Better Batmen Than Ben Affleck

Some alternate suggestions in the wake of controversial casting news

batman
Lester Cohen/WireImage; Don Arnold/WireImage; Jamie McCarthy/WireImage
Josh Brolin, Matt Damon and Ryan Gosling
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A new Batman has been anointed, and he is . . . Ben Affleck! Warner Bros. announced Thursday that Affleck has been picked to replace Christian Bale in an as-yet-untitled sequel to Man of Steel, set to be released in 2015, in which he'll star alongside Superman's Henry Cavill.

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Since the news broke, a chorus of anti-#Batfleck boos has erupted on the Internet, with critics citing his time as a Hollywood tool dating Jennifer Lopez and starring in Gigli as reasons why he's unfit for duty. Sympathizers point out that Affleck has matured greatly as an actor in the years since (and he sports a solid chin, to boot), but it's still disconcerting that his only run as an actual superhero (not an actor who played one; see his role as George Reeves in 2006's Hollywoodland) was his wooden portrayal as Daredevil in the 2003 flop Daredevil.

As the Internet absorbs the news, the hashtag #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck has been trending on Twitter. (Suggestions range from Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston to goofy picks like "my cat!" and "my mom.") Here are four actors who'd look much better in the iconic cape and cowl.

Josh Brolin
Director Zack Snyder was reportedly looking for an established, rugged actor in his late 30s or early 40s to fill this role, according to the Hollywood Reporter. And 45-year-old Brolin certainly fits that job description. A seasoned actor who's been on screen and stage since the mid-Eighties, he was particularly memorable in the 2007 film No Country for Old Men. Granted, his role as a West Texas-dwelling Vietnam vet was quite a bit more unassuming, but he still evoked the ferocious determination and sense of honor required of a Batman.

Matt Damon
To get brawn, stamina and charisma, look no further than Affleck's Good Will Hunting co-writer/co-star. While Damon delivers a lot of gut-punching, high-energy badassery in his run as CIA rogue assassin Jason Bourne in the Bourne trilogy, he also has a rich sense of humor and has repeatedly been known to poke fun at himself on camera. After years of fans watching Christian Bale get intense with an ultra-deep voice, Damon would be just the right guy to bring back the steely, somewhat-oddball charm of Michael Keaton's Batman.

Ryan Gosling
Though some might mistake this 32-year-old star for a Robin, Gosling is just the kind of pretty boy you'd want to play a mentally scarred vigilante who stalks criminals at night. As he showed with his role as the enigmatic getaway driver of 2011's Drive – and, more recently, his performance in the ultra-violent Only God Forgives – his good looks can serve as the perfect mask for the stone-cold psycho inside. Give this guy an underground lair and a Batmobile, and there's no saying what he'd be capable of.

Louis C.K.
No, seriously! If it ever came time to revive Adam West's sillier spin on Batman, C.K. would be a shoo-in. On the classic mid-to-late Sixties Batman TV series, West was known to execute highly questionable feats of deductive reasoning while dressed in an unflattering, skin-tight costume that did little to emphasize this classic hero's bat-like mystique. C.K. could pull off an even more hilarious Caped Crusader, bringing out all the social awkwardness and sexual neuroses that no doubt come with this secretive, physically and mentally taxing line of work.