Variety reported on August 8 that Warner Bros. wants Ben Affleck to direct their DC Comics property, “Justice League.” While Affleck’s publishers have denied that the actor/director has any interest in the project, there remains the fact that if Warner Bros. throws him enough money, he might cave in and take the big budget project. Whether or not Affleck is the right man for the job is another story.
For years, Affleck was the whipping boy for the media. His acting skills continuously derided and his choices in film roles questionable, Affleck barely made it out alive. However, in 2006 Affleck picked up rare critical praise for his performance as George Reeves, the man who played Superman in the ’50s before dying under mysterious circumstances. The movie was “Hollywoodland” and it helped Affleck experience a rebirth in his own Hollywood career.
Two years later, Affleck made his directorial debut with the crime adaptation, “Gone Baby Gone.” Taking a form of a security blanket into the project, Affleck cast his younger brother Casey Affleck in the lead role. However, Ben needed no security blanket because he found his true calling. “Gone Baby Gone” picked up an Oscar nomination for Amy Adams and earned Affleck critical praise once again.
His second movie was even better. In “The Town,” Affleck co-starred alongside actors like Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner in an adaptation of the Chuck Hogan novel “Prince of Thieves.” Once again, a down and dirty crime story, it picked up another Oscar nomination, this time for Jeremy Renner. It also should have earned Affleck a Best Picture nomination but fell short.
This all proves that Affleck is a talented director. His third movie, “Argo,” hits theaters in October 2012 and tells the story of a CIA mission to free Americans trapped in Iran during the revolution. What these three movies do not do is show the kind of action and high concept directing that a movie about the Justice League of America needs.
In DC Comics, the Justice League consist of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Flash. In some versions, Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, Cyborg and more also serve as members. It is obvious Warner Bros. is looking for something in DC Comic’s catalogue to combat “The Avengers.”
The problem is that, outside of Batman and maybe Flash, every member of the Justice League is a God-like figure. This is going to be a tough movie to crack and Affleck might not be the man for the job at this point in his career. Warner Bros. deserves props for looking at a different alternative because it worked for Marvel (Jon Favreau, Kenneth Branagh, Shane Black).
However, what is good for Warner Bros. might not be the best career move for Ben Affleck.