What is your first memory of Ben Affleck? His Kevin Smith collaborations? His rousing Oscar speech with buddy Matt Damon? Or perhaps you remember the moment it all went downhill.
In case you missed it, that moment was his appearances in the poorly received Daredevil and Gigli. Many thought he’d never recover; but if Robert Downey Jr. has taught us anything, it’s that it’s never too late to make a comeback.
And comeback he did! In preparation for your Ben-Affleck starring Sunday night movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we look at five of Affleck’s career comeback highlights.
Becoming a Director
After Daredevil and Gigli, Affleck continued churning out one mediocre movie after another, coming dangerously close to fading into Hollywood oblivion. It was only when he turned back to writing and started stepping behind the camera, that he started digging his way out of the grave of bad choices. Having already proved his power with a pen with Good Will Hunting, he astounded audiences and critics alike with his directorial ability. His first two directorial features (Gone Baby Gone and The Town), which he also co-wrote, received acclaim and awards, and nudged him back into the spotlight.
Even though Affleck had already started making a comeback with his first two directorial features, it was Argo that really thrust him back in the limelight. Winning three Academy Awards, featuring a great performance from Affleck, and with many lamenting the fact that he was overlooked for Best Director at the Oscars, this was the movie that said, “I’m back!”
Winning Another Oscar
One of Affleck’s early career highlights was undoubtedly the moment he won an Oscar with Matt Damon. Having co-written Good Will Hunting, the pair went on to nab a trophy for Best Original Screenplay, in 1998. In the early noughties, no one would ever have guessed Affleck would walk that stage again. Yet fifteen years later he did just that, picking up a statuette for Best Picture. Receiving the award for Argo, he shared the most prized award of the night with Grant Heslov and George Clooney.
A lot of the flack Affleck received in the early 2000s was for his movie choices, and not so much his acting ability. But if there was any doubt about his skills, Gone Girl wholly squashed it. Even though Rosamund Pike got most of the praise (although let’s admit it: her character was far juicier), Affleck still got a fair share of acclaim for his portrayal of the tormented Nick Dunne.
By now, Affleck was firmly back in fans’ and critics’ good graces. Yet everyone drew a collective gasp when he was revealed as the next Batman. His portrayal of Daredevil had not been well-received, and many cringed at the thought of the actor playing another superhero. Making his debut as the character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, that same crowd let out a collective sigh of relief when Affleck did the character justice (see what we did there?). And with Affleck’s Batman making a cameo in Suicide Squad and slated to appear in three more movies in the DC Extended Universe, it’s safe to say he’s here to stay.
Watch Ben Affleck become the Dark Knight in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, your Sunday night movie at 20:05 on M-Net.
Want more Batman v Superman? Check out the LallaLand interview here.
Too attached to Bale’s Batman? Still pining for the Michael Keaton days? Don’t worry, we have two other Sunday night movie selections for you.
On M-Net Movies Premiere at 20:30, Bruce Willis becomes a crime boss in Precious Cargo.
On M-Net at 23:05, move to Mexico City with Carmen and Alfredo in the Mexican film, Paraíso.