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J.S.F.
08-25-2013, 05:49 AM
In another thread, it was mentioned by a poster that a superhero doesn't have to look muscular when playing his alter ego. I'm talking about a live-action flick as opposed to the comics online or an animated feature. Specifically, it was the 'Ben Affleck as Batman' thread.

My idea is that the titular hero should look well built and not just rely on putting on a bulky suit to 'look' muscular. Handsome or beautiful is a matter of subjective opinion so I won't go there. I'm only talking about how their physiques look.

In terms of acting skill, I agree that in Batman, Michael Keaton was, hands down, the best actor to play the role. He brought a certain edginess to both Bruce Wayne and Batman, and did the role proud. However, in terms of physical size, Christian Bale more than personified the role of Batman and personally, I thought he did both roles well. Naturally, there has been and will be disagreement on this and that's fine.

What I'm trying to say is, does the suit make the man or does the man make himself?

Celia Cyanide
08-25-2013, 06:06 AM
My point was that in Batman 89, Keaton doesn't look like he isn't "well-built." He's covered the whole time. If he ever appeared shirtless, he would have to look like he works out, but he never does. So his body type doesn't make him a worse choice for Batman.


Handsome or beautiful is a matter of subjective opinion so I won't go there.

It is subjective, but still relevent. Bruce Wayne is supposed to be considered the most eligible bachelor in all of Gotham. We know what Bruce Wayne looks like, to a certain extent. We also know whether men are considered attractive by most people who like men. It's not that complicated.

J.S.F.
08-25-2013, 06:24 AM
My point was that in Batman 89, Keaton doesn't look like he isn't "well-built." He's covered the whole time. If he ever appeared shirtless, he would have to look like he works out, but he never does. So his body type doesn't make him a worse choice for Batman.
---ME. Well, actually he did appear shirtless in the scene where he's hanging upside down on a chin-up bar. (This is the scene after Vickie Vale spends the night at Wayne Mansion). You can quite obviously see that he's very wiry, like a gymnast, but there's not a whole lot of muscular development. You can also see quite clearly that even though he's wearing a pair of sweat bottoms, his legs are skinny. Even when he dons the Batsuit, he looks sort of skinny.


It is subjective, but still relevent. Bruce Wayne is supposed to be considered the most eligible bachelor in all of Gotham. We know what Bruce Wayne looks like, to a certain extent. We also know whether men are considered attractive by most people who like men. It's not that complicated.
---

See above, please. I'll agree with the 'facial looks' part, but again, physically, he (Keaton) never conveyed the idea that he could strike terror into the hearts of criminals when dressed up in the Batsuit, simply because he didn't carry enough muscle. I don't mean the IFBB amateur/pro bodybuilder stuffed-to-the-gills-on-steroids look, but something more like Bale did in the first two Batman movies or the muscle that Henry Cavill carried for MOS.

robeiae
08-25-2013, 06:30 AM
...physically, he (Keaton) never conveyed the idea that he could strike terror into the hearts of criminals when dressed up in the Batsuit, simply because he didn't carry enough muscle.Wait, what?

Jcomp
08-25-2013, 06:42 AM
I think it depends on the story. Bale needed to be buffed out for Nolan's trilogy because they went into the origin of him doing the Bat-training, becoming a ninja, etc. They also wanted to show him with his war scars, buffed out but showing the wear and tear, sorta Alex Ross style. So you have to fill that whole role. If you go a different angle, then being all Bat-buff isn't all that necessary.

All that said, I think that for the current era of onscreen heroes, you want to see someone who looks the part even outside of the suit, for marketing purposes if nothing else. Evans and Hemsworth weren't chosen as Cap and Thor based on their winning smiles, and both had their conspicuous "popped my shirt off, oops did I get pecs all over the screen?" scenes in their movies for a reason. There's an expectation for it, but it also sells. Hell, Robert Downey even worked out to get fit for Iron Man, and his power is the suit. If anyone can afford to be a little pudgy it's Tony Stark, but again, I think it fits the general expectation for him to be fitter, a bit more muscular.

EDIT: As much as I love silly superhero debates, this one seems a little bit sillier than some others. I think Keaton was a capable (if not great) Burton Batman. He didn't need to be super handsome, was too mysterious to be the billionaire playboy type, and was more gadget-reliant and so didn't need to be physically imposing. Bale was a good (not great), Nolan Batman; playing the role of drunken, reckless playboy, and nailing the physicality for Bourne-style fight scenes that fit the era. Adam West was a good 60's hippie Batman. I disagree that Bruce isn't supposed to be muscular. I also disagree that he has to be super muscular (although he's fairly consistently described as being in peak physical condition, but that can be interpreted in a few different ways; Bruce Lee was one of the fittest dudes ever and while he was shredded, he was far from the typical idea of "muscular"). Batman as a character has been remade multiple times in multiple mediums. There's no one set Batman template that everyone to follow must adhere to. Pretty much as long as his parents get murdered in Crime Alley, Gotham City, USA and he grows up to be a rich guy in a Bat suit who fights crime, you're like 90% there.

sunandshadow
08-25-2013, 06:50 AM
Wait, what?
That was my reaction too. Skinny people and chubby people can't be terrifying???

J.S.F.
08-25-2013, 06:58 AM
Wait, what?
---

What I meant was, he didn't look, Batsuit or no, that he could kick your ass. Bale did. My opinion. (shrugs)

Celia Cyanide
08-25-2013, 07:02 AM
I disagree that Bruce isn't supposed to be muscular.

Well, good, because no one ever said that...But Keaton not being huge doesn't mean he's wrong for the role, and Bale being huge doesn't mean he's right for the role.

Neither one of them really look like Bruce Wayne.

Jcomp
08-25-2013, 07:22 AM
Well, good, because no one ever said that...

Ah, my mistake then.


But Keaton not being huge doesn't mean he's wrong for the role, and Bale being huge doesn't mean he's right for the role.

Well, per my previous post, here I agree and disagree. I think Keaton not being big makes him fine for the Burton Batman. If he'd had to pull of the Nolan Batman at his size, in this era where watching other people competitively workout has become a televised spectator sport, I think he would have been an ill fit.

Likewise, while Bale's muscle made him a good fit for the Nolan-verse, being that big wouldn't have mattered at all for Burton's Batman, because Burton wasn't going into the Batman training and whatnot.

So I think the physical element of it can matter, but the role isn't really static, so depending on who's directing and how they're telling the story, it may be a factor, or it may not.

But going back to the OP, just in general, I do think that in today's climate, the physical build of the actor playing a superhero matters more than ever. Thor, for instance, is a Thunder God with supernatural strength and abilities. You need someone fit, sure, and in the comics he's always had some muscle to him, but you could get by with someone who's a little less Chris Hemsworth than freaking Chris Hemsworth, but when you can get a guy like that and let him lose the shirt and act with the abs for at least a moment or two, why not? It's the present expectation that's been set. I mean hell, even the kid from Kick-Ass went and got himself all filled out for the sequel.

The only major, solo superhero off the top of my head who's still going to be a slimmer actor for the foreseeable future is Spider-Man, and I think that has to do with A) his character traditionally skewing younger than his other superhero counterparts, B) it fits with his "superhero who's still a perpetual underdog" image, and C) he has to maintain a certain appearance of flexibility because Spider-Man striking weird, faux-gymnastic mid-air poses is pretty much part of the character at this point. I can't remember who the artist was, but I remember at some point in my youth some guy doing the pencils for one of the Spider-Man books and had him looking way too buff. It was weird as hell.

robeiae
08-25-2013, 04:37 PM
As much as I love silly superhero debates, this one seems a little bit sillier than some others. I think Keaton was a capable (if not great) Burton Batman...

You take that back this instant, you bastard! Or else!


*sobs uncontrollably*