Perhaps the last best hope for salvaging the sinking ship that is DC’s fumbling film franchise has finally been dashed. This week Ben Affleck announced that while he will remain as star and producer of the upcoming stand-alone adventure The Batman he’s turning over the directing duties to someone else.
“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions. Performing this role demands focus, passion, and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world.”
Pullling out of the director’s chair means, for fans, means that the last best hope for saving a floundering franchise. DC isn’t doing so well. Unlike Disney’s persistently lucrative and always entertaining Marvel series, DC has yet to find a stable footing. Its output thus far has ranged from the bizarre (Green Lantern) to the confusing (Man of Steel) to the downright embarrassing (Batman v Superman). Film after film brings hopes that the next one, the NEXT ONE will be the film that will get DC on its cinematic feet, but every film falls flat on its face. Even Suicide Squad, last summer’s eagerly anticipated anti-hero adventure left audiences shrugging.
Affleck self-induced ouster as director eliminates hopes that a quality director could step in and save the day. He won an Oscar in 2013 for Argo, the year’s Best Picture and he’s directed excellent films like The Town, Gone Baby Gone and the recent underrated Live by Night. It is understandable why he wants to remove himself from the position, but it is dispiriting giving that this dying series needs a sure-footed director.
But, it’s early yet. The Batman has not only has no director, no release date and no script. Meanwhile, Affleck will return as Batman in Justice League which opens November 17.