Ben Affleck hints at Deathstroke clash in new Batman movie

DC fans stoke the rumour mill after actor tweets test footage of the super-assassin on a big-screen set


Batman standalone: Will the Joker appear in Ben Affleck's film?

22 April 2016

Despite the bad reviews for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, DC Comics announced this week that it has greenlit a standalone Batman film written, directed by and starring Ben Affleck.

Even though there is no production schedule nor release date yet, fans are already speculating over what the superhero flick will be about, including the tantalising prospect that it might pit Batman against Jared Leto as the Joker.

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Cinema site Screen Rant has put together its wish list of what may be in store.

The Joker

Whether Leto measures up to Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson's accomplished portrayals of Batman's arch-nemesis is yet to be seen, but fans are looking forward to a proper showdown between the two tormented souls.

"While Jared Leto's Joker doesn't necessarily need to be the main antagonist of Affleck's Batman, it'd be hard to get away with not featuring him in some capacity," Screen Rant says.

A smaller Gotham

After the scale and bombast of Batman v Superman, fans hope Affleck will bring things back down to Earth, with a smaller story that takes place in a less "epic" Gotham.

"Affleck has shown skill at directing taut, minimalistic crime thrillers with Gone Baby Gone and The Town," the site says. "First and foremost, Affleck's Batman should be a crime story that explores the Dark Knight's continuing war on a superstitious and cowardly lot of crooks."

Some suggest the entire film may be set in Arkham Asylum, the infamous hospital that often houses the Joker.

Actual detective work

As Screen Rant notes, Batman is not actually possessed of any super powers, rather he is a Sherlock Holmes type, albeit dressed in Lycra.

"Simply put, if Batman isn't the world's greatest detective, a master strategist one step ahead of every opponent and one of the most brilliant minds alive, he doesn't have much to offer the Justice League (aside from his trust fund)."

Why Batman v Superman star refuses to watch his own film

15 April

Actor Jesse Eisenberg has revealed that he has never watched himself in any of his on-screen roles, including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

"I cocoon myself to such a silly degree," the actor told The Times. "I don't see the movies I'm in. I don't read any of the notices."

However, this only stretches so far when it comes to criticism. "You sometimes get a sense or something leaks through," he said.

Eisenberg's practice of avoiding all critical commentary on his films stems from his early days acting, he said.

"My background is in theatre. When reviews come out you still have the entire play to do. It is not easy to go on stage – even if you get good reviews – because you've now become self-conscious. So, it's just not in my nature. In theatre, no one reads reviews, good or bad. That's etiquette."

The 32-year-old also appeared to distance himself from the recent criticism of Batman v Superman.

"Look, my job is so narrow. Because I am in the movie and you see my face, I seem like I may be an ambassador for it. I am proud of what I got to do in it and of the work of all my colleagues, but because I don't watch the movies and engage with the objective scrutiny, I guess I feel kind … Unaware? Uninterested?" he said.

Speaking to the Daily Beast earlier this month, Eisenberg also revealed the thinking behind his portrayal of evil genius Lex Luthor.

"He thinks of himself as a humanitarian and as the last hope to save his race," he said.

"In my mind as an actor, only doing my scenes, only saying my lines, he's a hero. And that's the way to play a character like that. Of course, you can certainly play it as just evil… but that's less interesting and I don't know how to do that."

Batman solo film starring Ben Affleck confirmed by Warner Bros

13 April

Ben Affleck will star in his own upcoming Batman movie, the chief executive of Warner Bros has announced.

After announcing the studio will have "at least ten" DC Comics movies arriving in the next five years, Kevin Tsujihara confirmed the long-rumoured superhero project at ComicCon in Last Vegas yesterday.

"We're working with Ben Affleck on a standalone Batman movie," Tsujihara said.

Rumours the actor would get his own superhero film "have been going almost since he was cast in the role," says, with many analysts speculating that he will not just star in the film, but will also write and direct it.

That rumour was supported by Patrick Whitesell, the chief executive of talent agency William Morris Endeavor, who said: "There's a script [Affleck]'s written that's a really cool [Batman] idea."

According to, the script will be co-written by Geoff Johns, chief creative officer of DC Entertainment.

"Geoff Johns is a brilliant guy," Affleck said last month. "He and I are working together on something and I really am excited about it and I love him. He's the best."

No date has yet been set for the film's production or release.

Batman v Superman: Will director's cut be released in cinemas?

12 April

Warner Bros may release a mammoth three-hour R-rated director's cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in cinemas, if speculation is to be believed.

Heroic Insider claims the move, described as a "hot rumour", could help boost the beleaguered blockbuster's global takings.

The production company is yet to confirm the news and continues to insist it is pleased with the film's box office performance, despite current projections which indicate it won't actually turn a profit.

"We're not concerned with the drop [in takings]. No matter how you slice it, to get to $52m [£36m] on any given weekend is an enormous accomplishment. We're most focused on where we are in total and our global number is huge," Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros' domestic distribution chief, told The Hollywood Reporter.

In the extended cut, director Zack Snyder has added the additional characters who didn't make it to the theatrical version, such as actress Jenna Malone's mystery character, believed to be commissioner's daughter Barbara Gordon. There are also additional surprises, including one "that speaks to what's going to go on in the greater Justice League universe", the director told ScreenRant.

But the question remains as to whether another Dawn of Justice release would create the audience numbers Warner Bros so desperately crave, says ScreenCrush.

"It would be doubly embarrassing for the studio to release this big, long version of Batman v Superman in theatres and no one shows up to see it," says the website.

"It might be a safer play to just call it a day and let audiences who really liked the film catch up with the Ultimate Edition at home" they add.

This would also have the added effect of allowing the production company to focus its theatrical efforts on Suicide Squad, which comes out in August.

Batman v Superman: Will box office decline affect future DC films?

07 April

Despite Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice taking a huge $422.5m (£300m) worldwide on its opening weekend, the film has since seen a huge decline in takings.

The Zack Snyder blockbuster saw a 69 per cent drop in ticket sales, a feat beaten only by 2003's mega-flop, Hulk.

The $1bn (£710m) global takings mark, which seemed a certainty after the opening weekend, now looks in serious threat of not materialising.

Gitesh Pandya, the founder of Box Office Guru website, has predicted a worldwide final of around $900m (£638m), around twice the amount of the film's rumoured $400m+ budget.

The reason for the relatively poor performance lies in the lack of repeat viewings from super fans, says box office expert Bruce Nash.

"The people who are the core audience aren't going back and seeing it the second weekend in the way that people did with Star Wars and did with The Dark Knight and some of these other franchise films [that] have people that will go see them two, three, four times," he said.

The decline in takings has also reportedly left bosses wondering what can be done to boost the performance of the Justice League films, which also have Snyder at the helm.

Hollywood Reporter has the inside scoop, with one well-placed Warner Bros source suggesting there were no plans to replace the director.

"Naturally, we will evaluate what went wrong with Batman v Superman, but when it comes to Justice League, we're not going to take a movie that's supposed to be one thing and turn it into a copycat of something else," the source added.

This has been interpreted as steely resolve by the production company to plough on with current arrangements rather than try to emulate competitors.

"That seems to be Warner Bros saying they're not going to suddenly try to make their comic book movies more like Marvel's, though they likely wish they were having their kind of success," says Slash Film.

Gizmodo is less charitable, calling the plans to keep Snyder "mind-blowingly insane".

It adds: "Zack Snyder has the same carte blanche to make Justice League, even after failing to turn the first-ever movie starring three of the biggest, most popular superheroes in the world, into a film that analysts believe won't even make a billion dollars worldwide."

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice first reviews pit fans against critics

23 March

As the first reviews emerge for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there is a new fight in town: critics v fans.

While there have been some scathing comments from the press, fans reportedly love director Zack Snyder's film, which sees a vigilante Batman travel to Metropolis to try to rein in Superman's power.

The follow-up to 2013's Man of Steel features a starry cast, with Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill returning as Superman and Amy Adams and Diane Lane as Lois Lane and Martha Kent respectively. Gal Gadot also appears as Wonder Woman.

It's the first live-action film to feature both superheroes and live-action portrayals of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg.

Dawn of Justice has received all the hype associated with blockbuster releases, but early reaction from critics has been underwhelming.

Marvel can rest easy, says Robbie Collin in the Daily Telegraph. Snyder's superhero spectacle is "a meat-headed, humourless mess that squanders its cast and makes little sense".

He continues: "No major blockbuster in years has been this incoherently structured, this seemingly uninterested in telling a story with clarity and purpose," and says the kindest thing he can say is that the film's "ambitions wildly exceed its reach".

As superhero movies go, this a grand one, with "a mondo-operatic climax and a final shot infused with quivering, exhilarating molecules of grace", says Stephanie Zacharek in Time. But "it's also not much fun", she adds, noting the film is thick with statements intended to provoke thought of the political or spiritual kind but are too vague and too obvious.

"Why, oh why, can't we just get what we came for?" she asks, "a good, meat-and-potatoes showdown between a brooding vigilante in a pointy-eared mask and a simpler, sunnier protector of humankind".

Dawn of Justice is a very long, very brooding, though often exhilarating movie, says Andrew Barker in Variety. But the fact that this rather scattered epic succeeds as often it does "has to be seen as an achievement".

Amid all saving the world and shouldering a franchise toward the heights, "it would be nice to see these heroes, and this series, take a few more breathers to enjoy the view", he adds.

OK, not all of it works, says Peter Travers in Rolling Stone, but in the battle between Batman and Superman, Wonder Woman would win. "Gal Gadot's wowza of a Wonder Woman is the kick-ass revelation at this party," he says.

Gadot, a former combat instructor in the Israeli army, is a true warrior and a wonder indeed, adds the critic. Her entrance is the explosive highlight of the film and "if you don't applaud when she appears, the comic-book-loving child in you is dead".

Nevertheless, fans who were treated to an early preview have hailed Batman v Superman as "awesome" and a "must-see", with many singling out Wonder Woman as a favourite.

"The loudest applause of the night at #BVSPremiere was Wonder Woman's entrance," wrote one tweeter. Another said: "Everyone went crazy for Wonder Woman, she was amazing."

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is released in UK cinemas on Friday 25 March

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - how can the Dark Knight ever win?

21 March

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits the big screen at the end of this week – and fans are still wondering how the Dark Knight stands a chance against the Man of Steel.

Superman has superhuman strength, superhuman hearing and X-ray vision. He also has the ability to fly and take a good thrashing without injury or pain. Batman, on the other hand, has a lot of money and impressive gadgets, but underneath the bat costume he is just a man.

So how will director Zac Snyder give the audience a well-balanced fight?

"The favourite thing that people ask me is, 'Does it seem possible for Batman and Superman to fight? Batman's so outmatched.' And I go, 'That's the movie. Trust me, they fight in the movie, and they fight good,'" Snyder recently told Entertainment Weekly.

He explains that Batman plans his fights ahead of time to maintain some advantage. In one scene, the Caped Crusader places various traps, including driving a Kryptonite spear into the ground, in an abandoned stockyard ahead of a planned battle with his rival.

"Then when he throws Superman, the spear is right there. So you're like, wait a minute, did he [plan] every bit? [Did] he know every move?" says the director.

He adds that "Superman doesn't have to be as much of a chess player."

In the new film, Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill), who have radically different perceptions of "doing the right thing", are being partly manipulated into conflict by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg).

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is released in the UK on 25 March.

Batman v Superman: Trailer reveals why superheroes go to war

17 March

Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne lays out his most comprehensive case yet for going to war against Clark Kent in the latest teaser video for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

In the short clip, which debuted on the US talk show Ellen this week, Batman says the Caped Crusader, played by Henry Cavill, must be stopped before he wipes out humanity.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"92393","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

"That son of a bitch brought the war to us two years ago," he says. "Jesus, Alfred, count the dead. Thousands of people. What's next, billions? He has the power to wipe out the entire human race and if we believe there is even a one per cent chance that he is our enemy, then we have to take it as an absolute certainty and we have to destroy him."

Later, Alfred says that Superman "is not our enemy", but Wayne does not see it that way.

"Not today," he replies. But "in 20 years in Gotham, Alfred, we've seen what promises are worth".

The ominous clip offers the most complete picture of how new director Zack Snyder sees the character of Batman. Affleck's portrayal bears the same intensity seen in former Bruce Wayne Christian Bale under Christopher Nolan's recent watch, although other Dawn of Justice trailers suggest the film will not be quite as gritty as the last three Batman episodes.

The teaser "provides context and insight to exactly what's going on in the troubled hero's head," says, and helps to explain why the two men end up battling on the streets of Gotham.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's UK release date is 25 March.

Batman v Superman: International trailer reveals new footage

15 March

The latest Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer offers several exciting new glimpses of the much anticipated superhero film.Several of the scenes have been seen before, but the short teaser also features a number of new moments.In one, Ben Affleck's Batman is seen approaching a desert fortress. Previous rumours have suggested the film will see the arrival of one of the DC universe's most formidable villains, Darkseid, and the desert sequence "looks an awful lot like the villain’s home Apokolips", says Variety.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"92290","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]Another scene sees Bruce Wayne receiving a newspaper clipping daubed with the words “you let your family die” in red ink. Some sites say the scene could indicate that Jared Leto's Joker may be set for an appearance in the film, or one of its sequels.Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot, also has some new footage in which she is seen walking down a hallway clad in black leather.The clip is narrated by Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, who describes the battle between Batman and Superman as “the greatest gladiator match in the history of the world”.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice arrives in cinemas on 25 March.

Batman v Superman: director Zack Snyder wanted Christian Bale in film

11 March

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice premieres in only two weeks and the film's publicity machine has cranked itself into overdrive, leaking new titbits about the hotly anticipated film.

The latest is that director Zack Snyder wanted to cast Batman Begins star Christian Bale in the Warner Bros superhero mashup – admittedly in a lesser role rather than reprising his role as the Caped Crusader.

"I just wanted to hire Christian to play another part," Snyder said in an interview with IGN. "Christian could play, like, Alfred with age make-up. No! Of course not. But you know what I mean. Even people at the studio would say, 'Who are you getting from the other movies?' and I was like, 'Hey, come on guys, let's all understand - it's a different world.'"

Explaining why it would have been impossible for Superman to be incorporated into director Christopher Nolan's grittier Batman films, Snyder said: "In the Batman universe that Chris Nolan created, Superman would have a hard time existing. That's why we did a reboot on the universe so we could allow these characters to exist together. We needed to do that to have Batman exist in this world."

As for Bale, while he wasn't cast, his presence "would have been a fun meta-nod between Warner Bros' distinct but equally interesting DC film universes", says ScreenRant. "Much like Deadpool's reference to a Patrick Stewart or James McAvoy-led X-Men."

Snyder also said that he did not rewrite the character of Lex Luthor, Superman's nemesis, to allow for the 32-year-old Jesse Eisenberg to be cast in the role, which is usually played by someone much older.

"I don't know where you heard that," he said. "When we wrote the script with Lex in it, we invented this version of Lex. We never had an older version of Lex in our movie. We talked about it, sure. I met with Jesse for another part and after he left, I was like, 'Oh, man, he was awesome … he could play Lex.'"

Another casting decision has also been revealed as the "long-running saga" of Jena Malone's role in the film is seemingly at an end, Gizmodo says. After being rumoured for ages, Warner Bros has revealed the part in a community survey asking fans which character they would like to see more in Batman v Superman's marketing.

Despite being cut out of the film altogether - except in the movie's R-rated home release - Malone is credited as playing Barbara Gordon, otherwise known as Batgirl.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on 25 March.

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