So rumors have been flying around that actor turned director Ben Affleck is on the radar to direct the Justice League movie. Some people are saying that it’s going to happen while others are saying that he just having a meeting and most likely won’t do it. So far the only thing that has been acknowledged by anyone, anonymously at that, is that Affleck is the only to have seen a script for the film so far. Considering he swore off superhero films after his own lackluster experience as Daredevil, the targeting of Affleck for what should be the DC Universe’s big superhero team up in the vein of Joss Whedon’s Avengers.
Why should he? So far he’s directed two critically acclaimed films (Gone Baby Gone and The Town) with a third hitting theaters shortly that has substantial buzz to it in Argo. Affleck appears to be on track to win an Oscar and become one of the best directors of his generation more than he would be for commercial success ala Michael Bay. He likes telling interesting stories, it seems, and so far has done it extraordinarily well.
A Justice League doesn’t feel right for a career so far built up on making quality prestige films that find an audience. It has all the feeling of Affleck cashing a big check as a director, of trading in on his dramatic work for a massive payday on a project for hire as opposed to something he’d be passionate about. They key question here is this:
Why should he prostitute himself out as a director for hire if he couldn’t make it the best film it could be?
It seems Warner Bros. wants to push this film forward and get it made as a rival to Avengers 2, which is pretty much the dumbest thing they can do. The Avengers came together organically via a handful of other films, all building into one epic film with a $200 million opening weekend that the box office runs of many films. If they churn out a crappy Justice League film it will still make tons of money, there is no doubt about that. But why would they want to press forward with something they know is subpar? Marvel Studios has spent a long time and many films creating their Marvel Cinematic Universe building towards The Avengers; it paid off like gangbusters. The Avengers stands only $40 million behind Titanic as the third highest grossing film of all time.
A Justice League film right out of the gate wouldn’t have that sort of bite because of a lack of any sort of build up. If Warner Bros. and DC really wanted to do it right they would just ape Marvel’s model. You start with Man of Steel, add in whomever takes over as Batman and build towards a Justice League film from there. At this point all you’d need is Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern, and films on Wonder Woman & The Flash to establish base roots for a team up film. Take some of the standards of the Marvel Universe creation and copy them for your own and you’ve got yourself the start of a Justice League movie.
The other thing coming in is of Affleck himself, an Oscar winning screenwriter and nominated actor. Would he want himself in this film like he did in The Town and the upcoming Argo? What DC superhero would/could he play? Superman is Henry Cavill, Reynolds is the Lantern and so far he would be the wrong fit for either Batman or The Flash. Wonder Woman is off the table, as well, for very obvious reasons. So that’s a no go for the core team and he’d have to be a minor character made large because of the man playing him. My recommendation: The Martian Manhunter.
Would Affleck consent to being a voice and not an actor as the character would be large amounts of CGI? Billy Crudup showed it’s possible in Watchmen to tow that line, but he wasn’t directing or writing the film either. Would he want a role in the film to begin with? He seemed comfortable without one in Gone Baby Gone and had a meaty role in The Town that played to his strengths.
It is one thing to try and cash in on the whole Avengers craze by duplicating their efforts with a team up. The problem is that the seeds haven’t been planted and the clamoring for it isn’t there yet. If DC wants their own superhero team up they’d best be advised to build up to it first. The Avengers didn’t cross $600 million domestically purely because it was a film that is amongst the highest rated of the year. It was built to by a number of films that raised interest and built to this film of epic proportions.
Tags: Batman, Ben Affleck, J'onn J'onzz, Justice League, Martian Manhunter, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman