The Ben Affleck Legacy

There isn't an actor that is more polarizing than Ben Affleck.  You either love him or you hate him, there simply is no inbetween.

It seems that the one thing that you can't deny is the fact that he seems to shine just a bit brighter behind the camera and that, when in capable hands, he is a very good actor.  These two facts lend to two very different Ben Afflecks.  When you are going into watch a movie that he is in, unless you know the director, you don't know which Ben Affleck you are going to get. In the hands of someone like a Gus Van Zant or David Fincher (or even himself), Affleck is going to give you a stellar performance.  We all know what to expect from the likes of Good Will Hunting and Argo, (and we can add his newest role opposite Rosamund Pike in Fincher's Gone Girl to that list).  But it is the consistency that leaves many movie fans uneasy.

The question that is presented before everyone is this:  Will Affleck ever be known as a great actor?  While simple at first site, the question has some merit when stripped down to its core.  No matter what he does, Affleck will always have Reindeer Games and Phantoms looming over his head.  For every Chasing Amy he's known for, he's got a Gigli standing in the wing waving frantically.  It's unfortunate, but its reality.

Affleck's problem is that he is plagued by his past.  When you look at his resume, he had one Oscar-winning film for every twenty bad films. (I'm slightly exaggerating here, but you get the gist).  Tom Hanks had the same "problem", but his early movies were still view-worthy.  Affleck's are not.  Nobody likes Pearl Harbor, and even those who say they do are just lying to you.

However, when it comes to him behind the camera, you can't help but bring up Good Will Hunting or Argo or The Town.  He has actually saved (and to some extent revitalized) his career as a writer and director.  People seem to respect him more in that regard, and for good reason "“ he hasn't had a misfire yet.  But why can't the Oscar winner channel that affection to the other side of the lense?

Earlier this year when it was announced that Affleck would be putting on the cape and cowl in Zack Snyder's Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, you would have thought that Snyder had asked Hayden Christensen to star while wearing Joel Schumacher's Batman suit.  We can thank Mark Steven Johnson for that thought.  Seriously, go back and watch Affleck's performance in Daredevil.  Ignore the story and Johnson's bad directing.  It's not as bad as you likely remember.

This weekend Affleck adds another worthy performance to his list of credible performances, working once again to improve his perception in front the screen with a role that takes favor to the qualities t.  But he can't always rely on a great director to bring out the best in him.  To generate enough goodwill and finally receive the attention he deserves, he has to take special care with his project selection.  Up next is Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a film that will likely lead to many others.  It is critical that he gives a performance worth remembering, or else get comfortable with his current legacy"¦off screen.

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About Robert Bexar II

Robert Bexar II

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