Ben Affleck’s Darker Batman Always Fit His DCEU Backstory

Ben Affleck’s Batman may seem more violent and a lot darker than other iterations of the Caped Crusader in movies, but his grim portrayal of the Dark Knight is a perfect fit for the superhero’s tragic backstory in the DCEU. Unlike Robert Pattinson and Christian Bale’s Batman, who use controlled fear to fight crime in Gotham, Ben Affleck’s Batman lets fear consume him and allows it to morph into anger and blinding hate. As a result, Affleck’s Batman almost comes off as a criminal who mindlessly goes on a warpath against Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. While it is debatable whether Snyder-verse’s Batman ranks among the vigilante’s best portrayal’s on the big screen, he undoubtedly has the most intriguing and narratively relevant backstories.

Batman’s recurring origin story, which begins with his parents’ death, remains the same for Affleck’s Batman, but what makes his past relatively bleaker is his implied history with Robin and the Joker. By showing Batman remorsefully looking at Robin’s graffiti-ridden suit, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice suggests that Batman’s sidekick Robin was murdered by his archenemy, Joker. This seemingly trivial revelation becomes essential to Batman’s characterization as it affirms why Affleck’s version is so cold and skeptical about Superman’s motives. It establishes that in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s opening scenes, Affleck’s Bruce Wayne sees a reflection of himself when Superman destroys Gotham before killing Zod and starts hating him because he blames and hates himself for letting Robin die.

Superman’s tragic death towards the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice contrasts that of Robin’s and pushes Ben Affleck’s Batman past a tipping point that makes him confront his dark outlook. Owing to its significance in Batman’s catharsis in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the dark Robin backstory is an ingenious addition to the Caped Crusader’s DCEU past, but its execution lacks enough heft for it to be wholly noticeable. The Knightmare arc from Zack Snyder’s Justice League does an incredible job at establishing Batman and Superman as heroes of their own respective narratives, but its Joker scene still glosses over Robin’s backstory and the vital role it plays in pulling Batman back from the brink of self-destruction. If DCEU had been a little less subtle with Batman’s dark past with Robin and the Joker, Batman’s rite of passage would have had more gravity.

Ben Affleck will be reprising his role as Batman in The Flash alongside Micheal Keaton’s version of the Caped Crusader. However, before that, Affleck’s Batman will also be a part of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’s superhero roster. The likely reason behind this is that The Flash will use its multiverse storylines to seamlessly make Michael Keaton’s Batman DCEU canon while giving Ben Affleck a narratively sensible swansong from the franchise. Ben Affleck was not initially a part of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, but since the movie is releasing after The Flash, it makes more sense for him to remain Batman before he passes the torch to Michael Keaton.

Although Ben Affleck’s long-term future in the DCEU seems uncertain, he is still the franchise’s primary Batman for now. The introduction of parallel universes in The Flash could make room for crossovers and cameos, which could reinstate Ben Affleck in the franchise. Or, with Batgirl’s cancelation, it is possible that Michael Keaton’s Batman will be more of a secondary legacy character, while Affleck’s version will remain DCEU’s leading Dark Knight. Considering how DCEU’s The Flash will explore multiverse crossovers and cameos, there seem to be endless possibilities to where Ben Affleck’s Batman will find his place in the grand scheme.