Heath Ledger was a great actor long before The Dark Knight. The backlash came mostly from insecure dopes who didn’t want the Brokeback Mountain guy to be in a Batman film. You can see from those quotes that it’s mostly cracks about how “gay” his casting was. It had nothing to do with anything real. It’s common homophobic nonsense. Besides that, the Joker is a character that an actor can disappear into. He doesn’t have any other persona. He is only the Joker. Affleck is not a great actor. Backlash comes from all of the horrible movies he’s been in, including but not at all limited to Daredevil where his performance was so terrible and poorly received that he swore off superhero films forever (a remarkably short time, turns out). Even in decent films, his performances are always the weak link. And Bruce Wayne/Batman is a completely different character than the Joker. It’s a dual role, neither of which Affleck is capable of playing convincingly. Let’s be honest, the Oscar he won for Argo is the only reason he was pulled into this project. They want to woo him as a director. It has nothing to do with his acting ability or his suitability for the role. Acting is the thing that should be considered when casting a role like this, not how many award-winning films someone has directed. No matter how lucrative the studio thinks it may be for them in the future, it’s still the wrong decision right now, for this film. It just isn’t a legitimate comparison. Ben Affleck playing Batman isn’t anything like Heath Ledger as the Joker, it’s more like Arnold Schwarzenegger playing Mr. Freeze. Arnold won many awards for body building (about as relevant to his acting ability as Affleck’s recent oscar) and he even managed to put his stoic acting-less acting to use in some suitable roles (e.g. The Terminator). That’s what Affleck does. He’s good at other things, but not acting. Affleck cannot be compared to Heath Ledger in terms of talent. His casting is not on the level of Nolan’s casting choices for his films. Those were sometimes “controversial” but he always chose excellent actors. Bale has been outperforming hacks like Affleck since he was 12 years old. Ben Affleck as Batman is a Schumacher level mockery of the character. It’s a Shumachery. And I’m tired of hearing how it could have been worse. Everything could be worse. Even Batman & Robin could have been worse. That isn’t a proper excuse for it not being better.