“You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone,” says Joni Mitchell in her song “Big Yellow Taxi.” That’s also a fair assessment of Ben Affleck’s Batman tenure. Despite initial fan backlash (let’s pretend we’re shocked and horrified), he established himself as a credible and distinct Dark Knight. Some fans have even dubbed him the greatest Batman of all time. The Oscar-winning director has stated that he no longer wants to make big franchise films, including superhero films, so “The Flash” could very well be his final Batman film (according to The Playlist).

For better or worse, Batfleck’s story will be passed down through the generations. It has so many twists and turns, reshoots, dramatic moments, and inexplicable circumstances that it could have easily been directed by the Riddler himself. Let’s take off the cape and cowl and uncover the truth about Ben Affleck’s Batman, from his fear of committing to the role from the start to his best friend encouraging him to quit.

Ben Affleck had a bad time with the Justice League.

The strange story of the “Justice League” film is well-trodden territory at this point. What was supposed to be DC’s answer to Marvel’s “Avengers” became one of the most storied and troubled films ever made. Few people involved in the production have fond memories of it, from Zack Snyder’s departure due to a family tragedy to Joss Whedon’s volatile and controversial reshoots. The film that killed Ben Affleck’s love for Batman was all of that and a bag of rotten chips.

“The nadir for me was really ‘Justice League,'” Affleck told the Los Angeles Times. “Because of a confluence of events, that was a bad experience: my own life, my divorce, being away too much, competing agendas, and then Zack’s personal tragedy and the reshooting. It was just the worst event of my life. It was a disaster. It was everything about this that I didn’t like.” Affleck clarified that his dissatisfaction stemmed not from the fact that “Justice League” was a bad picture in and of itself, but rather from the circumstances surrounding the film, which definitely made him ponder his future as Batman.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a favorite of Ben Affleck’s.

The fact that people are still talking about “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” years after the film came out demonstrates both its polarising nature and its unique place in pop cultural history. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a horrible critical average and a mediocre audience score, with some calling it one of the worst superhero pictures ever and others considering it one of the greatest. Regardless, many people, including the actors who are featured in it, have strong feelings about it.

Affleck spoke to Kevin McCarthy of Fox 5 Washington DC on his experience with “Batman v Superman” and the film itself during a press junket for “The Accountant.” He revealed how it was a major box office smash — one of his career’s biggest — but also received a lot of negative press. Affleck went on to say that he found a lot of the criticism to be focused on the film’s tone, which he believes shouldn’t be used to judge its overall quality. “I liked it,” he said emphatically when asked about his personal thoughts on the picture. Sad Affleck is nowhere to be seen.

Matt Damon was instrumental in persuading Ben Affleck to forego the cape and cowl.

Every Batman needs the assistance of a Robin. Unfortunately for Ben Affleck’s Batman, his Robin was killed by the Joker prior to his on-screen debut, and only his costume hung in the Batcave’s glass display case. The good news is that Affleck has his own stalwart partner in the form of Matt Damon in the real world of Hollywood. Since Affleck was eight years old and Damon was ten, the two have been close friends. They’ve been there for each other during their respective rises, falls, and revivals, as you might expect.

Affleck revealed that Damon played a key role in persuading him to retire the Batsuit in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, which Damon conducted on behalf of the publication. “I talked to you about it, and you were a big part of that decision,” Affleck explained. “I want to do the things that make me happy. Then we went to see ‘Last Duel,’ and I had a great time working on it every day.” Damon was once considered for the role of Two-Face in “The Dark Knight,” according to MTV News, a few years before Affleck joined the DC universe.

The Flash movie has some of Ben Affleck’s favorite Batman scenes.

Ben Affleck’s future as the Dark Knight was all but thrown into the trunk of the Batmobile and driven to Blüdhaven for a quiet retirement when he walked away from “The Batman.” Before he hung up his cape and cowl, he told USA Today that he knew he wouldn’t be able to play the character indefinitely and that he wanted a way to gracefully exit the role. Andy Muschietti’s “The Flash,” an adaptation of the popular “Flashpoint” storyline that allows universes to merge and diverge, would be that exit strategy. As a result, Batfleck’s disappearance from the main DC Extended Universe can be written into a plausible plot.

Affleck praised the portrayal of his Batman in the “Flash” film in an interview with The Herald-Sun (via CinemaBlend). “Perhaps my favorite parts in terms of Batman and the Batman interpretation I’ve done were in the ‘Flash’ film,” he stated. “I hope they keep the integrity of what we accomplished because it was fantastic and fascinating to me.” Affleck went on to say that he had a great time and that he felt like he’d finally figured out who Batman should be in “The Flash.”

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The Batman script by Ben Affleck was influenced by James Bond.

“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” supplied an almost unending supply of reported drama, but “The Batman” was no slouch in that department either. It was a will-he-won’t-he tale for years, as no one knew if Ben Affleck would write, direct, or appear in the picture. He was supposed to perform all three at one point, but he ended up doing none.

However, before abandoning the project entirely, the filmmaker collaborated on a draught with Geoff Johns. Joe Manganiello revealed the potential tale during the Justice Con fan event, detailing how his character Deathstroke would have been a prominent villain, pursuing the Dark Knight and his comrades, including a version of Batgirl (via Total Film).

Warner Bros. approached Matt Reeves before boarding “The Batman” and delivered him Affleck and Johns’ script since the idea was still for Affleck to appear in the picture at the time. Reeves told Esquire Middle East that he read the script, but it wasn’t the route he wanted the film to go in. “This take, I told them, is a fully valid and thrilling take,” he continued, referring to the script. “It has a James Bond feel to it, but it’s not anything I can identify with.” Given Reeves’ noir aesthetic, it’s amusing to speculate about how different “The Batman” may have been.

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At his son’s birthday celebration, Ben Affleck dressed up as Batman.

It’s simple to see why a parent might want their child to portray a superhero on the big screen. After all, the genre as a whole appeal to a younger audience. As it turns out, Ben Affleck’s motivation for wanting to portray Batman was based on the same logic. Simply enough, he desired his kid see his transformation into the Caped Crusader.

Affleck discussed his reasons for choosing the job on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast. He explained, “I wanted to produce something that my son would like.” “I mean, I don’t think my kids saw ‘Argo.'” While Affleck acknowledged that his Batman experiences did not go as planned owing to events beyond his control, he added that there was one moment that made it all worthwhile. “It was worth every second of suffering on ‘Justice League’ to wear the outfit to my son’s birthday party.”