Aug 09 2012
Examiner: “Currently no deal is in place and it is far from being a sure thing. Warner Bros. and DC have a ”Justice League” script by William Beall they have sent Affleck to gauge his interest as both a director and potential star. Affleck has had a spotty acting career, including playing the Marvel hero, ‘Daredevil,’ but he has excelled as a director.”
He has enough mediocre-to-bad action movies among his credits that I would be concerned about him acting in a superhero movie–in particular, Daredevil, Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, The Sum of All Fears and Gigli ranged from discouraging to Gigli. He did much better in The Town and Good Will Hunting, but I didn’t see much there which would translate very well to superhero action. Granted, some actors do much better in one role than another (e.g. Chris Evans as Captain America vs. the Human Torch or Brandon Routh as Todd Ingram in Scott Pilgrim vs. Superman), but his acting career leads me to not expect very much from him in a superhero action role.
- He has a harder time making his characters likable. In contrast, Christian Bale and Robert Downey Jr. find ways to keep viewers rooting for troubled and/or socially dysfunctional characters. Edkugator mentioned in the comments below that Affleck would probably do well as Guy Gardner or Booster Gold–I think that’s a good point if they’re looking for an unlikable and/or obnoxious protagonist. (If they’re considering that path, though, I’d like to encourage them to look at Pixar’s and Marvel/Disney’s success with characters which have personalities AND likability. I think WB has had trouble giving superheroes personality without making them creeps and/or assholes–in particular, that was a problem for Superman Returns and Green Lantern).
- I don’t think his acting ceiling is all that high. I’ve never seen him grab scenes like RDJ or Heath Ledger have. He doesn’t even have Will Smith’s ability to take a film from bad to watchable.
His roles as a director and/or screenwriter have been more promising. The three films he’s directed (The Town, Gone Baby Gone, and Boiler Room) have averaged 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. If DC/WB thought that he was the best director they could get, I’d probably give them the benefit of the doubt there. Conversely, I’d be amazed if they could get an extremely promising director for a project which has so many red flags.*
UPDATE: Ben Affleck dismisses the reports: “Justice League sounds really exciting, but it’s not something I’m working on.”
*WB’s performance with DC superheroes (besides Batman) over the past 12 years has been mostly disastrous. DC/WB’s non-Batman movies have averaged 44% on Rotten Tomatoes since 2000 and 34.6% since 2007. Only Batman has done well enough to get a sequel and even he will get rebooted now that the Nolan series has ended. In contrast, Whedon got a huge assist on The Avengers from successful movies developing Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. (Whedon and Marvel took the Hulk in a new direction for The Avengers, but even there the first two Hulk movies were useful in showing what to avoid–WB/DC doesn’t have that level of critical/audience feedback for most of the Justice League characters).