne" because Wayne is the mask hiding the character's true identity of Batman. It would be a difficult leap to think that Bale's Bruce could also be Bale's Batman. Affleck's Bruce, on the other hand, is just as ruthless and obsessed as Batman because Affleck's Bruce is always Batman. It would be a much easier jump to see how a sad, angry loner with lots of money might get his kicks off of brutalizing the criminally insane.

All he has to do is dream

Oh boy, the dreams! Affleck's Batman has so many dreams, and each is less interesting than the one that came before him. There's the magic realism of being carried out a well by bats. Then there's the dream where he has some desert-themed commando adventure (get the action figure, kids) crossed with a sadomasochistic fantasy featuring Superman, which turns out to be a dream within a dream (yeesh) where he's being warned by the Flash about something that may or may not happen. When Bale's Batman has a dream, it's because he has been exposed to a weaponized neurotoxin—like superheroes are supposed to be.