Last night news broke of Ben Affleck as the new Batman. Like many sources, I rushed to blog about it. What I was not expecting was to see just how bananas the entire Internet would go about this. This got me thinking…
On the direct topic of the casting: Let me start with a couple of names. Keanu Reeves. Heath Ledger. When the Matrix came out people had a hard time watching it because he was the dude from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. When Ledger was announced as the Joker the internet responded with “Him? The pretty boy from “A Knight’s Tale”?” or “Why? Do they want him to make out with Batman?”
The funny thing is that nobody questions those castings anymore. The Matrix definitely showed that Reeves has the acting chops to handle an action movie and Ledger’s portrayal as the Joker is one of the most chilling villain performances in cinema. But if fans had their way, neither would have happened.
“Daredevil” was a decade ago. “Armageddon” was 15 years ago.
“Argo” was last year. “Gone Baby Gone” was 6. Both have received high praise and lots of awards.
Affleck’s recent work has been some of the best of his career yet all we seem interested in is the “Gigli” era. Ben has shown himself to be a talented director and actor and that culminated with “Argo” last year which was one of the year’s best films.
So this is where I say “take a nap, Internet. You’re cranky.”
This also leads to another thought: We as a culture have a unique love with the underdog and comeback story. We love those stories. Sort of.
We enjoy the story of Keanu going from shouting “Excellent!” to declaring “I know Kung Fu.” We love the stories on ESPN of people overcoming high odds to play the sport they love. But these people have already made it. Listen to one of those ESPN stories and you’ll hear about all the doubters along the way who told them they were too old, not good enough, or fast enough.
Now that they’re on the other side of their goal, we celebrate and think the naysayers were dumb for doubting. But we do the same. A lot.
Whether it is Ben Affleck, the MMA fighter coming out of retirement, or your friend who is trying to better themselves after the age of 30, why are we so focused on tearing down and doubting? Why are we so focused on the failures of others even when the failures are years or even decades old?
Personally, I believe the way that God wants us to behave is to speak life into others. No, I don’t mean that you need to call Ben and give him 5 minutes of positive affirmation. But there is likely someone in our lives that we are doubting. What would happen if we flipped the negative script and spoke life into them? Told them that they were created in the image of God and that He is able to do amazing things through them?
I realize that many will never be ok with Ben as Bruce Wayne and that is fine but what I think we need to take away from this is that we shouldn’t apply the same kind of doubt and skepticism to the very people we can have an influence on.
It has the power to change a life.
It’s just not likely to be into Ben Affleck’s. But I think he’s going to be fine anyway.