The New Paper
March 17, 2016
As Daredevil in the 2003 film, Affleck drew ire from Marvel fans who cried foul over his lacklustre portrayal of blind lawyer Matt Murdock.
Heck, he even won a Razzie for Worst Actor for Daredevil, along with his other flops that year, Gigli and Paycheck. Yup, in the rollercoaster ride that is Affleck's career, that was widely considered his lowest point.
In fact, Daredevil was so damaging to his reputation and image, it was almost 10 years later in 2012 that he regained his cred with the award-winning Argo.
"By playing a superhero in Daredevil, I have inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero," Affleck famously once said at the premiere of his 2006 film Hollywoodland, in which he ironically portrayed real-life actor George Reeves, best known for playing Superman on TV in the 1950s. Wearing a costume was a source of humiliation for me and something I wouldn't want to do again soon."
Well, he's eating his words in a major way now and has a lot to atone for as he takes up the mantle of DC Comics icon the Dark Knight in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (BvS), which opens here on March 24.
When he was announced as the new Bruce Wayne/Batman, the Internet reacted in horror, given how he was seen to have ruined Daredevil.
While Affleck, 43, has stayed mostly silent on anything Caped Crusader-related for the last two years - he appeared at San Diego's Comic-Con in 2014 to promote BvS but did not speak. He is finally revealing more.
And he appears to be unfazed by the online negativity.
The father of three, who split from his US actress-wife Jennifer Garner last year after 10 years of marriage, told Los Angeles Times: "In my experience, the truth is, if your work is good, people are going to like it. If it's bad, people won't. The rest of it is just speculation. It's like when a team drafts a player: Fans can speculate, but you've got to wait until the season starts to see how they play.
"I'm pretty grown up about this stuff. If I had my feelings getting hurt about stuff that was said on the Internet, I would have been gone a long time ago."
On his change of heart and decision to play a second superhero after Daredevil, Affleck said: "I just thought (Daredevil) wasn't a good fit. But I went in and met with (BvS director) Zack (Snyder) and saw this kind of visual 360 of posters and drawings and action figures and animatics - and I was totally blown away.
"All of a sudden I saw something I'd never seen before and hadn't even imagined... And just for me personally... I thought, 'I want to be in one of these movies that works'."
Still, Affleck admitted at the movie's news conference in Beijing last week that the "biggest challenge" going into BvS was the "daunting aspect of playing a character who's got such a fixed place in people's minds already".
He said: "I didn't get to create the character. I had to sort of recreate something and hope that it fit into people's, our idea of who Batman was already and hope that they would accept my nuances on it."
Twice as nice?
There is nowhere to go but up.
Based on the BvS trailers, Affleck has a real sense of gravitas - closer to the best Batman actors like Christian Bale and Michael Keaton and less campy than the universally panned George Clooney - and may be able to carve out his niche.
But whether we like Affleck or not, he's signed on for two Justice League movies, so we're stuck with him for a while.
CHRIS EVANS (HUMAN TORCH/CAPTAIN AMERICA)
Evans made his first foray into superherodom as the flame-covered Johnny Storm/Human Torch in 2005's Fantastic Four and its 2007 sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer.
The 34-year-old US actor went from supporting character to lead as Steve Rogers/Captain America in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), as well as its Marvel follow-ups The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015).
Twice as nice?
Despite Human Torch providing the cheeky charm and eye candy, Evans couldn't save the Fantastic Four films. But his Captain America, sporting an even more impressive physique and boy-scout charm, won more hearts. And with Captain America: Civil War coming up on April 28, he'll get to prove his mettle going up against Iron Man.
HALLE BERRY (STORM/CATWOMAN)
Playing weather-controlling mutant Ororo Munroe/Storm in four X-Men movies - X-Men (2000), X-Men 2 (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014) - was a huge break for Oscar-winning US actress Berry, 49. Even it did take some time before stylists got her hair to look edgy, not scary.
She left her ensemble player status behind by taking the lead as slinky thief Catwoman in the 2004 film of the same name, but was let down by a rotten script and won a Razzie award for Worst Actress.
Twice as nice?
Storm will always be Berry's first and most beloved superhero character. Her failed attempt at being Catwoman is more than compensated for by her many great turns as Storm.
AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON (KICK-ASS/QUICKSILVER)
The 25-year-old English actor went from obscurity to stardom playing the lead Dave Lizewski - an ordinary teen who develops great resilience and a knack for his twin batons - in cult superhero flick Kick-Ass in 2010.\
He later downgraded to supporting player as speedy mutant Quicksilver, twin brother of Scarlet Witch and Avengers team member, in Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015).
Twice as nice?
Johnson made for a charmingly naive Kick-Ass, but really grew into his own as Quicksilver, who was more complex and nuanced than Evan Peters' younger version in X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014). At the moment, Quicksilver looks pretty dead, but hey, in the comic book-turned-movie world, anyone can be brought back to life.
RYAN REYNOLDS (GREEN LANTERN/DEADPOOL)
Other than Affleck, nobody else needed more redemption from a bomb heard all over the world than Reynolds.
In the much-ridiculed Green Lantern (2011), the 39-year-old Canadian hunk played DC test pilot Hal Jordan, who is inducted into the Green Lantern Corps with a power ring to construct solid green objects and control them telekinetically.
Still, fans were excited to see Reynolds put his own spin on Marvel mutant mercenary Wade Wilson/Deadpool - after an initial botched attempt at the character in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine - in this year's film, especially after the trailer was released.
Twice as nice?
All is forgiven. Reynolds earned his stripes playing Deadpool for the second time and the film was a big hit, earning a whopping US$673 million (S$930 million) worldwide.
This article was first published on March 16, 2016.
Get The New Paper for more stories.