Despite a mixed-to-negative reaction to the Ben Affleck-led Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, filmmaker Kevin Smith points out the oft-criticized Batman star was singled out as one of the blockbuster's stronger points.
"I think if you think back to when Batman v Superman came out, he was the one that actually skated. He got a lot of f—king praise," Smith said on Fat Man on Batman when asked why Affleck is "unfairly maligned" for his turn as the Dark Knight following Christian Bale's almost universally-praised three-movie tenure as the character.
"There were people going, 'This movie's got a lot of issues, ironically, Affleck as Batman is not one of them.' That was my recollection of people's reaction to BVS. They had issues with the tone and the darkness and sh-t like that, but he was the one thing that most people agreed was really good in the movie."
Affleck won the role of a rebooted Batman in August 2013 and subsequently ignited a flurry of mixed reactions online. In the wake of Batman v Superman's poor critical performance, the actor emerged with more praise than not for his portrayal of an older, burned-out crime fighter and foil to controversial alien-slash-savior Superman (Henry Cavill).
Smith, a longtime Batman fan and former frequent collaborator with Affleck, elaborated on his severed relationship with the Batman star and why Affleck "hasn't spoken to [Smith] in years" in a conversation with The Daily Beast earlier this year:
"I think he probably plays a more prominent role in my mythology than I play in his mythology anymore. "He was in some of my biggest movies, so in my world he's still a figure. In his world, I haven't factored in in god knows how f—king long," Smith said.
"And he's gone on to do tremendous, big f—king things. He's become a massive movie star and a director in his own right. So I don't think I pop up on his radar nearly as much he pops up on my radar."
The Mallrats and Chasing Amy director recounted in 2014 Affleck's then-wife Jennifer Garner didn't care for him, saying, "We're not f—ing tight. I have not been [close with him] in decades."
Following the ousting of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who produced many of Smith and Affleck's earliest works through Miramax, Affleck said in November he was inspired by Smith to donate all residuals he receives from movies that involved Weinstein.
Affleck's future as Batman remains in doubt as the Matt Reeves-directed The Batman gears up for a reported spring 2019 shooting start.