In a move that has surprised, and in some cases outraged fans, Ben Affleck has been picked to play Batman in the upcoming sequel to this years Superman epic Man of Steel. The Oscar-winning Argo actor was announced as the future Caped Crusader in a statement by Warner Bros. - published by the Hollywood Reporter - on Thursday (22 August) and since then fans have been split over whether this was an inspired pick, or a blunder on a Gotham-sized scale.

Ben Affleck Oscars
Affleck: born to be Batman or born to recreate a Batman & Robin-shaped disaster?

After numerous attempt to lure Christian Bale out of Bat-retirement, including a reported $50 million contract offer, Affleck was chosen as his successor following numerous meetings and screening tests by studio bosses. Those involved in the film, including director Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. boss Greg Silverman, agreed that the appointment was the correct one, with Snyder telling THR, "Ben provides an interesting counterbalance to Henry's Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him."

Christian Bale DKR
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Even Marvel's movie mastermind Joss Whedon has given Affleck the thumbs up for the role, taking to Twitter to give the Bostonian his support. He wrote, "Affleck'll crush it. He's got the chops, he's got the chin -- just needs the material. Affleck & Cavill toe to toe -- I'm in."

The news hasn't been welcomed by a large number of comic book fans though, with many taking to Twitter and other social media sites to express their negative feelings about the idea of Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, with many jokingly suggesting that Affleck's good friend Matt Damon will end up playing Batman's sidekick Robin in the movie. In addition to the social media outcry, a number of fans have taken the matter into their own hands and a petition to veto the Affleck decision has since been set up on, urging Warner Bros. to "remove Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the Superman/Batman movie."

Since it was launch only a few hours after the initial announcement, the petition has garnered over 10,000 signatures. Still, petition or no petition, Affleck's casting looks like it won't be changed anytime soon, and like Whedon points out, given the right material he could prove to be the Batman that we need. Even so, with this appointment, could this be the future of Batman movies to come?

Ben Affleck
Affleck has the chin, but does he have the chops to play Bruce Wayne/Batman