February is a time for snow, romance, and casting news for the next year’s crop of big-budget aspiring blockbuster movies. With the success of superhero movies over the last few years, a lot of what’s being planned for 2015 is going to feature familiar characters played by familiar – but not always likely – faces. These days the most controversial movie news always seems to come from DC Comics. With the major success of their recent Batman movies and the middling success of their second recent attempt to bring Superman to the big screen in all the glory of his 70s/80s Christopher Reeves incarnation, the next big project they’ve announced is going to bring the two characters together. Though the movie is technically being considered Man of Steel 2, it might more fairly be called Superman/Batman. But there’s a problem there: Christian Bale, who played the titular character in the recent Batman movies, is done with the black-masked, growly-voiced thing. For that matter, at the end of the last one the character retired. So for Man of Steel 2, we have a new Batman, played by Ben Affleck. The Ben Affleck news is a few months old, but recent casting news for the movie has been no less controversial. More recently, the studio announced that Jesse Eisenberg, known primarily for being easily confused with Michael Cera, will be playing follicly challenged Superman villain Lex Luthor. To be fair, the evil capitalist won’t be too much of a departure for Eisenberg, who played basically the same character in the form of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. There’s still concern that Eisenberg is too young for the role, primarily coming from thirty-something geeks like me who cringe to think of a Lex Luthor younger than we are. That’s fodder for a serious midlife crisis right there. The other, more age-appropriate Man of Steel 2 casting announcement is Jeremy Irons as Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred. But while Irons is absolutely English enough for the part, he hasn’t really done much of note since The Lion King. Will this role give his career a kick the way it did for previous Alfred Michael Caine? Can he manage to not come off really sinister and evil? But let’s be honest: The real problem with the modern DC Comics movies isn’t dubious casting choices. It’s Zack Snyder. When Marvel’s cinematic creative overseer Joss Whedon was given a chance to do a personal project, he took several of his best friends and shot Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in his own home. When Zack Snyder was given a chance to do a personal project he made Sucker Punch. Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies were generally very good, if a bit embarrassed to be Batman movies. Snyder’s Man of Steel took a character who is supposed to be about the joy of heroism and sucked all the fun out of him. For all the controversy and buzz about the actors and actress (singular, which is also telling) involved in Man of Steel 2, it’s probably safe to say that, whoever plays whatever role, it’s probably going to be terrible.

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