Ben Affleck has been a prominent figure in the media for most of his career, from his high-profile relationship with Jennifer Lopez which was dubbed ‘Bennifer’, to his Oscar win with friend Matt Damon and, more recently, his positive critical reception on films such as The Town and Argo. The news of Affleck’s portrayal of Batman in the Man of Steel sequel received quite an overwhelmingly negative response on social media and in some news outlets, from people doubting his ability to portray superheroes, due to the flop of Daredevil. Whatever your opinion on Affleck’s ability, he has undoubtedly had his fair share of amazing career highs and unfortunate lows.
- In 1997, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon received universal attention and acclaim for the Gus Van Sant directed film Good Will Hunting, which they co-wrote. A box office and critical success, the duo won the Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) and numerous other awards.
- After a series of critically panned performances in films such as Daredevil and Pearl Harbour, Affleck’s portrayal of actor George Reeves in Hollywoodland earned him multiple award nominations and some much-needed positive attention. His performance has been described as ‘terrific’, ‘excellent’ and one of the main reasons to see the film, and perhaps gave an idea of Affleck’s ability in more serious, dark-toned films.
- Crime drama The Town was Ben’s third attempt at writing and directing; it garnered multiple award nominations, including several for the screenplay, and an excellent critic approval rating. The rather unexpected success brought attention to Affleck’s talent as a director, he received praise for his ‘brutal and efficient’ action sequences and ‘sharply orchestrated’ scenes.
- The world’s eyes were on Ben Affleck during the 2012-13 award season; after an unexpected, but well deserved, win at the Golden Globes for his direction of Argo, many believe Affleck was snubbed for the equivalent Academy Award. Nevertheless, it won three awards including Best Picture and audiences were treated to a humbly sweet recipient speech. After his win and the overwhelmingly positive press for Argo, it is hard to comprehend the negative reaction to the Batman casting less than a year later.
While the ‘highs’ demonstrate Affleck’s talent in filmmaking, the following ‘lows’ certainly highlight his shortcomings in acting, or rather, his poor choice of roles. Ben’s filmography features a long list of movies that have received a range of responses for his performances, from the admired to the abhorred, and Ben isn’t afraid to admit it. In an interview in GQ, he proclaimed that he ‘made a bunch of movies that didn’t work’.
- Affleck starred alongside Kate Beckinsale and Josh Harnett in the critically panned Pearl Harbour in 2001, earning himself a Golden Raspberry nomination for Worst Actor. This negative reception was aided with the film’s sloppy, clichéd and wannabe-Titanic plot; Affleck certainly isn’t the worst thing about Pearl Harbour, but it was undoubtedly a bad influence on his critical reputation.
- Despite generating a lot of interest due to the relationship of its co-stars, Gigli was a box office and critical failure. Described as clumsy, messy and a disaster, the film has been named one of the worst films ever made and critics have noted the lack of chemistry between the stars. Affleck’s portrayal provided one of his three Golden Raspberry awards for Worst Actor, an undoubtedly low period for his career.
- In the same year, 2003, Ben starred in Daredevil as the Marvel superhero, and his badly received performance is now a reference point in discussions about his Batman role. While many blame the failure on the film’s bad writing, many people cannot imagine Affleck’s success in his upcoming role. Although critics seem to be divided on his suitability as Daredevil, some describing him as suitable, he ‘won’ the Golden Raspberry award for Worst Actor.
Despite having a period of critical flops during 2001-04, we believe Affleck should be given the benefit of the doubt concerning his role as Batman. During the last few years he has demonstrated enormous talent in both his acting and filmmaking, and one previous superhero role surely shouldn’t be the source of the hatred and doubt addressed to the actor recently. Fellow actors have expressed positive opinions in the casting; friend Matt Damon and former Batman Michael Keaton think that he will be great.