It’s been 75 years since Batman debuted in the pages of Detective Comics, and to celebrate the Caped Crusader’s anniversary, director Zack Snyder tweeted out the first color photo of Ben Affleck as the Dark Knight in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Although Warner Bros. and Snyder have no official plans to promote their upcoming film at Comic-Con, the Man of Steel director’s double-digit text, “#75,” which captioned the newly-released photo on Twitter, coincides with events and other ancillary promotions being held at San Diego’s fan fest to honor the septuagenarian superhero. The image has already joined the montage wall dedicated to Batman’s changing looks over the years, and the cape and cowl that Affleck wore in the film were made available for public display at the Con’s prop and costume exhibit.
With cape and chest plate out of frame, the almost-profile close-up offers an intimate look at some of the classic cowl’s updated features, Affleck’s dimpled chin notwithstanding. Most noticeable are Batman’s trademark ears, which are shorter and more triangular than previous incarnations of the suit.
With Batman lurking in the shadows, many have identified the classic brooding that puts the “Dark” in “Dark Knight,” but if one looks closely, it appears that Affleck’s eyes are closed, creating a meditative, perhaps melancholy, atmosphere. Is this truly meant to be an image of the world-weary Bruce Wayne? Note the stubble (because superheroes don’t have time to shave).
Popular response to the casting choice has been shrill and harsh, at best, but internet comments responding to the new photo suggest people are warming up to Batfleck. The fans will speak when Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is released in North America on May 6, 2016. ~Daniel Horowitz