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Ben Affleck is Batman: Twitter has a dark night

Announcement triggers a wave or virtual cape swishing on Twitter

Image Credit: AFP
(FILES) Director Ben Affleck arrives at the 85th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in this February 4, 2013 file photo in Beverly Hills, California. US actor Ben Affleck will replace Christian Bale in the next Batman film, Warner Bros. Pictures said August 23, 2013. Affleck will appear in a Batman-Superman mega flick slated for release in 2015 that follows on the heels of this summer's Superman hit "Man of Steel." Bale, who played the title role in Christopher Nolan's "Batman" trilogy, had left the doors wide open for a new successor. "We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics' most enduringly popular super heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill and then some," said Warner Bros. president Greg Silverman in a statement. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck

Swiftly after the announcement #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck was trending across the world, with suggestions including MTV’s Butthead, One Direction’s Liam Payne, Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage.

Dismissive references to Affleck’s previous turn as a superhero in the oft-maligned Daredevil abound, with commenters also weighing in with jibes about Matt Damon being offered a role, recollections of infamous turkey Gigli and even suggestions that Affleck’s one-time squeeze Jennifer Lopez might now be offered the role of Catwoman despite the fact that the actor has been married to Jennifer Garner for eight years.

“In the Ben Affleck version, Batman’s parents kill themselves,” tweeted US writer Chase Mitchell, while former Star Trek actor and geek commentator Will Wheaton wrote: “Really looking forward to seeing Affleck bring the depth and gravitas to Batman that he brought to Daredevil and Gigli.”

Batman villain Bane himself weighed in (via a spoof Twitter account) with: “Ben Affleck already butchered the Daredevil movie and now he’s been cast as Batman??? Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

True Blood star Robert Kazinsky wrote: “OOOOOOOOOOOOH Matt Damon as the new joker? waddya think of them apples?” Stephen Whitty of the New Jersey Star-Ledger tweeted: “Oh please, why not just cast J Lo as Catwoman, too, and REALLY torpedo the whole thing.”

Elsewhere, there was more positive reflection. Simon Brew of Den of Geek wrote: “He might not be Ryan Gosling, but Affleck has quietly been impressing as an actor, and maturing as one too. To write him off because he was the lead in a not brilliant Daredevil movie is, we’d argue, just a little disingenuous, and overlooks some of his more recent work. He’s a far better actor now.” Affleck’s old comrade in arms Kevin Smith wrote: “Holy shit... BEN AFFLECK IS THE NEW BATMAN!!! Do you know what this means? It means that I’ve seen Batman naked!!!”

Jobs star Josh Gad was a rare positive voice on Twitter, writing: “WTF! Ben Affleck is Batman?! That’s genius.”

Meanwhile, Daily Show head writer Tim Carvell summed up the possible mood in Affleck’s camp to the mixed reaction when he tweeted: “Spend ten years working your way back into everyone’s good graces. Win an Oscar. Then you get cast as Batman, and BAM! You’re Gigli again.”

Affleck, 40, has been confirmed to star opposite Henry Cavill’s Superman in the as yet untitled forthcoming sequel to Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Production on the new film is expected to begin next year, with a release date of July 17, 2015, planned, according to the Associated Press.